If you’ve been living under the stairs for the last 17 days, it’s safe to come out now: normal recessionary service has been resumed across the country and the threat of a serious national epidemic of olympio-mylitis has been averted. The shouty man on the telly has reverted to decibel levels below the pain threshold.
Mervyn King, the shitty bankers’ owl-eyed apologist, and George Osborne could never have imagined in their wildest wet dreams that the London olympics would be their salvation. Growth figures remain parked firmly at 0%, high street bankruptcies hit 10% and the Lib-Con marriage is headed for the divorce courts. Yet for more than a fortnight the nation has been fixated about Jennifer Ennis’s waistline and whether Bradley Wiggins’ velodrome speed would have been improved if he’d shorn off those legendary sideburns. Tens of thousands have fled the civil war in Syria; Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing their worst drought in 60 years, and in one Kenyan refugee camp alone, over one-third of a million people are stranded, waiting for the rains. But the media moguls fed us with olympic pap and PR froth.
The pub bores are back onto the seemingly endless topic of footy transfer fees and national newspapers have almost reverted to printing actual news on their front pages, instead of Jamaican athletes posing as medieval archers. Medal mania – and the sub-culture of medal micro-analysis (how many of the women’s underwater taekwondo squads were born in Yorkshire?) – are gone forever. Or at least for four years.
But perhaps the best news of all for us Olympian Deniers is that in the parliamentary recess, Justice Minister Fatty Clarke intends to introduce emergency legislation making it a criminal offence (with a mandatory custodial sentence) to utter the word ‘legacy’ in public.