One fact that the Prime Minister is bound to ignore at his legacy press conference is the role of the public sector in the Olympics. And I bet he won’t celebrate its success, apart from a nod to the military. It is, though, worth stressing that these were the public sector games. They were bid for by the public sector, won by the public sector, organised by the public sector, paid for by the public sector – oh you get the picture. But there is more: the security ended up being rescued by the public sector and relied on public transport – organised and paid for by the public sector, even if at times provided by private companies.
The planning was all done by government agencies and even the fantastic broadcasting was provided by the dear old BBC. Can you imagine what it would have cost on Sky?Nearly all the venues provided by the public sector and even the Millennium Dome was involved under the bizarre name of North Greenwich arena (it’s the O2 now). Danny Boyle’s homage to the NHS was apt, but its message can be extended to much else that is good in our society, and much of it was on view at the Games.
The whole event was a celebration of the way that people get together, form governments which then run things for the people, and shows that government is not something that necessarily we want less of, the favourite mantra of Romney and Ryan. We should stop being scared of the fact that at times state provision is the best way of doing things. I wonder if Ed Milliband will have the courage to point this out and celebrate it.