Firstly, I should make my position clear. I’m not a fan of the Olympics. No one asked me if I wanted them inflicted on me. No one asked me if I wanted to be paying for them for the rest of my life. No one asked me if I was happy to put up with the disruption. No one asked!
This morning the 70 day Torch Relay kicked off from Lands End and the news coverage sparked the following text conversation………
Friend: What is the point of this torch thing? Why why why? And why are so many people enthused by it? What am I missing?
Friend: They are just talking about it but I have seen no actual footage of any actual torch carrying. Oh I am confused. It’s a PR exercise.
Me: The point is to try to drag in the needy, the misguided, the provincial and the indifferent into the Olympic Party. To unify the nation behind the Olympic ideal and to induce councils to spend money they haven’t got to prove what a great deal we are all getting out of this event. I think propaganda would be an appropriate word.
Mind you, the best thing about the last Olympics was Konnie Huq and the Torch Relay being attacked by Chinese dissidents in Ladbroke Grove. I can’t remember why the torch was in Ladbroke Grove in the first place but then again I DON’T CARE!
To be honest, my tongue did venture into my cheek during this statement but only to the extent that I wouldn’t have wished this experience on Konnie Huq, or indeed anyone else, she seems to have had a tough time from both the Pro Tibet protesters and the Chinese torch guards. The rest of it really does reflect my opinion.
These are troubled times both with regard to the economy and the political situation. We are spending vast amounts of money on a few weeks of “fun” and we are inviting those with an axe to grind to treat this event as a stage on which to forcefully present their views.
I’m not convinced by the legacy arguments. On the sporting front, history has shown that events like this do stimulate some people to take up some of these activities. Sadly, history also shows that it doesn’t take long for the vast majority of those people to fall back into their naturally lethargic state. As far as the social legacy is concerned, the basic fact is that if “they” wanted to revitalise the East End, then “they” should have spent the money that has, suddenly and miraculously, become available for the Olympics directly in the area.
Of course we have gained a great deal from the Olympics.
Disruption to public transport.
Large payouts to transport staff for extra duties.
Disruption to local businesses.
Postal delays and surcharges on Parcelforce deliveries.
A proliferation of rather tacky imported Olympic souvenirs.
A confused and vastly overpriced ticketing system.
Sponsorship deals that are seemingly restricting the publics personal freedom to wear what they like, eat what they like and drink what they like.
Sponsorship deals that are seemingly in conflict with the spirit of the Olympics (burger and chips anyone?).
Sponsorship deals with organisations that some consider to be socially and politically incorrect.
Huge increases in private security including, according to many reports, the use of heavy handed and seemingly poorly trained operatives.
More armed police on the streets (and the river!) with heavy military backup..
Typhoon jets on standby.
Surface to air missiles on the roofs of residential and commercial premises.
Snipers on the ground and in helicopters.
The opportunity to pay through the nose for something many of us didn’t want.
The worst Olympic logo of all time.
The worst Olympic logo of all time.
……….and so much more.
Finally, I consider myself to be a tolerant person. If people want to support the Olympics, that’s fine by me, but tolerance goes both ways. I am tired of “personalities” and “celebrities” telling me to get off of my backside to show my support for the whole show. I do have a mind of my own (after a fashion!) and am well able to form an opinion without their assistance and, although it’s too late to do anything about it, my opinion is……..
…….Not In My Back Yard!
I have no Olympic photographs to accompany this post.
No sportspersons, celebs, personalities, security operatives, military personnel, sports fans, games officials or politicians were harmed in the writing of this blog.
Other opinions are available.
I dedicate this post to the Grumpy Old Men of this fine nation.