It’s not just me......
“Let us remind ourselves of the claims made for the Games by the pro-Olympians. First, they said that it would showcase Britain to the world. London 2012 has indeed been generating headlines around the globe, headlines such as "No gold medal for security" in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and "London's show of farce" in the Vancouver Province as the rest of the planet has a chuckle at the inability of bungling old Brits to recruit enough security guards even when they've been given seven years' notice. The failure of G4S has been colossal, the company's performance as abysmal as its chief executive's attempts to explain himself before the home affairs select committee. Some questions are still to be answered also by the Home Office and Locog, the private company that contracted G4S and whose responsibility for £2bn of Olympic spend needs a rigorous audit......The next big claim of the pro-Olympians was the vulgarly monetary one that the Games would make a profit for Britain. This is a line that David Cameron and his understrappers have been pushing hard in recent days as they try to justify to an austerity-strapped nation the cost of an event in which £27m will be blown on the opening ceremony alone.
The prime minister says that Britain "will make £13bn" from the Games, a figure calculated by statisticians at the Department of Wild Guesses, the Ministry of Thin Air and the Office of Think of a Number and Double It. The truth is that the Games rarely pay any tangible dividend for the host nation. Construction firms may turn a profit. The panjandrums who run the International Olympic Committee are very happy because they make vast sums from the TV rights. But the host nation almost always ends up well out of pocket after cost over-runs, the security bill and working days lost to Games disruption.
The "legacy" is only for those who are in love with white elephants. The future of the stadium is still moot. The Olympic velodrome is a handsome building for which no one can see a purpose after the Games. There will be some new housing in a previously derelict part of east London, but constructing an Olympic Park was a very expensive way of going about that. New York had regeneration projects as part of its bid and has gone ahead with them anyway – at a fraction of the cost.
As was predictable – and indeed predicted by those of us who examined the effect on previous host cities – the Olympics are having a baleful impact on London. Fearing traffic gridlock and oppressive security, residents flee. Some tourists come to watch the Games, but more are scared away. The Mall, Horse Guards and St James's Park have been in lock-down for weeks.
Every time I step in the London underground, I am assailed by posters and the booming voice of Boris warning Londoners to stay out of town during the period of Olympic occupation. And Lord Coe alone knows what fate may befall anyone caught in the vicinity wearing a T-shirt that is not approved by the corporate sponsors and the authoritarian jobsworths enforcing their branding rights. The siting of surface-to-air missiles in parks and on the top of flats completes the alluring city-under-martial-law look. It is like stepping into a dystopian future in which Britain is run by a military junta headed by Ronald McDonald.
London's shops, restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas and concert halls are going to have a lean time of it during the siege. Hoteliers, who initially jacked up their room rates in greedy expectation of a Games windfall, are now frantically slashing prices to try to fill the many empty beds. The luxury hotels of Mayfair alone are happy because it is on their five-star beds that many of the VIPs and IOC bureaucrats will rest their pampered heads. Limousines swooshing along Soviet-style "Zil" lanes will whisk the Olympic nomenklatura across the city through traffic lights phased to green while working Londoners fume.
This was supposed to be "the People's Games". Why couldn't the Olympic bureaucrats stay at the Stratford Holiday Inn or take the rail line that they insisted was built? Ah, but that would mean rubbing shoulders with the poor saps who are paying for their privileges.
The most risible of the claims made by pro-Olympians is that the Games will inspire the host nation to become fitter. The heavy presence of McDonald's, Coke and Cadbury among the sponsors gives the lie to any notion that the Games are about promoting healthier lifestyles unless you suffer the delusion that a diet of cheeseburgers, liquid sugar and Mars bars will turn you into a rival to Usain Bolt. Studies of previous Games have found no evidence that they improve the host nation's health. Australians are no more sporty since Sydney 2000. The Los Angeles Olympics didn't make Americans thinner.” Andrew Rawnsley Observer 22/7/12
The Mail on Sunday had a feature on the mega yachts owned by the billionaires who are deigning to grace us with their tax avoiding presence, to take their seats at the 100 metres. It also mentioned the arrangements for the IOC.
Thanks to the Mail on Sunday for the gin palace images
“Mr Rogge had a five-strong police motorcycle escort as he was whisked up the M4 into central London in a chauffeur-driven BMW, using the exclusive Olympic Lane to avoid traffic jams. He was one of more than a dozen or so IOC grandees ferried to the five-star 453-room London Hilton on Park Lane, which has been block-booked by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
The hotel has been dubbed ‘Fortress Hilton’ because of the heavy security in place, and staff and guests can enter only after they have passed through airport-style scanners and been frisked by guards.” Mail on Sunday 22/7/12