Bells ringing for the common good...
So what if it is misdirection? So what if all the hoopla and the teary chest beating is throwing an invisibility cloak over some doom-laden realities?
These realities, this financial tightrope that Britain and the rest of Europe walks, will still be there when the Olympics are over; isn’t there a chance that it will be made more tolerable after an injection of something that lifts the spirits?
Cynicism is easy. At the drop of a hat we can all cock a snook. Engagement, believing in something, is a little more difficult.
There is much to be said for ringing bells loudly at 8.12am, for instance. Martin Creed’s attempt to make Britain a nation of campanologists seemed to make no sense when he proposed it. It was a situationist art project on a grand scale that belonged more to the brilliant TV show Twenty Twelve than any reality.
Yet, there is a strange communion that comes when you stop being self-conscious and become part of the moment. Would daily, prescribed bell-ringing make us a happier nation? Or would it make us all a bit North Korea?
And why not be excited by that opening ceremony? Why not become an armchair expert on archery and handball for a little while?
Could it be that some of this feel-good spirit got into the three High Court judges who bounced Paul Chambers’ conviction for his Twitter remark out the door where it belonged? Chambers had made a flippant joke on Twitter about blowing up Robin Hood Airport after snow caused it to close. He was found guilty initially of sending a “menacing electronic communication”.
The judges said, essentially, this is bunk; the tweet should be read in the context in which it was sent and no more should be made of it. Which delivers a blow to mealy-mouthed jobsworths across the nation who delight in making much out of nothing.
Now that is worthy of a gold medal.