chapter  1
Celebration capitalism
Pages 22

On July 6, 2005 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2012

Summer Olympics to London. The city had scored a stunning upset, edging out

frontrunner Paris in a nail-biter vote. Across the British political spectrum euphoria

was in the air. Charles Kennedy, Member of Parliament and leader of the Liberal

Democrats, exclaimed, “This is fantastic … It will unite the country just as it united

the three main political parties in its support.”1 The media joined the celebration,

too. London’s Daily Mail hailed the IOC’s decision as “a moment of sheer electricity” whereby “the sense of exhilaration across the country not just the capital

was palpable.”2 The Independent breathlessly described the scene at Trafalgar Square where “[s]trangers clasped each other and danced around while British, St

George and Olympic ags were waved in triumph. Tickertape rained down on the

crowd and balloons ew up in the air as the atmosphere took on a carnival avour.”3