Friday, July 20, 2012

It's about more than stage fright, Mr. Mayor

As much as I was glad to see Boris Johnson return to office as Mayor of London—especially given his opponent—I am always distressed to hear him talk nonsense.
Johnson has called on Londoners to "stop whining" and throw their support behind the Olympics, which will start next weekend. The mayor claims denziens of the capital city have been stricken with "paralyzing stage fright." Er, no, Mr. Mayor.  I think you're confused.  We're frozen to the spot thinking how much of our council tax money was spent on this charade, none of which we'll see again.
Nine billion pounds was spent on this corporate spunkfest. I am not fooled by one-thirty-second of a scintilla that this will benefit the average working person in London or nationwide.  £9 billion to break even.  Not going to happen, is it?  It's always easier to spend someone else's money than it is to generate it.  I don't care what anyone says, the Olympics are not going to raise anywhere close to that figure.
Demonstrate to me how the Olympics will result in a significant raise in my salary and I'll support the travesty.  I'll play along and keep my mouth shut.  Grease my palm the way so many others have been lubed and I'll tapdance all day along Tower Bridge in the oh-so-fetching pink and purple colors of the London 2012 volunteer brigade—the ones that would doubtless make me look like I was preparing for late-night frolicks at Horse Meat Disco.
Years ago, I shared my thoughts on London 2012. I unequivocally stand by them.
Mayor Johnson said that Londoners have shown a willingness to "agonise about the traffic, when our transport systems are performing well" and "worry about security when we always planned to have a strong military role in making our games as safe as possible." He reminded us that the Olympic Park was built on time and under budget.
None of which, of course, is true. The security arrangements, as I predicted four years ago, were a shambles. Public transportation and traffic flow are jokes when millions of foreigners aren't flocking into the capital. I've already discussed what a Through the Looking Glass statement the Olympics being delivered on budget is.
But I'll delve into that a tad more.  In March, BBC sports blogger David Bond wrote:
It used to be sufficient for the government to say the £9.3bn was an infrastructure budget, set up to pay for the venues of the Olympic Park ... But with that money now being used for so many different areas of the project - security, ceremonies and other operational requirements associated with the actual staging of the Games - that argument no longer holds.

Not exactly the stuff of rocket science to work that one out, no offense to Mr. Bond.  I think the "Olympo-funk," as Boris refers to it, that many of us are feeling is justified.
Maybe you could fool people in Cumbria or Northumbria or Yorkshire with cheers of "Go Team GB!" They did not have to contribute toward the Olympics nor will they have to deal with the congestion, delays and major-league annoyances the Games will cause.
I can't blame Boris, and I can forgive him for lying through his teeth about the Olympics and acting like a complete rumpswab for them.  He inherited them from his rival and opponent, "Red Ken" Livingstone, who was no less a suck-up to the Games than Johnson.  The whole "Back the Bid" scheme and the eventual "awarding" of the Olympics to London in 2005 were done under Livingstone's tenure.  It wouldn't do much for his standing or credibility if Mayor Johnson moaned like most of the rest of us.
I'm just glad that I work nights because that way might make it easier for me to attempt to ignore this whole charade. It will only last two weeks.

(Photo courtesy of The Hindu, March 27, 2012)


goddessdivine said...

It's funny how cities "compete" to get the Olympics. It seems 9 times out of 10 these cities lose money on the whole deal. Why would you want that.....?

Nightdragon said...

Exactly. The Olympics create a sucking sound the likes of which would make NAFTA jealous.

The Atomic Mom said...

What is with that horrid pink? Holy cow, that is a terrible color.

As for Olympics and money -- yes HUGE boondoggle....the only way to "make money" is to keep using the facilities. I know when SLC had the winter games 10 years ago, they made all the venues resuable, and they have been. Even before the games they were using the venues. I remember going to many things at Olympic venues that were not olympic related when I lived in Utah.

Mostly though, I feel sorry for you and Squirrel...good luck with the mele.

Nightdragon said...

I think I'll be alright; I hope Squirrel can cope with it. One of the London soccer teams might bid for the stadium once the Olympics have gone, but we'll see how that goes. I just don't see the sense in pumping £9 billion into something that will generate perhaps £50-60 million and trying to find a purpose for all that infrastructure that was used for just two weeks. Madness.