The Olympic Games is fine. The facilities at Stratford are as good as ever. The park, the flowers, the “Henman hill” are a delight. The opening was appropriately zany. Above all, television’s celebration of youthful energy – when spared the endless BBC chat – is a diversion from the woes of the world. Nor is it fair to chide the athletes for Locog’s incompetence, soldiers packing empty seats, public school bias or the weird plutocrats of the “Olympic family”, whom I saw yesterday tumbling out of our limousines into Harrods.

So is it worth £9bn? No, of course not. The Games was never worth that. But those who doubted that a passably competent nation with unlimited cash could deliver two weeks of sport were wrong. The Games seems enjoyable and remarkably scandal-free.

More worrying is the impact on political discourse. Apparently any gesture of national prestige, glory and self-congratulation, once declared by government to be “worth every penny”, is beyond rational debate. To quarrel with any feature of the games is to be a whingeing, unpatriotic naysayer. Normally hard-headed politicians (and journalists) have gone soft in the head – flat-earthers, creationists, climate-change deniers.

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