James at The Springfields Academy
James with representatives of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards during a Welcome Home Event for 20th Armoured Brigade
James Gray MP welcoming representatives of 20th Armoured Brigade to Parliament
James Gray MP with representatives from Google and The Countryside Alliance Foundation
What a triumph the last few months in British history have been. They will be looked back on as a golden moment. The Olympics, of course, were superb in every way. Who but we British could pull off such a coup? Every aspect has been a brilliant success – Opening and Closing Ceremonies; the venues – all of them; the sheer management of 1.5 million spectators, the TV and media, traffic and security.
And that is without even mentioning the medals tally – the third largest in the World. If it was ‘medals per head of the population’ (which would take out China and America), or even ‘medals per pound spent’, I would guess that we would be in the lead in the world as a sporting nation. (Jamaica may run us a close second – perhaps one of my readers will do the sums?) And think of some of those magnificent moments from the Games – Mo Farah winning his second gold, Andy Murray at Wimbledon, the cross country team at that superb site in Greenwich, the boy from Somerset winning the shooting without any financial help from the Government at all; Jess Ennis and so many more. And it’s not just the Brits. Who would not rejoice at the sheer sporting brilliance of Usain Bolt?
It was a very British triumph – a vast army of people coming together in the Nations’ interests. The host of volunteers and the military, the sportsmen and their families, trainers and supporters, Olympic officials led so ably by Seb Coe. Collectively we saw the challenge, took seven years of meticulous planning and executed the solution with a straightforward brilliance which has made us the envy of the world.
Something of the same feeling of National determination and celebration lay behind those superb Diamond Jubilee celebrations which now seem so long ago. As a Nation we have created a summer of outstanding excellence. Now we must do what we can to carry that – almost Dunkirk-like spirit – forward into every aspect of our National life. There are great battles ahead of us. Europe is in deep crisis (and how noticeably and thankfully absent the EU was from both Games and Jubilee – not a blue flag with yellow stars to be seen anywhere. Yippee!). The situation in Syria is disastrous not only for her people, but also for the whole Middle East and potentially the world. Our own economic woes are by no means behind us. And the Coalition has its internal troubles.
So the legacy of the Olympics and Jubilee is not just about what to do with the Olympic venues, not just about promoting sport and fitness across the land, not just about starting to prepare for Rio and so on. What has happened over the last few months is that we have rediscovered British Greatness. We are a truly Great Nation. We can do Great things – whether that be sporting, organising, celebrating, or leading the world in political, economic, diplomatic and military ways. We are a small island nation, but the last few months have shown that we punch well above our weight. Let us now do so in leading our own country and the wider world out of the troubles which beset us.
Remember the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee in the tough months which lie ahead.
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