Bread and Circuses is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement. It was the basic Roman formula for the well-being of the population, and hence a political strategy unto itself. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of the populace (wikipedia).
I only mention this because yesterday the olympic torch happened to pass through Derby and according to our local rag the whole county was "gripped with olympic fever".
Gripped. Olympics. Fever. Can you see where I'm going with this?