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I helped produce the London Olympics opening ceremony: the spirit of 2012 is not any antidote to Brexit Britain


I helped produce the London Olympics opening ceremony: the spirit of 2012 is not any antidote to Brexit Britain


An out-of-place nostalgia maintains to grow around the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Chuka Umunna’s recent coverage document for his think-tank The Progressive Centre used Danny Boyle’s production to define “innovative.” Yvette Cooper nearly cried, contrasting the idyllic night to our cutting-edge dilemma. Eddie Marsan pre-empted Chuka and cautioned the rite may want to form the basis of a celebration political broadcast for a brand new centrist celebration, whilst JK Rowling set a whole novel inside the halcyon days of the 2012 Olympics.
Our 2012 nostalgia harks again to a time of momentary harmony. Earlier than we voted to go away the EU, earlier than our authorities was an entire collapse, and earlier than the opposition proposed ripping up the economic repute quo.

I labored on the manufacturing crew for the ceremony. I look again on that night with honest affection and recollect the period with clarity. Until the night time of the outlet ceremony, the public mood in the Olympics’ direction became one in all complaints and pessimism. On a subsequent morning, the complete u. S. Did a double-take; I sat on a bus strewn with double-page spreads of the molten Olympic Rings whilst all of us around me chatted feverishly with pleasure about the portrait we had created of Great Britain. So it’s miles understandable to move this fleeting pleasure past those four hours of enjoyment. But it is delusional to confuse that moment in time with a method of politics that is by hook or by crook superior to the cutting-edge.

Olympic ceremonies are made with the unambiguous timetable of promoting the host nation’s virtues to the arena’s relaxation. To rent one as a reference point for reality is irrational. Any project that has the explicit goal of celebrating contemporary Britain availed of £81m finances, an Oscar-triumphing director, and a forged of 10,000 volunteers would be in large part a hit, irrespective of the political moment wherein it becomes made.
The ceremony turned into six years of planning and the work of extra than 2,000 humans.


My small position noticed me establishing the thousands of cast and team moves, a speed boat, a helicopter, and the Red Arrows. I attended meetings with the Civil Aviation Authority, the Metropolitan Police, and COBR. The sheer degree of ambition becomes intoxicating, its coordination impressive; to be a part of it was exhilarating and, generally, completely satisfied.

This was a closely choreographed and purposefully risk-free performance – which becomes the cause for its vast attraction precisely. Each iteration of the authorities-funded manufacturing changed into vetted using the International Olympic Committee. Non-income in law, if no longer in spirit, the IOC trades within the abstract belief of achievement. The stop result changed into a gigantic theatre show that left scant room for critical viewpoints.

Beneath the rite lay the success of propaganda. While it celebrated a lot of Great Britain’s most noble tendencies and achievements; the economic revolution, our literary history, the Women’s Suffrage movement, our multiculturalism, our running magnificence, and our first broadcast lesbian kiss, it overlooked much less virtuous ones, such as Britain’s history of colonialism. Incredibly, the ceremony hid the politics of the time.

Umunna invites us to bear in mind how we celebrated the NHS’s muse, six hundred running nurses amongst the solid. Still, it was well known to a few of the manufacturing team that David Cameron had explicitly asked this segment be cut from the display. The producers have been courageous enough to override their Head of State’s opinion, in contrast to my subsequent revel in supporting produce the Olympics ceremony in Russia.

Nevertheless, Cameron’s try to suppress the NHS’s reward shows that off-degree the government, some distance from celebrating the fitness provider, planned to run it into the ground to justify its subsequent privatization. This political agenda existed as a lot than as it does now. The Military has been added to offer protection for the event, which includes the months of rehearsals after G4S didn’t meet their contractual duties.

Since then, the same government has persisted in awarding G4S controversy-ridden contracts amounting to thousands of kilos. As Yvette Cooper factors out, the display’s starting tableau, charting the dramatic transformation from a feudal to an industrial state, gave a heartfelt second of consciousness to the Windrush generation. Beyond the stadium’s partitions but, the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, had introduced her adversarial environment coverage months before the ceremony.

Crucially, in 2012 the entire sum of £9.3bn spent on the Olympic Games indicated that austerity, which then chancellor George Osborne become already selling as a need, became certainly ideologically based. Austerity catalyzed the economic inequalities that have fuelled social divides in Brexit Britain.

We should be in no doubt that the rules which led us to Brexit had been already in the region as the arena smiled at the Queen jumping out of a helicopter. The political terrain hooked up in 2012 led us immediately to the economic inequalities currently dividing present-day Britain. Nobody – no longer even JK Rowling – have to look returned on the 12 months of the Olympics with an uncritical eye.

Erika Norman

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