Opinion: keeping up the Mo-mentum

Many of us watched with pride as Mo Farah won his two Gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics, encapsulating the spirit that swept most of the country over two golden weeks, re-invigorating our nation, and this week saw the beautiful Paralympics opening ceremony. Mo and the Paralympians show what a civilised and diverse country we are. London 2012 has shown that this nation is great because it is open, modern, quirky, successful and brilliant, a country ready to embrace the challenges of a changed world head on.

Recently, Conservative minister Damian Green said he wants Tories to pass the ‘Danny Boyle’ test. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Green said,

“if Tories don’t like modern Britain, then it is very unlikely that modern Britain will like us”.”

As a party, I believe we are in a better position to pass the “Danny Boyle” test than our opponents, as our values and principles are far more in tune with this vision of the United Kingdom, and this offers a golden opportunity to espouse our liberal values by outlining the means for harnessing the Mo-mentum that will push this country forward.

Developing themes from our Olympic success should be at the core of our manifesto for the 2015 general election. The legacy is not just about sport, or ensuring that we win 20 or more Olympic golds in Brazil in 2016, but can have much greater reach than that. Used wisely, it can drive our vision and policy in many areas – economy, health and the environment, for example.

Here are my thoughts for 2015;

  • stimulating our fragile and transforming economy with large infrastructure projects;
  • supporting scientific based industries – particularly the rapidly expanding space industry to harness our brilliance as a nation.
  • encouraging a change in our transport habits so that cycling is part of a healthy lifestyle
  • ensuring that sporting facilities are available to all as a means of keeping fit, combined with nutrition education to reverse the trend in obesity
  • building sustainable, green buildings where every piece of their construction has a pathway for sustainability and uses the greenest means of energy

Finally, I was honoured to be one of the Games maker volunteers, whose untiring efforts have contributed so much to the success of the Olympics and continue to do so for the Paralympics. However, we need to be realistic about volunteers – what they give, achieve and, gain from volunteering, as opposed to simply exploiting them for monetary gain. Volunteers should be there to enhance our experience of our society, which means that the attitude towards them should change. We need to have volunteering champions in our communities, making it easier to volunteer, making it accessible through volunteer social networks and making it rewarding by venerating and praising them as the London 2012 Olympics did.

* William Jones is the lead campaigner in Sale (Priory Ward) of the Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, Chair of Trafford Lib Democrat Forum and Chair of Wythenshawe and Sale East Liberal Democrat Constituency Party

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