A celebration of free healthcare, the trade union struggle, the battle for women’s rights and a fleeting lesbian kiss: the Olympics opening ceremony Friday did not shy away from weighty social issues.
Unsurprisingly, the show devised by Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle drew accusations from the British political right that it had strayed into “leftie” issues.
Aidan Burley, a lawmaker from Prime Minister David Cameron’s ruling Conservative party, tweeted: “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen — more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?”
He followed that with: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap.”
Several people tweeted their support for his comments.
Alastair Campbell, former British Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s communications chief, retorted on Twitter: “Brilliant that we got a socialist to do the opening ceremony.”
Cameron’s Downing Street office distanced itself from Burley’s comments, tweeting a message from the premier reading: “The opening ceremony has been a great showcase for this country. It’s more proof Britain can deliver.”
Burley was removed from his job as aide to the transport minister last month after attending a Nazi-themed stag party in a French ski resort.
Ahead of the show, Boyle — whose film “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight Oscars in 2009 — denied he was pushing a political agenda.
“The sensibility of the show is very personal,” he said.
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