Johnson dismisses 'leftie' ceremony claims28/07/2012 - 13:57:09
Boris Johnson today dismissed suggestions the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games had been too left-wing.
London’s mayor described the event in the Olympic Stadium, watched by a global audience of around one billion, as a triumph for Great Britain.
He said: “It wasn’t global ’Brito-pap’. It wasn’t just Big Ben and Beefeaters and red buses and stuff. It was actually the truth about this country in the last two or three hundred years told in a big, dynamic way.
“People say it was all leftie stuff. That is nonsense. I’m a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray.”
Mr Johnson spoke after a fellow Conservative insisted he had been misunderstood after sparking a major backlash by branding the ceremony “leftie multicultural crap”.
One Twitter post from MP Aidan Burley read: “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?”
Shortly afterwards he added: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multicultural crap. Bring back red arrows (sic), Shakespeare and the Stones!”
Mr Johnson praised Danny Boyle’s ceremony as he visited the park at Stratford in east London on the first official day of the Games.
He said: “I thought it was stupefying, one of the most amazing events I have ever seen.
“The big anxiety we had was, could we do something that would rival Beijing. I think we knocked the spots off it.”
Mr Johnson said the event was a triumph for film director Boyle and for the Games organisers and all who took part.
He added: “The thing I loved was the heavy political stuff. I loved the emergence of the urban proletariat and the rise of the chimneys and the forging of the ring.
“It was a smorgasbord. The comedy was brilliant, the Mr Bean stuff, the Bond stuff.”
He described the lighting of the cauldron, carried out by seven young athletes chosen by Olympic greats, as well judged and diplomatic.
Some bookmakers, who had been taking bets on the individual who would light the flame, have already said they will refund those who put money on the outcome.
Mr Johnson said the transport network was holding up well so far, adding there had been good feedback from the Tube and other networks following last night’s event.
He said: “I remain very conscious that we cannot be over-confident at this stage. There are so many things that we need to get right.
“Every hour that goes by that things continue to go well is a relief.”
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