From what I have seen of the TV coverage the Olympic Torch Relay was a total farce with the Olympic torch surrounded at all times by a team of around ten Chinese goons, who were in turn surrounded by a close team of ten or so Met officers in yellow, surrounded again by twenty or thirty Territorial Support Group heavies in their jumpsuits and big boots. Very butch. Not very harmonious.
The whole thing has been utterly odious from the specially chartered jet (how does that fit into the Mayor’s green posturing?) to the sight of Chinese goons on London’s streets and the pathetic turnout at the finale. Just about every frame of TV coverage had a Tibetan flag in it so that at least bought some colour and passion to the whole thing but perhaps not in a way the Chinese authorities would have wanted.
The whole event had the Mayor’s dabs on it. At the start the Mayor’s deputy, Nicky Gavron, handed the torch to Steve Redgrave at Wembley. At the end the London Fire Brigade’s fireboat ‘Fire Dart’ transported Ellen MacArthur, lone yachtswoman, from Canary Wharf to the Dome. You can read more here about it. Lucky it wasn’t needed for any of the actual firefighting for which it was bought by London precept payers. Oh, and don’t forget the Â£1 million overtime bill for the 2,000 coppers who might have been more gainfully occupied patting down a few knife carrying youths.
It was totally apt that Gavron was involved because her favourite anecdote is that her mother danced for Hitler at the 1936 Olympics who coincidentally is the person who invented the whole Olympic torch ceremony to promote the Nazi regime.
So her mother danced for Hitler and she danced for Hu Jintao. Hu may not be quite another Hitler but Gavron had a choice, unlike her mother.