Let them eat cake … during the Olympics

I don’t get all the excitement about the Olympics. From what I’ve read it is less about sports excellence and prowess and more about corporate hospitality, celebrities and their cronies and money. All subsidised by the British taxpayer, currently to the tune of £6billion, estimated to finish at about £24 billion, around £350 for every household. (Sky Sports investigators discovered this fact through freedom of information questions). For what? If you believe the hype it’s about the ‘Great’ in ‘Great Britain’. Except it’s more about London and what they will get out of it, ripping off tourists, more so than usual. In addition I don’t see any evidence that the benefits will filter down into local communities. We will have the Japanese team here in Loughborough and there’s a festival in the park. Big deal. Is that all we get out of it? Well there’s the debts and useless buildings left behind…

Firstly there was the farce of ticket distribution with the masses fighting for the few tickets allocated to the general public. More recently the news that almost £6 billion will be spent on security and counter-terrorism measures. Tube drivers are being bribed not to strike during the summer. And over £1 million was spent recently taking 30,000 Transport for London staff on a tour of the Olympic Park. I could go on… As for health benefits the Olympics is hardly about good nutrition when three of the main sponsors are McDonalds, Cadburys and Coca Cola. Today we hear that the sick and vulnerable will be at risk as ambulances will be banned from their normal routes to allow VIPs to take a fast lane to the events.

All this reminds me of the TV mini series ‘Versailles’ that I’ve just finished watching. It seems to me that the coalition government has much in common with the Kings Louis and their noble friends when it comes to excess and the place of the ‘third estate’ (that’s us!). Although we learned from commentator Antonia Fraser that Marie Antoinette never said ‘Let them eat cake’ Olympic decision-makers seem to be operating in this spirit. Watching it on the TV will be the nearest that most people get. Not me though!

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