Monday, 16 July 2012

OLYMPIC CHAOS ON DAY ONE

The Olympics got off to a ...erm ... start today as the woeful incompetence of the organisers showed that what they said they could do in theory was a little less spectacular when it was put into practice.
First a bus carrying Australian and American athletes from Heathrow took four hours to get to London, because the driver got lost, and could use his sat nav. The they discovered that noone had added the Olympic village to the sat nav. Kerron Clement (US Gold Medal Hurdler), not surprisingly, tweeted: 'Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4 hrs. Not a good first impression London.'


Then they started charging people today to use the M4 and chaos ensued as drivers weren't sure whether the new VIP lanes were or were not in operation. Playing it safe (as the fines for straying into a lane above your station is £130 a time) cars tried to filter into the other lanes, and at one point the traffic jams were over 30 miles long.


At other places in London there was chaos because drivers were avoiding roads which were not restricted until next week, as apparently the signposting was not clear.
Then there was anger from an Australian married couple, Lauryn and Russell Mark, who have been told that they may not share a room in the Olympic village while they are competing as male and female accommodation is separate. This means that same sex couples may share facilities but heterosexuals cannot...unless they wish to book an hotel room (at god knows what profiteering price). They say that they have shared accommodation all over the world, but it appears that matron checks to make sure that there isn't any naughtiness in London. In a further blow to Australia, the Heathrow staff managed to lose the sailing team's sails... less than handy!
Bad news too for fans of Beach volleyball (why is that an Olympic sport). Girls who normally play the game in bikinis have been given special permission to wear shorts and t shirts because of the cold miserable weather. I'm guessing that many middle aged men with tickets for that event won't now bother turning up.


And of course, it wouldn't be an Olympic story without good old G4S making an appearance. Police and royal marines have been called in to take over from the company as large numbers of their new staff failed to show for work today. Probably doubtful of ever getting paid; possibly not informed of their start dates; who knows the reasons for the mess, but nine police forces have had to supply security for venues and marines are taking over at the centres in Weymouth and Portsmouth because fewer than 40% of Group Four staff turned up for duty.


In Manchester only 17 of the required 56 security guards turned up to guard the athletes' hotel.


And to cap it all, whilst heads may well roll at G4S, it's the kind of punishment for incompetence that I'd favour should I ever manage ever to be so cack-handed... It has been suggested that the chief executive, Nick Buckles, may leave with a golden goodbye of around £21 million. Not bad for making a fool of London, disrupting the armed forces and losing around £50 million for his company on the contract.
Some preliminary football matches from groups D and G are to be played in Glasgow, but demand for tickets has been so low that tens of thousands have had to be given away to children so that the stadium doesn't look empty.


I would hope that the ministers responsible for this mess lose their jobs in the re-shuffle, but frankly I doubt they will. 

21 comments:

  1. Geez, the man who failed spectacularly at everything he did, but was useful for Blair as the man who could talk through John Humphries and absolutely refuse to shut up.

    No one didn't answer a question better than him.

    Then he left ministerial office and went to be chairman of Celtic whilst being an MP... Clearly he didn't have enough to do representing his constituents.

    And like all the cronies and the war mongering scum, he was elevated to the aristocracy. This time for services to John Reid and being a useless tosser.

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  2. Tris: Just a couple of thoughts.

    Here in the states we have a guy who is famous for his organization of the Salt Lake City Winter games in 2002. You really missed an opportunity in not engaging him to organize the London games. He’s running for president right now, so he's a little busy, but it would really have been a blessing to have him out of the country for a while. His campaign speeches are boring beyond belief.

    But if you didn’t want Mitt, surely you could have outsourced planning and security to the Germans. It was foolish for the English to even try. And chaos will really hit when people realize that the English are also in charge of the food at the concessions.

    Finally, you asked and answered the same question. Why is there Beach Volleyball at the Olympics? Well...why is there Beach Volleyball anywhere you may just as reasonably ask? It’s to see girls jumping around in bikinis of course, as you observed! And the English (and English climate) strike again. The girls will be wearing SHIRTS AND SHORTS??? GEEEZE!!!! At least the shirts on the girls resolves the traffic problem to the Beach Volleyball venue. I’m guessing that no one at all will show up but the teams and the officials....maybe.

    At least I hope the children show up for the free seats at the football games in Glasgow. But that’s not really “football” you know. It’s soccer. (Everyone on earth is confused about this but the Americans.) “Real” football is an exclusively American game that for some reason known only to God and the International Olympic Committee is not an official Olympic sport at all. But SOCCER is! For that matter BEACH VOLLEYBALL is! As I said before....GEEEZE!!!

    Good luck with the Games of the XXX Olympiad. ;-)

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  3. What a cock-a-mamy world we live in, where U-turns are good and fiascos are normal.

    Well that’s just as well then because our English government that’s running the UK bits makes at least one U-turn a week (Mrs Thatcher will be spinning in her grave......oh sorry she’s not dead yet, let’s hope that she does not buy the farm during the glittering olympic spectacle or her state funeral cortege will not know what lane to go in) and fiascos seems to be their watchword. So that’s all right then!

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  4. The hell of it is, its not even started yet.

    In terms of dubious olympic 'sports', what about the gymnastic thing with the ball or streamer?

    And you can't say its for the eye candy because they're usually all about 12 so you'll get the register if you get overly het up.

    I really don't know why people watch things like athletics, its even more boring than nature programs.

    Beyond that, I think if you're looking to escape the olympics, no ocean is deep enough, no cave so dark and no sand pit with adequate quantities of sand will block it all out.

    You can't even compensate for all the healthy wholesome sporting activity by adopting a crap diet for the duration, gorging yourself on cans of coke and big macs... Oh hold on...

    Absolutely every product imaginable is associating itself with the Olympics, Persil are keeping the athletes tracksuits clean, Subway are feeding them (because they're healthy all of a sudden, my arse they are, I've smelled a Subway and that isn't healthy.) Samsung are doing the official tellies and if you're caught taking a digital photo with anything other than a Panasonic digital camera, someone from G4S (assuming they turned up for work) will shoot you in the face with something bit more fatal than a camera. And Andrex are wiping the arses of olympic athletes (because only andrex can handle an olympic turd...)

    Gah... There is no escape...

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  5. Ah Danny.... Yes indeed, they messed up badly by not getting old Mitt across to organise it for them, but I hear he's kinda tied up a bit with sorting out a way to hide his tax returns, so maybe that wouldn't have been such a hot idea. It wouldn't be much use to the English if their organiser ended up in jail half way through. Of course there is nothing to say that the organisers here haven't done their share of tax evasion, but at least in the UK you never actually go to prison for that kind of thing, more likely the House of Lards!

    The food will actually be handled by American companies. It is illegal to eat any other kind of chip but McDonald's (no I'm not joking) anywhere within the confines of "Olympia"...and that means staff, spectators and athletes/trainers, etc.

    Then there is Coca Cola. They are the sponsoring drinks company. Chocolate provided by Cadbury, a division of Kraft. So fortunately for everyone, nothing English there at all.

    The French will be most relieved!

    Being a posh boy and well acquainted with an American earl, I have always wondered about this silly obsession with soccer, when real football games are clearly either American football or rugby football. If soccer wasn't such a "respectable" sport I would have suggested that there must be a bribe somewhere in it.!!!!!!!

    I can see of course that the sole reason for the beach volleyball games are that young women can disport themselves in skimpy costumes for the delectation of middle aged men. But really, that's OK in the glaring heat of Athens, or Atlanta. Even in the winter heat of Rio... but at the very best of times most people on a British beach are attired in sou'westers and a force 10 gale is coming in off the sea. They probably should have dropped the game for London.

    There are several weeks to go, so if Mitt stays out of jail perhaps he will pop across, do some fund raising from arms suppliers who love a republican in the White House, and sort out the chaos in London ...

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  6. LOL Munguin. I'm imagining some G4S security guard... if there are any by the time... stopping the cortège and slapping a £130 fine on them for not being important enough!

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  7. Hey Pa... yeah, a week or so to go and it's already all over the place.

    I see today that Surrey police have had to stump up when only 30 of the 300 people that were supposed to start for G4S actually turned up.

    I think one of the problems was that there is no accommodation for them, and out of the £8.50 an hour they are to be paid, they will have to find enough money for McDonalds and Coke AND a place to stay.

    Probably no one bothered to mention that to them.

    Still, the blokey in charge is "sorry" and Mr Hunt says that "it's just one of these things", so that's alright then. I suspect that Mr Hunt may harbour an ambition to be a director of a security company somewhere in the future.

    Oh well...

    Yeah. I noticed that even here in Scotland, you can't get away from trashy mementos of the Olympics, and you have to be careful what you are buying... Apart from Cadbury, fortunately, none of the sponsors are products that I ever buy.

    Did you know that as of yesterday there are sponsor police all over the UK checking to make sure that no one is profiting from the Olympic brand, except the sponsors.

    According to the Olympic website's advice to businesses, you're not allowed to do is: use any two of the words: Games, 2012, Twenty Twelve, Two Thousand and Twelve together,

    or use the words :

    London, medals, sponsors, summer, gold, silver or bronze WITH one of the
    words in the first list.

    But ordinary individuals, and staff are not allowed to display or consume any product that is not sponsoring the games. So you can't walk in with a Toblerone to munch and a can of pepsi to drink while you watch the sport.

    If you add that to the idea of the torch (which was borrow from Hitler's head of Propaganda, Goebbels) and the VIP lanes on London roads (unauthorised use of which will be fined at £130 a turn), there is a dangerous feeling of 1936 about the whole thing.

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  8. Ah Wolfie, nice to see you back here.... and yes, quite...more or less exactly what I thought...

    :)

    Bang Bang

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  9. Probably safe to say that these olympics are some-what commercialised then? ;-)

    I wonder how they compare to say, the Greek Olympics, were they as heavily sponsored and controlled?

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  10. Tris,

    Glad to hear that the food will actually be American, and therefore top notch. But clearly there is no way to salvage the Beach Volleyball.

    The big Olympic scandal here is that the American team's Ralph Lauren designed uniforms have been made in China. Politicians (in this election year) are outraged, except for Mitt Romney who has been silent on the issue. Turns out that lots of Salt Lake City Olympic stuff in 2002 was also made in China.

    Speaking of Mitt, since he'll be in London for a fundraiser on the eve of the Olympics, I'll ask him to pop into Olympic headquarters and sort things out. He'll be glad to be there to escape reporters' questions about his tax returns. ;-)

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  11. Yeah Pa, Safe as hous... oh no... safe as the Bank of Engl... no...erm safe as... hmmm safe as bankers' bonuses!

    I don't think they were Pa. I guess there may have been sponsors, but not to this extent.

    It does occur to me that I too, as a taxpayer, am a sponsor of this nonsense. Should I be entitled to ride in the VIP lanes?

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  12. Nope I'd say that te beach volleyball, which of course was originally played in ancient Greece as Πετοσφαίριση παραλιών is a lost cause.

    They would do better to take up snakes and ladders, which as we all know was practised in the original Greek as: Φίδια και σκάλες

    Good that Mitt will be available to pop in and sort things out. Sorry to hear about the costumes being made in China, as indeed is most stuff these days.

    Most of England's sponsors are foreign.

    http://www.london2012.com/about-us/the-people-delivering-the-games/olympic-partners/

    ha ha.

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  13. I wonder if anyone knows if this is true or not.

    I read on Twitter that the G4S folk were being offered day work. That is. They had to check each day if there would be work for them.

    The person didn't post a link to his source, and I haven't been able to find a release that supports this. I wonder if any of you do and, if so, you could post a link to the source here.

    Thanks

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  14. I've just read that too Anon.

    It comes from a relatively good source in that it was included in a letter to the Guardian from a Labour member of the House of Lords, Margaret Prosser:

    Alongside the points made by Polly Toynbee (After G4S, who still thinks that outsourcing works?, 17 July), there should be a national debate into the guards' proposed terms of employment. As stated by Nick Buckles, the G4S chief executive, they were to be hired on a day-labouring basis. So no certainty of work or income and yet expected to be available for the whole Olympic period.

    No wonder so many of them thought better of it. Either it messes up benefit arrangements and/or it prevents availability for a more permanent job. This focus on making the most profit out of a contract by paying the least to the workforce is not new. This time it has badly backfired on G4S and will cost them dear, both financially and reputationally. Whoever in the government knew or didn't know about the likely dangers of such a back-loaded programme, they almost certainly knew of these employment arrangements. Shame on them all.
    Margaret Prosser
    Labour, House of Lords

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/17/g4s-fiasco-stark-warning?INTCMP=SRCH

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  15. There is far too much of this kind of thing. 0 hour contracts where people have no clue what they will earn this week, never mind next, and with a totally inflexible system for benefits involving the filling in of forms which are more like mini-books, and housing benefits which take 3 months to be instituted, tax credits which are difficult to change and only come into effect long after the announcement is made, it is no wonder that people walk away from these employment opportunities that the spivs IDS and Grayling trumpet all over as a good excuse for encouraging Nazi style hate for the unemployed.

    One of these days they will star marching them off to concentration camps, and the public will be cheering...

    ... until the hate turns on them!

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  16. I used to work for a big company that took on lots of Government contracts, they were techincal contracts so not really like the stuff G4S would take.

    We used to see these people in sharp suits going into and coming out of meetings and think; what absolute wankers they are. They'd say anything, promise anything to get a contract. Once signed only then would they consider the practicalities of delivery. With that company all that got wasted was government money (big NHS contract down south, costed billions with nothing in return, i think it got scrapped.) With G4S its jobs and people being able to feed themselves on a daily basis.

    I can well imagine the spics at G4S nodding their heads over powerpoint presentations behind their sharp ties and empty smiles.

    We even have a fair few in the NHS here, its plain to see they've come from the private sector and are awaiting the day they can shmooze upto new private conslutants (not a spelling mistake) so they can pack their jobs in and come back on treble the money doing the same job.

    They can't do it now because all the consultancies got kicked out, but it'll happen again no doubt when things pick up.

    To be honest, in terms of G4S, if I was in charge they never would have got the contract anyway. I mean, look at Nick Buckles' hair and tell me you wouldn't have thought, "he's a twat, his lot aren't getting the business."

    Exactly.

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  17. Yep, lol, Pa. pretty... erm ...weird hair.

    If you're gonna have long hair, you should try not to comb it into an 1950s style.

    Yes. The contracts these people run away with are outrageous, and they are a load of chancers with nothing but sweet talk to offer.

    Hopefully in Scotland there will never be all that many contracts going to the private sector, but I bet you different!

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  18. Kdog... don't be an obnoxious bastard on my blog... you F*** off.

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