Olympics ceremony ‘Left wing’ furore: some solid market research

Of the 1,706 search engine terms used to tune into the Opening Ceremony issue at The Slog over the last 24 hours, some 46% used the specific terms ‘left wing/left wing bias/left wing rubbish/biased pc/biased liberal’ as their search descriptor.

So those who unfollowed me on Twitter today, no – it wasn’t just me.

While I accept that the sample was by definition self-selecting (and the Slog is demographically biased over 45 years of age) this would tend to suggest that mature Britain had a problem with Danny Boyle’s view of history.

Clearly, we’re just all too old, stupid and bigoted to know any better. Perhaps it’s time we were put down. Even more than we are already.

53 thoughts on “Olympics ceremony ‘Left wing’ furore: some solid market research

  1. I’ve been roundly criticised today for not buying into it to the whole Boyle thing.

    When I point out that I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the image compared to the voice, people look perplexed.

    Now apparently it’s age thing.

    But even if I live to 100 no one is ever going to convince me the Boyle bird is a looker.


  2. I’m 31, I thought it was utter arse.

    The comment threads are littered with butthurt folks who just wanted to let it slide as a bit of lighthearted, crowd pleasing entertainment. It wasn’t. It was condescending c**p of the lowest order.

    The world is burning and they spend 27 million on that. It doesnt matter that the money is borrowed and leveraged and isn’t real in any sense, why not borrow it and do something that actually makes a difference. Build a hospital, help the homeless/elderly/vulnerable, give it to cancer research, Alzheimer’s research.

    Use it for something with a higher purpose.

    Or not, as the case may be.


  3. Exactly. Goodness knows what it feels like to be someone in a seriously disadvantaged position in this country, when you see what the priorities of this government are!


  4. In total agreement with Chris above. A load of utter shite. Thought it was a cross between Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons to begin with. Who on the world stage wants a journey through our history at the Olympics, paying all that (silly money anyway) when they could have just gone to the British Museum. They glossed over it as per usual anyway. Didn’t mention the Gunpowder Plot did they?


  5. Of which £27m, £10m are said to be for the individual ‘pixels’ held by members of the audience and wired up so that they could be switched on and off together, change colour and so on. A really useful way to spend a mere £10m! Forgetting the finance for a moment, the ‘cauldron’ at the end was a clever and possibly idea, and I thought there were others, but I can’t remember them now… Oh, yes, Beckham in his coloured boat.


  6. You maybe right their John it is one thing f****** up it another to carry on f****** up,we should let the new generation in to f*** up


  7. And most Americans believe our welfare state to be Socialist with a capital S, if not absolutely communist and the NHS is the very work of the devil himself. That could possibly also account for some of the bias.


  8. It might have been a load of old leftie bollox, but ponder, if you will,what a load of righty old bollox might have looked like.

    A pageant based on greed for money, xenophobia, bigotry, fear, racism and stultifying intellectual retardation. Not the most entertaining of nights, I would have thought. There’s only so much one can do with curtain twitching homophobes and purse lipped racist grannies. I imagine a new anthem entitled ‘I’m alright Jack’ penned especially for the occasion.


  9. When its all been done before, I guess we end up with the kind of ridiculously overdone pantomime we saw last night. Moving on…

    Its time they opened up athletics to the free market and embraced performance enhancing drugs. I want to see what the human body can really do. This should have been London’s legacy. Britain ushered in the modern era of sport, so now let us usher in the post-modern era.

    Just think of the positive spin-offs for medical research, and the amazing performances we’d see. No more wondering which ones are at it in secret – female swimmers with hairy backs shouldn’t be scapegoats.

    Ironically removing all the bans would level the competition, and heck, it would be a great deal more entertaining. I should know – I’ve just sat and watched an *entire* swimming race.


  10. Why does it have to be representative of any political viewpoint?

    Someone in a previous thread suggested the ceremony should’ve been:

    1) military band
    2) athletes do a lap of the stadium
    3) queen cuts ribbon, says “I declare these games open”

    That would’ve done the job, been pretty inexpensive, not veered into politics and been mercifully brief.

    But obviously there’s no need for that kind of crazy thinking.


  11. in the circumstances especially, massively over the top…..uniquely we had the opportunity to break the mould of the ever increasing competition for specacle in favour of refocusing on the sport……looks like like we failed in that particular challenge …..and judging by the cost….. failed spectacularly


  12. As I am one of the taxpayers who paid for this, I don’t remember being asked by the way,
    Can we see the ledger after it’s all finished i.e. cost vs benefit.
    Why do I have a feeling its cost > benefit.


  13. JW had the best criticism when he wrote ‘show not tell’ Boyle tried too much inappropriate ‘tell’.

    As to ‘left’ or ‘right’ are not all things arty thought of as ‘left’ in the UK?

    Let us hope we witnessed the death of the Grand Opening/Closing.


  14. Yes, I’ll admit it, I am sick, sick of all the horrible little one eyed goblins, sick of the bullying of ordinary people who have had to pay for these games but can’t afford to go to see any of them if they wanted to (I don’t personally, but some people would like to but cant afford it), sick of the heavy police and military presence that has turned London into something more like a war zone than an international celebration of physical prowess. I am sick of it all, what do you want to do about it, exterminate me for thought crime?


  15. It would have been a lot more tasteful instead of the tacky expensive nonsense we ended up with, and they probably wouldn’t have needed such a huge police and military presence to guard over it either.


  16. I am proud to be able to say i ignored the whole thing and never watched it.Reading comments the day after the event i am very glad i didn,t!

    A complete wast of money


  17. I agree! The Combined Bands of the Royal Marines beating retreat would have been perfect. Or maybe since the defence cuts we now only have one Marine with a penny whistle?


  18. I doubt if Locog could tell us the total cost, and I’m certain that they will never know the benefits. If you are a taxpayer, you should be used to this situation.


  19. @c777, “As one of the taxpayers who paid for this” – not quite I believe Londoners will be paying for this for at least the next 10 years ( I suspect the rest of the country will also be contributing to the paying down of the debt).
    We were sort of asked to support the Olympic bid. When in office, Dear Leader ken il livingstone invited Londoners to register their support for the bid. However, there was no facility to register dissent . In the past the Local Government Ombudsman would probably have ruled this a case of Maladministration. However, I suspect that “Maladministration” has not been taken seriously for many years……


  20. It’s about perspective…

    Where is their next Gravy Train coming from? With Expenses and Backhanders proving harder to come by there has to be a sorce of fuutre appreciation funding lest they are forced to survive solely on Pensions and Expenses.


  21. I’m sure that the ‘respect’ shown to HM in the 007 bit would have gone down really well across the globe. I understand that if you insult a member of the Thai royal family, you can/would end up doing time. We are not amused.


  22. Pingback: OPENING OLYMPICS CEREMONIAL BIAS: A Fluffy lashes out. | A diary of deception and distortion

  23. I am extremely narrow in my choice of sports – I only like football and can’t be ar$ed with anything else. Bizarre when you consider that I once very nearly made the shoot-offs for the Commonwealth Games squad Small Bore Target Rifle, and once ran in China representing the UK in the Asia-Pacific International Orienteering Event.

    But there you go. The Olympics I couldn’t really give a toss about.

    ‘Her Indoors’ was watching the opening ceremony and as a result I had to put up with it. It was absorbing, entertaining, contained many hidden messages and made heavy uses of symbology and was utterly utterly brilliant. Even to the choice of the eight people and Ali with the Olympic flag.

    I still couldn’t care less about the games themselves though. Except for the football. And only games with decent players in. And possibly shots of ladies posteriors in the beach volleyball.


  24. No disrespect was shown to the Queen. It was all done in the name of humour and a good laugh; and everyone I know sees it as exactly that. A bit of fun. Not to be taken seriously (as we know it was a man in make-up anyway!)

    You are far, FAR too serious if you think this disrespects H.M. Heck ,she probably agreed to it in the first place.


  25. It was exactly what one would have expected from a committee of Common Purpose trained New Labour luvies (and I include Cameron & Co. in that description).


  26. Greed for money – Ummmm, remind me just how much of our money the ‘state takes and squanders on its schemes !!! Public paid for these games, but the public has been excluded – who are the greedy?

    Xenophobia – What is the phobia called for the hatred and villification of your own countrymen, so that you put all others first and foremost? What do you call people who want to kill others just because they are of a different religion?

    Bigotry – Political correctness is the ultimate bigotry, and who is the most PC?

    Racism – Is that is in hate white people? Where were the Scots, Irish and Welsh in that opening ceremony?

    Intellectual retardations – Is that as in education system falling down legue tables? Is that is in school leavers you cannot add up? And generations of ‘never worked in our life’ welfare claimants.

    Curtain Twitiching – Is that as in, oh dear I saw John Terry say a nasty thing to that nice coloured man. Or the huge increase in snooping of all kinds over the last 20 years.

    Purse lipped grannies – What is the term for the irrational hatred of older people, instead of respecting the wisdom of age, and looking after those who have conributed to society?

    History will tell if it is Leni Riefenstahl, or the Boyle person wins the left wing fascist crown for propaganda.


  27. the more overtly party-political a piece of expression, the less artistic it can be.


  28. So you think that no country should be allowed to spend money when holding the Olympic games until its social and economic problems are completely solved. We should have told China that 4 years ago and should definitely make sure to tell Brazil this in 4 years time. In fact lets just cancel them all then, the Olympics, World cup, Euros, any sporting or cultural event that “wastes money” until everything and everyone is completely self content. What a fun world that would be to live in… perhaps you are missing the fundamental point of life


  29. the ceremony was at times akin to eating raw rhubarb including the roots and the (poisonous) leaves – i reckon that during the night following his finest fiasco lord crow would have had repeated emergency recourse to the executive olympic bog.


  30. i presume you were viewing a ladies’ race, you dirty old dog? but yes, semi-naked women with full-castroic beards would definitely add a certain something to the spectacle.


  31. the sequence in question would have been immeasurably enhanced had the monarch herself really made the jump and subsequently made a split-legged landing on rogge the froggie’s gaping-mouthed head.


  32. @anon: holding the games– great. Spending money on the events–no problem.
    Spending 27 million on a political broadcast that has zero to do with sport– Not so much.

    Obviously you thought this was money well spent?


  33. My husband Rodney’s comment to the Telegraph’s Mandrake column:

    Yes that was a surprise!! People in Britain don’t really understand what enormous followings world wide Brits like Beckham and Rowan enjoy!
    partly it was spectacular but had strong strands of the parochial left. The assumption that the industrial revolution was oppressive instead of the truth – that it emancipated us all and especially the ex rural workers who suffered heavy labour in cold, rain and heat but then had by comparison much less strenuous mechanised lives! Obviously the pseudo intellectual left have never worked on a farm (as Rowan and I did when we were young!)
    The left never understand internationalism and the wealth which arises from free trade among free peoples and cultures. That is Britain’s greatest achievement. Their aim is supranational where peoples and cultures are subsumed (as they were in this ceremony) into a “levelling” Statist mish mash which inevitably leads to failure and conflict – as it did in the Soviet Union and is doing in the European Union!! (I once wrote an article on “Bean Blackadder and the European Union” which i sent to you!)
    But of course this ceremony was a spectacular start to the opposite – individual achievment of the highest order by disciplined athletes representing nations and their cultures.


  34. @histerical. They couldn’t find a volunteer. Well, they did, but he told them “I’ll be bug**red if I do that again.”


  35. So some kids bounced on some beds. Then got threatened by Harry Potter’s arch enemy, but were rescued by a battalion of the Royal Mary Poppins airbone division. Everyone lived happily ever after…. apart from one crusty old conservative M.P.

    Must say I was impressed. Might vote labour next time.


  36. Helen
    Thank you for that detailed and penetrating analysis. It could catch on as a style:
    Hey, Helen


  37. I quite liked it. Thought it was well worth the £1.50 I contributed to it, and my kids loved it.

    Bits did annoy me:

    The history thing always annoys me. OK Britain has one hell of a history. If you added up the entire history of the rest of the world it would just about match the history of this small island. But we’ve done it to death haven’t we? Can we please move on now? We’ve got Harry Potter and Adele. We don’t need to do the history thing anymore.

    The industrial revolution depicted as something out of Dickens is so old hat. Putting Brunel at the head of this Dickensian depiction is a disgrace. Brunel wasn’t a Dickensian character. The GWR he founded pioneered many improvements in workers conditions. Do some reading about “Swindon railway village” Mr Boyle, I think it might open your eyes about a few things.

    The NHS thing was simply wierd. Originally I thought it was a scene from Carry-on-Doctor since the uniforms and bed designs were from that period. The only connection with the NHS of today was the modern NHS logo. What was the point of it all? Does Danny Boyle not realise that many other countries have a national free health service? I believe Germany was ahead of Britain in moves towards free health care at the point of use. I suppose it was presented as a “socialist” link between his Dickensian view of industrial Britain and modern high tech Britain but frankly it didn’t work.

    The cheesy Olympic stuuf. Yeah I know the IOC insists on it, but jesus it is well past its prime and belongs to the days when the olympics were amateur and not big business. I did like our cauldron though – artist involved deserves great praise for that clever little idea.

    The blarney put about by the BBC that 1billion people watch the opening ceremony. I don’t think there is any truth in that. Apparently in the US it is only ever shown as edited highlights on NBC. I’m guessing very few people actually watch it.

    I liked the Daniel Craig, Rown Atkinson parts. I would have liked to have seen more of modern cultural Britain presented like that – Harry Potter, Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean all filmed in the UK with UK actors. We have lots of famous actors, musicians etc that could have been better presented as the face of modern UK. Stick a few Dyson vacuum cleaners, minis and aston martins and it would have been job done.


  38. Agree. I would have liked to have seen more of a celebration of our individuality (of which Danny Boyle is himself surely an example!) with more of the Rowan Atkinsons, Daniel Craigs, Dizzy Rascals as well as Kate Winslets, Simon Peggs, Daniel Radcliffes, Adeles, Coldplays and so many other great modern Brits represented.

    When the Aussies did the Olympics they only wheeled out Kylie and everyone went nuts.


  39. Again, somewhat missing the point of why money is spent on an opening ceremony. This is the opening to the biggest sporting event that the world has to offer and you think people would be interested and excited by:

    “1) a military band
    2) athletes doing a lap of the stadium
    3) the queen cutting a ribbon and saying “I declare these games open””???

    Now that to me sounds utter arse as you earlier put. Perhaps you did not find it entertaining, but I assure you, through out the world you are a minority. People watch the opening ceremony so that they can be entertained, enthralled, and see why it is that the country and city with the honour of holding this prestigious event has been chosen. It must therefore be an event that attempts to show off to the world our strengths as a country and the roots from which we came, and an event that British people can be proud of. This is why such money is spent on it, it is a necessary part of holding the Olympics. As for a wasted 27 million, you are forgetting how many people attended this event and how much money people paid for their tickets. You would have seen a lot more empty seats if your proposed military band had opened the games instead. But then I dare say if they had done what you proposed you would still be on this website complaining about how badly organised and typically dull it was…”even the Chinese can put on a show better than us” or something of the sort.


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