The extraordinary London Olympics and Paralympics have finally drawn to a close and, if anything, the Paralympics have outdone their big brother. Never more so than in last night’s closing ceremony that featured, among others, Rihanna (giving her insurers heart failure as she zoomed about the arena in a swing) and Coldplay.
Coldplay, who can be easy to mock sometimes, stole all the shows, partly because they were given more time than some of the acts in the three other ceremonies. But this was a great band at the top of its game.
People will now bang on about ‘legacy’ but surely the main one will be that, as Lord Coe put it well, people will surely never see disability the same way from here on in. People in wheelchairs as the new chic, extraordinary. Will transport networks and the like follow up with more disabled access? They should be shot if they don’t.
But another legacy should accrue to the UK creative community which excelled in all the ceremonies; many people (including me) were expecting them to fall flat eventually but they did not.
Business secretary Vince Cable is due to announce the coalition government’s ‘industrial strategy’ later this week, focussing on cars, pharmaceuticals and a handful of other successful made-in-Britain industries. Well the creative industries have just had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show off and have grasped the opportunity with both hands.
And if both Games were ultimately about inclusion then the Government’s policy towards creative industries should be too. It shouldn’t leave everything to Google and Old Street’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in London. There are talented people all over the country and they, like the disabled Olympic athletes, need support and access too.