Leading article: A late parade

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There is nothing wrong with a good sporting parade (so long as it does not go on for too long; our 2005 Ashes-winning cricketers seemed to stay on top of their open-topped bus for the next three years). And no sportsmen and women are more deserving of public admiration than our Olympians, who performed so stunningly in Beijing this summer.

That said, it is hard not to wince at the timing of today's procession in London. The fact that it comes as we teeter on the brink of recession is not really an objection – Londoners might well welcome a diversion. No; the fact that jars is that the floats will trundle through the capital's streets a full two months after the Olympic team returned from China.

Why the delay? Why did we not hold the party when public memories of the British triumphs of Beijing were fresh in the public mind? Cardiff and Edinburgh held street celebrations for their local heroes as soon as they returned back in August. Why not London? Was this born of a desire by the city, as the next Olympic host, to milk the occasion? Was the red tape too binding?

None of this means London's Olympic parade is going to be rained on today. But it does risk being rather damper than it could have been.