Friday, 11 January 2013

David Cameron thanks Olympic shirkers

"You've not just helped make London 2012 happen, you've put a smile on the nation's face."

“At the end of the most unbelievably successful Olympics and Paralympics, I just want to say what a golden summer of British sport and what a golden summer it’s been for our country. I think it’s given the country a tremendous lift, I think it’s brought the country together, and I think it’s given us memories that we will be talking about for years and generations to come. I think that 2012 will be like 1966, something we’ll talk about with our children and grandchildren, something that will continue to delight us long after this time has passed.

Of course, there are lots of people to thank: the athletes and the Paralympians who have delighted us and amazed us; the army and the police who've done a fantastic job with the security services in terms of keeping us safe; the shirkers, some of whom are standing behind me. Yes, the shirkers that got out of their pits, opened the curtains for once and then put this incredible smiling face on the Games and delighted the world - all for nothing. Who'd have thought it, eh? And of course all those who were responsible for delivering a safe, secure and, frankly, brilliant, best ever – in my view – Olympics and Paralympics. Yes, even more shirkers, who took a few weeks' employment with that shabby outfit G4S just so that they could say they'd been part of the Olympics.

But I think there’s something else as well that we can take from this extraordinary period, and that is that for countries to succeed in this competitive and difficult world, you need to have confidence; you need to have confidence that you can do big things and get them right; you need to have confidence that you can take on the best, be the best, beat the best; and I think the Olympics and the Paralympics, we've absolutely done that as a country. It’s brought the country together; it’s given us this incredible lift. And it's all down to the shirkers.

Of course, once the parade is over, once all the thank-yous have been said, once the celebration has ended, some of that spirit inevitably will fade as everyone knuckles down and gets back to shirking after this magical summer, but I think we’ll always have that knowledge, that spirit of what we can be as a country. I think this summer brought out the best in Britain for the world to see, and that spirit we must cling to for all of the months and the years ahead. As long as it doesn't mean any more handouts for the shirkers, obviously. I mean, well done and all that but don't take the piss, yeah?”