You’ve got to love London’s Mayor and chief Olympic booster boy Boris Johnson. Foppish, Oxford educated, Conservative types with dodgy haircuts do not normally resonate with the Australian egalitarian ideal. But Boris does.
He possesses many endearing qualities but primarily he gets that sport (to paraphrase former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly) is far more important than life and death. Everything he says and does at the moment emphasises this abiding love of sport, what it stands for and what it can achieve.
He has of course been lampooned frequently but seems to take it all in his blustery stride.
Johnson acknowledges that Britain is in a bit of a pickle as financial restrictions bite but at the same time he has urged Londoners in particular and Brits in general to embrace the Games as a celebration and as an event that will probably never return in their lifetimes.
Only last week in the Canberra Times and possibly channelling Juan Antonio Samaranch he was quoted as saying: “I think we will have the best ever Olympic Games… I think the hundreds of thousands and millions of people who are going to come… and they going to have a most wonderful time”.
He often thumbs his nose at authority recently upsetting Olympic chiefs who have just rolled out their purple army to enforce the protection of their brand: “it’s absolute nonsense. If bakers want to make a gigantic Olympic pretzel in the high streets of London to advertise their wares then let them do so.”
Love to have a beer with Johnson…