As the London parade celebrates the achievements of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, the idea of Team GB has a broader meaning too. This has been the summer that brought Britain together, from the Jubilee street parties and local crowds who greeted the torch across the nation, to the Games Maker volunteers, the supporters who snapped up every Olympic and Paralympic ticket, to 27 million of us watching the live BBC broadcast from Stratford as Danny Boyle retold the national story.
British Future’s latest publication TeamGB report: How 2012 Should Boost Britain shows that most people want the spirit of 2012 to last – and asks what we can do to bring about a positive change.
67% of people say they are surprised by how much 2012 has brought Britain together. Almost six out of ten of us believe that it can have a lasting effect on British society, so want the cynics who say it will all melt away to be wrong.
The public choose Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah as the Olympic athletes who have made us proudest to be British. British Future research shows how the family backgrounds of our athletes tell the story of how British society has changed – with more than one in three of the Team GB medals reflecting the positive contribution of immigration and integration to Britain since the 1948 Olympics. That helps to explain why 75% of us believe that Britain is a confident multi-ethnic society.
The report also presents evidence that this summer has changed how we think about the Union Jack. Team GB has now joined the Monarchy as its most powerful public association, helping to boost the popularity of the British flag in Wales and Scotland.
The public wants the Olympic legacy to make us a sportier and healthier nation, where we value volunteering more. Two-thirds of people want the media to focus more on positive as well as negative aspects of our society. Most want the BBC’s public service role to include broadening the national sporting agenda beyond the football monoculture. Most want as much profile for women’s sport all year around, so that we don’t just see positive female and Paralympic sporting role models once every four years.
But there won’t be a positive legacy if we all just wait and see whether it happens or not. British Future is promoting a #spiritof2012 twitter debate to encourage ideas about what could be done to build on the spirit of the Games.
British Future launched in January, asking “2012: what’s our story?”. The new publication returns to the themes of earlier polling, published in our January Hopes and Fears report, and the April report This Sceptred Isle.