Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 9 August 2012


I have not yet met anybody who is not loving the Olympics. I write these words on Tuesday morning, so there is still time for things to go wrong, but it is not looking that way. Team GB have made us all proud and the roar of support at all of the Olympic venues has been truly inspiring.

What lessons can we draw even at these early stages? First, we are more than capable as a country of putting on spectacular events.
The opening ceremony was breath taking. I still chuckle ten days later at the James Bond sequence and the thought of Her Majesty parachuting in. The ceremony showed the best of Britain, our heritage, our international prowess, our humour, our music as well as the diversity of modern Britain.

Second, these things don't happen by accident. This success story has been seven years in the making. The investment in infrastructure and the people competing has been massive and when well directed it will make a difference. You could also look even further back to the National Lottery which has pumped £1.5 billion into sport in this country.

Third, and here I become controversial and I can picture the e-mails winging their way to me, the games have demonstrated the wonderful diversity of modern Britain. On Super Saturday our three gold medals in the athletics stadium were won by a man born in war-torn Somalia, a lady whose mum was from Jamaica and a white gentleman whose ginger hair suggested his folks have been around for a few generations. They all cloaked themselves in the union flag (even Andy Murray did that!) and as far as the vast majority of us are concerned are all equally British. That is the cosmopolitan country we have always been.

I know some people hark back to the good old days, maybe before the Romans arrived, or the Angles or the Saxons, or the Vikings or the Normans (French!) or the Huguenots. The reality is there is no such thing as pure "English" and never has been. We are an island race that has developed out of different people groups. Of course unchecked immigration is unhealthy and we have closed that door.  There are also issues of timing and degree and social cohesion and integration we are alive to those and making progress.

But let us celebrate modern Britain. As we have just witnessed, there is a lot right with it.

posted by Gary @ 11:43