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What a load of old Cockells

Sir Merrick Cockell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council is according to this Daily Mail piece the highest paid Councillor in the country and a very creative first-class gravy train (and plane) rider.

They no doubt say you need to offer adequate compensation to get finely crafted Olympowaffle of the quality seen below, taken from the RBKC website. I particularly like the image of them 'quietly working against the clock' on the Olympic site - no doubt the noise is not noticeable coccooned in one's Bentley in Kensington, but local residents perceive it slightly differently.

Truly awesome, to quote Sir M.

The London Olympics

Something quite extraordinary has been taking place in London over the past few years. Unless you live in east London, it has gone on in the background, but very soon it will take centre stage and when it does my hope is that you will join me in being lost in admiration.

I’m talking of course about the London Olympics. As part of the Open House weekend, I recently visited the Olympic Park with my family. Thousands of men and women have been quietly working against the clock to make it happen: builders, tradesmen, engineers, architects, planners of both town and transport, police officers, administrators, the list goes on and on and on. Their collective effort is truly awesome - see for yourself. (opens a new window)

The project is on time and below budget. The seats are going in at the Olympic Stadium, the “pod” bathrooms are in the Athletes’ Village and thousands of trees have been planted. The scale is vast but what impressed me most was the way everything is planned for life beyond 2012 and fits the times we live in and the British character.

The Olympic Stadium does not compete with Beijing’s grandiose Bird’s Nest. Standing in the middle, it almost feels domestic. It will seat 80,000 but has a sustainable future life with 60,000 sets or less. The Aquatics Centre is an undulating beauty but with temporary wings for additional spectators that will be dismantled after the Games. The Basketball Arena is entirely temporary. It is being offered to Rio for their 2016 Olympics. What a stroke of genius to have a range of temporary Olympic buildings that could be reused, keeping the cost down and helping keep the Olympics movement closer to its founding principles.

We all know how great sporting events can grip the public imagination and we know too that that the nation is deeply affected by the ups and down of its sports teams. Well, all that will be as nothing compared to what’s at stake in 2012. I am talking about nothing less than national pride.

For who can doubt that, if our games are seen as poorly organised, if there are serious failings, we will surely embark not just on national soul searching, but the tabloid-led self-annihilation which seems such a feature of our collective psyche these days. No one wants that, at least I hope not. But if the Olympics themselves are run as the Olympic Park development has been then we should have real confidence that London will do itself proud.

Inevitably the impact of 2012 is going to be felt in the Royal Borough. We have volleyball at Earl’s Court; not a big sport here, I know but globally, absolutely massive. And not all the plans for events are completely finalised so there could yet be others taking place down our way.

In addition we have lots of hotels, shops and the country’s best museums, so we are bound to have millions of Olympic goers paying us a visit. And of course the main routes in from, and out to, Heathrow pass right through the borough so we can expect a lane closure or two.

Inevitably this will all mean a bit of disruption and inconvenience. We have already set our officers the task of working out just how we’ll be affected and coming up with a plan to minimise the hassle. We’ll be telling you about that plan in the Royal Borough newspaper, here on our website and in the local press too.

There’s bound to be a bit of grumbling of course and I’ll certainly be doing a bit of my own dark muttering should I find myself stuck in a jam as a convoy of isotonic drinks sweeps past me in the Olympics lane, accompanied by police outriders. But that irritation will soon pass. The disruption will only be temporary. What’s important is that the London Olympics, Britain’s Olympics, is one of the best ever. And if it’s going to be that, we will all have to get behind it. We will have to support our Olympics organisers and our Olympians. In the words of a recent former resident: “We are all in this together”.

Sir Merrick Cockell - Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council

The stadium project is on time and under budget, when you look at the history of major public buildings like the British Library and the Scottish Parliament building, you have to ask what went right and how can we repeat it?

Do you think that London and the borough’s tourist industry will benefit from an influx of Olympic spectators?

How will London’s and the borough’s road network cope with lane closures on some of roads during the Olympics?

Whether you wanted the Olympics or not do you agree with me that the last thing we want now is to put on a bad show? As Londoners, we have to be the best hosts yet, even it does mean some disruption.