A poll of public reaction to the Olympics opening ceremony reveals big support for Friday’s spectacular, further highlighting just how out of touch Aidan Burley, the Mail and the rest of the 2012 haters are – as it emerged Michael Gove and even Olympics secretary Jeremy Hunt may have shared their scepticism.
To the poll in a moment, but first the reports this morning that Tory cabinet ministers “pushed for changes” to Danny Boyle’s epic, the Telegraph revealing:
Danny Boyle and Lord Coe faced pressure from Cabinet ministers to change elements of the controversial Olympic opening ceremony.
“Suggestions” were made after senior ministers saw a 20-minute video of highlights of rehearsals of the director’s Isles of Wonder spectacular – which won praise on Friday night for its eccentric celebration of British life.
At a meeting around the turn of the year ministers were, bizarrely, asked to rate the video with marks out of 10 – at which point some objections were understood to have been made.
In one account of the meeting Michael Gove, the education secretary, was said to have scored the ceremony just four out 10, a claim his spokesman denied last night.Mr Gove was also said to have objected to the absence of Winston Churchill from the ceremony.
According to this version, Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, was also sceptical about some of the scenes, while Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was said to have intervened to defend Boyle and to have told her colleagues it was unfair to judge the ceremony in such a crude way.
While another account of the meeting put the mood among ministers as “emphatically positive”, a source said: “There were some suggestions made which seem to have been incorporated.”
Friday night’s spectacular received the seal of approval from the Queen, who made her acting debut, appearing as herself alongside Daniel Craig, the James Bond actor. However, the section focusing on the National Health Service, which featured 800 doctors and nurses, made some Conservatives uneasy.
“Uneasy”? It seems Burley may not be the Tory lone wolf his party are trying to paint him as; meanwhile, a Survation poll (pdf) of more than 1,000 people carried out immediately after the ceremony showed widespead support for the production overall, the musical extravaganza and the NHS tribute.
• Citius, Altius, Fortius… It’s Games Time! 27 Jul 2012
As Survation report, the poll found:
The UK public thought the ceremony overall was “entertaining” (65% agreeing to 7% disagreeing), “a good representation of Britishness” (61% to 9%) and “made people proud to be British” by 50% to 13%.
Danny Boyle’s musical choices were considered to be “entertaining and appropriate” to at least some degree by 55% of those polled (only 11% disagreeing) and the decision to have 7 young athletes light the Olympic flame was a popular one with 60% agreeing with the move and only 8% disagreeing…
For perspective, the public do consider SPORT to be the most important aspect of the games (versus the opening ceremony) with only 18% considering the ceremony to be more important than the sport – 41% disagreeing with that sentiment.
The BBC’s coverage was considered to be of a high standard by 56% of those polled (10% disagreeing) although the commentating team fared slightly worse than their institution. One could argue that the commentators detracted slightly from the overall experience on that basis, but after the Jubilee coverage controversy this appeared to be a potential minefield that the BBC has carefully avoided…
In contrast to (for example) Conservative MP Aidan Burley’s twitter comments considering the ceremony “the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen” – only 15% of those surveyed thought the Ceremony was “too political” with 40% disagreeing with that sentiment and 21% neutral.
Further, referencing Mr Burley’s negative comments relating to the NHS tribute aspect of the Ceremony “Welfare tribute next?”, the public considered the inclusion of NHS nurses and patients to be an “appropriate tribute” – with 52% agreeing and only 12% disagreeing.
An “appropriate tribute” indeed; Mr Burley and other Tory NHS haters take note: do it down at your peril – it’s one of this nation’s finest, most-loved institutions, a view shared across the board.