Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Are you confused?

At this time of the year I spend a little time looking backwards before concentrating all my energies on the year ahead. Reading through all of the 'look backs' in the magazines and newspapers it was the stories that involved the 2012 Olympics that took my eye. The post Olympic legacy looks a good one but there were several aspects of how the 'village' is going to be utilised as part of this legacy that left me with a mixture of annoyance and frustration.

Firstly the affordable housing in the area, not the concept of it as that is something I don't have an issue with but the fact that only 35% of it will go to 'locals' this little nugget was placed alongside almost faux outrage by the claim that more than a third of the 'local' population don't speak English! I was stunned talk about chickens coming home to roost.

The second of this three parter concerns the funding. Now I'm sure I have told the story of an ex-client of mine who started a business from a spare bedroom and ended, twenty years later, selling on a multi-million pound employment agency group. Steve always said that the one thing that pissed him off in all his years struggling and finally succeeding was that the bank never once said, "you've done well Steve, why don't we lend you some money so that you can expand without having to use your own capital." He maintained that there attitude always seemed to be, "Well we knew you could make it on your own," whilst he also believed that if he had of failed they would have said, "to be honest, we didn't think you'd come to much."

 I thought of Steve when I heard about the doubling of the money for the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies to more than £80 million after David Cameron agreed to put in an extra £41 million after seeing the plans.

How crap must those plans have been? Were the rumours of Chas and Dave, Jellied Eels and a giant knees up Mother Brown not rumours at all. Was the story that the Olymic torch was going to arrive in a fleet of mini-cabs a possibility? I know David Cameron said he wants the biggest and the best but we can't throw everything at it like the Chinese, we simply don't have the resources.

Can you imagine another scenario where the original idea was so bad that the taxpayer had to cough up double? Of course you can but we were used to that under Labour this is supposed to be a Conservative led coalition but it's morphed into a giant one armed bandit that can't stop paying out. Imagine if Labour had suddenly said, "It's okay, the original plans were crap and although strictly speaking the additional funding should come from the organisers budget this is going to be paid for by the taxpayer." It's a crazy world when the Conservatives are advocating doubling pubic expenditure.

Now what makes this additionally annoying is the fact that Weymouth have now announced the plans for the regatta and to say they are confusing simply gives confusing a bad name. Apparently despite local opposition the Esplanade is going to be a traffic free area (not to bad an idea) but Nothe Gardens are to be closed and a barrier erected to stop people using them. That's a public gardens being shut by a publicly elected body to stop the public watching the Olympics in their own harbour! There is also the rumour (neither confirmed nor denied by the official plans) that to access the prom you will have to pass through concrete barriers and access will only be granted to those in possession of tickets. Tickets to get on the beach! The regatta was sold initially as a free public event - it's the end of days etc.

In one of those slightly comical twists hotels and guest houses in Weymouth are reporting a down turn in business for the period when the Olympics are in town and somebody has actually bothered to do some digging as to why. Apparently those who would normally holiday in Weymouth in July and August aren't coming because they think it will be too busy because of the Olympics and those who wanted to come are put off by the ridiculous profiteering that is going on. No wonder 6/10 people interviewed last week said they will be backing the games from their living rooms.


Span Ows said...

"outraged Ows" re the first point! There is of course the non sequitur that tells that all the available local housing will go to people who can't speak English!

The number of times one budget or another for the Olympics has been increased is in double figures. the ONLY good thing is that there are only 6 zeros on this one rather than 9 zeros in a few of the previous ones - who the hell sets these budgets and willa ploitician of any hue EVER try to stick to it!

If what you say about tickets and entry to the gardens etc in Weymouth is true then it is another disgrace. Unbelievable.

Paul said...

Well Weymouth council won't confirm or deny the story that was published in The Times on Monday.

I agree with you on the other points but £80 million for the two ceremonies still seems high.

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