28 Jul 2012

MP rains on London 2012 parade with ‘leftie’ jibe

As London 2012 stages its spectacular opening ceremony, world reaction welcomes the event – apart from backbench Conservative MP Aidan Burley, who dismisses it as “leftie”.

The opening ceremony was watched by one billion people worldwide (pic: Getty)

It was hailed as ‘spectacular’, with appearances by the Queen, Bradley Wiggins and Sir Steve Redgrave.

Directed by Danny Boyle, what did UK and worldwide commentators make of the event?

Simon Barnes of the Times said: “London turned down the option to celebrate giants and supermen and power and might and chose instead to celebrate people…

“Humour, above all things, humanises and there were elements of self-mockery that suggested that we could make this the humorous Games; the Games of humorous humanity in a land in which a joke and a grumble are never far away, and often enough one and the same thing.”

Sarah Lyall of the New York Times said: “Britain presented itself to the world Friday night as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is… It was neither a nostalgic sweep through the past nor a bold vision of a brave new future.

“Rather, it was a sometimes slightly insane portrait of a country that has changed almost beyond measure since the last time it hosted the Games, in the grim post-war summer of 1948.”

The China Daily wrote: “Kaleidoscopic pageant sets London Games rolling: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth declared the London Olympics open after playing a cameo role in a dazzling ceremony designed to highlight the grandeur and eccentricities of the nation that invented modern sport.”

‘Too politically correct’

And a host of famous names took to Twitter to share their views.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch: “London Olympic opening surprisingly great, even if a little too politically correct. Danny Boyle a creative genius.”

Television presenters Ant and Dec: “You can’t not be proud to be British tonight. A triumph. Hats off to @DannyBoyleFilm. D x #OlympicsOpeningCeremony #proudtobebritish”

Runner Paula Radcliffe: “Nobody does it like Britain – nobody! @bbcsport #london2012. Welcome the world.”

Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg: “Impressive though #openingceremony in Beijing was, they didn’t have any great pop music to play, did they?”

Historian Tom Holland: “Shakespeare. Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Nimrod. Lots of Victorians in top hats. The Industrial Revolution. If only sport was always like this.”

Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow: “:-))) this is so fabulous! Give Danny Boyle a knighthood now. We’re all dancing round like mad things (except Mr B obvs #decorum”

David Cameron and Aidan Burley in December (pic: Getty)

‘Leftie opening ceremony’

However, Conservative MP Aidan Burley (above, right) did not share in the others’ enthusiasm: “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?”

And: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!”

Downing Street moved quickly to distance Prime Minister David Cameron from the comments, with a senior source saying simply: “We do not agree with him.”