As the last petal of the Hetherwick Olympic flame is extinguished, we collectively switch on the neon "inspire a generation" hieroglyph. After a fortnight of joy, optimism and delight we are, for once, looking ahead and contemplating a new horizon. We thought we all lived in a mean, unpleasant land of imperfection, one where tabloid culture and trifling lifestyle ruled.
Maybe we were wrong, but how can we stop ourselves being convinced of this again?
The London Olympic spirit gripped an excited nation and will surely live long in the memory. Mo Farah's achievement was a high point. Bearing witness to the union jack fluttering in the hands of a Muslim refugee from Somalia projected a new positive image of Britain, one very different to the reality-celebrity freakshow we fear has come to define our national identity.
18 months after the end of the first Big Brother series, I was asked to comment on the roots of that freakshow: the new celebrity phenomenon and its potential commercial value.
Foolishly at the time I predicted its fast demise. Who would ever think that a group of idiots would become national heroes? 10 years later, a steady stream of imbecilic, unqualified numb heads have found more than their 15 minutes of renown becoming icons for other fools to emulate and hold in high regard.
What does the Olympic challenge mean for this model?
The success of the Olympics was to unite the nation, in a celebration of ability rather than personality. Sacrifice and success have been projected by a confident broadcaster who has also unearthed its true value to unite a nation. A younger generation recognise that there is a greater purpose in fame.
Has the London games advanced a new Corinthian spirit? Has Broken Britain the facility to accommodate a new representation of significance? Perhaps, but a good deal of adaptation is needed. The media must commit itself to a new model of fame, one not built on an easy and speedy cycle of glycaemic rush and bitter disenchantment.
Perhaps more pressingly, those sponsors whose Draconian regulations we mocked in the run-up to the games need to capitalise on their part in realising this dream. They proved they could promote their brands through an atmosphere of positivity- now they must do their part to maintain this positivity over the coming year.Suggest a correction