Cameron brands Aidan Burley 'idiotic' for Olympic tweet

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Sir Danny Boyle? Since the ceremony there have been widespread calls for the film director to be knighted.
Sir Danny Boyle? Since the ceremony there have been widespread calls for the film director to be knighted.

David Cameron hit out at the Tory MP who criticised the Olympic opening ceremony today, branding him "idiotic".

Asked about comments from Aidan Burley which described the event as "leftie multi-cultural crap", the prime minister said it was "completely wrong… an idiotic thing to say".

He later reminded people of his comment from several years ago that "too many tweets make a tw*t".

 "I did once say something about people who use Twitter, particularly politicians, and I think in this case I was absolutely spot on," he said.


Burley was criticised from across the political spectrum over the weekend after he tweeted: "The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?"

Danny Boyle's epic three-hour of celebration of Britain contained an extended celebration of the NHS and highlighted the UK's tradition of immigration and protest. It also saw Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, and Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty, carry the Olympic flag.

Boris Johnson was moved to argue the ceremony was not left-wing this morning.

"The Queen has made her first cinematic appearance – in the Bond movie segment – and deepened the admiration in which she is held in Britain and around the world," the London mayor wrote in the Telegraph.

"James Bond and the Monarchy – not to mention The Eton Boating Song… How can anyone call that lefty propaganda?"

Johnson joked: "Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood.

"I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists."

Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, seemed to agree from the opposite camp.

"Wonderfully progressive socialist sentiments and ideas were smuggled into the opening romp," he wrote.

He argued that Johnson and Cameron were only defending the ceremony because they had put their own reputations on the line with their earlier hype of the event.

"Boris is strangled by his pre-event hyperbole," he said.

"He was at it again today spewing wild meaningless superlatives hoping to obliterate the eloquent messages of Danny Boyle on NHS, CND, war futility."

In the US, where the debate over health care is incredibly divisive, the response was much more polarised.

Right wing bloggers and shock-jocks attacked the segment as promoting 'socialised medicine'.

"I can't believe ordinary sports fans have sat around and allowed the Olympics to be hijacked by the left," wrote Eric Scheie of blog Classical Values.

Dr. J of blog The Gormogons wrote: "[I] thought we were safe, from more socialist pap but then along came Frankie and June, a couple raising their family, along with the rest of their clan, in council housing."

More mainstream outlets offered a warmer reception to the show's political overtones.

"The naysayers in the divisive US debate over universal healthcare might want to spend a moment contemplating the heartfelt pride that obviously went into this segment," a review in the Hollywood Reporter said.

Boyle said the NHS segment was not intended to be political, but merely a celebration of universal health care.

"We had no agenda other than values that we feel are true," he said.
 

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