MASTERING THE NUMBERS (1): Privilege, greed and security at the London Olympics

The Slog interrogates some of the more unseemly statistics of the 2012 London Olympic Games

After Clarkson’s somewhat superficial piece about Olympics ‘belly-achers’ in todays Times – well below his normal standards, and having an air of being rushed out to a brief – it might be useful to point up what we naysayers are bitching about: in terms of everything from the ‘Olympic ideal’ and a ‘people’s event’ right the way through to the slapdash planning – and commercialisation in the very worst sense of that word.

In the same issue of the newspaper whose Board formerly included Murdochs R and J (but doesn’t any longer) sits an exclusive interview with Newscorp commercial partner, Commons liar and tax avoider Jeremy *unt, who of course says it’s all tickerty-boo and dandy, on account of him being such a philanthropic Culcha Sektree. So let’s look at some of the figures undermining that claim to the point of complete subsidence:

1. Boris’s VIP lanes. I was walking along Southampton Row this afternoon, inspecting the disappeared bus lane and Rings-branded Zil lane that leads into Holborn – one of the main ‘going home’ thoroughfares for central London workers heading south over the river Thames. It is so obviously going to be gridlocked throughout the waking hours, I would urge all of you affected by this to take a camp-bed into the office tomorrow…or go on holiday.

Now we all want a smooth-running Olympics (if only) but note this stat: there will be slightly in excess of 50,000 VIPs at the London Games. That is almost twice the number – 28,000 – who attended the Beijing event. The total capacity of the Olympic Stadium is, I understand, 83,000. All those of us unable to find any ordinary UK citizen with a ticket to anything beyond synchronised wellie-throwing in Watford now know where all the tickets went…and why we need so many lanes for the incrowd who think putting the shot is something to do with eating grouse. The distinguished sports journalist Hugh Mcillvaney described this today as “a destructive assertion of privilege”.

2. Sponsorship, and the fascist insistence on only sponsored clothing/footwear being allowed anywhere within sight of 10,000 cameras. TV rights alone for this Olympics stand at £700million. Brand cops have been harrassing everyone from shopkeepers to T-shirt wearers for weeks, and will be patrolling in profusion throughout the events. These are not exactly ‘amateur’ Olympic Games, are they?

3. But that’s more than can be said for the security and spectator transport arangements. Lord Coe said three times – with increasing irritation – on Radio 4 last Thursday that “Games security has not been compromised”. But Danny Boyle begs to disagree, via The Slog’s continuing proximity to those around the opening ceremony’s director.

“That is simply a lie,” he tells my Mole, “the fact is that we’ve had to cut out 30 minutes [the BMX sequence] as a direct consequence of G4S staff either being unavailable or incompetent when it comes to checking spectator security”.

As a result, a late start to the £27m proceedings was deemed “a certainty” – and thus the lucky ticket-holders would’ve missed having public transport home. Sources close to the participants suggest that a cool £3.4m has thus been completely wasted, and large chunks of previously rehearsed maoeuvres dumped. I nearly wrote ‘unceremoniously’.

And Mossad would also beg to disagree about security being as tight as ever: they have drafted in (and demanded access for) some 150 extra agents inside the Olympic village. An attack by Iran-trained Muslim converts is deemed ‘a serious likelihood’. I shudderto think how the appointment of Mohammed Bari to the Locog Board is going to play if such an attack were to materialise. And the mind boggles at the consequences of it being proved that Lord Green’s HSBC launderedthe money that bankrolled the attack.

So listen up: let’s just all stop being such bloody whingers and killjoys and wreckers of this great ‘sporting’ event, and instead get behind the spirit of it all.

Openin’ ceremony tickets, anyone? Only five times face value. Get your openin’ ceremony bent VIP tickets ‘ere….

15 thoughts on “MASTERING THE NUMBERS (1): Privilege, greed and security at the London Olympics

  1. Yes TDF has shown the IOC & LOCOG how it should have been done, instead of the corporate extravaganza we are going to be saddled with for the ‘benefit’ of 50,000 VIP’s……


  2. Pingback: John Ward – Mastering The Numbers 1 And 2 – 2 Episodes – 22 July 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  3. let’s see how long it takes clarkson and co to get from the west-end to the olympic stadium during the games – they could even do a programme on it…may could go by olympic-lane-limousine, hammond by public transport, and st jezzabel in a light aircraft…

    …shame really, i never had clarky down as new weird odour, but it seems you never can tell…


  4. personally, i think blair, brown and cameron should be chained to their seats and forced to watch the whole of the paralympics – primarily so that they can fully enjoy, at first hand, the sobering spectacle of maimed members of the armed services doing their bit for britain .


  5. for his crimes against sanity clarkson must be compelled to complete a community-service programme testing the freshly produced urine of female east-european shot-putters for illegal gear.


  6. An attack by Iran-trained Muslim converts is deemed ‘a serious likelihood’. I shudderto think how the appointment of Mohammed Bari to the Locog Board is going to play if such an attack were to materialise.

    i hear euan blair is getting into serious left-wing politics…

    …it could be him…?


  7. As anyone has been to Wembley stadium in the last few years will know the security staff there comprise 99% recent immigrants who are completely useless when any kind of proper stewarding/security checking is required.Standing around in coloured jackets fine. Anything else complete fail.
    On his basis the security staff numbers thing is a complete red herring,sorry ,load of bollocks.
    It’s the quality that counts.
    That is the real question that should be addressed.


  8. It beggers belief that these VIP’s have to use ‘transport’ ,can’t they hop-skip- jump- run -cycle- row a boat to the venue and show us they really ARE true
    ‘SPORTS’ fanatics…Irony (just one of many) pissh spice is going to ‘sing’ whilst sportsman hubbie Becks will be baby sitting…I wonder if he even got a ticket. Anyway it is ALL about the bucks. If I could only find my gift box where I KEEP THE ‘F**KS’ sadly, I can’t find it ,so no two f**ks can be given. The interesting thing I heard was a young man claiming that he was happy for the ‘tax payer’ supporting him to the extent he didn’t have to work but just concentrate on winning. I have no idea what it was he was going to win – but just don’t expect me to lift a flag to wave…. YOU NEED TO GET A REAL JOB SON. If you really think we are’ proud’ of you winning a bit of metal. you need to look at our armed services ( whilst they are still armed) and see what REAL courage is> Not your plastic heroism, or over enthused ego! It is just shocking he could give up his job and be supported to take part in a sport and there are pensioners dying of cold every winter. Jeremy is an asshle period! My local pub is having a non olymprix forghtnight. Any one who mentions or asks will have to donate £2.00 to the local pensioners xmas club. We are local fundrasers for local people who we know by name. non of your big corporate ‘charities’ get a penny, also there are no tins or events can be held to raise money for such big businesses! We north of the border would like to see an olympic event called sling-yer-hook ‘pals’.


  9. Your local club sounds like heaven on earth! PLEASE don’t mention where it is, in case the Charity Commission fraudsters swoop in and put an end to the brilliant scheme you have going.


  10. All the G4S recruits for games security were issued with a uniform. There was a high proportion of immigrants given security jobs and a large percentage of them failed to turn up for their duties.

    Now we have the Police and service personnel stepping in to save the day, on overtime naturally, while G4$ trouser the dosh.

    How many of those uniforms do you think are going to turn up with an unsavoury character in one?


  11. Do you not think that any ‘terrorist’, who wants to create havoc, already has several G4S uniforms in his/her wardrobe ?


  12. Amazing. What they need then are several thousand additional guards to stop/verify the ID of everybody who’s wearing a G4S uniform. That ought to guarantee chaos :-)


  13. @kaiser dave kammalot: “i hear euan blair is getting into serious left-wing politics”

    Like father, like son.


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