Thursday, 30 August 2012

Passing the Danny Boyle test

Last night was a funny old night, watching the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.  One eye was on the TV, the other was on Facebook.

I've never been much of a Facebook person - I came across it when it was very new, so new that few people had heard of it, but someone suggested that it would be an important marketing forum for brands...and as that's my business I signed up, half feeling that it seemed nothing more than a dating website.  A decade later I guess, and I  used it occasionally, but not often...until the whole Olympics thing kicked in, and I found that the easiest and best way of keeping in touch with all my new found friends is Facebook.  Last night the messages were flying around as we all tried to spot friends performing in the was fun, engaging and gave us all a unique interest in the event.

This news story on the BBC reminds me of an incident some years back.

When The Boy's mum died, he came to live with me with all the problems that brought.  Obviously it was an emotional time for everyone, but there were some practical issues too.  Not the least of which was that we lived south of the river in historic Borough, he went to school in Finsbury Park, and my office was somewhere in between in Clerkenwell.  I had taken to getting around London on my Vespa scooter, and it seemed a good idea to scoot across London on it, getting him to school bright and early and me to the office in not too bad time at all.  when I'm on two wheels I'm careful and considerate, and there was a lot of fun to be had buying proper motorbike gear for him so he would be warm and well protected.  A bright yellow jacket was very visible and we managed the journey many times without incident.  We both seemed to enjoy it as well.  One day though as we started off from the traffic lights in Borough High Street, the scooter slipped on some loose gravel.  Instinctively I stepped clear as it tumbled sideways, leaving the poor Boy to feel the full weight on his right foot.  Guys Hospital is but a short hop away, although an ambulance meant he could get there in comfort, where X-Rays showed he had three broken metatarsals.  We never travelled together on two wheels again.

The Conservative MP Damien Green has suggested that the Conservatives need to pass the Danny Boyle test and cheer the numerous virtues of Britain in 2012.  He then goes on to talk about occupying the common ground.  I wonder what Mr Boyle would have to say about that.  I suspect that he's not much of a Conservative voter.  And I wonder if Mr Green has really understood what Danny Boyle was saying in the Opening Ceremony.  Of one thing I am certain is that he managed to define what Modern Britain is in 90 minutes than any politician has done in the last sixty years.  We have much to be proud of...and it would be better for all if politicians on all sides recognised Danny Boyle's encapsulation and created a vision for New Britain which reflects that.

Nick Clegg's call to 'tax the rich' seems as naive as the recent claim by some Tories that British workers are lazy and unproductive.  It seems that in the face of their own failure to get to grips with the economic and social problems Britain faces, the politicians have taken to name calling...I wouldn't mind if they were just shouting at each other, but when they start picking on the people they're supposed to represent, then it makes me a bit sad, a bit angry.  I suggest that their energies might be better spent on reform, restructuring and reinvention to get the country back on its feet.