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2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony: Why Subversive Gestures Are Not Enough
John Doran , July 30th, 2012 03:52

The author would like to thank Rory Gibb, Petra Davis, John Tatlock, Kris Stewart, Purves Grundy and Tom Davies for moral and technical support

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On Friday night I was preparing to beat a hasty retreat from the Hackney Wick office that the Quietus shares with our big sister paper The Stool Pigeon. Some of our crew were handing round cheap bottles of vodka and settling down for the night to watch the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony just a few hundred metres from the actual event.

Attitudes ranged from, "Fuck this, I want no part in this colossal waste of money, I’m going home to sulk with the TV switched off" [me], to "Calm down dear, it’s only an Olympics Opening Ceremony – might as well watch it and have a laugh."

Even though we were all coming from different perspectives on the event, everyone laughed when someone suggested that if the Tories wanted to bury bad news then they were never going to get a better chance than this in 2012.

Of course the sad truth is, when it comes to what’s happened to the NHS the Tories haven’t needed to indulge in subterfuge. They pretty much passed the Health & Social Care Act in March of this year as they intimated they were going to well before the general election. They did this with minimal fuss despite enthusiastic and well organized opposition from small public and political groups.

The Bill, which will abolish all NHS Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities, has gained royal assent and can now only be stopped by repeal. This has, to all intents and purposes, broken the back of the NHS.

Since becoming a dad, shamefully I’ve found that I don’t have time to read the news every day, so ironically the opening ceremony gave me the rare opportunity to catch up with what else had been going on in the world. It was then that I came across news that the Newmarket Hospital had signed a contract meaning it was set to become a private business.

The Suffolk Hospital has been handed over to Serco – a regular name in the pages of Private Eye and the company responsible for running several UK immigration centres that have been criticized by Amnesty International and have been the location of two suicides, not to mention the illegal detention of 150 children in shockingly unsuitable conditions. So the ideal people to be running one of our hospitals then.

Paul Forden, Serco’s managing director of acute care, said: “[This] paves the way for an exciting new delivery model which will place the patient at the heart of the service while empowering clinicians to spend more time caring. By working closely with partners from across the NHS, voluntary and private sector, we believe we can deliver a truly exemplary service which will bring real benefits to the county’s 600,000 patients.”

It’s a funny word “exciting” – so many subtly different ways of using it. I’m not sure how much patients want excitement as opposed to dependable expert care delivered quickly and for no cost at the point of use, no matter what their class, financial background or geographical location.

A colleague and friend was on the receiving end of some exciting health care solutions himself recently after getting diagnosed with gallstones 18 months ago. At the start of this year the number of attacks he was suffering meant he had to take action. In March, when the ink was drying on the Health and Social Care Act, he had several severe attacks followed by an acute infection and was taken to hospital where he spent two days on IV antibiotics for two nights before being discharged and ordered to spend two weeks at home resting. He was also told that he needed to have an operation and that it would be organized for him as quickly as possible.

By mid-June, he began to feel ill again so started making inquiries of his own, having not been offered a date for surgery, and told the hepatobiliary surgical bookings that he would take any date available. His doctor put him on antibiotics and later that day he was offered a surgical cancellation only to be told he couldn’t take it because of the antibiotics. He was offered a replacement operation two weeks later. That evening he had an extremely severe attack and was rushed to A&E by ambulance leading to a three night stay in hospital on yet more antibiotics for an acute infection, followed by another week off work recuperating.

Then it started to go a bit Groundhog Day. He was then told it was not safe for him to have the originally scheduled op because he was too ill. After another appointment he was told that he essentially couldn’t have the surgery he needed without going through the entire scanning process again, and they arranged an appointment for a month's time to discuss the operation.

He says: “I was getting concerned as I was ill and losing weight. It was affecting my life and work. I heard a show on Radio 4 where they were discussing how care trusts around the country were being forced to cancel what they deemed non-essential surgeries, using gall bladder procedures as a specific example to highlight recent cuts and changes to the system.

“I made a complaint to PALS (NHS Patient Advisory & Liaison Service) and within two days got a phone call offering me an operation a week later (July 2) with no mention of the previous surgical registrar telling me I needed to go through the whole procedure again to check everything.

“Then it was straight forward. I had an ultrasound scan two days before the operation for a new readout for the surgeons. I had the surgery and was discharged the following day.”

While this was not necessarily the case here, it has been reported that in some areas care trusts have been forced to change the guidelines in cases similar to his, so that people with gallstones have to be hospitalised twice with acute attacks before they qualify for surgery. Having patients going in and out of hospital, waiting for them to become acutely ill before agreeing to give them the surgery – which is necessary all along - is not only a waste of NHS resources but is dangerous. One of the risks of this strategy is the patient developing the extremely painful pancreatitis, or other serious complications.

And this is just the story of one person. We’re all going to have to get used to hearing stories like this on a more frequent basis; and unfortunately - especially if the person involved is elderly, not forthright in dealing with bureaucracy or is in anyway marginalised - some of these tales will have much less happy outcomes than his case.

Feature continues after photograph

Aiiieeee! Run! Subversive political dance routines!

While I was reading about the Newmarket Hospital, exciting scenes were unfolding on the TV in front of an estimated audience of one billion worldwide with a peak of 27 million viewers and 82% of the TV audience share in the UK alone. Danny Boyle’s creation was deemed a massive success. No less than 300 motorized beds and 600 actual NHS staff were rolling and dancing their way across the floor of the Olympic Stadium in a nine minute, heartfelt tribute to the history of our health service, concentrating specifically on Great Ormond Street by cleverly roping in characters from children's literature such as Peter Pan and the Harry Potter books. This culminated in a battle in which good, represented by numerous Mary Poppins, vanquished bad, represented by The Child Catcher, Lord Voldemort, Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil and the Queen of Hearts.

I have no doubt that Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony was an amazing piece of entertainment; grand theatre that was funny, provocative, inclusive, heart-warming… all that good stuff. Also, better the director of The Beach and A Life Less Ordinary than some shill hack, right? It’s true that money from the public purse and from corporate sponsorship is always going to get wasted on events like this, so why not rope in someone with balls and vision to do something interesting? And true enough, one glance at the playlist alone shows there were some killer choices of tunes made by musical directors Underworld. Like I said, in some ways, I really wish I’d watched it.

But what really concerns me is the knock on effect of ceremonies like this, the illusory effect that one is actually taking part in the political protest simply by observing something on TV or moaning about it on social media. And talking of which...

After reading the news on my laptop I did a quick sweep of work and personal social media. I could see many, many people in my facebook news feed and on work’s Twitter account praising the supposedly subversive nature of the NHS segment of the opening ceremony. One self-identifying hard left winger called the event pure socialism – “EP Thompson set to music”. Even friends who consider themselves anarchist/collectivist/Marxist were mocking those who’d decided not to watch it. Within hours pro-NHS, opening ceremony photo memes were circulating the internet. It appeared to suddenly be verboten to criticize the Olympics or its opening ceremony in any way shape or form. The memos you can miss when you don’t watch TV!

But the whole idea of broad brushstroke, vaguely political gestures, not anchored to any specific demands, reminded me of morally empty, consciousness raising events such as Live 8, a giant money furnace which only served to dilute and diminish serious public interest in the subject of African debt to the first world. Put simply it wouldn’t have mattered if the giant puppet Lord Voldemort’s mask and cloak fell away to reveal a 200ft tall animatronic David Cameron, scooping up screaming nurses and children into his giant clanking stainless steel, bear trap jaws and chewing them into bloody, ragged chunks of flesh in front of one sixth of the world's entire population. It still wouldn't have been clear what Boyle's actual point was or what his solution is.

Without some kind of context or rock solid agenda, at best the show was just a supremely entertaining spectacle and at worst it was actually threatening to make people feel as if they had contributed to a form of protest when, in fact, they had done nothing.

Seriously, who had their political consciousness raised on Friday night? The old German guy near Camilla Parker Bowles and a guffawing Boris Johnson, giving a Nazi salute? How about NBC Today Show anchors Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, who thought that the actual Queen was parachuting out of a helicopter into the stadium? £27 million quid. Bish bash bosh. Pure socialism mate. Two fingers up to the Tories and still time for Family Guy before bed.

Let’s leave aside the amount of money the show cost for one second. Yeah, austerity measures mean, among other swingeing cutbacks, we’re having to lose the jobs of 50,000 nurses and doctors even though there is literally no statistical proof that any of these policies are working. In this context £27 million on a giant game of It’s A Knockout might seem in poor taste but let’s still leave that to one side just for a second.

Without anyone harnessing all of this righteous indignation and putting it to good use, the NHS segment might as well not have happened. A word or two of context from Danny Boyle at this very moment would be good for starters. His no doubt gigantic pay cheque will have cleared in the bank by now so there’s nothing stopping him from geeing everyone up a bit with a bit of exposition while he's the world's most talked about man. We had the evil wizard fighting with the supernatural nannies, now it’s time for the grown-ups to discuss what happens next. The opportunity he has, right now, to do some real good is unprecedented for a British film maker. Because without somebody harnessing this, Friday’s ceremony means absolutely nothing and as I’m sure you’ll agree the NHS deserves better than empty gestures, no matter how expensive, how well intentioned and how spectacular.

Practical Things We Can Do To Help The NHS

Join Keep Our NHS Public
Keep Our NHS Public is one of several campaign groups that operates on a local and national level. For your nearest local group click here. They have plenty of practical advice on everything from writing to your MP to organizing local fundraising events.

March and Demonstrate
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much effect any specific march or demo has and hard to know why some campaigns work and others don’t but at their most effective, these forms of peaceful direct action can change government policy. The Health & Social Care Act may have passed but that doesn’t mean that the Coalition’s austerity measures have come to a halt. Large events coming up soon include the Future That Works march.

Support Your Local Health Worker Unions
TQ scribe Petra Davis writes: "Support local health worker unions to resist being contracted over to private health providers. All over the country contracts are going to private providers, and local NHS workers are being asked to TUPE over to the new bosses. Local branches and national committees are organising resistance. Support them and raise the profile of these local struggles, which (surprise!) aren't being covered anywhere near enough in the media. The only story I’ve seen on the subject is this."

Boycott The Big National Players In Health Contracting
Virgin Care recently tried to sue the NHS contractor they were competing against for ‘predatory pricing’, i.e. for providing their service free at the point of use. More on Virgin Care’s Five Main Strategies For Taking Control Of The NHS here.

Don’t Waste The Time Of Doctors And Nurses
This suggestion may raise the hackles of some for being patronising but on speaking to health care professionals it seems that many are of the opinion that the NHS simply could not be painted as an inefficient, wasteful entity, that right wingers portray it as if it wasn’t so catastrophically misused by so many people. The amount of money wasted by so called persistent frequent attenders makes the money for Boyle’s extravagaza seem like small change in comparison. Sobering information here.

Join other groups
Maybe sign up with Health Emergency or take a look at 38 Degrees or UK Uncut.

MB
Jul 30, 2012 9:18am

of course theyre not enough! But did you really expect that they would be? How is an opening ceremony supposed to save the NHS? I share your cynicism about a certain recuperation of working class history etc for a money making spectacle etc, but surely the very fact we're (and a fair proportion of the international media) discussing the fate of the NHS in the aftermath of an Opening Ceremony is something, imho. I certainly wasn't expecting that to be a consequence. Does it really need Boyle to spell it out in addition? Of course an artistic statement isn't enough for political change, but that's hardly news is it? The real issue for me is that the NHS sequence of the ceremony was about the longest time the BBC have dedicated to it as a topic throughout this entire legislative process - the media reporting of the changes has been dire to the extent that it is in my view complicit in what is happening.

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Kevin Parker
Jul 30, 2012 9:29am

I don't think anybody who cares about these issues thinks subversive gestures are enough! But the opening ceremony was a great reminder of some things in this country that are worth defending. The NHS being at the very top of the list.

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Jul 30, 2012 9:47am

Well hang on, this article wouldn't have been written if Boyle hadn't put the NHS in his opening ceremony! In the heinous logic of the media, it's at least now a "talking point" - you're doing the right thing by jumping on it with practical pointers, good work.

People talking shit on Twitter a few drinks down on a Friday night are only that. Bet they're as likely to campaign today as they would have been a week ago.

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Dan B
Jul 30, 2012 9:49am

I've an opinion on some events at the weekend I didn't see either, can you publish them?

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Mof Gimmers
Jul 30, 2012 10:06am

Now then. Should Danny Boyle use a massive platform to praise the NHS? Yes. Did it rattle the cages of some of those who oppose it? See Daily Mail article. Will it change anything? Well, this article sprang out of Boyle's tribute, so it wasn't wholly useless... unless of course, this article is another example of commentary on an important subject that ultimately leads nowhere.

That's not a criticism on your piece John, but rather, a criticism that people view artistic gestures and read articles such as this and see that as action enough. People are sated by sharing links and views online and aren't likely to actually follow it up. There's a myriad of reasons for this and I'm not prepared to judge anyone over it.

So in summary (at last), I think it is a good thing that Danny Boyle promoted that something I see as truly great about Britain.

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Carpathian
Jul 30, 2012 10:27am

This was the opening ceremony for the Olympics. Short of stopping mid-way through and having a card held up that read "We're not carrying on until the Tories put the NHS back in place and say sorry" was there really *that* much more for him to attempt to do on the night?

We're here now talking about it and we wouldn't be had that section not featured. I think, in terms of gauging how far to go to raise awareness but not overstep the time & place he got it spot on. You're right, of course, that more needs to be done - of course it does - but Friday night wasn't the platform to take it any further than it did.

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Carl
Jul 30, 2012 10:39am

Terrible article. Yes, the left should always want more than gestures when it comes to fighting for progress and against things like the gutting of the NHS. But the cause is not advanced by nonsense such as this which critiques the opening ceremony of a sporting event against ludicrous standards. Why can't people just enjoy the fact that a progressive cause was highlighted in quite an audacious and unprecedented way to a global audience, and get on with the real business of affecting policy, rather than being wilfully and entirely unhelpfully curmudgeonly about it? This kind of attitude is never going to persuade anyone or achieve anything.

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Shane
Jul 30, 2012 10:58am

Serco also run some asylum seeker detention centres in Australia, and have a notoriously bad reputation. In under a year they had six suicides and 213 people treated for self-inflicted injuries, often in extremely harsh and isolated desert. Their security guards in some detention centres are allegedly required to carry around knives due to the prevalence of suicide attempts by hanging. It's really pretty sickening that these people will be running hospitals.

Good luck braving the rest of the Olympics. It's bad enough in this sport-obsessed nation on the other side of the world, can't imagine how it is in London.

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Joe K
Jul 30, 2012 11:09am

Excellent stuff, John. The knockers here seem to have missed the point that's being made in this piece, namely that too many on the left have performed a post-Operation-Barbarossa-style jack-knife as regards the Olympics solely because the Opening Ceremony seems to have got up the Mail and Aidan Burley's respective noses. It reminds me of something (and I apologise in advance for the Pseuds Cornerish nature of this) Zizek says about the 'antagonism' between liberal politics and the right actually being more like an act of obscured collusion which suppresses genuinely radical claims. The left end up using their energies defending things attacked by the right (because it somehow feels like the 'natural' thing to do) instead of concentrating on their own goals.

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Darville
Jul 30, 2012 11:23am

I disagree.
If the remit of the opening ceremony had been to motivate people to protest and galvanise us to action then yes, the ceremony failed.

But this wasn't the point of the ceremony. It's purpose was to celebrate what's wonderful about this country and to welcome the athletes and the rest of the world to London. This it did incredibly well, in my opinion.

Boyle had no need to defend the NHS so openly, so passionately but he did so. Protest, dissent and opposition takes many forms, be that marching, writing letters, formulating alternative policy or many other ways.
The Opening ceremony fits along side this in a really clever and beautiful way.

Of course Boyle did not suggest policies. That wasn't his role.
If nothing else the ceremony reached out to the many people fighting to save the NHS and said 'You're the good guys, keep on keeping on.'

Let's be inspired, lets turn that inspiration to action. Let's keep on keeping on.

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robin j
Jul 30, 2012 11:28am

great article , have written to MP looking and for more ways to contribute to the disent , also Danny Boyle has a responsibilty to raise more awareness about DOW and their completey heartless attitude to the Bhopal disaster - good to see reasoned debate here and an example of the effects we are beginning to see as the privatazion takes effect

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Toby Lerone
Jul 30, 2012 11:45am

My reading of the NHS part of the opening ceremony is that it was meant to show how the service has helped put a safety blanket around the sick and needy, to stave off the ghosts and ghouls of a childs real and imagined threats. It could have easily been something like oxfam or the red cross but the NHS is part of our post war history and something to be proud of. The repercussions, reactions and discussions about Danny Boyles intentions are wholly British - focusing on its failings!

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Toby Lerone
Jul 30, 2012 12:42pm

In reply to Carl:

well said!

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Reggie P
Jul 30, 2012 12:47pm

In reply to Joe K:

You said 'knockers'. Tee hee. Sorry, sorry, I'm still in Kenny mode after BBC 4 last night.

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Rob
Jul 30, 2012 2:03pm

Seriously, who had their political consciousness raised on Friday night? The old German guy near Camilla Parker Bowles and a guffawing Boris Johnson, giving a Nazi salute?

You might want to read this
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9436019/German-anger-as-dignitary-accused-of-performing-Nazi-salute-at-opening-ceremony.html

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Chloe
Jul 30, 2012 2:56pm

In reply to :

I'd go as far as to say MORE likely.

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John Doran
Jul 30, 2012 2:57pm

In reply to Joe K:

Thanks Joe. There have indeed been a few spectacular misreadings of what I've said very clearly.

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John Doran
Jul 30, 2012 3:03pm

In reply to Shane:

Thanks Shane, it really is disgusting how groups such as G4s, Capita, Serco et al keep on pulling the wool over the public's eyes.

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John Doran
Jul 30, 2012 3:10pm

In reply to Dan B:

If you were a good writer and had interesting opinions and had researched what happened at the events thoroughly via trustworthy media the answer would be yes but, given that none of these things are true, no.

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MargyC
Jul 30, 2012 3:24pm

The opening ceremony was clever, spectacular, beautiful and sublimely well executed, but what do you expect when you live in an old country obsessed with events? The UK is an event driven culture geared towards pleasing the media. No time or interest in debating new ideas or politics. Danny Boyle used the biggest event of the lot to celebrate something that we are about to lose and a few things we've already lost. Perhaps he was being subesrsive and trying to shake us out of our torpor, I don't know. All I do know Is that we seem to have been living in oblivion. During the last 30 years our manufacturing industry has been destroyed, public utilities were sold off to bidders with an abysmal track records and now, as John D rightly points out, when the H&SC bill went through earlier this year, there was surprisingly little outcry at a piece of legislation that will utterly destroy the NHS. It's already on the ropes. My dad was admitted to Whiston Hospital, not far from John Doran's home turf, on the day of the opening ceremony. I hate knocking the NHS but over the last few days I have been saddened to see how bad things are in the NHS. So I don't think this article misses the point at all. And thanks for listing the practical things we can do to help.

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Dan B
Jul 30, 2012 4:29pm

In reply to John Doran:

Considering your research on me was 'asking some dude who doesn't know me what I'm like' I think I'll still flag your article as 'specious ranting'.

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Petra
Jul 30, 2012 4:45pm

Missing the point by a country mile, most of these comments. No, John's not intimating that the Olympic opening ceremony could or should have been a revolutionary call to arms, he's saying that it's accomplished what all the oppressive policing, policymaking, bail conditions, gentrification and clean-up efforts haven't: disspate entirely justified popular resentment against the Olympics. It's a staggeringly successful sleight of hand and it's depressing in the extreme. How quickly is the liberal left prepared to abandon the communities under attack by Olympic policing, missile silos and astronomical rents? Overnight, apparently.

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John Doran
Jul 30, 2012 4:48pm

In reply to MargyC :

Cheers Margy. The fine people at Whiston Hospital saved my dad's life on no less than two occasions and cared for my Aunty in her dying days earlier this year. Some people would probably be surprised to learn that I didn't write this because of cynicism but exactly the opposite.

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Dan B
Jul 30, 2012 5:00pm

In reply to Petra:

I simply don't think this article, or your comment, gives enough credit to people, and to be quite frank is astonishingly presumptuous and arrogant. I enjoy sport and enjoyed (to as great a degree as possible) the opening ceremony. I stand on picket lines when Manchester mental health nurses are getting halved in a city with the highest incidence of mental health issues combined with an addiction. This article effectively assumes that one ceremony has hoodwinked people because it allows malpractice and corruption to sneak under radar. How about trying the reality on for size: that most people are capable of maintaining the same kind of righteous anger on one hand, and maintaining a sense of entertainment on the other. Acting like they're mutually exclusive and discrediting the capability of the audience is the fundamental trapdoor this article falls right into.

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aaron.
Jul 30, 2012 6:43pm

Completely agree with the sentiment of the article, but to ask the Olympics to be subversive is a bit like asking a chocolate teapot to be heat resistant.

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Carpathian
Jul 30, 2012 7:38pm

In reply to John Doran:

I'm curious, John - would you have preferred the same ceremony as it was, meaning we are here now talking and reading about what we are, or the same thing with the NHS completely omitted from the running order thus ignoring the importance of the very thing you rightly seek to support?
To put my comments in context, I agree with your writing of the fact it shouldn't be seen as a placebo/panacea that means interest moves elsewhere though nor do I believe there was anything wrong in featuring it in a positive light.
The NHS saved my father from a burst aneurysm a few months ago and were amazing at testing me for a brain tumour last year and I would defend the service to all who seek to knock it, overtly or otherwise, but even then I still think a piece springboarding off the back of Boyle's is very well meant & important to write but just kicks off from a weak starting point.
Not a knocker, just a reader with a view.

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sloan1874
Jul 30, 2012 9:22pm

Actually, and I realise that I'm risking a barrage of 'shurrups' here, I thought the NHS/children's lit section was the least coherent section of an otherwise excellent show.

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John Doran
Jul 30, 2012 9:48pm

In reply to Carpathian:

I disagree. I think the Opening Ceremony was all that people were talking about this weekend by and large, so this was as good an opportunity as I was going to get offered as a starting point. I don't have any view on what the Ceremony should have been like as such given that I think we shouldn't be hosting the Olympics, so there's no point in asking me what I would have done. Also I'm an obscure journalist not a very popular film maker with a couple of Oscars. I'm not interested in what-ifs because they don't serve any purpose. I'm never going to get to go back in time and direct the opening ceremony so who cares what I think?

This is all by the by though. I do think now that Danny Boyle has made his dig at the Tories he should be the hero of the hour, go on TV, give an interview on the radio, write a feature for the Guardian, whatever, and explain why he did it, what he thinks of this year's Act and what he hopes will happen next. He genuinely could go down in history as the man who helped save the NHS if he did. As it is - if people aren't moved by what he did or angered by what he did - he's just a guy making an ineffectual gesture. And in this, I'm not really blaming Boyle, I'm blaming people who watched the telly on Friday night, were moved but then did nothing other than post on facebook.

When this bill was first being mooted after the last election my son had just been born (in UCH on the NHS) and as these things tend to do, my attention was distracted from the news. I stopped paying attention to what was going on for a while. I guess I saw this weekend as my chance to stir up some debate and hopefully spur myself and one or two others into action. And I owe this to Danny Boyle's opening ceremony because I almost certainly wouldn't have written about it this month otherwise but I'm just saddened that more people aren't having this particular debate. It seemed to me that a lot of people who I would normally expect to be partisan and firebrand suddenly became very demonstrative about how they were proud to be British and how people shouldn't attack the Olympics. To even criticize the event became verboten, a nerve had been touched. And, I'm of the opinion that I can extrapolate about a certain mood in the country when I write this. This is what opinion writing is, obviously backed up with some fact and references, which I did - I'm genuinely apologetic to the people who don't get this and somehow think I'm stating fact or putting myself forward as some kind of seer with all the answers. That isn't really how writing op ed pieces works.

But at the end of the day I don't really care if people think I'm being condescending or a wanker - as long as they don't misrepresent what I'm saying or attempt to pick holes in what I'm saying simply for the sake of trolling. I'm not trying to make friends or anything like that. If I wanted to be popular I wouldn't be a music writer. This is simply something I care about and I saw this as an ideal opportunity which had been handed to me.

Genuinely? I'd sooner be writing about Kraftwerk, but no one else seemed to be saying what I thought was blindingly obvious. Even if people think I'm a bellend and no longer read the Quietus as a result, that's not really as important as them having a genuine debate about what (little) there is still left we can do about the parlous state the NHS is in.

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Carpathian
Jul 30, 2012 10:15pm

In reply to John Doran:

I wouldn't worry too much - that some of us care enough to discuss rather than ignore means the piece fits on here and just because we disagree on some things doesn't mean we think you're anything more than somebody we disagree with on some things. To go down the bellend/wanker route is for trolls on myTube or whatever. I'd hope you know the good from bad on here by now. You care, we care. We just take a different route, that's all. Don't stress it, John.

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Joe K
Jul 30, 2012 10:21pm

In reply to John Doran:

This is probably a BST post in itself, John, albeit a pretty meta one. Excellent point about writing opinion, particularly of a political nature - similar to you, I'd rather be devoting my time to describing Dave Pajo's guitar playing or an odd nuance of a Beckett story but, as a writer, you get moments of jaw-dropping AM I REALLY THE ONLY ONE WHO FUCKING THINKS THIS and *have* to write something to find out whether or not you are. One upshot of this is having to deal with trolls who want to lay into what you're saying as though it were a game, although it's also worth it for the times when people respond in a genuine spirit to the invitation to debate that's implicit in all op pieces.

Anyway, you've played a blinder on this one. Needed to be said, and so on.

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Dan B
Jul 30, 2012 10:34pm

In reply to John Doran:

"I'm blaming people who watched the telly on Friday night, were moved but then did nothing other than post on facebook" - fucking hell man let the dust settle! collectivised protest and amalgamating and impacting a generation takes a long battle to win hearts and minds, not a bunch of Sylvia Young schoolkids bouncing on a massive bed. at the bottom of all our exchanges I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU, the NHS is brilliant and needs to be saved - grown, even, nurtured for future generations and expanded and improved - but transposing a fucking record snob attitude to how protest SHOULD happen is absolute arrogance.

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noel
Jul 31, 2012 9:41am

Oh, so watching the opening ceremony isn't going to save the NHS? Wow thanks, I'd have never have guessed, I did watch it, thought it was generally very good for what it is, but also fight to keep the NHS public, the two are not mutuall exclusive.

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john
Jul 31, 2012 4:34pm

...but you didn't watch it

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