Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Cost of the Olympics

Mihir Bose, the new BBC Sports editor has taken Peter Horrocks at his word (see below) and got an 'exclusive' on the cost of the Olympics. He reckons they will cost up to £9 billion, including a 60 per cent contigency. This is four times the original government estimate. The 'Bah Humbuh' tendency is already out in force.

We should be excited about the Olympics rather than constantly carp about the cost. Any sane person could have worked out that the original £2 billion estimate was pie in the sky. My carp is not the underestimate, it is about how it will be paid for. It is wrong that the national lottery is being raided and that other good causes will be losing out. It is also wrong that London council tax payers will be paying the bulk of the cost. The Olympic games will be enjoyed by the whole country and benefit the whole country. Therefore, what can't be funded through private means should be funded out of general taxation.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm..Tell that to my parents who have never visited London in their lives, and may not be around in 2012...

This is nonsense - 'nobody in their right minds...believed the original estimate...'

So how the fuck did they get away with using it then ?

If you replace your phrase with the following

The "Millennium Dome' will be enjoyed by the whole country and benefit the whole country....

one can see just how ridiculous this proposition is.

Bryan Appleyard said...

Iain. you are talking about £9 billion - 18 big hospitals - for a few weeks of running and jumping. The Olympics are only for undemocratic regimes who can spend such insane sums with zero accountability. You seem to think it's a good idea to build nine Millennium Domes. Surely not.

Beachhutman said...

Err, enjoyed by the whole country? Count me out. It's two weeks of pure hell for people who have no enthusiasm or interest at all in running, jumping, sliding, spalashing and other such activities. Worse even than the world cup. The only entertaining bit was sycnchronised swimming, in the hope they would drown.

javelin said...

The really sad observation is that Ministers couldn't get everybody exited and tell the truth about the cost.

Ministers first reaction was to try to think of a lie to tell. We can't tell the truth they thought that wouldnt be "in keeping" - so we'll have to lie ... now which lie can I tell.

Sadly for this Government, hand on heart, Ministers believe they MUST lie, otherwise they are not doing their job properly.

AllBloodyTaken said...

I could not give a toss about the 'Olympics' so why should I have to fork out a penny? Let those who are so keen on it raid their piggy banks - just leave mine alone. Thanks... :)

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Winning the Olympics was a disaster. We need them like a hole in the head. Think what else we could do with the money. Half the parish churches in England could be put into good repair. It's like the Millenium Dome, only ten times worse.

Anonymous said...

The Olympics won't be enjoyed by the whole country - they will be enjoyed by the sports lovers in this country. Also, this country's, and this administration's record in particular on running major complex projects is abysmal, meaning we have no buisness taking on the Olympics project - witness the vast escalation, VAT fiasco etc already. The Olympics smacks of self agrandisment truly in the Tony Blair delusional style - we should withdraw and let some other poor b*ggers tackle it, or better still, propose that it is permanently located in Greece, where it came from.

ian said...

Cue general tory carping about tax rises.

Crossfire said...

Private investment is the only way that this should be funded and if it cannot be found and the games cannot be run for £2.5 billion then the games must be cancelled.

The way that govt has gone about this is criminally dishonest. They have won the games on the basis of a £2.5 billion cost and justified this on the basis of the social and infrastructure benefits that will be gained.

Costs beyond this will not yield any additional benefits they will simply be costs. So, it follows that we should only host these games at a higher price if private investment can be found on the basis of commercial returns for the additional sum.

The budget is £2.5 billion. So we either host a £2.5 billion games, get someone else to pay and give them the opportunity to make a profit or cancel.

It would be utterly wrong to ask every British family to stump up £500 each (approx £6.5billion) for this.

Marquee Mark said...

Iain,

As somebody who works in the oil industry, I am used to seeing cutting edge technical projects where we have to build a small city on stilts in some of the most challenging sea conditions in the world - and designed to withstand the Hundred Year Wave. If the cost of any those projects has a cost over-run of more than ten percent, the government and the joint venture partners would be on them like a ton of bricks.

The concept that a private sector project can be 400% over budget is beyond comprehension. But it is part of the game that gets played with large civic constructions, because they have a glamour to put them in place - and then the embarrassment of cancelling them means they must be finished - "whatever the costs". And all concerned know how this game is played.

You want the Olympics on time and on budget? Then get Sir John Browne from BP when he retires in the summer. Give him absolute control to hire and fire - and if he thinks it appropriate, to can the whole project. Give him a Parliament that contains not less than fifty people with experience of working in industry - those that know the wrinkles, know when contractors are pulling a fast one and can tell contractors to piss off. (Oh, and while we are at it -another thirty or forty computer geek MPs who can have some meaningful undertanding of computer contracts and how to sign up for ones that that will work and put a red pen through those that are pie in the sky. Whilst running a book shop has a lot more relevence to running a country than virtually all NuLabour MP's have had, I'd hope you would acknowledge your limitations when it comes to such oversight!)

Let's have all those Olympic contractors on fixed price contracts - with guarantees in place that will cripple them if they fail to deliver. And while you are at it, tell all the local politicians to STFU. They will always want a gold-plated Rolls Royce of a deal - when they know that national taxpayers are picking up the tab. Let's face it, two days after the Olympics end, no bugger in their right mind is going to want to go to Hackney. You can only put so much lip-stick on a pig - so as long as it doesn't fall down while the world's press is there, sod it if it collapses shortly thereafter. "Urban regeneration" is a totally bollocks concept, monstrously over-hyped by a handful of local politicos who use it as a stepping stone to a safe seat.

Oh, and taking a leaf out of the Chinese book, anyone involved in corruption in the obtaining or award of contracts is taken out at dawn and shot.

That is my recipe for a successful (and cost-controlled) Olympics. Not that anyone in Parliament gives a toss...

Anonymous said...

So the Labour Govt lied again...

"..will benefit the whole country...."

Would you please explain how Scotland or Northern Ireland will benefit when Lottery funding dries up?

Steve_Roberts said...

...Any sane person could have worked out that the original £2 billion estimate was pie in the sky....

Yes, indeed

... The Olympic games will be enjoyed by the whole country and benefit the whole country.....

If that statement was true, the Olympics would be self-funding through ticket sales and sponsorship. The fact that they are not, demonstrates that they are just another boondoggle whereby a small minority (shareholders in construction companies, polish bricklayers, elite sportsmen, and a magic circle of architects and management consultants) get loads of cash, at the expense of the population at large.

Anonymous said...

ZanuLabour need to be held to account on this. The briefing against the American who was given the job was a classic - he was "out of his depth", "ill" even "mentally unstable". All for suggesting that costs were out of control.

PJ said...

I can never understand why we are expected to be "excited" by the prospect of the Olympics. I can understand why you are, Iain, because you enjoy sport to the extent of supporting a soccer team & attending their matches. Most of us don't. We may watch a lot of it on TV but I suspect that to be more due to politeness than genuine interest. If one person in the room wants to watch the match it's better to concede the remote control than suffer the temper tantrums of denial. Whether we want to fork out £9b for the privilege is another matter.
And what are we getting for our nine billion? A fortnight's TV extravaganza that we would have had anyway, whoever hosted the event. We certainly wont be attending the competitions in person because if we did it would demolish one of the arguments for hosting the Games in the first place. The benefits to tourism. We'd be denying seats to those valued foreigners. And in passing, what exactly are these benefits? You can't get a hotel room in London now without paying a fortune. That's because they're full of tourists. Central areas of the city that were once home to workers are now ghettos of foreign owned and staffed hotels and shops selling 'London' souvenirs made in China. No wonder the transport system is overloaded. So where is the tourism benefit? Are we going to politely ask the normal tourist influx to stay away for a couple of weeks to accommodate the sports lovers? That's a net benefit of zero. Or are we going to have a rash of converting useful properties into B & B rabbit hutches so driving more residents out to the suburbs?
We are told that hosting the Olympics is an opportunity to improve the transport infrastructure. If I take the short walk to the top of Alexandra Palace hill I can see Wembley in one direction & Ilford in the other. If I wanted to travel to either of the by public transport (train- forget the bus, nobody lives that long) I have to pass through Central London. That's why I drive. Our great grandfathers built the Tube system on a radial pattern which means getting almost anywhere in the city takes you beneath Oxford Circus. The Olympian answer to our transport problems? Another method of of doing the same thing. If we spent the same money on an outer London ring rail line, underused stretches of which already exist, I suspect much of our tube overcrowding would evaporate as would most of our traffic hold-ups.

Praguetory said...

Please god stop supporting this waste of money. As others have said, if it was such a good thing and of so much benefit it would pay for itself. I prefer watching the Olympics on TV.

bebopper said...

99.9% of the country will only be able to see the events on television, so we'd hardly have been deprived if France had won the bid.
What we would have been deprived of is the massive cost and hassle. The Olympics won't advance sport and fitness in this country, but if we were to spend the sort of sums suggested on sports facilities throughout the country, we might even see a few hoodies boxing, running and playing tennis in indoor arenas.
The Olympics has become bloated with Micky Mouse events after lobbying from various sports associations. I would like (fat chance) to see a return to athletics only. It should take place in Athens with funding from across the world.

Anonymous said...

This is the London Olympics, not the U.K. Olympics.
If London wants these games then London should finance any shortfall.
The money should not come from the lottery or general taxation. Hospitals are being closed due to lack of money, why then should my tax money go into paying for a swimming poll in London.
If there is not enough money then cancel the games now.

Anyonebutblair said...

Iain, sorry but you could not be more wrong and out of touch with popular opinion.
I'm sorry, paying £9Bn for a NuLab vanity project to watch drug-enhanced millionaire "athletes" parade their sponsors logos around a stadium bought with our tax (and lottery) money sickens me and is yet another nail in NuLabs coffin (can it take any more?)
The whole thing makes the fiasco of the dome look absolutely tiny.
I wish France had won.

judith said...

My family and I live in East London, and we loathe and fear the Olympics coming to Stratford.

It is a vanity project, paid for with our money, and the idea of sportmanship in the Olympics is laughable - look at the drugs stories that always ensue.

Travel from Ilford Station to Liverpool St Station and see the thousands of flats being built, but with no infrastructure being planned. Take a careful look at the Transport Select Committee's recent report on the failings of transport planning for the Olympics.

Oh yeah, and they're planning on shutting lots of A&E's round here too, so tough luck if there is a serious accident or worse in or near Stratford in the summer of '12.

Bidding for the Olympics was just another chapter in the Bread and Circuses style of NuLab Government; what a pity we 'won', and what a burden paying for it will be on all those of us who can't vote for our own salaries and increase our own non-gold-plated pensions.

Eddie said...

Ian, the only advantage to me in having the Olympics in London is that they will be in the same time zone as I am, so I won't have to sit up in the middle of the night to watch them. Then again, France is only an hour off, so that wouldn't have mattered much to me. Sorry, I can't get enthusiastic about this at all - and I'm a sport's fan.

Realism Required said...

It should be a matter of great national pride to host this international event but, unless somebody can demonstrate otherwise, the costs seem to vastly outweigh the benefits.

If we can't deliver the Games for the cost specified in the tender then shouldn't the IOC be negating our successful tender and awarding the Games to France instead?

There's something very wrong in a system where it's OK to lie and deceive in order to succeed, and then expect everyone else to pick up the bill. Completely in context though for the present government.

What we really need is a large existing but unused site in the east end of London that has good public transport access. Oh, that would be the dome then....

Anonymous said...

... "We should be excited about the Olympics rather than constantly carp about the cost."

Iain you really have lost the plot and are as clueless as that other prat Cameron. It is ill-conceived statements like this that really make me worry about voting Conservative if you perceive yourself to be in anyway representative of the populist view.

Anonymous said...

"... It should be a matter of great national pride to host this international event"

I'd be much prouder of an education system that produced literate and numerate kids, a health system that didn't kill 4500 people a year with MRSA, a police service which serviced, a transport system which worked etc etc. In the current climate the Olympics are an unnecessary, ill-affordable distraction from the real needs of this country.

Observer said...

Why so conservative - The Olympics will cost £12-15 billion when the final bill comes in and the various disguised budgets are consolidated.........time for a special windfall tax on the London moneyed elite or a tourist tax

neil craig said...

"Any sane person could have worked out that the original £2 billion estimate was pie in the sky"

True of almost all costings in political programmes. Nonetheless should we not try to hold the perpetrators accountable (deselect politicians who said it, fire civil servants who did). This would encourage some more sensible decisionmaking.

When your default position is to say that anybody who believes the authorities is insane almost anything is better.

2br02b said...

£9 billion is still only an estimate; work has hardly started yet. Anyone who imagine that any UK public project will come close to any estimate made before the work starts should get their head out of the sand. If the Scottish Parliament precident is followed, the 2012 Olympics will end up costing something more like £25 billion-- £433 from every man woman and child in the country,

Would you still say, "We should be excited about the Olympics rather than constantly carp about the cost," if £25 billion ends up being the actual cost. Iain?

---

These are to be the London Olympics. The City is about the biggest capital market in the world. Launch 'London Olympics 2012 plc' on the LSE and let the project sink or swim on its own worth on the market.

If it sinks (eg. can't raise the capital, or goes bust)--how sad, never mind.

More likely, it would cost about £4 or £5 billion to build and run, and end up making a profit.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Fifteen comments so far, and not one in favour of this boondoggle.

I may be mistaken but I don't recall ministers saying, at the time, "This is our estimate of the costs but nobody in their right minds will believe it." They were too busy leaping around making Nerr nerr noises to Jacques Chirac.

mark williams said...

Let's get this in perspective. Every week up and down the country spectators turn out in tens of thousands to watch sporting events (mostly foot ball) in stadia that cost £30-50 million or £100 million tops to build - let's leave the waste of money at wembley out of the picture although that is available for the olympics. The cost of policing, television etc is significant, but in the course of a year it doesn't cvome to anything like the figures quoted for the olympics. Conlusion: put anything in the hands of the government and they will waste money.

Michael Clarke said...

Disagree with Iain over "the rest should come out of general taxation". That sounds like the approach taken by the authorities in Montreal at the time of the 1976 Olympics.....I believe the taxpayers are still paying for it.A financial disaster.

Better to take a leaf out of the Americans' book.One guy in particular called Peter Uberroth. Reagan tasked him with organising and running the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He funded it through massive private sponsorship from start to finish (Kodak/Macdonalds/IBM). The games were a huge success and the taxpayers of California still toast Peter Uberroth.He actually turned in a profit.
London should plan likewise.The problem is that too many in the metropolitan political class like (Iain Dale)believe that soaking the long suffering taxpayer, the easiest solution,is the only one. Think outside the box please.

mitch said...

I dont want the olympics here and i certainly dont want to pay for them so no lottery tickets for me till its over.Why dont all the countrys who wish to play chip in a relatively small amount and greece can have them for ever.

towcestarian said...

Are Mr Dale's comments are the sort of clear, financilly responsible thinking we can expect from a future Cameron government?

Frightening.

Little Black Sambo said...

"The Olympic games will be enjoyed by the whole country."

Speak for yourself. What a bore!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Update: as of 1.57 PM we have 31 comments, every one of them hostile.

Getting the message, Iain?

plankton said...

Well, there you have it Iain. Your claim that these outrageous costs should be borne by general taxation falls flat on its face.

We, the payers of "general taxation", collectively seem to be at odds with your frequently sensible views.

Any chance of a response to this?

Word verification.....udrip.

Anonymous said...

iain - Wat really worries me about the Tory party, of which i am a member, is that you lot are so used to government lies that youi think as long as you 'oppose' them its somehow OK. Instead of dragging our party into the central no ground quagmire just adopt any one of the following policies and win by a landslide;

Stop EU integration

Introduce border control

Promise a FULL inquiry into where ALL the money has gone. The Tories will be able to achieve nothing when saddled with Gordo debts, lower tax revenues when the economy turns down, trident, Iraq, afghanistan etc etc

Have you not realised whats happening? Every day they stay in power they are destroying the next governments FIRST term. You must galvanise Cameron to go for the throat. This governmen t will signal the end of parliamentary democracy (which they will be fine with) if the current illegal conduct is allowed to continue.

We are breaking an international law every week, spending more money on nothing every week, we have Gordo 100 days of lies and MORE spending commitments.

Dont you realise that by making one simple statement this government will fall in a month;

"The trust between government and the people has broken down. The only way to restore our system of government is to undertake an independent audit of the past 10 years FINANCES and a FULL inquiry into electoral reform to prevent future abuse.

Cameron could be found smoking a rock and he would still get in.

The public have NO interest in policy nuance, it is way beyond that.

More worrying is the reluctance of the Toy party to expose the sleaze, look at the stick you got in the 1990's.

How can you not judge the mood of teh public??? They will either not bother to vote if things continue, and you westminster types can carry on thieving for another 10 years before it implodes or do something about it.

verity said...

Marquee Mark - Brilliant and practical. Your advice will therefore be ignored, not to say sneered at.

Bebopper - "if we were to spend the sort of sums suggested on sports facilities throughout the country, we might even see a few hoodies boxing, running and playing tennis in indoor arenas." Bravo! How about spending the money on reclaiming school playing fields?

Realism Required - "It should be a matter of great national pride to host this international event."

Wha??? Why? Why should we be proud that we got chosen to be the suckers?

Tony Blair's a liar, a fantasist and an egoist of insane proportions. He flew out to Singapore with his fat, greedy fishwife to "charm" the Olympics committee into choosing Britain. Why? Because he cares about Britain? Pull the other one. For his own greater glory.

Everyone competing in the Olympics also has a gigantic ego. Who cares about watching hundreds of drug-enhanced egoists competing with one another to jump over poles, twizzle around exercise bars, thrash around in swimming pools, run around in circles? WHO CARES?

The inconvenience this will cause to the lives of ordinary Londoners doesn't bear thinking of. And for what? What exactly? What benefit will derive from this, except Blair will step up on a platform and acknowledge the applause.

Whoever said above that the Olympics are best suited to Soviet style governments who can impose anything on their citizens for their own glory was correct.

Also, frankly, the Olympics are passé now. The optimum of everything has been reached, even including the use of 'performance enhancers' There isn't even any point in this charade any more. It should be canned. No point in locating it permanently in Greece because no one is going to break any records any more. It's over. And they know it. That's why they've started including loony non-events,like synchronised swimming.

PSJ said...

It seems rather redundant, but I'd like to say that £9 billion for pissing the French off for a week or so is worth every penny.

Just kidding, I think our bid was a disgrace and the games will be a finacnial disaster, as indeed many predicted a couple of years ago.

verity said...

Given their success with grands projets, the French would make a better fist of it. And it would be more stylish than anything the Labour proles would come up with.

Anyway, this will probably be the last Olympics because there are no more records to be broken - except for wasting gargantuan sums of taxpayer money. Athletic performances are maxed out. The Olympics boondoggle is over.

Wouldn't it be great if Tony Blair had to watch it from prison?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

At the very least the number of events should be drastically reduced. Just two would be enough: pole dancing and conkers.

one love said...

Cancel the olympics NOW before many more billions of taxpayers money and lottery funds disappear down this black hole designed for the aggrandisement of certain politicians and the enrichment of their favourite spiv businessmen.

Hey said...

0 positive comments.

The Olympics are a shambles and should never have been bid. It would have been wonderful for the French to have "won" and see them complete it with the typical French elan: rioting students, blockading farmers, CGTers behind barracades burning tires, and the "youth" from the "suburbs" torching cars, killing jews, and mutilating unveiled women!

Transport for Lefties already provides abysmal service, especially in the summer. What will happen when you add all of the visitors for the Olympics? How many people will die in a roasting car stopped beneath the city? What happens when the heat cause some sort of fault with the rails or the points and the Tube is out of service?

So the games will cost at least 15 billion quid more than estimated and will disrupt London for a month or more. People will be killed and this broadcast around the world. Now how tempting of a target will these games be to a tablighi graduate? 7/7 or 7/21 all over again... simply wonderful.

Death to Red Ken's Olympics, death to ZaNuLab.

house price crash said...

I doubt there's more than 20% of the UK who really wants the olympics here and even that will reduce as the full scale of the enormous cost becomes increasingly appparent

verity said...

House Price Crash - I doubt there are even 20% who feel involved or pleased. People who don't live in London - most of the country - would have little interest as, if they care about athletics, they'll be watching it on TV anyway. I doubt that anyone who lives outside the Home Counties will have any emotional involvement in its taking place in London.

2br02b said...

I have it on very good authority that when Tessa Jowell was at school (a private fee-paying school in Aberdeen, BTW) she was famous for her inablity to handle money or correctly perform simple arithmetic.

Some things don't change as one goes through life.

Helen said...

Why exactly should the Olympics keep travelling round, bankrupting one city after another? Montreal has only just finished paying for its self-indlugence thirty or so years ago. Athens was bailed out by the EU and is still bankrupt. Sydney has not been able to use any of the buildings ever again. And so on, and so on. Denver, of course, returned the honour, after the people of Colorado voted against any more money in a referendum. And now we have London, whose bid was completely ... well, how shall I put it .... inaccurate. I mean, what would you say if a builder produced an estimate, completely forgetting that there is VAT to be paid?

After Beijing, where the government can do anything it likes, let's give the Olympics to Athens in perpetuity. They already have to structures and the country is kept going by the EU, anyhow. Turkey will benefit, as all the tourists who might have gone to Greece, will go to Turkey as they did in 2004.

verity said...

There'll be nothing for the athletes to do any more after Beijing. All the events will have reached their maximum scores. They can't keep on jumping higher and running faster. I think we have reached the end of the road and I look forward to seeing the London event be a damp squid regarding records, but also organisational chaos. Run by the Oliver and Hardy of British politics: Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone. Ken: "This is another fine old mess you've got us into Tony."

Rush-is-Right said...

Iain, the balance of opinion (which I fully share) is abundantly clear.

It seems to me that it's time to start an Olympics question on the Number 10 petition site.

Get this stupid idea nipped in the bud before its to late.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I think its great that London won the Olympics - but I also think that London should pay. I too dont see how the rest of the country will benefit. Will investment come to Nottinghamshire? Will we be left with sporting stadia here in Nottinghamshire? Will any events be held here? Will any improvements in public transport increase the value of houses ans businesses? Will there be any regeneration here? I think the answer is no - so to ask us to pay for it is really not on.

Chuck Unsworth said...

£9 billion? Why is this figure any more credible than those that have been trotted out before?

Is Harman going to be around to apologise for pissing our cash up against the wall for a two week extravaganza?

Are we going to get a return on this when all the hoo-hah of the Games has subsided - if so, how much?

How many of NuLab's friends (sorry, 'consultants') are in on the scam?

verity said...

Chuck Unsworth - I agree. Why is anyone giving any credibility to the £9bn figure?

And most of the so-called 'regeneration' in Sydney remains unused to this day, according to a poster above.

It's another case of the Emperor's new clothes so beloved of the left. Like global warming. It's just not true that the Olympics benefit any city, but they get enough momentum behind these one-worlder myths and then they're unstoppable. Multiculturalism was another one.

What are the Olympics actually for? What is the damn point of watching someone doing sommersaults on steel bars? And the athletes aren't even nice to look at. They all have sickening shapes with overdeveloped, out-of-proportion muscles and giant veins in their necks.

Rush-is-Right said...

Jonathan Sheppard said...
I think its great that London won the Olympics - but I also think that London should pay. I too dont see how the rest of the country will benefit. Will investment come to Nottinghamshire? Will we be left with sporting stadia here in Nottinghamshire? Will any events be held here?


Well, they are going to hold the water sports at Holmepierrpoint, and the Shooting in Radford Road.
Boom boom!

judith said...

Jonathan S: you think Londoners should pay for the Olympics? why? no-one asked us if we wanted them, no-one asked us if we would be willing to pay for them, and so far, I don't know anyone with a foot in the real world who wants the bloody shambles here.

scroblene said...

Absolute bollocks Iain!

If your Tunbridge Wells poll tax goes up three times, as mine would, you'd be screeching on this blog like a ton of bricks!

The Olympics are being squeezed by the 'consultants' so beloved by this stupid government. They couldn't see it coming, but the landowners in the area could!

Please get real - this is a commercial deal, not a piss-poor local authority squabble.

Anonymous said...

From where I live (Leeds), the Olympic Games could be in Dublin, Amsterdam or Brussels just as conveniently as in London: they're about as easy to get to (not that I shall want to anyway). Indeed, these days I visit Paris rather more often than I visit London. So whom are you kidding?

Herbert Globsquirtle

Anonymous said...

There are several anti-Olympics petitions on the No. 10 website. May I suggest we concentrate on the most succint -
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to call for the cancellation of the London Olympics.

Rush-is-Right said...

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/London-Olympics/

pj said...

The consensus here and likely across the country in general is that the Olympics are a mistake.
What to do about it?
A commentator above mentioned submitting a referendum on the No 10 website. OK we know how much notice the government will take of it, which on recent experience is none whatsoever, but the publicity of a million or more signatures will be hard to ignore (and we all want to give the Bliar another shot at our e-mail addresses don't we :0p)
How about the fiasco proceeds but only in line with the original 2 billion estimate? No contingencies, no top ups. If Gordon forgot to mention the VAT that's tough for him he should have said at the time. If the contractors don't want to go along on that basis that's their problem. No compensation and demand reimbursement of monies already received. They knew how big the pot was when they took the job on. If it wasn't enough they shouldn't have signed the contracts. If they've got a problem with that let 'em sue Seb Coe and the rest of the Olympic glee club. Just for once lets see those responsible for the f**k-up catch the blame.bflj

verity said...

I like PJ's post. "How about the fiasco proceeds but only in line with the original 2 billion estimate? No contingencies, no top ups. If Gordon forgot to mention the VAT that's tough for him he should have said at the time."

Sensible. Except it would be snuck in somewhere else in one of Gordette's shambles. But PJ, I agree with your thinking.

Gordon Brown has been a wreck of a Chancellor. Tony Blair's mad premiership has been a wreck.

Has there ever been more of a cultural yob than Toni Blair?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Here's a wonderful quote from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, following a leak to the effect that the total cost could be as much as £9 billion:

"This is just the latest of many different figures to be quoted by the media in the last few months, claiming to be the cost of the 2012 games."

How's that for a non-denial denial?

Crossfire said...

rush is right - Ok I signed it - now everyone else.

Raedwald said...

I'm afraid I'm also with the consensus on here. What's worse I live in London; Ken tells me I can turn a profit by letting my spare room out to an Albanian weightlifter for three weeks but this is a poor justification for an unwarranted and unwanted surcharge on my Council Tax for God knows how many years.

Yes, tell the IOC now that we don't want it. Or just give 24ct gold medals to every entrant and don't actually have any games at all - in the manner of nuLab Education 'achievements'.

The Remittance Man said...

The Olympics will be enjoyed by everyone in the country? Pull the other one, Iain.

Even assuming that all 60 million odd Brits are fanatics for watching people running about, jumping and throwing things, a very small minority will ever manage to get to see them doing so in person.

Most Brits, like most people the world over, will ignore the whole bloody thing (as much as they can with their capital taken over by hordes of foreigners, sporting teams and tv crews). And the vast majority who do like watching that sort of stuff will do so on telly. Just as they would if the games were in Athens, Atlanta or Timbuktou.

Personally I'm all for every country that is part of the Olympic "Family" to chip in a once off sum and for a permanent home to be built for the games.

I'd be even happier if the permenant home were somewhere far away from where I am. Personally, I like the idea of Siberia. Especially if the entire Olympic bureaucracy were forced to live there full-time.

Me? I'm planning to take a couple of rifles and go hunting in the bush for two weeks. No radios, no tv's, no Olympics.

The Remittance Man said...

ps. I've just been talking to a hunting outfitter chum of mine. her is of a like mind regarding the Olympics. We reckon that there will be a big enough market (well a small one, but a very rich one) that shares our views on this whole Olympic waste of time thing.

Therefore we are in the very early planning stages of arranging a luxury, two-week hunting package available only to extremely rich people. The only condition being that should anyone mention anything even vaguely Olympic around the campfire, they will be shot, skinned and butchered for use as predator bait for the next day's hunting.

I shall also be contacting a yacht charter chum of mine with an idea for an Olympic free game fishing and sailing package.

Anonymous said...

I happen to agree that the idea of financing the olympics with public money is a millenium dome style waste of money, but:

"Everyone competing in the Olympics also has a gigantic ego..."

Is this 'Verity' lunatic a deliberate stalking horse of Iain's? Having spent some time with athletes, I can confidently state that, however useful - or not - their contribution to society is, the dedication, commitment and sheer bloody hard work that they have to display makes a fat arsed blogging knobber's opinions on anything pale into insignificance. I would be happy to arrange for the Verity avatar to join in a month in the life of an olympian athelete. If she/it has the energy left to breathe, let alone type the opinionated crud she spouts, then she's welcome to continue.

verity said...

Mr/Ms famous Anonimo - 10:29 PM.

So? Who gives a crap about their "dedication, commitment and sheer bloody hard work that they have to display". They are pursuing a minority interest. It's their hobby. Who cares? I wouldn't want to sponsor a stamp collector or a harmonica player, both of whom feel strongly about their avocation.

Why are these deeply boring people the responsibility of taxpayers all over the planet?

Why not let them finance themselves and their own parades and their own venues so anyone who gives a shit can attend and leave innocent, salary-earning taxpayers out of the scenario?

"Dedication, commitment and sheer bloody hard work" are also defining characteristics of specialist surgeons and lawyers and entrepreneurs all over the world. So who's financing them these days?

Outraged Anonymous invites me to share the athlete's experience, which I have avoided, with great cunning, all my life: "If she/it has the energy left to breathe, let alone type the opinionated crud she spouts, then she's welcome to continue."

Over-laden Anonymous Testosterone Sweetie, I think I'm welcome to continue anyway, as this isn't your blog.

2br02b said...

jaofcjVerity,

I knw it's late in the day for this thread, but, "Hear, hear!"

When asked to give examples of an oxymoron--a contradicion in terms--I always reach for 'military intelligence' and 'sports personality' as the two classics.

In my experience, sport is what people do who can't do anything that involves using the brain.

And, Remittance Man, that especially applied to people who would go on a, "... luxury, two-week hunting package available only to extremely rich people." What an utter bore!

(I'm not anti-blood-sports. I just don't give a damn, either way.)

Madasafish said...

I fully support taxation funding of the Olympics.

I also fully support banning all private political donations and 100% funding of all poltical parties through taxation.

I also fully support ALL cost overruns on Gov't projects to be firstly paid out of the Government's share of political funding....

Suddenly cost overruns would stop imo