Monday, 13 August 2012

Imagine All The People

The London 2012 Olympics came to an end last night, the flames in the cauldron flickering out as Take That serenaded a packed stadium. It has been a remarkable, massively successful Games on every front.

But what have we learned?

Well, we've learned that War On Want know how to pull off a direct action, as they fired a projection onto a building overlooking the Olympic Park. A triumph, and one that must have had Adidas executives screaming with rage.

We found out that Fairtrade has a high profile supporter--none other than one of the most highly decorated Olympians of all time, Sir Steve Redgrave. He has a clothing line, FiveG, that uses organic cotton sourced from Mali.

We even learnt that King Of The Stadium Mo Farah's signature move, the Mo-Bot, had a surprising origin. It was created on comedy sport quiz A League Of Their Own by host James Corden and Auntie Olympic herself, Clare Balding. Here's the proof...

The word on everyone's lips following the Games is legacy. How do we take the vast amount of good will and positive energy generated by the Olympics and convert it into something lasting, of real worth?

I'd argue that what we have seen over the past fortnight is the first working example of David Cameron's Big Society in action. 70,000 volunteers, working selflessly and with good humour for the greater good. Now, it might be a bit more tricky to persuade people that clearing an old bit of brownfield to make a park or allotments is as much fun as being at the Games, but I can pretty much guarantee that Olympics GamesMakers are the kind of Britons who will wake up this morning and think "Right. What's next?"

The trick for the Coalition now is, just this once, not to fumble the ball or trip over their own feet. Community projects have the people and the will in place, more now than in any time in the past couple of years. With a bump in funding, Cameron could find his pet initiative will suddenly take off and fly. Don't make me tell you how easy it would be to find the cash. 

If we want to have a real legacy from these amazing two weeks, then let's do better than compulsory team games in school. Let's take the example of the selfless volunteers who received the biggest round of applause at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. Let's make the volunteer sector a real force for good in this country, and put together a legacy that really could inspire a generation.

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