Tuesday, 16 February 2010


It’s been interesting reading about the events in Vancouver. The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritahvili was a dreadful tragedy, but much else has gone wrong too. The warmest winter on record has meant that snow has had to be imported from higher ground and some events have had to be cancelled for lack of snow; there have been anti capitalist protests and protests from Vancouver citizens angry about how much money has been spent and how freedom has been restricted by the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit; the transport system has been found wanting; the home team has embarrassingly vowed to “own” the medals podium; the opening ceremony was marred by malfunctioning props. The overspend of 200% is frightening; it is expected to be decades before the city pays off its deficit. Finally there’s the worry of the vast number of cameras, security fencing and airport security which has disrupted the life of ordinary Canadians.

What does this presage for Londoners?

The first thing across my mind when it was announced that London was to host the 2010 Games was the question of security. In a post 9/11 world any large event has to be a potential target for terrorists. But if your country has been has been a leading protagonist in the Bush war against terrorism, then surely you have the security nightmare of the century on your hands.

So Londoners have a right to tight security. But there are worries that measures like spy drones, extreme stop and search and co-ordinated CCTV, introduced for the Games, may continue afterwards. Police have already been given powers by the Government to enter private houses and businesses to seize political posters during the Games. The idea of the legislation was to preserve the rights of the official advertisers of the Olympic Games (big business), but there are fears it may be used for other purposes.

Lord Sir Sebastian Coe has taken a party of 50 of his team to Vancouver to observe their games. (Why? There isn’t a single common event, and in any case would 5 not have been enough?) Perhaps he will have the opportunity to discuss these matters with the Canadian authorities and iron them out in the months to come.

The London Olympics overspend is gigantic. Tessa Jowell has promised us that the current figure of around £9.5 billion is the final amount. Some are less certain and there are rumours that any further overrun will be kept secret to spare government blushes.

The Olympics is out of hand. The need to “top” the opening and closing ceremonies of previous hosts will have to stop one day. The staging costs have become prohibitive. Cities, can be left bankrupted by the events; the legacy is frequently massive and useless stadia and massive debt.

The Games are too big, too costly, and too dangerous. It’s high time that the IOC rethought the whole concept.


  1. I notice that the BBC sent twice as many beeboids as the UK sent athletes. Hopefully we'll get a medal and make it worthwile for them. Must have been costly.
    Does anyone watch the thing ? A tiny part of the world ( rich and white) doing pointless things on snow ( if there is any). Going round in circles on skates. Going down an icy thing on a tea tray. Snowboarding ? What's that all about ? Thought it was for the bairns.

  2. I imagine all the executives of the BBC went First Class + and are staying in the very very best accommodation that Vancouver can offer. Mr Coe took 50 people to see this.... WTF as they say. Surely fewer could have done the job. I don't suppose they are putting up in B & Bs, and I bet they didn't travel cattle class. Still we are a very rich nation with no more boom and bust so doubtless we can afford this carry on. I just wish that the Scots, who are getting nothing out of this extravaganza, didn't have to help pay for it.

  3. I've just finished watching the women's snowboarding. Was exciting but not so much that I won't sleep. The ice-skating on now is erm robot like. It's not ice skating, it's ice athletics.

    They should be stopped right enough Tris. The costs are prohibitive and I know many Canadians are baulking at the waste of money.

    As for Seb taking 50 of his hencemen, doesn't surprise me in the least. They're all at the trough.

  4. Might take it back what I said about the snowboarding. The women are hot hot hot !!!
    ( we came a 'credible' 8th according to wee scottish beeboid with a strange jumper on )

  5. I wonder what Lord Sir Coe stands to gain? Seems to me he already has a full set of gongs from the British Empire.

    I don't suppose we need roads that you can drive on rather than ones that look like a first world war battlefields more than we need 50 advisors to go to Canada to find out what a mess they have made of it. I'm sure London will trump their dogs dinner and we will all end up living in a state more like China, where if anyone got in the way they just got shot.

  6. SR: They need to stop being a business opportunity. The protestors are right (I mean not to break windows and stuff, but in essence), the Games are all about attracting business and that's just not in the spirit of the Games at all.

    Like everything else it's being ruined by greed.

    If they can't be only about sport they should just stop them. Fewer and fewer countries will want them the bigger the costs become, and soon it will only be China or Monaco that can afford them.

  7. Anon: I'm glad YOU'RE getting OUR money's worth.


    Yer just a midden!

  8. Munguin: He's fair risen up the ranks hasn't he. I'm thinking: there's a man who knows where a few bodies are buried (figuratively of course).

    They may make him a Prince next. 'Tis the only way to go.

    I hope that the Commonwealth Games, which WE are going to host in 2014 will be more like proper games, but I have my doubts.

  9. Munguin:

    I thought you might be interested in this, taken from Wikipedia:

    Mr Sebastian Coe (1956–1982)
    Mr Sebastian Coe MBE (1982–1990)
    Mr Sebastian Coe OBE (1990–1992)
    Mr Sebastian Coe OBE MP (1992–1997)
    Mr Sebastian Coe OBE (1997–2000)
    The Rt. Hon. The Lord Coe OBE (2000–2006)
    The Rt. Hon. The Lord Coe KBE (2006–)

    So, in addition to being a Lord and a Knight he is also an OBE and an MBE and a Privy Cousellor.

    Furthermore I noted that his 4 children all have the title Hon......


    I can only see him being King next, or maybe Emperor.

  10. tris

    Ha ha yes getting my £147 a years worth of licence fee tally ho and strapping lassies hurling down an icy slope with their rosy cheeks glowing. Not sure what the point of it is though.
    Your list of Coes 'achievemants' are impressive.
    You missed out his famous gold medallist Vanessa Landers triumph.
    Got her pregnant and helped her to abort while his wife was pregnant with their 3rd child. Then tried to gag the press in case it would make him look bad.
    And of course all his 'business dealings' . Probably safer not to go there. Leave it to the Private Eye magazine.
    A truly seedy creep so well worth the establishment accolades.

  11. tris, ye know me. Ah couldnae care less aboot thae Snaw Dancin' Olympics. Now, ah enjoy thae athletics, an' thae muscley gymnasts, an' ah might even watch them oan the tellyvision, if ah'm still gaun' in 2012.

    But whit gets ma goat is aw the money they're spendin'. No in London toon mind, but right here in Embra. The only reason we're spendin' half a billion pound sterlin' oan thae trams is cos that wee bauchle Mr Barnett said that ony money spent in London has tae be matched in Scotland.

    An' so we get trams. An' ma wee street's gaunnae get aw dug up again. An' ah'll no be able tae find ma bus stoap, or get across the street for ma messages, an aw' thae burly men in yellae jaickets'll be whistlin' at me, an' ah'll likely go an' faw doon wan o' their holes.

    Ah'm gettin' aw choked up at the thought.

    Olympics? Dinnae get me startit!

  12. I gave up on the Olympics when it was hijacked by the corporations. No interest - none what-so-ever.

  13. Sophia. You'll need to get yourself a nice young man to take you across the road.... Don't you upset yourslef. I'm sure Munguin will get your shopping for you....

  14. That's what I say Scunnert. It's not about sport any more. It's about big business, and spectacle. It seems likely that London and Britain in general will be paying for this for decades to come. Of course there's a lot of work being created in London at the moment, but no one in Scotland is benefitting from it... and the legacy will be slightly advantageous to London, and absolutely zero to the rest of us.