Festival in Edinburgh & Olympics in London

A chance meeting with two constituents today at an Edinburgh Festival venue raised a couple of interesting reflections. Sometimes it is claimed that the Festival is ‘London –on – holiday’ – and that Edinburgh people dislike it all. So it was good to see the myth exploded with two very local residents taking advantage of the shows & not for the first time this week either. Another myth was exploded too – we’ve actually had 4 days with a good deal of sun, especially welcome after the generally miserable weather this summer. Sunshine brings the Festival out into the streets and the numerous outdoor cafes all venues now seem to sprout. In the last couple of years it has seemed as if they were operating more in hope than expectation but at least we’ve had one good week this year. Though I sometimes wonder if ticket sales are better in worse weather!

We got on to talking about the Olympics and my constituents (who are staunch Labour supporters) were asking whether the Tory Government would get a boost from the event. Now I’m sure most people don’t want this turned into a political football but what emerged from our chat was that it can easily be forgotten that a successful Olympics wasn’t built in a couple of years – neither the construction of the venues nor the creation of successful athletes started in May 2010. It’s been a genuine cross party effort with the current Government and London Mayor building on the foundations laid by their predecessors.

In 1996 at Atlanta Britain did very poorly and the determination to improve began from there. And in the succeeding three Olympics the results have become clear. But maybe let’s just whisper it that after 17 years of Tory government (Atlanta 96) performance was poor. Maybe, just maybe, the Labour Government did something good? Talking about the ‘mess we were left with’ has become the mantra of the Coalition, but you don’t have to be uncritical to realise the truth is more balanced.