The pride will shine

First published in Comment

THE Republican candidate for the US presidency, Mitt Romney, appears to be something of a wind-up merchant where Britain is concerned.

He has seen fit to question Britain’s readiness to stage the 2012 Olympics, and expressed doubt about whether the British people will truly embrace the Games.

No one can hide from the difficulties which have emerged in recent weeks, notably the G4S security shambles. It has been worrying and embarrassing.

It should not have happened but it has now been dealt with.

The debate over costs at a time of austerity has been intense, the Olympic lanes in the capital have been predictably controversial, and the North Korea flag mix-up in Glasgow was an unfortunate howler.

Frustrations even surfaced here in the North-East yesterday when problems over access to St James’ Park for Mexico’s game against South Korea led to long queues which are never seen when Newcastle United play.

But such is the scale of the Olympics, no host nation can expect its preparations to be trouble-free – especially in that tense period when the sporting action is awaited and there is space to be filled by negative headlines.

Tonight, Britain can move on from those teething problems with an opening ceremony which we are confident will be a spectacular showcase for our country.

We know there are those who hope Britain fails to deliver. Indeed, as a nation, we are pretty good at knocking ourselves.

But the scenes which greeted the Olympic torch parade, in every city, town and village, show beyond doubt that the people of Britain will embrace the Games with pride.

Just you watch, Mr Romney.

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