Boris Johnson has been quoted as saying the Olympic Games have proven a victory for ‘Conservative Values’. We all know Boris should not be taken seriously, but I’m sure we’ll hear you-know-how trumpet these same sentiments post-Games. Taking the credit for other people’s work while blaming all undesirable events on the previous administration comes naturally to this Conservative-led coalition. Witness Boris revelling in centre stage, while his cronies in Government ready themselves to shout from the rooftops on the off chance the stricken economy picks up, despite having nothing to do with winning the bid for the Games, and almost making a gargantuan balls-up of privatising the security arrangements.

But has this really been a victory for modern ‘Conservative values’? The kind this party promote and foist onto everyone, whether they like it or not? We’ve had successful athletes from mixed races and nationalities, trained with mostly public facilities, funded with public money, through state or National Lottery. The security has passed by without incident only thanks to (publicly funded) military personnel. The coverage on the publicly-funded BBC has been generally lauded. Corporate sponsors have been derided for threatening small businesses.

The only aspects of ‘Conservative values’ which appear to have been successful are elitist private schools, which have contributed over half of medallists, despite only representing 7% of the schooled. The rest of these private alumni are presumably in the Cabinet.

The Conservatives have eliminated the two-hour-a-week sports target for schoolchildren, and are flogging off school playing fields faster than New Labour did. One might conclude then that this Games has been anything other than a celebration of narrow, modern, Conservative values: more likely it has been the antithesis.

As a commentator wiser than me noted: if the Games were completely dictated by Conservative values, the only gold medals we would be boasting of would be in dressage.


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