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Mega Sporting Events, Politics & Security in Brazil & Scotland in 2014

Policing of World Cup 2014 protest in Brazil: photo: mediaNINJAphoto: MídiaNINJA

by Janine Ewen, originally published on June 25, 2014 in RioOnWatch.

The World Cup in Brazil has brought unprecedented criticism of the ways in which sporting mega-events are organized and scrutiny over who actually benefits. Though distinct in context and scale, the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2014 to be hosted in Scotland draws a comparison with the World Cup in Brazil and the way such events are politically charged. The Commonwealth Games 2014 (G2014), to be hosted by the city of Glasgow in Scotland has been described by Shona Robison, Scotland’s Minister for Sport and Equality, as having the “core value of equality, aiming to engage individuals from all backgrounds.” The event will begin on July 23, just ten days after the World Cup final in Brazil. Just a few days before the World Cup kicked off in São Paulo last week, President Dilma Rousseff hosted an exclusive dinner for journalists and other critics of the World Cup to promote the investment on infrastructure projects in Brazil and to dissolve uncertainty of FIFA’s presence in the twelve host cities. Despite the show of confidence, protests and intense international media coverage over the last year have exposed Brazil’s inequalities, corruption, misplaced public priorities and human rights violations to the world. Commonwealth Games host city Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland and third largest city in the UK, is also widely known for its political and social problems, with high crime, poverty, mortality, unemployment and overall deprivation rates. It was recently announced the UK’s sickest city. With evident social problems and increasing emphasis on the “legacy” as a justifying tool for mega-events, there is pressure for both Brazil and Scotland to achieve a sustainable legacy, but host “goals” extend beyond successfully realizing the events and legacy plans.


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Tessa Jowell - Joan of Arc of the Allotments?

This article has been modified on receipt of further information.

London's failed Olympic Legacy creates strange bedfellows. It seems London2012's scandalous allotments' legacy, which has been totally ignored up to now by politicians and journalists, has scandalised former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, who has weighed in accusing the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority of breaking the promise made to the Manor Gardens Allotment Society.

In a letter dated 25th March 2014 sent to Dennis Hone, CEO of the LLDC, and copied to Shaun Dawson, CEO of the LVRPA, Martin Esom, CEO of Waltham Forest Council, and Phillip Lewis, Chair of the LLDC Planning Committee, she points out that the Manor Gardens Society 'co-operated' with London2012 following 'assurances' that 're-provision would be made within the Olympic Park'. This had resulted in a decision to create two sites at 'Eton Manor and the southern areas of the park'. However, the decision by the LLDC on 25th February 2014 to agree an application by Waltham Forest, supported by the LVRPA, to create 'community landscaping' in place of the allotments at Eton Manor means:

'the MSG members have had the commitment to them broken. It was the responsibility of the planning committee to ensure that the promise made is met.'


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Regeneration, the 2012 Olympics and the gentrification of East London

It's Not For Us

Paul Watt

This paper examines the much-hyped 2012 Olympic Games ‘legacy’ in relation to the displacement experiences of lower-income East Londoners. The paper begins by outlining the overall context of housing-related regeneration including the reduced role for social housing, especially council (public) housing in London.


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A Bankrupt Field of Dreams

The fraught disputes over how best to recoup the high construction and maintenance costs of the London Olympic stadium conform to a pattern previously seen elsewhere in England and abroad. The story of the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield provides a cautionary tale of how the visionary delusions of ambitious politicians end up ruining the chances of ordinary people gaining adequate access to affordable opportunities for healthy recreation.


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Rage against the LVRPA

The Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in in the post-Olympics discontent with a campaign in South London against paying any more money to the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority in North-East London. Local politicians are annoyed that South London boroughs each pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to maintain the Lea Valley Park, which South Londoners seldom use, when it has just gained tax-payer funded facilities worth £170 million from the Olympics. They've got their own Regional Park in the Wandle Valley and think the money should go there.


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(kuhn-ver-juhns) n:

Convergence: Screengrab from London Evening Standard,  http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/social-cleansing-row-over-bid-to-move-newham-council-tenants-7675561.html


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when's the divorce?

The BBC describes the Stadium deal as an "unavoidable marriage". We're left to wonder exactly how much Newham paid for the wedding present?. Coe's concerns weren't for footie of course or he'd have done some research:

"Whisper it quietly, but football fans rarely want to watch football in an Olympic Stadium".


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Honours even?

The New Year’s Honours list revealed interesting definitions of what it is to be heroic. Sports men and women like Wiggins, Ennis and Ainslie were granted top honours and Lord Coe became a Companion of Honour, a special honour given for service of conspicuous national importance and limited to 65 people at any one time.


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