Proud to be British
No, I am not a Brit, but proud and very happy to be part of the world that the Brits created, after looking at the fabulous Olympic opening ceremony.
In a stroke of genius, show master Boyle, put the entire revolutionary two centuries of Britain like a suspension bridge between the two towering engineering geniuses, Isambard Kingdom Brunel who created the infrastructure for the industrial revolution, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee who created the World Wide Web, the ” railroad” of the information economy. And in between the revolutions that created the world as we know it: Votes for women, the Beatles and the sexual revolution of the sixties.
Compare with the dazzling ceremony at Beijing four years ago. Created by one of my all time favourite artists in the entire world, Cai Guo-Qiang. And truly wonderful! But as one commentator remarked, what are the chances the Chinese could conceive, never mind actually executing a humorous take on Mao, as Boyle did with the Queen starring as a Bond ” girl”? Would they ever, ever had the Corgis so sentimentally beguiling in a cameo performance?
And in the humorous, self-effacing comedy of Mr Bean and James Bond, the compassion of the NHS sequence and the tear wrenching choir performance which included the deaf children singing with their hands – therein lies the West’s mental supremacy over China.
Where would you rather be participating in the metronomic performance in Beijing or in the individualist exuberance of London? And what in the end will drive invention and adaptation better?
Let;s not forget the foundations of our success – as Niall Ferguson reminded us recently in his TV show and book: The West and the Rest.