Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Olympics: Why London?

Today’s post is one of the “… whatever” variety albeit posted later than intended. I stumbled across Labour’s “deliberative forum” strategy in which about 100 ordinary people will study official papers currently under discussion, and then consider the same dilemmas which Ministers face on a daily basis before making their final decisions. As one who looks for the underhand in everything Blair does I immediately thought that here is a method for Blair to implement what he wants because the forum has been manipulated. I don’t know if this is the case but I started to read more about this area and this subject will probably form the basis of tomorrow’s post.

Finally I reach my delayed post on the Olympics.

I can’t get my head around why we wanted to bring the Olympics to London.

Whilst I will enjoy watching the 2012 Olympics on TV there won’t be any additional enjoyment from their being held in London. Paris or Madrid would have been just fine and there wouldn’t be the massive and spiralling costs.

Obviously part of London will undergo regeneration but the Olympics weren’t necessary for this to happen. There is also a claim that our participation in sports will be boosted massively but, again, no Olympics is needed. Building affordable sporting facilities in all parts of the country would boost participation.

“But all parts of the country will benefit from the Olympics coming to London” supporters claim. How, for example, is Aberdeen going to benefit. No team will have its training base there when Spain or the South of France are readily accessible. The further one moves from London the less will be the chance of any Olympics’ benefit.

All of us will bear costs. In fact, all of us will bear the increasing costs and, without doubt, the costs will increase significantly beyond the current estimate of £9.3billion. I bet there are plenty greedy construction companies already anticipating a raid on the contingency funds just as the government is raiding the Lottery fund.

The Games will go ahead on time but they will not go ahead on this or any other budget. The need to complete on time is a guarantee of hyper-inflationary costs associated with the build.

And then the cynic in me surfaces and I realise why we wanted to bring the Olympics to London. We didn’t but something else did: two huge egos were determined to bring the Olympics to London – Coe and Blair. What a legacy for each!

Coe’s profile will have been raised as, no doubt, will his speaking fees. One client said of Coe, “Seb was excellent taking no end of questions with a relaxed and humorous style”. Hey, I would do that for a lot less than the £10k minimum which Coe is reported to be paid.

As for Blair, I can see him charming, and lying to, IOC delegates in his distinctively charming and lying way. I know many will question the use of “charming” to describe Blair but, from what I have read, he does charm those who don’t know him. To those of us who have seen and heard far too much of Blair we can simply use the other adjective.

I wonder how by how much the cost has increased in the time I have taken to write this? Too much! Far too much!

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