When all else fails where do politicians and economists turn for inspiration? – The Olympics.
The tag line ‘Inspire a generation’ seems to have worked well for the host Team GB, but more importantly it is a message for our politicians. If the UK’s athletes can bring back the gold, why can’t we replicate the same for the economy?
In the past two weeks, guts, determination, commitment and hard work are some of the key elements that resonate with the success of eam GB, and now everyone from the Prime Minister to the Governor of the Bank of England, are not only revelling in the success of British athletes but seem to have found inspiration themselves in trying to find solutions for an economy in continuous decline.
In recent weeks, news of a shrinking economy, falling GDP rates, and slashed economic growth forecasts for the next two years has led even the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King to look to the Olympic triumphs to find some motivation.
“Unlike the Olympians who have thrilled us this week our economy has not yet reached full fitness but it is slowly healing,” he said two weeks back, after the release of poor economic growth forecasts for the next two years.
“It is to our Olympic team we must look for inspiration. They have shown what total commitment is before reaching our goals, which may lie a few years ahead,” he added.
Assessing the London 2012 Olympics in his end-of-Games speech, David Cameron said, “I only think you need two words to sum up these games, ‘Britain delivered.’ “We showed the world what we are made of, we reminded ourselves what we could do. And yes we have demonstrated you should never ever count team GB out,” he added.
When Chancellor George Osborne was quizzed on BBC news about the triple AAA rating , shrinking economy and plans for growth, he deflected his attention to the Olympics. He said, “Well we’ve had disappointing GDP data and of course we are in these very challenging economic conditions round the world, but actually in Britain unemployment has been coming down. Seeing businesses exporting more to new emerging economies, the China and India’s which we need to do as a country, and frankly I think the Olympic games has shown the world that Britain can do things well and get things right and deliver enormous projects on time and on budget and of course deliver some gold medals as well.”
And no one could feel more triumphant than the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson himself, as he delivered an amusing speech to thank Team GB and London 2012 volunteers. He reiterated that the Olympics showed the capital could “dazzle the world”.
Perhaps hinting at the recent economic situation and decline in growth forecasts, he added, “You have won more gold medals per capita than any country in the world.”
‘From boxing to cycling, you have brought home the great truth about this country that when we put our mind to something, there is absolutely nothing this country cannot achieve,” he added.
What have we learnt from this – Like the athletes who relentlessly train for four years to achieve the desired results, maybe it’s time politicians turned to making concrete long-term solutions, instead of short fixes of a period of a few months to a year, to revive growth for the economy.
Some may argue finding solutions or hope through Olympics is wishful thinking, but with no end in sight on where the economy is headed, it would be a hopeful start.