As the Olympics draw to a close, a new poll released by the Guardian reveals that 55 percent of Britons feel that the Games were worth the massive investment. Most people felt that the giant extravaganza of events and competitions has boosted morale and cheered a country that has been struggling economically and socially.
The Guardian notes that respondents were specifically reminded of the cost of the games, which came at the price of about £9 billion, or just over $14 billion, a hefty sum in a country that has seen increasing pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron to push for greater austerity measures.
Only about 35 percent of the approximately 2,000 respondents felt that the cost was too high and that they were a distraction from the real economic and social issues of the U.K. Asia One News notes that the final extravagant price tag ended up being four times more than original estimates. Still, most people feel that the “feelgood factor” will linger for a little while to come even as the Bank of England is forecasting a zero percent growth in the wake of the eurozone crisis.
The most divided respondents from the United Kingdom were people from Scotland. They had a split vote with 42 percent supporting the cost of the Games and 42 percent saying it was too expensive. Youth were prevalent in the poll as well, with 60 percent of respondents under 35 throughout Britain supporting the Games.
Although the United Kingdom is hosting the Games and will most likely feel the buzz of energy and excitement on a greater scale, other countries have also experienced a morale boost from the Olympic Games. One Australian blogger posted a review of the Olympic Games and what they mean for his country:
Despite being a nation of people who are supposedly wealthier, healthier and more informed than ever, our Aussie “comfortable and relaxed” meter is at a very low ebb. Recent Essential Media Communications research has confirmed this, suggesting Australia is a pretty miserable place right now.
At the heart of our concerns is the community’s lack of faith in the integrity of just about every major institution in our society at the moment: our governments (and oppositions), our banks, the media, the church, and so on.
It’s at times like this we tend to look to our sporting teams and sportspeople to add meaning and richness to our lives, to provide something that represents us, something larger than us that can shine through self-serving spin and agendas and act as a beacon of virtue and integrity. Cue the greatest sporting spectacle on earth.
Another interesting angle of the recent Guardian survey and study is that many respondents seemed to back the idea of multicultural London and UK. While much of the political rhetoric has stated that the population wants to curb immigration, many respondents believe that the UK is stronger for its multicultural background. 68 percent of respondents stated that they believe Britain is stronger with a diverse population. Still, many respondents also said that they believe immigrants did not actually offer anything constructive for Britain as a whole, suggesting undercurrents in a country that continues to struggle with its identity and its imperial legacy.
Photo Credit: The National Archives UK