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Britain in third place as London Olympics ends in grand style

Aug 14, 2012, 11:31 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye LLB (Honours), The Point’s UK correspondent

Finally, the 2012 London Olympics has ended with endless celebrations throughout the United Kingdom, including a musical farewell with the country’s most celebrated musicians.

They are rejoicing the unprecedented performance of the host nation not only in third position behind United States and China, but also hosting and securing everyone in a huge ambience.

Even London mayor Boris Johnson who was sitting beside Prime Minister David Cameron could not hide his emotions, and was caught on camera clapping and dancing during the closing ceremony.

The mayor later told journalists at a press conference that now it was time to ‘prepare plan and work blindingly hard in the manner of Britain’s successful Olympians’. This he added is important in order to secure a ‘positive lasting impact’ for the capital city.

The British team that was frustrated during the first days of the Games with no gold medal shocked the world by emerging from a sluggish start to a more stronger team, and moved from strength to strength thus gaining a comfortable position.

Even soccer legend Pele was invited at Wembley to watch Brazil’s Olympic final against Mexico, and was also expected to receive two awards, one including an honorary doctorate from Grainger’s alma mater at the University of Edinburgh.

Nonetheless, beside all the glory and success both on Team GB, as well as the positive security for all and sundry, this country’s critics including senior officials in both the government and opposition are calling for more to be done after the Games.

Therefore, topics that caught the eye of this correspondent include the comments of Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South & Finsbury Park, who insisted that the London Mayor’s post-Olympic priority should be ‘housing and not airport capacity’.

The outspoken London MP noted in the City A.M that ‘If we can prove that we can do big infrastructure projects, let’s look at affordable housing and work together to provide places to live in London. That would be a real legacy. Boris Island is a non-starter.’

As the Prime Minister was seen clapping and cheering, behind the scenes, his Conservative majority in 2015 elections may also suffer a ‘massive blow’, according to political experts. The reason behind this is the refusal or reluctance by his coalition partners in voting for a redrawing of the country’s electoral map.

In fact, the Liberal Democrats publicly announced they would ‘vote against a redrawing of Britain’s electoral map’ but if they had accepted calling to suggestions, it would give the Tories up to 20 more seats in Parliament at the next general election.

One legal commentator who spoke to The Point recently suspects that the Liberal’s intention is ‘in revenge for their coalition backbenchers recent blocking a House of Lords reform agenda.’ Such reform was a promise made by the Liberals.

The youth across the nation are not only celebrating, but showing patriotism for hosting a successful Olympics in grand style. However, a graduate who took the government to court is not rejoicing.

23-year-old Cait Reilly claimed that working in a Poundland shop on a so-called government ‘back-to-work scheme’ was ‘slave labour’. She said that her human rights were violated. However the High Court this time round ruled that the ‘government scheme was lawful and rejected the claim that the Government had infringed her rights by asking her to work for free at the discount store as work experience. If not she risked losing her job-seeking allowance- a sum of money offered to job-seeker until they can get work.

The graduate from Birmingham University also alleged that a scheme designed to encourage the long-term unemployed back to work had breached Article Four of the European Convention on Human Rights, which bans forced labour and slavery.

However, the court ruled that ‘characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to slavery or forced labour seems ... a long way from contemporary thinking’.

The Point wishes to congratulate the organisers for allowing this correspondent unhindered access and every participant including all the West African teams to witness such a successful event.