UK Politics

Viewpoints: What politicians are saying about the Olympics

The whole country has been glued to the action at the Olympics and the nation's politicians have been no different.

The BBC's Esther Webber rounds up who has been saying what about the unfolding drama and their differing perspectives on the Opening Ceremony, the heroics of British cyclists and the significance of flags - both those that were not there and those that were taken down.

Opening salvo

Image caption Two VIPs who did not encounter travel problems

On an evening when another Conservative backbencher's opinions on the Olympics opening ceremony got him into trouble, John Redwood found much to admire about the occasion.

The Conservative MP for Wokingham, a former secretary of state and prolific blogger, had expressed concern in previous blog entries about how roads and trains would function during the Games.

But after Friday's event, he noted, "The way the Queen and Mr Bond appeared to drop in avoided surface transport."

The absence of a certain emblem could not escape his attention either: "Eurosceptics will I am sure appreciate that our various European visitors respected this Eurosceptic isle by leaving their EU flags at home."

The wrong flag?

Lord Faulkner of Worcester is a Labour peer and on the Lord of the Blogs website he had a different observation to make about flags.

He drew attention to the withdrawal of the Taiwanese flag from a display in London's Regent Street, where it was hung alongside the flags of the other 204 competing nations.

Taiwanese athletes are competing in the Olympics as representatives of Chinese Taipei.

This convention was adopted in the early 1980s in order to reach a compromise with China, which regards Taiwan as a rebel province rather than an independent state.

The Foreign Office and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games both confirmed they had spoken to the display's organisers, the Regent Street Association (RSA), but said the decision to remove the flag was made by the RSA.

Lord Faulkner claimed it reflected badly on all parties involved.

"Hardly anyone comes out of the Regent Street flag debacle with credit. Certainly not the Chinese embassy, whose hostility to Taiwan's identity is implacable, nor the Foreign Office, which should not have intervened, nor the Regent Street Association which should not have given in."

Yorkshire parade

Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, wrote on his website about his constituency's new claim to fame.

Lizzie Armitstead became the first British athlete to win a medal in the 2012 Olympics when she took silver in the women's road race.

Mr Mulholland was not content with watching the medal ceremony on TV, and wanted a homecoming parade for Lizzie Armitstead when she returns to Yorkshire.

"It would be great if Lizzie could be greeted in Leeds and representatives from Otley Cycle Club and those from her former school, Prince Henry's, could join a triumphant cycle cavalcade, led by an open-topped bus, back to her home town of Otley.

The event, he added, would draw thousands "to greet our true Yorkshire hero".

300 years

Pete Wishart's Perth and North Perthshire seat, which he holds for the SNP, is some 400 miles from the Olympic stadiums in London.

That didn't stop him from writing about what the opening ceremony meant to him.

Mr Wishart criticised those who interpreted the ceremony as a boost for unionism. Instead, he thought the event represented "social union in action".

"Danny Boyle produced an attractive culmination of the 300 years that we have shared and built together on these islands, and none of this disappears with Scottish independence. In fact it will instead be enhanced and re-energized."

Next to Bradley

Image caption Who confessed to not recognising Bradley Wiggins?

The Green party's former mayoral candidate and London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has revealed she had brushed shoulders with gold medallist Bradley Wiggins in the past.

"Was at boozy lunch & told how a few yrs ago was sat next to #BradleyWiggins but didn't know who he was," she tweeted. "Have watched his #cycling ever since."

After protesters from the Critical Mass group were arrested when they strayed beyond the agreed route to the periphery of the Olympic Park shortly before the opening ceremony, Ms Jones commented: "Cracking down on #cyclists is a waste of everyone's time/energy/goodwill."

She also expressed her sadness at the death of a cyclist killed by a bus outside the Olympic Park.

She tweeted it was "another tragic unnecessary #cyclist death" and blamed "unforgiveably bad #cycling provision".

Gold for London

The UK Independence Party tried to get into the Olympic spirit by reporting that a Londoner had won their own lottery for the first time.

One winner is awarded a gold sovereign coin each month in the party's sovereign draw.

"It's a little surprising that it's taken this long for a London winner of the gold sovereign to emerge," said a UKIP spokesman on the party website, "but it couldn't be more appropriate with the capital in full celebration mode for the Olympics."

More on this story