I don't know if anyone beyond these shores has noticed, but Team GB has done rather well in this years Olympic games - 4th in the medals table (we even beat the Aussies!) with 19 Gold medals. Way beyond anyone's expectation. Naturally, the politicians have all latched on to this to try and bask in our athlete's glory, but I think most Brits already know our boys and girls have had the most successful games for 100 years despite our political leaders, not because of them.
And, of course, in 4 years time they'll be expected to do it all again - but this time on home turf. London 2012 awaits.
We've had dear old Boris with his floppy hair waving the flag and telling the world how every sport imaginable was invented in Britain. ("Ping-Pong" was invented on the dining tables of England, apparently) And, of course, we've got a ridiculous logo. What we need now is for the games themselves to show the world that we Brits can put on a show.
I was listening to a radio debate the other day, and a few things annoyed me. There seems to be a general attitude that we shouldn't be spending too much money on the games (tax-payers money, that it). But the people who are saying this are, in the next breath, saying that London 2012 will never be as big or spectacular as Beijing 2008. Well, you can't have it both ways, folks. If we want a huge, spectacular show then spend the money. If you don't want to spend the money, then get ready for the more 'intimate' games we've been promised. (for intimate, read 'smaller')
Fact is this, we'll never know just how much money the Chinese spent to make these "the best games ever". Why? Because their government isn't a democracy. It isn't accountable to the people and doesn't have to worry about being re-elected. Simply put, they don't have to tell anyone what they spent, and they never will.
Whereas the British government can't do that. They can't slap anyone who complains about how much is being spent in prison for treason or some other trumped up charge. They can't not spend money on hospitals and schools 9for example)
But, as one caller to the debate said, the London games is likely to be the equivalent of the Beatles White Album following Sergeant Peppers - less spectacular and showy, but a better, more polished final product. I guess we'll have to wait and see.