13 August 2012

The theatre of the absurd........

The curtain has come down of the Olympic Games 2012 and the organisers should be very satisfied with the event. As a casual observer, nothing significant seemed to go wrong, at least not that the public knew about. Apart from the Korean flag incident at the start, the organisation looked to be pretty seamless and the BBC's broadcasting was nothing if not comprehensive. Yes, some of the commentators were a little too enthusiastic and rather too partial to the home team but that aside, the coverage was excellent.

All in all, it looked very much like the £9.5Bn that we are told it cost to stage, although some observers put the figure rather higher. No matter, the taxpayer has deep pockets in circumstances like these and a large chunk of the money will find its way back into the wider economy so it can be seen as another facet of 'quantitive easing'.

And now, after the bunting is swept away and the 'Zil lanes' erased, we will slowly return to reality, a reality where the economic woes remain unresolved. But there is a lesson in the staging of the Olympic Games and that is that government can improve the mood of the nation by both talking and acting positively. Compare the politicians doom-laden pronouncements about the economy with their effusive responses to the Olympics and to the home team's success.

Maybe Paul Krugman, writing in 'End This Depression Now', gets it right. Austerity is depressing and negative. If politicians pumped money into constructive projects, like Olympic stadia or schools, rather than handing the cash to the banks and the bankers, maybe we'd be in better shape. Alternatively, if the government held the bankers to account, in the way that they make taxpayers responsible for the bankers errors, then maybe we'd believe the 'we're all in this together' tosh.

Till next time, I'm still Niall Connolly