Crowds flocked to a beach in Norfolk for a New Year treat- ogling the rotting corpse of a sperm whale. It seemed somehow symbolic.
The Cultural Olympic is even sillier. In Liverpool an underwater machine will send a column of steam 65 feet into the air. It will cost £500,000 and its maker is not even sure it will work. It will depend on the weather. It may also not work because the creator forgot to seek planning permission.
Planning permission will not be needed for the barge filled with Norwegian rock which is to be towed round our coasts at a cost £550,000, reminding us of climate change. One hopes it does not bump into the wooden sailing ship made from donated pencils and piano lids.
No costing is available for the cost of thirty cyclists travelling from Coventry to London towing a 30 ft statue of Lady Godiva FULLY CLOTHED. Wales will thrill to the sight of a wingless bird (the fuselage of an old DC9) “nesting” in various towns and hopefully avoiding the flying football field cut from turf near Edinburgh. Two matches will be played on it. In the interest of harmony, let us hope not by perpetually warring Hearts and Hibs.
In keeping with our straitened times, London 2012 was welcomed in by a short 15- minute ceremony. It still involved burning £1.5 million of fireworks, a sum which would have paid for permanent homes for the city’s homeless. Instead it was a gift to the shameless.
New Year’s Day saw another costly parade. This one launched The Yawn of the £9 billion Olympics, the most costly sports days in history. Lord Coe announced that it was a victory for sportsmanship at roughly the same time the Culture Minister warned that the biggest betting fix in history was already threatening every event. We had already been alerted that this triumph of sportsmanship was such an obvious terrorist target the army has been called in to defend it.
All in all it was a funny way to celebrate what both Empress Merkel and Napoleon Sarkozy warned could be the year capitalism collapsed in Europe. All Nero did was fiddle while Rome burned and he has been vilified for two thousand years.
How much more favourably would future generations have viewed us if the Mayor of London had announced, as the then mayor did before the 1948 Olympics, that there would be no opening ceremony, no firework display. Not only are tax payers being required to fund the biggest betting scam in the history of sport. Libraries are closing, care services for the old and sick are being cut and our soldiers march from the front line to the redundancy queue. Yet we are required to fund the delusions of grandeur of the organisers. We get little in return. The government has conceded the costly games do NOT encourage anyone to join the huffers and puffers.
London will provide the IOC and the ‘Olympic Family’ (including the Committee members, staff and officials) with 40,000 hotel-room bookings for the entire duration of the Games. This includes 1,800 four- and five-star hotel rooms for the IOC elite. Six Park Lane hotels have been booked out for the duration of the Games, including the Dorchester, the Grosvenor and the Hilton. The 40,000-room booking does not, of course, include accommodation for the competitors themselves - they are having an Olympic Village built for them at a cost to taxpayer of £325 million. Nor is any accommodation being reserved for spectators. On the evidence of the documents, visitors to the Games will probably find that any hotel within a 50-mile radius of London is already fully booked.
It now emerges that there will also be 3,000 air-conditioned limos for officials, whose drivers must wear hats and uniforms. The enormous fleet will include more than 3,000 BMW 3 and 5 Series saloons. Parked end to end, this would equate to a ten-mile tailback.
However, traffic should not be a problem for the VIPs who will cruise along specially reserved ‘games lanes’ near the venues. The IOC will be given 250 miles of so-called ‘Zil’ lanes - named after the old Soviet limousines that enjoyed traffic-free passage. They will stretch from London to Weymouth, where the sailing games are being held.
The IOC does love its little details. The hat stipulation is one of literally hundreds of examples of its micro-management. London must provide a ‘dance café’ in the Olympic Village, so that the athletes can boogie together. A flower shop is also required, which the IOC insists ‘should provide a range of flowers and gifts for customers in the Olympic Village’. British taxpayers will be relieved to know that ‘a balloon rental service is optional’.
The guidance given by the Olympocrats can be bewildering. It offers pages of information about the employment of housekeepers for the athletes, for example. ‘It is recommended that the same housekeeping staff perform their duties for the same teams daily’, because this will ‘build relationships and trust’, ‘give confidence’ and ‘maintain standards’. Making the bed is not enough.
British authorities have cravenly agreed to let the IOC create what is, in effect, a state within a state. During the Games, normal London life, including ordinary commerce and the right to basic freedoms, must be subordinated to the five-ring circus that is the Olympic ‘brand protection’ policy.
The IOC is paranoid about what it calls ‘ambush marketing’, which it claims is a ‘serious potential threat to the Olympic Movement’ even if it admits that it has, in fact, ‘not been a significant problem in the past’. Ambush marketing, in the Olympocrats’ eyes, appears to be any branding or promotion for an organisation which has not paid large amounts of money to the Olympics organisers.
Candidate cities, the manuals say, ‘are required to obtain control of all billboard advertising, city transport advertising, airport advertising etc. for the duration of the Games and the month preceding it to support the marketing programme’. The cost of hiring these billboards alone will surely be vast.
Beware of Greek traditions requiring gifts, especially since London, like many another Olympic host, will be left with a massive debt and a host of unwanted buildings. Millennium Dome, anyone? (Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081005/Olympic-VIPs-whisked-London-4-000-BMWs--green-www.spectator.co.uk/essays/6526463/the-true-cost-of-the-olympics )
Olympic organisers are set for a backlash after the synchronised swimming was oversold by thousands of tickets.
London 2012 have admitted an error has led to 10,000 too many tickets being sold for sessions.
Many of those people who have bought tickets for the Aquatics Centre events have been asked to return them. They will now be offered tickets to other events at the Olympics.
(Reuters) - London Olympic organizers suspended the official ticket resale website on the day of its launch (Friday) following computer problems that left would-be purchasers frustrated and angry.
(Guardian)The BBC has warned its London Olympics coverage could see it forced to cut back the length of some editions of BBC1's 6pm and 10pm news bulletins in the summer.
Live coverage of the London Games will be broadcast on BBC1 and BBC3, with comprehensive coverage on the corporation's flagship channel due to run from 6am to midnight – close to 18 hours of daily coverage throughout the two-week event.