Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The British Expatriate

The Guardian has an interesting take on Tony Blair today, from Martin Kettle. I'm not sure I buy it all, but it is worth a look.

Closer to TAE's heart, however, is this article from Lionel Shriver, a British expat living in New York, who comments on the attitude of New Yorkers towards having lost their bid to get the Olympics.

I was in New York when the city lost the Olympics. I hate to break it to you, but the people I've talked to are relieved. New York to London: "You can have 'em."

I've always been disconcerted as to why cities fall all over themselves trying to win the burden of the Olympics. Given the dodgy economic prospects, the bother and inconvenience of it all, surely the Olympics should be passed frantically around like the Old Maid.

My thoughts exactly. Most people I know here in London were relatively ambivalent about the Olympic bid until it turned into a contest between London and Paris, at which point beating the Frogs turned into an occassion for euphoria. No one I know listens to me when I tell them they lost. Maybe it's the New Yorker in me.

He also makes this salient point about last week's bombings.
Now, personally, I think the invasion of Iraq is the most calamitous US foreign policy mistake of my lifetime. Yet to discourage tube bombers in future, surely Britons are better off broadcasting, "Actually, we were thinking of leaving Iraq lock, stock, and barrel next week, but now that we realise that would make you wankers happy, we've decided to dig into Baghdad for the next 50 years."
Now that's a response.


Anonymous Mooky said...

You know, I had the same doubts about the Sydney Olympics. So did nearly everyone in Sydney. But I can tell you that the moment those games started, there was an amazing switch and the whole city was on a high for 2 weeks solid. Not only that, most visitors raved about how great it was. (and probably reinforced this stereotype that all Australians are friendly, lol)

Sadly, I only caught snippets of the Sydney Olympics via my London TV. And from the opening ceremony, I was wishing I was home.
My friends in Sydney would tell me what was going on, what they had gone to see - and while I was happy for them, I was miserable that I wasnt there.

For me it is a huge regret that I wasnt home in Sydney at the time.
The cliche "once in a lifetime" was sadly true.

So, my advice to Britons, is chill out, when they get here, they will be good. At the very least, curb your cynacism. To have the Olympics in your home country... is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Half the article was devoted to saying "Don't you believe it!" about Tony Blair's staunch position against the Islamists, citing how the British government has capitulated with the IRA. He basically said that the only reason Blair isn't negotiating with Al Qaida, or any other Islamist group, is that their goals "seem so hazy". Interesting thesis. There might be some truth to it, though I don't think their goals are so hazy, but just so unacceptable. It seems to me they have similar goals as the PLA once had against the Israelis: to "force the infidels into the sea".

New York isn't the first place in America to be cold towards the Olympics. Out here in Colorado some of us remember when our own governor forthrightly rejected the Games about 35 years ago. Denver was chosen as the site of the Games some years before, but then we elected a new governor who didn't like the idea at all. He told the Olympics to go away, saying that they'd just be a drain on our economy.

The state of New York has had the Games once before, in Lake Placid. So I guess that's another reason not to see it as a great loss.

1:55 AM  

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