Special section : London Calling (2012 Olympics)

Who enjoyed the Olympics?

The Stratford Olympic Stadium, during the closing ceremony, the 12th of August

Currently in London, I’m enjoying two weeks-off after an intensive and heavy personal and political year, which partially explains the low  publishing articles frequency on my blog.

But I enjoy my time to discover the British capital city and its charms and to come back to an event which excited the sportive community and the whole world: the Olympics, of course.

During two weeks, the world re-discovered London and its numerous assets but also a city and a country which are still moving despites the crisis, as I’m currently realizing here. The organizers made all theirs maximum to dazzle and put the cosmopolitan and dynamic aspects of London and United Kingdom forward, on an economic level mainly.

It is needed to remind the Olympic Games were and are still a heavy investment for UK who placed near 11 billion pound (about 14 billion euro), four times more than the planned budget in 2005 when the London’s Bid was accepted by the IOC. Regarding this issue, David Cameron, the UK Premier, was very optimistic promising to his citizens the economic benefits will be superior to the money spent these last seven years. This optimism was quickly questioned by some economic analysts considering the Games will have a weak and short-lived impact on the British economy and should not improve the financial situation, as other countries and cities who hosted the competition in the past, Spain and China excepted.

Critics regarding the Olympics will be numerous probably and it is likely they’ll keep following even if euphoria is still dominating within Londoners and Brits because of excellent results of Team GB and also the benefits regarding the image and the attractiveness of the British capital city. As Yann Morell y Alcover underlines in Slate, a French online paper, “some resignation and sportive and economic benefits hoped by London and whole the country – increased touristic frequency, improvement of the international image of London, construction of high-level sportive infrastructure for the future – put by the government forward have done its effects”

David Cameron, UK Prime minister and Boris Johnson, mayor of London

These effects are present politically speaking insofar as two men largely enjoy the success of Games, David Cameron and Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. For the Prime minister, success of the Games is a political one insofar as they put the image of a winning, dynamic and open city forward, allowing putting the most contested aspects of the current policy led by the conservative leader aside. And as far as the second is concerned, he enjoys a huge popularity, which allows him to have new ambitions. Indeed, Boris Johnson would like to be MP, sine qua none requirement to be Prime minister. In other words, the Games have been a real politic opportunity for these two men who are going to capitalize on this world event to get out while the going is good.

Thus, it’s hard to say if United Kingdom really enjoyed the Olympics insofar as despites the money spent, there really was a popular euphoria as I could notice there. Probably the real winners of these Londoner Games are the inhabitants of East London (and the Stratford borough) who have seen their neighbourhood changed, symbol of a new direction in city politics.