There has been feverish speculation as to who will be chosen to light the Olympic flame, but I can exclusively reveal the identity of the mystery celebrity chosen to represent the spirit of Old London Town.
(Drum roll) Climbing the steps this evening will be none other than Dick Van Dyke reprising his role as Bert from Mary Poppins who will epitomise all that is wonderful about modern Britain by lighting the Olympic bowl with a carelessly discarded cigarette end.
But while I am positively fizzing with excitement at the prospect of two weeks of gourmand sports coverage, there are those who have been pretty negative about the whole business, so in an effort redress the balance, here are my five reasons to love the Olympics in general and London 2012 in particular:
- They have kept Seb Coe and Boris Johnson out of the serious business of politics where they really could do some real damage.
- You may lose sleep over the results from sports that you couldn’t care less about – like trampolining, table tennis and synchronised drowning – but remember it’s only once every four years.
- They have done what Hitler and Göering couldn’t do and broken East End resistance and flattened a quarter of London.
- The Olympics only come to the UK once in a generation so there is plenty of time to pay off the mortgage before the next one.
- They have dispelled once and for all the myth of the ‘cheerful, cheery Cockney’ – viz the blackmailing transport workers, legal action and the Olympic Lane misery.
And finally, remember what they have done for peace and understanding. To paraphrase the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
By effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, the Olympics have caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.