The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and the Olympics in general up until 2007.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Travellers Fight Olympics

As if the London 2012 Olympics did not have enough problems (including a budget that is out of control, and a site contaminated with toxic waste) it has now hit another hurdle.

Plans to move a group of Travellers, from Clays Lane Newham, to make way for the Olympics have come unstuck.

The Travellers who have lived on the same East London site for 35 years, part of an area designated for the Games, have been offered an alternative site. However, the site that they have been offered is one of the few green spaces in the area currently used for sport and recreation.

The Travellers and the residents have formed an alliance to fight the plans to move them on to what is being described by some as "a traffic island". Lawyers for the Travellers are threatening a judicial review, which would significantly delay any moves.

Tracie Giles, from one of 15 families, said:

"It's ridiculous. It's a local park."

Jonathan Green, a resident and chairman of a joint action group, said:

"Many of the houses and flats round here don't have gardens so it is the one green space they can go to."

It is clear that whoever did the planning for the 2012 Games either did not do a very thorough job, or assumed that "issues" such as this could just be bulldozed out of the way (as they are doing in China).

This bodes ill for the future/success of the 2012 Games.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Taxpayers Screwed

As befitting the arrogant incompetence of those who are mismanaging the London 2012 Olympics, Tessa Jowell (whose husband is facing criminal trial in Italy) broke the news to parliament yesterday that the Olympics costs were overrunning and that the taxpayer would be making up the shortfall.

Tessa Jowell, Secretary for Culture Media and Sport, finally had to come clean to the world that the costs were out of control.

Jowell, like all politicians, does not like being caught out; therefore it was a pleasure for many to see her squirm (one must take one's pleasure when one can).

However, this is small compensation for the fact that the British taxpayer (or rather more accurately the London taxpayer) will have to foot the bill for this unwanted white elephant.

Jowell said that she could not rule out funding the shortfall with a further raid on the National Lottery, or by increasing the contribution made by London's council-tax payers.

The original budget of £2.375bn has now been derided as a "fag packet" calculation, and Jowell conceded that the current figure is more like £3.3bn.

This figure is of course nonsense, as the real costs are likely to exceed £8BN.

Why do the organisers keep trying to hide the truth from people?

Answer: because they are incompetent and venal.

Jack Lemley knew the score when he resigned, he saw very clearly that the costs of clearing the toxic waste from the site selected to hold the Olympics would be astronomical.

Why did the organisers choose a toxic dump to hold the Olympics on?

Did they tell the IOC this when they made the bid?

Anyone care to spill the beans on that?

Jowell did her best to blame everyone and everything else for this shambles; rising costs on construction inflation, the doubling of steel prices and a revised figure for public transport links serving the Games site near Stratford. Rather oddly the the original bid figure did not include the £400M cost of hiring the international project management consortium CLM.

Jowell warned that there were further "potential liabilities"; the costs of Olympic security £1BN, the extent of a contingency fund within the budget and a VAT bill of £250M

None of these were in the original budget.

The fact remains a budget is meant to take into account all of the costs.

The organisers have failed, and should be removed from their positions of responsibility.

Whether that happens or not, it is clear that the taxpayers will be screwed as a result of this shambles.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Olympic Shambles

True to form, the 2012 London Olympics are now budgetarily out of control. The costs of holding this event are now expected to exceed £8BN, the original budget was for £2.4BN (it was then upgraded only last week to £5BN).

I warned of the dangers of spiraling costs last week, but never expected them to rise by over 50% again in less than a week.

To add to the shambles it is reported that Jack Lemley, the ex CEO of the Olympic Delivery Authority, resigned because of his worries over the budget. Specifically he feared that the cost of decontaminating the land, on which the Olympics will be held, will run out of control; he aslo feared that deadlines to decontaminate the land will be missed.

Mr Lemley also has sharply rebuked Mayor Ken Livingstone for alleging that Lemley resigned owing to health reasons, and a "major heart operation".

Mr Lemley stated that the operation was not major, and that he is extremely fit.

The one thing that we can all be sure of is that the costs of the fiasco will keep rising, and that the politicians such as Livingstone and Jowell (Culture Secretary) will do their best to avoid the blame.

Never allow politicians to take charge of major projects.