Are The Olympics Worth It?

When the country was told in 2005 that it had won its Olympic bid I was with a close friend on a windy beach in Formby. It seemed like the Olympics would be a really good thing for the UK and we were both suitably impressed to have won the bid – we would become part of the Olympic tradition of friendly competition intended to foster peaceful relations with other nations. I was so nieve.

The predicted cost of the games was just under £3bn but that figure has soared to over £11bn which the country is somehow, magically, able to afford despite people with terminal cancer and more than six months to live being told they have to work or starve. How can we ever justify this?

The Olympics are supposed to foster peaceful co-existence between nations yet 23,500 military and police personnel will patrol the Olympic village in which only 10,500 athletes will compete. Six surface to air missile batteries are to be installed in residential areas, snipers stationed in helicopters as well as unmanned spy drones will fly overhead and a 11 mile long 5,000 volt electric fence has been constructed around the Olympic village. By the governments own admission this years games take place in a “high threat” environment yet we visit this threat upon ourselves by choosing to hold the games in the first place.

The International Olympic Committee requires host countries to pass bespoke legislation  before they can host the games to “protect” its trademarks and the “rights” of its sponsors by making even minor violations a criminal offence. Small businesses who have not paid their tithe to the IOC cannot even mention the Olympics or “2012″ without risking prosecution. An event called The Great Exhibition 2012 was threatened with prosecution because the name was deemed to draw an unapproved association with the Olympics.

Olympic sponsors pay millions of pounds for monopolies – the only food vendor allowed in the Olympic village will be McDonald’s who will build their largest restaurant in the world against the backdrop of an ever worsening obesity epidemic. So called “trademark police” have been given special powers under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 and the Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act 1995 to tape over or remove the logos of non-sponsors from anything in the Olympic village including innocuous items like bins and soap dispensers.

A fleet of 4,000 BMW 4 and 5 series cars will ferry “important” people around London during the games on 39 miles of specially marked VIP lanes that even ambulances have been banned from using without risking a £200 fine. No extra roads will be built, instead entire lanes that were paid for by tax-payers will be off-limits to those same tax-payers so that the rich don’t have to wait with the rest of us in the ensuing traffic chaos.

I’m apoplectic with rage over the Olympics. It is utterly unacceptable to spend £11bn so that massive multinationals can make even more money in an economic climate where the poorest members of society are suffering and 88% of the proposed government cuts are yet to come. To answer the question, no, the Olympics are not worth it, not by a long-shot.

Thanks to the|G|â„¢ for the picture.