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Fleet Street won't acknowledge ministers' role in London 2012's success (but papers would have hammered them if the Games had gone wrong)

By Tim Montgomerie
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Fortunately these aren't today's headlines.

The Olympics aren't just going well, they are going very well. This hasn't stopped the newspapers teasing David Cameron for his photo stunt in front of the telly or for not doing more for school sports.

Let's be clear, however: if the Olympics had gone badly the Government would be under fierce attack right now. At the start of the year Jeremy Hunt (rather bravely) said that the Olympics would be the supreme test of the Coalition's competence. So much could have gone wrong on so many fronts. But it hasn't. There haven't been disastrous queues at Heathrow or clogged roads. The opening ceremony - for which Jeremy Hunt authorised a larger budget - was a huge success. Britain has beaten its medal target and even the Guardian is acknowledging that this has a good deal to do with the Lottery investment began by Sir John Major.

The Government would certainly have been battered if the Games had gone wrong but it won't get much credit for its part in delivering one of the best Olympics ever (and we must hope the final three days are as good as the first two weeks). Let us, however, on these pages acknowledge that, despite all the doom and gloom from Fleet Street before the Games started, they have been a great success and ministers have passed the competence test.


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