Ahaa! The Olympic ‘bonus’ quietly becomes a ‘redeemable cost’

One day, the British public will wake up and realise that Olympics economic arguments are as convincing as conjuring tricks on the radio.

People working from home during the Olympic Games wiped £1billion off the UK economy this year, says  the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

It suggests that lost revenue from tourists – and a drop in productivity from people either working from home or taking holidays during the games – has cost the UK economy £1billion this year. This would take the total price tag for the games –which had a revised budget of £10billion – to an official level of 11 billion; but I can tell you categorically that it is already £12.4bn even without that additional cost.

To be even-handed, if you look at other venues and travel markets thus far in 2012, I do think the CEBR is overestimating the Games as a depressant factor for London/the UK: every major City in Europe has seen a catastrophic fall-off in visitors and spend per tourist. It’s called ‘EU madness and an imploding eurozone': everyone’s worried, and nobody has money to spare…outside the lucky 3% of MoUs.

But the massive significance of these data concerns the fact that – after years of bollocks about London 2012 being a moneyspinner – it is now not even being presented as ‘a future return on investment’. The line has slipped somewhat, and become ‘the games could pay for itself by 2021 by helping London generate an extra £1.8billion a year by 2015.’

Er….smashing. But, um, two things here. Wasn’t it going to boost the London economy massively on the day…until, that is, Bellowing Boris blew everyone out of Central London for the duration? And, how exactly will the ‘extra’ £1.8bn be generated by 2015? It seems this is all down to the regeneration that will magically occur in East London. Why will this occur? “Because,” says the CEBR, “we have published more than 20 reports over the last 15 years on the regeneration of East London and we have been following the issues carefully.”

Right. And that’s it, is it? The Montreal Olympics in 1976 led to the city’s bankruptcy. The Athens Olympics coincided with the beginnings of the Greek spending boom that eventually led to the Greek economic crisis…and an extremely unexpected growth in the bank account of one Evangelo Venizelos. The Sydney Olympics merely fuelled the blind poolswinner sentiment there that turned it into a clone of London in 1987 – with property prices today on a par with 17th century Dutch tulips.

However, even if this ‘and then a miracle occurs’ analysis proves to be correct, we will still only be at break-even by 2021. So finally at last and in the end, the Olympics wasn’t an investment was it? No of course it bloody wasn’t: it was more Blairite bread-and-circuses crap – to be followed by such huge Camerlot cuts in sport and playing fields support, we can be about as certain as is possible in this odd world that our medal haul will be the last one to put us 3rd in any competition, anywhere. And if you don’t accept that analysis, look how Murdochian economics has left England – the inventors of football – in the Third Division of international talent.

Both the fluffies of 2005 and the hypocrites of 2012 are going to get away with this amazing feat of legerdemain. Johnson and his “we proved the naysayers wrong” nonsense, Hunt and his idiotic “you’re all quids-in”, Tessa Jowell and her “it’ll only cost £4.5bn – what a bargain for Britain” bollocks, and Moral Tone’s “my great legacy” hubris.

Let’s be clear about this, as the Prince of Camerlot would say: our athletes did a job that went way beyond astonishing. Mo Farah may lack Oscar Wilde’s wit, but he’s a damn sight better role model than those who give up by diving into a lake of self-pity. But Locog, the pols, the Mayor and the Culture Secretary? Wrong on security, wrong on transport chaos, wrong on the economic benefit….but inordinately long on trying to steal the credit.

I am delighted for every British competitor who’s been given the chance to realise an ambition…especially those who defied the experts as to their ultimate abilities. They are the Nobby Stiles 1966 tendency brought forward to 2012: true grit and serious dedication squeezing every last drop of potential from the talent available. But if this Olympic Games merely becomes the springboard for an intelligent oaf to become Prime Minister, then every doubt I had about it from the venue award seven years ago will have been vindicated.

Still, nil desperandum. There is always the Green bonus to consider. Unfortunately, it’s Lord ‘The Baron’ Green we’re looking at here, rather than any benefit to put into the bewildering climate change ledger. Perhaps from 2015, we will have established our own home-grown drugs business with the help of Colombian invesment. That’d be a cash bonanza without strings, wouldn’t it? No doubt in a few years time, when he is King Boris of Greek Britain, the Blond Bummer can invite his personal friend and much-maligned south American sporting personality Alonzo di Poudro-Marchio to join him on the Balcony of Boris Palace with that fine centagenarian Rupprecht Merdeschlock.

78 thoughts on “Ahaa! The Olympic ‘bonus’ quietly becomes a ‘redeemable cost’

  1. It’s not playing fields in these sports. They’re niche and to win, you fund while the other guy doesn’t. But while government has promised to sustain funding, that doesn’t mean the lottery has to and my guess is that lottery funding for elite athletes will be massively reduced and we’ll see a much smaller medal haul in Rio, and in the following games, we’ll be back to where we were in Atlanta or Sydney.

  2. “I am delighted for every British competitor who’s been given the chance to realise an ambition…especially those who defied the experts as to their ultimate abilities. They are the Nobby Stiles 1966 tendency brought forward to 2012: true grit and serious dedication squeezing every last drop of potential from the talent available”

    I’m sort of delighted as well. The only caveat I’d put on this is that given I don’t believe that any single athlete performing at the Olympics did so ‘for their country’, rather that is the excuse they must present to make their own obssessive need to be the best acceptable and to have the cost met whilst guaranteeing a sizeable audience.

    Saying that, I think the cost remains obscene and totally unacceptable. Olympic or any other sporting glory is about the individuals personal gratification, nothing more.

  3. I haven’t heard a single word of praise for the once suspect Olympic security efforts. In the final hours – no doubt thanks to the Met disguised in bowler hats with hauntingly dazzling light bulbs – we managed to kettle thousands of elite athletes, many of them totally innocent foreign nationals, then subject them to ear-splitting techno/rap/disco, sleep deprivation and blinding light show science. It was indeed a triumph.

    • I noticed that as well. Probably done to stop them wandering off in Stratford. They would have been in very dangerous territory there. Proper crap hole.

      • Also gave every male athlete enough condoms to shag 4 times a night and make their knees weak the next morning thereby helping GB. LOL.

  4. Well look at it this way, the cost of the olympics was twice what Mad Frankie Maude has managed to save in his much trumpeted headline…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2185992/Congratulations-saving-5-5billion-Whitehall-dont-waste-else.html?ITO=socialnet-twitter-maildebate

    He’s now set a target of quadrupling this…

    Which might just pay for the billions wasted on an overblown school sports day aka the Olympics 2012.

    However it appears his ‘Savings’ may not be all that they were cracked up to be…

    http://whitehallwatch.org/2012/08/09/lies-damned-lies-and-government-efficiency-savings-yet-again-this-is-starting-to-get-boring-4/

  5. John, How do you account for the increased receipts in Theatre Land over the past two weeks given that, according to you Central London was a wasteland of tumbleweed?

    Also, most sensible people saw the words “legacy” and thought “bollocks” when they initially spouted the crap. Repeating it now leaves you a little behind the curve.

    I wonder sometimes if there are two John Wards; the one who is insightful and pulls together intelligence from many sources and the other one who re-cycles old news and indulges in lazy reporting practices in order to work up a lather.

    If I want frothing bile, I’ll read Dacre’s paper; I’ve come to expect more from you.

    • Westmorlander……….. I agree there are the two John’s as you describe,however I just read and enjoy the insightful witty John and ignore the other one.

    • Westie
      It isn’t “according to me” it’s the London Retail Assoc. I never called it a tumbleweed wasteland. The LRA doesn’t monitor Theatres: maybe receipts are up as it was the only way to escape the Olympics on five channels.
      I do this for free, 7 days a week. It costs you nothing either. You have no right to expect anything from me – none, zero, nul.
      Wuff-wuff to you, chummy.

      • I think there were good deals available on theatre tickets. Personally I’d sooner watch a good play than sport-the limiting word being “good”. However Posh is now in the West End and I think “A Walk On Part”-both very good-particularly the latter.

  6. I liked the Olympics. It added to the gaiety of the nation and made us (well, most of us – Peter Hitchens clearly isn’t a fan) feel better about ourselves. When I think of the gargantuan amounts of Moolah this government is pissing up the wall the cost of the Olympics seems trivial by comparison. What about the EU, which costs us 6% of GDP for no discernible net benefit?

    • The EU thing is our late entry fee, earlier entry not having been on the cards for reasons connected with our circumstances in the 1950’s and 60’s. We could, of course, start playing games with the commission, and pay up whenever we felt like it, rather than on the nose as I suspect we do now. A little cheating goes a long way in the EU. It establishes credentials.

  7. I’m with you Weetabix. £12.4 billion – what does it matter? We’ve spent it, it’s too late now. It’s the next £12.4 billion we need to catch. I quite enjoyed looking at the medal table and seeing the Frogs several layers below us. Something to do with national morale I think

  8. The Eurozone Ministers call meetings every couple of weeks for no obvious benefit or improvement. It’s time we had some payback for our money, or at least some fun. Let’s call an Euro – Olympics meeting where we show off all our medals and then get each of the Euro leaders to stand up and say why their country is c**p at sport and what a shining example GB is to the rest of the Union

  9. I remember moral in Greece, being high, for some time after Olympic 2004. Despite the sky-high costs and the gold medals in ”bakshish” and ”rusfet”, won by the Greek state (gov & soc included).
    Yes, i remember the high moral….all i can tell you is it it didn’t help much in the coming years….

  10. The thought of bonking Boris as PM is a real chiller. Anyone who still thinks this seriously nasty piece of work is a suitable candidate to lead this Country, should read his UNAUTHORISED biography “Just Boris” by Sonia Purnell. .JW is quite right. The cost of this shindig has been outrageous, and that Boris should saunter into Number 10 on the back of it beggars belief.

    • Jez

      I assume you would prefer Milipede or Balls rather than DC or BJ – nobody else in the frame and we are only 3 years (or less) away from a GE – oh I forgot an outsider, Harriet

      • @ shafted again

        Is that what it comes down to every time, the lesser of several evils? Oh for a quality candidate from a suitably sensible Party. I’ll be damned if I’ll vote for a moron on the basis that he/she is the least worst. Stuff ‘em until I get a reasonable one to choose.

      • SA
        Here we go again…let’s blame a threader because he doesn’t want a jerk by saying ‘the others are bigger jerks’.
        I’m thinking of just scoring the threads from here on. It’s quicker.

  11. Sorry John it was worth every penny
    It showed that if you give exclusivity to a few,over price & enslave to a single or limited choice ,the rest of the economy struggles,
    it perfectly mirrors the ills of our world & if it was not for people who helped & supported it,it would not just be a loss maker but a national disaster.
    Has for the athletes like the majority of the workers,they did a
    great job,but many will not be rewarded enough to keep going,just like the workers in this un-economic society
    ps because the few had to pay large sums to obtain their pitch they probably made a loss anyway,what a mad world

  12. I have loved the olympics. Thought the opening and closing ceremonies were great. It cost a shed load, but that was a decision taken when times were good. No way we could back out.

    I can see the bollocks behind it all, but it was a great watch and we did well in the games and hosting the thing.

    • “I can see the bollocks behind it all, but it was a great watch and we did well in the games and hosting the thing.”

      No offence intended by saying it Col but ‘so what?’ 12.5 Billion and counting to host a Circus is ludicrous, no matter how good the visual effects. When did you or anyone else do business with, want to visit or in anyway admire another country because they did well in the Olympics? America and China topped the medal table, are we going to be in awe of them because of it?

      I admit it, I just don’t get it and I think all this marginalising of the critics is more damning with a label like ‘climate deniers’, ‘Nimby’ and so on.

  13. Revisit the Olympic site in Stratford a year from now, and it will be deserted except for street kids with skateboards, and covered in litter, abandoned cars and graffiti.
    I’m sorry, I just can’t see white-heat technology or any other sector moving out to Stratford on the back of the Games. Stratford was where the action was for two short weeks. After that it will revert.
    And to avoid accusations, I was born in the East End.

  14. Just a thought

    The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity:

    “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

  15. I didn’t want the UK to get the Games-because of the cost. However, we did get it and that being the situation I’m pleased it went ok and that we won a decent haul of medals.
    What I don’t know is what other countries thought about it-because that doesn’t get mentioned in our MSM. And that, of course, is what counts, because if we’re “selling” the “UK product” it’s best to know what the potential buyers think.

      • Here in Oz there will always be anti-British whingers (mainly the descendants of Irish convicts), but I point out to them that the medal tallies of the UK, together with the realms of Canada, Australia and New Zealand exceed any other nation on earth.
        Bring back the Empire I say.

  16. FWIW I thought the Olympics were great. Apart from maybe the closing ceremony – less said about that…

    Having said that, the naysayer arguments are generally true; there have been numerous studies done on the economic benefits of hosting the games and the upshot is that generally there isn’t any in monetary terms. As is famously known, Atlanta played a blinder by not actually losing any money in ’96.

    Bread & circuses – sure. Hyperbole – sure. Gargantuan bill – check. Grandstanding leeches trying to take all the credit – yup.

    But despite all that, it was still nice to see a city that is often perceived as cold loosen up, come together and smile a little – with maybe just a *touch* of hysteria thrown into the mix..

    • “Apart from maybe the closing ceremony – less said about that…”

      Tsk tsk….you mean you missed the vampire squid? (and I’m not talking about any of its progeny in the corporate boxes). The high point of the evening. I believe Jessie J was singing “Price Tag” at the time…..

  17. O/T .Hope you all enjoyed the Olympics and BT’s bitching.There has been another serious legal challenge to the judges in Karlsruhe,coincidentally on the day that Ange returned,so that a verdict on 12 September looks unlikely.Our good old FT faithfully reports the commercial property markets in both Spain and Italy do not, at present, exist. We are long overdue a Northern Crock moment in both those countries.Just north of Balmoral,the grouse are fine,but the market adjustment looms.

  18. So what’s a billion here or there? You could drop that on Greek bonds or EU levies in a second. You need a new perspective…

  19. @BT. The thing about setting up email accounts to detect who is trawling and selling your address, together with the beef about being blocked because of your political views does rather smack of mild paranoia.
    No-one’s out to get you, please lighten up for all our sakes.

  20. BT……… I find myself agreeing with much of what you say, however when the Slogmiester ripped into me for “taking a piss” on his blog, I decided that he had a point that it was indeed his blog, he can piss for paragraphs on end if it is his pleasure. I on the other hand am a guest in the house that he has paid for so that gives him the pleasure to determine who wins the pissing contest. If you find your only reason to read the Slog is a chance to argue with JW then what is the point? He has gone to a lot of trouble to build his giant megaphone and he obviously does not like to pass it around.

  21. Anyone notice the vampire squid at the olympic closing ceremony?

    The ‘performance’ I mean (though doubtless there were one or two of its progeny in the corporate boxes).

  22. Hi John. Love the blog and read it everyday. However being a Sydneysider it wasn’t the Olympics that drove the house prices up- it was greedy politicians in bed with developers and yes there are comparisons with 17th Dutch Tulip fanatics, thus making house prices in Sydney some of the highest in the world. The cost of the Olympics was born by kids in public (state) schools where less money was available, less money for grid-locked roads and less money for public hospitals.
    The individuals I cant abide are the so -called ‘Olympic Family’ who go from place to place living high on the hog leaving behind billion dollar bills and the rest of us had to pay for it.
    Yes, like London we all had a good time, the party was great but it has been one hell of a hangover that has gone on for a hell of a long time.

    ps Hope the dog is OK. Thought that ‘End of the Day’ was hiliarious.

  23. They didn’t need to indulge in mind control, not with the Tory Blair at the helm of Labour trying to out-Thatcher the Tories.

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  27. John clearly doesn’t care to comment on this. If he was going to he would have by now. I will though. Your comments are getting through.

    Now stop being so f**king precious.

  28. BT I know it’s nobodies business but yours, but since you mentioned it, 500 email addresses: why? I’m intrigued, surely its a major logistical exercise managing them all, does it reflect right wing paranoia or are the feds really after you? Is that why you are in Brazil?

  29. BT
    You’re right. It’s very, very unlikely.
    So let me get this straight, you’re going to work through all 500 e addresses you have to keep being rude on a site you don’t like. Fair play.
    Let’s see who gets tired first.

  30. @BT. Give the left / right thing a rest FFS.
    And yes, a blog owner can indeed block anyone he or she chooses. It’s like running a pub. You eject the tossers.

  31. Why do you call him a leftie just because you don’t agree with what he says?

    He denigrates Labour at least as much as the Tories, or do you think he just slings in the odd snidey anti – leftie comment just to throw right wingers off the scent? He doesn’t strike me as the type to disguise his opinions, the same chap. I reckon if he was the leftie you think he is his blog would be called deconstructing right wing bollox or some such.

    Not that he needs me to stick up for him but it makes my brain itch when people decry anything they don’t like as left wing just because the entire output isn’t right wing flavoured enough for their own particular tastes.

    Why does everything have to be left or right, can it not just be common bloody sense?

  32. You are obsessed with this libor thing. You call him a leftie because you don’t like the suggestion that the Tories are up to their necks in it on the banking side , but given the number of Tories in high ranking banking positions of course they are implicated. He also suggested on several occasions that Gordon Brown on the government side may have been up to his neck in it, given the unstable nature of the man this is also not beyond the bounds of possibility . JW isn’t lying, he is considering the available information and drawing conclusions from it.

    You may not like the fact that he is drawing these conclusions but you have no basis on which to accuse him of lying unless you are in the know to an incredible degree . Did you object to the suggestions about Brown too, or did they escape your notice? Because if he is lying about the one, surely the same inference can be drawn about the other?

  33. BT,

    LIBOR rigging has been reported by at least one active trader of the 1990 time frame who claims that it was common knowledge that LIBOR was being rigged even then, so your monomaniacial rants against Labour IMHO are totally blunted by your myopia.

    No one political party is ‘right’ whilst all others are wrong life is just a bit more complex.

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