Tim Walker: The whingeing champions...

One problem with the Olympics is that it's hard for the true believers to express their enthusiasm without being accosted by the "brand police"
Click to follow
The Independent Online

It is now international news: Londoners are whingeing about the Olympics. "Londoners are practising some of their own favourite sports," reported The New York Times yesterday, "complaining, expecting the worst and cursing the authorities."

Boris Johnson complained about the complainers in The Sun: "You whingers, put a sock in it." And yes, it's fair to say the city's inhabitants are less than enthusiastic about the transport disruption, the surface-to-air missiles and the weather (always the weather). This is partly Hyacinth Bucket syndrome: we're mortified by what the neighbours might say about the Tube delays, the G4S fiasco and the beach volleyball teams being forced to wear leggings. But the same grumbles greeted the run-up to the Diamond Jubilee earlier this "summer". In that instance the whingers were counterbalanced by the true believers. Despite the rain, people pulled on Jubilee-themed T-shirts and put up Jubilee-themed bunting, thus drowning out the republican shrieks of the sceptics.

The problem with the Olympics – one of them – is that it's hard for the true believers to express their enthusiasm publicly, be they sports fans or local bakeries. This is because they live in fear of being accosted by the official sponsors' "brand police" and fined up to £20,000 for serving (or eating) so much as a five-ringed cupcake.

At least it looks like Beckham will now be participating. The Spice Girls are said to be "95 per cent" likely to perform at the closing ceremony.