Monday, November 15, 2004

London to host 2012 Olympics? Please God no!

Concrete Lemon
London has just submitted its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games
Ho ho
Joking aside, I'm scared. Scared that 'we' might win.

I say 'we' in inverted commas because I have yet to meet a Londoner who wants the 2012 Olympics to be hosted here.

In itself, that's pretty sad. We should all want to host such a prestigious event but the reality is most Londoners are fearful of the prospect. There are good reasons to be so.

The truth is that Londoners have become sadly accustomed to unrepresentative taxation, corruption and incompetence over the last six or seven years. Can anyone blame us? Every single major public project undertaken in this city in recent memory has been severely flawed in one way or another and cost the Earth. No-one has ever been held to account. No explanation has ever been given as to where the money went …

  • Millennium Bridge - had to be closed because it wobbled
  • Princess Diana Memorial - had to be closed because it was injuring people
  • Wembley Stadium Project - years behind completion, millions down the drain
  • The Dome - £1 billion plus thrown away on an empty white elephant, complete with colossal, multi-million pound tube station with a dozen empty escalators leading to nowhere
  • The British Library - years late, millions over budget, the building's rubbish
  • Etc etc; dozens and dozens of concrete lemons sprouting around the City like, er, mushrooms
The Erotic Gherkin Building and the London Eye don’t count because they weren't paid for out of taxation and the people spending the money monitored the spend. Strangely, both came in more or less on time, to budget and they work properly.
The potential nightmare associated with a successful Olympic Bid would make The Dome fiasco look positively heart-warming. Initial reports are that the cost of a successful bid to rate paying Londoners would be moderate; something like £20-£30. Whether that would be for one year or a thousand hasn't been made clear. Nobody believes the final cost will be so low. Some 'Londoners' have been interviewed on TV and expressed a desire for the Olympics; most of them can, at best, be described as 'New Londoners' in that they mostly fall into the category of recent arrivals who claim benefits or undertake black market labour within the sound of Bow Bells.
We live in a crowded, expensive, dirty, chaotically organised and increasingly nasty city. Our trains don’t work, our drains don’t work. Strangers are vile to each other on the street. We don’t trust our public servants to spend our money wisely or honestly. We really don’t need this.
Yet somehow, someone, and it's not clear who, decided to fund an Olympic Bid and underwrite the potential cost of a successful bid in my, and other Londoners, names. Apparently, there was no need to ask us first.
Kim Il Sung would have been impressed with this outstanding example of 21st century British representative democracy.
As things stand, the chances of London winning appear to be slim. The Olympic Committee clearly has an idea of how terrible things are in this city. My one worry is that the French and the Spanish might just throw the contest for a laugh and watch us squirming in pain across the Channel for the next eight years and beyond.
Nobody would be that sick or cruel. Would they?


Stephen Newton said...

It's sad to see someone with such a downer on their home. Why stay? Seriously, you should stop reading the wicked sisters -- Daily Mail and Evening Standard -- and wake up to the fact that you live in what’s indisputably one of the top five cities in the world. Chin up!

And I know Manchester -- host of the most successful Commonwealth Games -- will be more than happy to show you how to do it.

Stef said...

Yes, it is sad but the truth is I don't see this City as home any more. For lots of reasons.

London is undoubtedly one of the Top 5 Cities in the World, if you have the money, but I have a standing invitation to anyone who thinks I'm overly pessimistic - spend an afternoon with me and I'll show you the London that the media and poiticians pretend doesn't exist. You don't have to travel far in any one direction to see it.

Re. the wicked sisters. Never bought a copy of either in my life and you wouldn't know how depressing it is to think that some of my thoughts and opinions coincide with theirs ...

and, yes, I would lurve Manchester to host the Olympics and, yes, it did make a good job of the Commonwealth Games but the Olympics is an entirely different food group altogther ...