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July 27, 2009


jim jay

This is just incredible. What on Earth do they think they're doing?


I very much like

A government spokesperson said the laws, passed in 2006, were meant to stop "over-commercialisation" of the games.

I think "stop" actually means "protect", here, doesn't it?

Nick L

'Comparative Authoritarianisms', I'm sure that there's a research project and a fat cheque from the ESRC to be wrung out of the idea.


Regarding the 600,000 (or just hrair) volunteers, it's interesting to look at the difference in framing between Sydney and Beijing. The Aussies relied heavily on hordes of volunteers to make it work, but no-one saw that as a sign of the coming tyranny. In China, though, 600,000 blockwarts.

Meanwhile, I'm quite impressed by the degree to which the Government (and the establishment more broadly) has managed to convince me and the public at large that it's going to be a horrible experience we'd do better to keep away from. The Australians wanted everyone to take part; ours will be a sign reading "Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted", a sort of week-long green zone.

I note that in the era of Boris Johnson, criticism of the project is suddenly very unfashionable. Tories used to think it was an evil socialist megaproject, an example of ZaNuLabour's international squandermania, yadda yadda fill in the Simon Jenkins column here.

Suddenly, Jenkins has gone all silent and the boy lard is on telly marching over the construction site like a Sloane Speer, correcting the blueprints and exhorting the workers, and talking about how perhaps we shouldn't scale it down afterwards after all. Equally suddenly, the whole thing of including the contingency fund in case of cost overrun in the current costings, therefore justifying ever more contingency, has vanished. Hail the Construction Leader!

The site images on ITN London Tonight looked like they were being broadcast from Dubai or the Moon, whichever is more alien.


The Olympics, being a spectacular manifestation of public expenditure for the purpose of private profit, are pretty much an exemplar of what Conservative governance is all about.


It's a net financial loss to the country (despite the intangible benefits of Glory, Patriotism etc) but it's still a nice profitmaker if you happen to run a well-connected company in the right sector.

Bit like the British Empire, really.


I suspect the prime motivation really is to have the power to remove 'unlicensed' advertising; there's bound to be someone in Stratford with a well-placed semi and the nous to cut a deal with Adibok when it's Nuke that's bought the rights. What's interesting, as you note, is the move to cut out the middle man; calling the council or calling the police runs the risk of bringing someone with a sense of fair play into the proceedings. What you need is your own cast iron contract with a security contractor; you want it so they won't give you any shit lest you take your business elsewhere.

Then again, I can imagine protest placards etc. getting squashed using the same mechanism simply because they create the wrong image for 'the brands'.

My view is that if you're able to turn your well placed home into a revenue source, good luck with that: a case where I'd actually like to see more advertising, not less. If you insist on holding your olympic games in a city; well, the unexpected is part of what cities are about. Cities have citizens in them.

Martin Wisse

I'm just hoping that this will be as big an unmitigated disaster as everybody expects it will be, so that the numbnuts who want to bring the Olympics to Amsterdam again will be discouraged.


It won't be a disaster; the Commonwealth Games weren't, the construction industry has done rather well at delivering big infrastructure projects in the last couple of years (CTRL, Wembley, Heathrow T5). It'll be a success for the wrong aesthetics, values, and methods.


Oh, I'm sure it'll all get built on time - it's still going to be a financial disaster though.


the construction industry has done rather well at delivering big infrastructure projects in the last couple of years (CTRL, Wembley, Heathrow T5)

What's Wembley doing in this list?

Martin Wisse

Or Terminal 5?


T5 was finished on time AFAIK, it's just that the baggage handling system was initially not well run - not really the construction industry's fault, but either BA or BAA.
Wembley, yes, a bit of a puzzler.


"What's Wembley doing in this list?"
Could Alex be confusing it with the Emirates (which, although a private operation, gave the Olympic stadium builders an unrivalled CV when it came to bidding for that job)? Wembley was a colossal fuckup from any angle.

You can add St. Pancras, Woolwich DLR extension and probably the East London Line to the list of 'recent projects the UK has completed to a good standard without fuss'. Actually, I think most recent road projects (of which there are more than you might think) are similarly fuss-free.

Simon Jenkins is still anti-Crossrail, of course, despite Boris being very pro. His fellow dickhead Andrew Gilligan, on the other hand, is still anti-everything and forever demanding that Boris sack anyone he doesn't like and adhere more loyally to the Policy Exchange/Tory Militant Tendency playbook.

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