In an earlier post today I took poor Emily Dugan to task for her churnalistic efforts, pointing to the datasets on the London 2012 budget published by the Guardian. In fairness it can't be that easy to dig out the truth from the smorgasbord of possible truths laid before us. Controversial enough is the widespread popular belief - not just amongst journalists - that the budget remains around £9billion. OK, factor in the externalities and news sources such as Sky could have us believe that including the hidden costs the real budget can easily have been as much as £24billion. Who knows?
For example amongst a whole slew of reports published today, one can read in one, a joint UK Government and Mayor of London report[PDF] no less, in the section Regeneration of East London
The significant investment and infrastructure development in and around the Olympic Park in preparation for the Games has accelerated a process of regeneration in East London that began some 30 years ago with the development of London’s Docklands...
With around £6.5 billion invested in transport infrastructure for the Games, the physical transport legacy in East London has been significant. Stratford is now one of the best-connected transport hubs in the country, supporting the local population to access more employment and training opportunities. Upgrades of the Tube, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground infrastructures have been made to increase capacity, frequency and reliability...
Now if I understand correctly, then that "physical transport legacy" has been achieved with £6.5billion which doesn't appear in the 'official' mainstream media friendly version of the budget. How does it all add up?
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Fri, 19/07/2013 - 16:14.
Blog | 2012 Finance | 2012 Legacy | 2012 Media | 2012 Transport | Economics
Tis the season to be jolly and publish utter bullshit about legacies it seems, it being one year on.
Emily Dugan provides an excellent example for The Independent, notably this one-liner
The Olympics brought more than £9bn of investment to east London, much of which went into transport.
Screengrab from Guardian infographic on London 2012 budget: source http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/datablog/interactive/2012/jul/26/london-2012-price-olympic-games-visualised
Not being an accountant, I'd be inclined to subtract that figure of £465million for other transport operating expenditure as likely not being investment in infrastructure legacy, leaving a grand total of £429million? Were Emily to have included such figures it could be a matter of mere semantics whether £429million represents "much" of "more than £9bn of investment" (lets kindly assume she's referring to the official budget here, just this week revised down from £9.3Billion to £8.77Billion?).
We're informed in her following two paragraphs that
Stratford is now second only to King’s Cross as the most connected part of London.
As well as two Underground lines, a high-speed “javelin” train to King’s Cross and the Docklands Light Railway, it may soon be a stop-off for the Eurostar to Paris.
Its almost as if the good Emily is contriving to suggest to the gullible reader that all those things emerge as legacy?
This of course exercises Julian on Twitter:
Sporting as ever, Julian then goes on to offer some clarifcations to some of Emily's other ambiguities in the piece
Did the Games succeed in rejuvenating East London? That was the title Emily has to set up her piece. A question in response, are her own answers derailing?
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Fri, 19/07/2013 - 11:07.
Blog | 2012 Legacy | 2012 Media | 2012 Transport | Finance | Public transport | Railways | Regeneration
After all those grubby little stories about GCHQ tying in with the US Prism surveillance programme and spying on diplomats at the 2009 G20 meetings finally something to vindicate Britain's spooks! Out rushed lurid headlines about how the gallant spies spiked the 'cyber-attack' threat to London's Olympic ceremony. This appalling conspiracy was apparently aimed at turning off the lights in the Olympic stadium!
Having stoked the imaginations of a credulous media it turned out that GCHQ's finest had merely feared that this might happen. In the hushed and secretive tones of a national emergency the BBC reported that Olympic cyber security head Oliver Hoare had said "There was a suggestion that there was a credible attack on the electricity infrastructure supporting the Games." With true Brit sang froid Olly had made himself a strong cup of coffee, after getting the call from GCHQ at 4.45am, while pondering on the catastrophic damage to Britain's reputation if the lights were to go out for thirty seconds while an alleged billion people were watching the ceremony. Actually the billion figure related to Beijing not London where it was in all likelihood several hundred million less.
After a sort of a COBRA meeting, contingency planning, a lot of running around and switching to manual it turned out nothing was happening, there was no conspiracy, nobody was trying to switch off the lights. Still, in almost a parody of the secrecy surrounding Bletchley Park GCHQ, Olly and the rest of the Olympic spooks have held on to their Olympic cyber non-secret for a year before revealing it to an Olympic brainwashed BBC Radio Four. As is usual in these circumstances the spooks declined to speak in detail.
Having stirred the fears of the media with a non-existent threat to the Olympics the secret services then turned to alleged reconnaissance of national infrastructure but once again nothing of any substance was offered, nothing that 'would raise a red flag'. But all this provided good reason for the UK, or GCHQ, 'and its allies' to work together to guard against the threat...or something or other out there...
So another Olympic story to inspire the nation, this time a tale of derring-do in the face of cyber villainy, of how the lights burned through the night at GCHQ to keep the lights on in Stratford.... Damn that Snowden!
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 02:27.
Blog | London 2012 | Security
Carpenters timeline: updated 8 May 2013
Campaigners Carpenters Against Regeneration (CARP) have fiercely opposed the council’s decision to demolish and re-house residents rather than pay for refurbishments and the UCL partnership struck in October last year prompted protests outside the Town Hall.
Chairman Osita Madu said: “It’s good in the sense that we don’t want UCL to have the land and get rid of residents.
“But this means people now face further uncertainty about what will happen to their homes.
“I think CARP now need time to digest this information and decide how we move forward.
“But it’s a lesson for Newham Council and UCL about how they engage with the community.”
UCL and Newham Council axe £1bn campus deal for Carpenters Estate, Stratford
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Wed, 08/05/2013 - 08:56.
Blog | Displacement | Newham | Planning & Development | Regeneration
Alexandra Wrage is the president of TRACE, "an organization that provides sane, cost-effective compliance solutions to the problem of international commercial bribery". She served, for a time, on the Independent Governance Committee of FIFA, football’s governing body. She recently resigned due to a perceived lack of progress from the organisation in improving internal transparency.
She has written the following account of her experiences within FIFA which has been published by Forbes.
"When FIFA’s leaders could no longer ignore the spate of scandals ranging from World Cup hosting decisions to irregularities in its internal elections, they announced a new “reform initiative.” The initiative was declared an effort to restore public confidence in the organization, but has done little more than polish the veneer on an outdated men’s club. The inaptly named Independent Governance Committee, of which I was a member until my resignation last week, was originally comprised of a cross-section of stakeholders, including two people who have since been elevated to FIFA’s Executive Committee, as well as governance professionals. The process has been expensive and time-consuming, but little has really changed back at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.
One area of influence the IGC was assured was the role of nominating experts for key positions. But after the IGC’s nominations were sought to fill two newly designed and critically important positions — the two positions right at the heart of reform efforts — FIFA rejected all of the IGC’s recommendations in favor of its own candidates. (In so doing, FIFA also asked the IGC to stop putting female candidates forward, stating that no female candidate would be acceptable.)
The IGC had another opportunity to effect change when it proposed independent members on the ExCo in order to encourage more transparency and accountability. More than any other recommendation, this would have signaled a willingness to pry open the shutters on the organization. Even carefully controlled and even with an understanding that some items of business would have to remain confidential, this would have brought FIFA in line with well-governed corporations and non-profits worldwide. The ExCo rejected this proposal, lending weight to FIFA’s reputation as a secret society, answerable to no one.
As a matter of common sense, the IGC proposed a neutral, independent background review process for new candidates for senior office to reduce the chance that the organization would be embarrassed by inadvertent association with felons and miscreants and to explore possible conflicts of interest. The ExCo agreed instead to ask candidates to complete a “self-declaration” which, presumably, felons and miscreants would not hesitate to falsify. Days later, the CONCACAF Integrity Committee report described how Jack Warner misspent many millions of dollars of FIFA’s money to improve a property owned by companies he owns.
In line with well-established international practices, the IGC recommended that the FIFA leaders disclose their total compensation, including salary, bonus and perquisites. The ExCo declined, declaring the issue more one of public curiosity than good governance. FIFA benefits from public subsidy through its tax-free status, but FIFA argues that the public has no right to insight into these matters. The public, it seems, also has no right to know the performance criteria upon which these compensation decisions are based.
The IGC recommended age or term limits for key FIFA figures to reduce the stranglehold that permanent presidencies can have on any organization. Blatter has stated that this will be put to a vote at Congress, but has not made clear what terms will be recommended by the ExCo. Anything put to a vote without sufficient detail and ExCo support will, in the commotion that is Congress, likely die on the floor. Meanwhile, the 77 year old Blatter who took office in 1998 has begun to float the idea of standing for election a fifth time in 2015.
Blatter has all but declared “Mission Accomplished”, and in a sense it has been. Opportunities for change have been evaded, finessed or re-directed; he deftly avoids discussion of the recommendations that simply fell off the table over time. He did not debate them and did not explain himself; this is no surprise from a man who describes FIFA as if it were a sovereign state over which he presides.
The IGC has never had any means to compel FIFA to change. The only entity capable of insisting on transparency at FIFA is the Swiss government, to which FIFA’s unapologetic opacity should be as embarrassing as its $1.4 billion in tax-free reserves are interesting. I hope they will act."
See also Transparency International
See also: FIFA's New Ethics Committee Fails First Test
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Fri, 26/04/2013 - 10:35.
Blog | Corruption & Ethics | Mega Events