The Olympic Opening Ceremony – it’s all we’ve been hearing about recently, and what a mighty thing it was.
At first, I was a little concerned, as the EastEnder’s theme music was played. “Oh dear,” I thought, “another international event that is going to be stereotypical and a bit cheap.”
And for a moment, I was worried that the rest of the ceremony would also be a bit stereotypical, what with the cricketers, apple picking and general light-hearted, olde-English-type look to the general proceedings.
But within minutes, all my anxieties were washed away by the sheer amazingness of it all, and by the end I was truly blown away.
Yes, there were certain parts that I didn’t understand (the two people texting being a prime example) but it was an impressive spectacle and certainly worth the £27m.
And to further amuse myself, I spent the whole time looking out for the various people I know that were playing their part in the ceremony.
But, and here’s the ‘but’, I can’t understand why a Mini was driven on to the stage.
Firstly, it was a Mini One, as far as I’m aware, which is the cheapest new Mini money can buy; it would have been much better to use a Mini John Cooper S Works.
The second thing I realised was that Mini is owned by BMW which is of course German – perhaps the organisers should have thought of that.
And the third thing, the thing that I find most staggering of all, is that we have one of the most impressive and prestigious car industries in the whole world, and yet our famous marques – Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Morgan, Ariel – were not showcased at all. Manufacturers in the UK build 1.5 million cars and vans each year and 2.5 million engines every year (11 per cent of all UK exports), so why have such astounding figures not been celebrated?
Even our ‘local’ company, Rolls-Royce, had no mention at all, which I find staggering when you consider 3,538 cars were made last year (up by 27 per cent from 2010).
Going on the assumption that a Rolls-Royce costs a minimum of £250,000, that means Rolls sold £884.5 m worth of cars. (Yes, I know Rolls is owned by BMW, but that is as far as the relationship goes.)
If we ever manage to host a prestigious world event like the Olympics again, the organisers need to stop looking at cars as if they are the devil’s work and celebrate what a brilliant part of the British economy they are.