An international summer
It has been a strange few months for London. Any Londoner will tell you that the weirdest thing to happen was cheerful conversations on the Tube – many wondered if old Boris had slipped us all some happiness-inducing pills in the water supply. Because when the Olympics came to town, London celebrated.
The opening ceremony confirmed that Britain is quirky to the point of confusion. The sport confirmed that humanity can sometimes be admirable. The closing ceremony was a bloody good party. We all had fun.
By some remarkable stroke of luck, my family and I got tickets to the last night of the athletics (the men’s 5000m, women’s 4x100mt relay, men’s 4x100m relay, the women’s high jump final and the men’s javelin final). The luck increases by a factor of ten if you consider the fact that we had to go through the shambolic wheelchair-seat system. But I’m not complaining – the seats were fantastic. We were right at the front, with a perfect view of the change-over for the last stretch of the men’s 4x100m relay. The atmosphere was indescribable, it was as if the air had become laced with electricity. I can not tell you what it feels like when 80,000 British fans (give or take a few from elsewhere) cheer on a man running 5000 too easy metres. The passion was infectious – Mo Farrah was not given a choice in whether he won or not.
What a heady two weeks it was. We all forgot the civil war in Syria, the flailing coalition in Westminster or the euro crisis. The only thing my political consciousness noticed was the fantastic picture of our Boris and the PM having a celebratory hug. But then it all ended and Britain – along with the rest of the world – had to return to the realities of the mundane or political strife.
But not for me – no! My summer of fun has continued. I am much looking forward to the Paralympics (which the BBC have forgotten about, having failed to bother to win the broadcasting rights). The Paras should be good – they’ve come home! They are the ‘most accessible games ever’ (no comment). Tickets are selling quickly. I remain sceptical, but I feel a glimmer of hope flickering inside me. I’ll be happy if they’re mentioned on the news.
That is not all. I have kept up the international feel of the summer by doing an International Relations course at the University of London Union through Debate Chamber. So far, I’ve absolutely loved it. I didn’t need any confirmation, but now I’m doubly sure that IR is the right degree course for me. From the theory to the application, the subject suits me to a tee – just look at the articles on this blog. The summer school has also been a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, which is in itself quite freeing. We have covered the basic theories of IR – realism, liberalism, constructivism and marxism – which we’ve then used to explain other facets of the subject, including international law and the questions around interventionism. All I need now is to do this every day, and I will be a happy little nerd.