Saturday 31 December 2011


Always good to put on a show for the neighbours, don't you think.

Despite all the evidence of doom and gloom, the English Culture Secretary, the man some people call Jeremy Hunt, has announced that London's Olympics will not be austerity Olympics. Apart from MPs, top businessmen, the royals, lords and anyone from the city, the rest of us are living austerity lives, and will be, all the way through next year, but the Olympics will be lavish.

Yes, fut coat and no knickers Hunt promises us a show to remember. After all, it will be a time for people like him and Cameron and Prince Sebastian and all their business rich mates, to enjoy the best of everything at our expense, even down to having special lanes on roads reserved just for them.

There was a choice, according to that great expert of all things economic and sporting. We could say that because these are austere times we should pare everything back, or we could say that because there are times of austerity we must harness the Olympics. "People", he said,"would not forgive us" if we didn't make the most of the opportunity to spend spend spend. He said that it was going to be an incredible expression of British culture, British history and British creativity. 

What is the fool on about? 

It's the bloody Olympics; they belong to a city, in this case London. Most of the rest of us will see what we see on tv, just as if they had been staged in Paris, Ulan Bator, or the Moon! The only difference is we have all had to go without to pay for  our betters to prance around self importantly on the telly.

Most of the promises that came with the Olympics have already been broken. I seem to remember in the dim and distant past, that there were to cost around £3 billion; now that figure is nearly £10 billion, and rising. 
The security budget, the extent of which we will never know, has been more than doubled recently, as has the "showbiz" part of it, the opening and closing parts, where doubtless, the likes of Prince Sebastian Cameron and H h h h hunt will be sitting in a grand box along with the Queen.

There was supposed to be an increase in sporting activity throughout the four countries that are paying for it; in fact sporting activity has actually dropped off. 

There were promises about the stadia being taken over by private companies; now it appears that nothing can be agreed and extra costs are to fall on the government, ie us, for them.

The accommodation of the athletes' village cost a billion to build and was supposed to earn a profit when it was sold; however, it only raised around half of that.

The Treasury is currently analysing the economic impact of the Games, but Mr Hunt, the genius that he is, has pre-empted them to tell us that it will be significant. Well, that's all right then. Thank God they have him; whatever would they do without him?


  1. I worked on the Olympic site and I can assure you that the wastage going on there is a scandal that you will not hear about. When the government says that it is going to cost X amount you can be assured that they mean X times 10 because they don't want the good British public to know just how much these capital(?) projects cost.
    Didn't the Scottish Labour MPs give £150 million pounds of Lottery money meant for Scotland to the games, and what did we get out of it; nothing.
    It's a disgrace.

  2. tris

    the 2010 11 12 etc years will be the new

    1920s for some its only the little people who will suffer as usual.

  3. Out of curiosity, given your opposition to the idea that the Olympics this year are a British event, will you therefore be counting any medals won by Scottish athletes as English, or even London, medals? It only seems fair after all... ;)

  4. Happy Hogmanay and a Good New Year to one and all.

    Two bottles of bubbly, one for each of the Bells. I doubt if the second will make it that long though.

  5. I assumed they would lie about it Gedguy, because that's par for the course with governments. I imagine they all do it, including the one in Edinburgh. I didn't however imagine that it would be as bad as you suggest. There are bound to be scams at every level. We'd like to think that that is the kind of thing that happens everywhere else... but it happens in the UK, in Scotland.

    But we certainly lost out on a lot of lottery money, and we are helping to pay through taxes for the London games. By the same token the Commonwealth games in Glasgow are to be paid for by the Scots alone.

    Fair, isn't it?

  6. Well George,

    It's not MY opposition to them being British that counts (important though I may think I am!!!)The way I understood it, is that in Olympic terms, it is a town that bids for them, not a country. They are therefore, London Games. it was a London delegation that went to win them, that put in a bid. Not an English or British or UK one.

    London will get far and away the biggest benefit from them, from employment, regeneration, tourism. There is absolutely no ripple down effect whatsoever in Dundee. I believe the torch will pass the bottom of my street... but why exactly, I don't know, except, presumably, to say..."You guys are paying for this event thing; here, have a look at this pretty torch. There!"

    As to the medals, they surely are first and foremost the property of the person who won them, and it's rather bizarre to imagine anything else.

    These days it seems that winning a gold means that you get some sort of a title from the Queen (that fool Gordon Brown compared these people to soldiers, so they can become heroes), You can then go on to trade on it by advertising cornflakes and selling books about your rise to greatness. Sport... pfffff!

    If the country wants to claim the medals, it is GB, a collection of 3 countries, who claim them, but, that would be the same if the Games were in Athens, or Tokyo, or Berlin, or Atlanta. That they are being held in one of the GB countries makes no difference.

    Mind, the country didn't get up at 4 o'clock to practice, nor did it give up its holidays, go TT, or not smoke, so I always think that's a bit of a cheek. :)

  7. Good lord Niko,

    What a load of old codswallap that woman was talking. I could only suffer a minute or so of it. Do people really worry their backsides about what Leo de Caprio will be wearing in the Great Gatsby?

    But you are right. According to every forecast, the next couple of years will be a real killer time for anyone who isn't very well off.

    Soup kitchens have already opened here and I suspect that after the "festive season" the number of businesses closing and people being made homeless will start to really bite.

    1,829 people a day lose their jobs in the UK; incomes are set to fall by 7% yet again according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    Misery. Just as well you have me to cheer you up ain't it?

  8. Ah Wolfie, started already?

    Well have a good time, and don't complain tomorrow... OK?

    I'm for an early night!!

  9. You got it there Wolfie... :¬(