The political week on Twitter: Olympics week one special

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The political week on Twitter: July 30th - August 2nd
The political week on Twitter: July 30th - August 2nd

Usually at this time of year the world of politics is taken up with silly season. You might have thought the Olympic Games would change all that. But all it has really done is make London 2012 slightly more bizarre than we'd expected. And the political Twitterati has been making the most of it.

The only MP who has dared to make any kind of really partisan remark about last Friday's opening ceremony was Tory MP Aidan Burley, who tweeted:

@AidanBurleyMP -
The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?

@AidanBurleyMP -
Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!


This was broadly judged by the rest of Twitter to be a colossal mistake. Here's a reflection of the reception he received:

@thhamilton
Aidan Burley there, wondering why this pageant has no Nazi uniforms in it.

Larry the Cat,
@Number10Cat -
If Tory MP Aidan Burley thinks the opening ceremony was too 'ethnic' I think he should probably give the 100 metres final a miss...

@NickMotown
Aidan Burley is going to have an aneurysm when he sees the 45 minute dubstep tribute to Diane Abbott in the closing ceremony.

And, perhaps best of all:

@simonblackwell
An anagram of Aidan Burley MP is ‘dumb Aryan pile’.

The man himself was rather chagrined:

@AidanBurleyMP
Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself

At least he had the pluck not to delete the offending tweets, demonstrating that he stuck by his views.

Deprived of the usual political to-and-fro to write about, the press seized on the only aspect of the Games worth criticising: the awkward marriage of empty seats and corporate privilege. @NickSymmonds, one of the athletes in the Games, summed up the problem:

Olympic athletes are not given tickets from the IOC. Parents, spouses, coaches, forced to watch on TV. #WeDemandChange

This prompted some cynicism of its own:

@iamamro
I think it’s really great that Princes William and Harry have managed to get so many tickets to Olympic events via the website.

@IAmAustinHealey
Loads of olympic football tickets for sale I wonder why...#pointless

But most were in practical mode, doing their best to beat the unbeatable ticket-selling London 2012 website. A few were successful - but even they weren't best pleased.

@BBCPeterHunt
2.5 million people a day trying to buy Olympic tickets via website. LOCOG official, "it is about persistence". #london2012 #olympics

@rivooh
I've got good news and bad news. The good news is we've got tickets to an Olympic event. The bad news is it's not women's beach volleyball

There might be one or two problems, but this has not been a disastrous Olympic Games so far. It should be great news for the prime minister, then. But David Cameron was not having a Games to remember.

@bryony_gordon
Is this the curse of Cameron? Every event he has showed up to, our medal hopes have derailed.

@jameskirkup
Not even bronze? I blame the pesky PM, putting the mockers on our brave diving chappies. #curseofcameron

@johnestevens
David Cameron is at the diving.... HELP! Has no one warned Tom Daley about the Curse of Cameron?

@qwghlm
Can we not just put Cameron in a steel drum at the bottom of the North Sea? And not just for the Olympics #curseofcameron

Eventually, the 'curse' was broken once and for all.

@kate_day
Or, "Phew!" #curseofcameron MT @Number10gov: PM: "huge privilege to witness @TeamGB win with a World Record. A truly great day for the UK."

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was behaving in the sort of ways which would make ordinary politicians want to curl up in a ball and hide away forever. Somehow, getting stuck on a zipwire didn't seem to hurt him in the slightest.

@Rebecca_Parsley
Just another reason why we love him... Boris Johnson stuck on a zipwire in Victoria Park:

@azannaphx
Love that London Mayor! He answered ?s frm the press, dangling frm zipwire in good spirits. @MittRomney runs frm the press while aides curse

Still, Twitter is a partisan place - and lots of those less impressed with Boris' abilities saw the funny side of his plight.

@unitedrant
If you were an assassin wanting to take Boris Johnson out now would be a good time. Hypothetically of course

@TheJoeSco
Boris Johnson just said "Olympomania" and "Zoink" in the space of about 5 seconds. This man is the mayor of our capital city. What a wally.

@LoonyPartyNews
We categorically deny any scurrilous rumours that 'Barmy' Boris Johnson will be joining the Loony Party, he's far too Loony even for us!!!

@spacegrunge
Currently Boris Johnson is stuck on a zip wire...Welcome to London, world, this is our mayor…

The Games continues, then, with ministers doing their best to make the most of Olympic diplomacy opportunities. There had been some early problems with this...

@timblazey
“Quick lads, is this the right flag?” #olympicdiplomacy

... but Cameron actually managed to notch up a decent success when he persuaded Vladimir Putin to back down on a band called Pussy Riot.

@WillBlackWriter
Cameron took Putin to the Olympics & Boris Johnson went with Rupert Murdoch. Tomorrow Michael Gove will take Hannibal Lecter

@JoeChurcher
Cameron mentioned Pussy Riot at end of talks with Putin - it was only phrase he uttered loudly enough for media in next room to overhear.

Inevitably, not all were treating the meeting of minds in a spirit of reverent respect. Let the Games continue...

@ThePoke
Putin maintains that kicking Cameron in the balls was a traditional Russian greeting.

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