Great Britain has put on a magnificent Olympics with fantastic venues, surprisingly good weather, enthusiastic fans and, touch wood, no serious security breaches or major drug scandals involving big-name athletes.
Immediately before the Games, as in the lead-up Sydney 2000, there was much moaning from locals lamenting the cost and inconvenience of it all. As in Sydney, all of that vanished the minute the flame was lit.
The British tabloids have taken predictable swipes at Australia’s lowly standing on the medal table relative to team GB, which was predictable and no more or less than we would have done. But that’s nothing compared to the venom with which Australia has attacked itself during these Games.
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Well, that didn’t take long. There are 19 nations on the medal table after the first full day of Olympic competition, and none of them are Great Britain. To compensate for this, the Poms have started whingeing.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS PRETTY NAUGHTY, ESPECIALLY NEAR THE END
Off field, these games have started brilliantly for Britain. The joy and sheer Britishness expressed in that wonderful, quirky opening ceremony has apparently now been embraced by Londoners, who have suddenly twigged that a few overcrowded trains are a small price for having the world’s biggest party on your doorstep.
Then along comes Mark Cavendish and friends from Team GB cycling, accusing Australia and the rest of the field for conspiring against his team. Oh, the poor sweetheart. Was the porridge too hot in the Olympic village this morning, Cav? Were the contents of your drink bottle not isotonic enough?
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“PLANE NOISY” yells the front page of my local paper this week, over yet another story based on the gripes of semi-professional aircraft noise complainers whose persistent whining is vastly more annoying than the rumbles of the jets to which they object.
Aircraft noise is a hot backyard political issue in many Australian towns and cities – notably Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. It helped Kevin Rudd build his political profile in his Brisbane electorate. But the attention it gets is thanks to the efforts of coalitions of obsessives whose biggest problem, as far as I can see, is they cannot find the remote to turn up the volume on their TVs and forget about it.
Well, welcome aboard passengers, to our short flight today to Give It A Rest. If you take a look at the card in the seat-back in front of you, you’ll find instructions for selling your house and moving to a suburb that’s not under the flight path.
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