I flew over England yesterday. I have never seen it look greener. The rivers and reservoirs are bursting full and leaves hang in heavy abundance from the trees. As the plane climbed into the rain clouds above them was bright sunshine, a terse reminder of how the weather is simply a layer of temporary happening above a much larger area of permanence.
Down on the ground in London road workers are painting parts of roads with the Olympic rings. These signify special road lanes where ordinary Londoners will be prohibited from using durting the games, upon pain of fine. These special lanes are for the great and the good who are so important that they leave their Mayfair hotels to arrive at the Olympic site in a matter of minutes while those who have to work for a living spend five times longer travelling to their places of employment. Even the painting of the Olympic rings on the road delays the workers, as queues form behind the workman so engaged.
The ordinary Londoner, disconnected from the life of bankers and politicians, has become disconnected from the Olympic games being held in his own city. These are not the people’s games, but the games of the great and the good, the MacDonald Games, the games of big business and big greed, where the appearance of things, our national image, is giving priority over the actual condition of things. It is boastful without reason to be boastful, proud without humility and rich without generosity.
My plane did not fly over the games’ site, so I could not see the block of flats upon which rockets will be stationed to defend the beloved games and protect the great and the good. I could not hear the complaints of those delayed or inconvenienced by the games. Perhaps many voices have been stilled by the carrying of the Olympic torch around these islands, which seems to have been turned into an event and a money making enterprise.
And while all this happens the rain falls on the great and the good and the poor and the lost alike and I fly above it, snarling.