Two weeks ago the trial began of nine members of Critical Mass, out of 182 originally arrested, for riding their bikes too close to the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony. Another malicious Olympics prosecution (see p 12), that of citizen journalist and photographer Mike Wells, finally came to an end almost two months ago on 17th January 2013. The story began with an unsubstantiated allegation that Mike assaulted the driver of an excavator at Sandy Lane, the unmade road that runs alongside Leyton Marshes, and ended nine months later at Stratford Magistrate’s Court. Mike’s prosecution occurred against a background of warnings from police and politicians that the authorities would take a hard line in the face of protest and disorder.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sun, 10/03/2013 - 23:15.
Olympic legacy: ‘this is where they practised hammerthrow and I don't think it's benefited us very much’
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 12/02/2013 - 14:00.
Further to the Olympicsboostsh*t report on Games Monitor the rise in GDP was declared to be 1% not 0.7%. When it announced the figures the BBC reported the ONS as saying that 'beyond the effect of ticket sales, it was hard to put an exact figure on the Olympic effect, although it cited increased hotel and restaurant activity in London as well as strength from employment agencies.' This last statement is interesting as it is reported there was a decline in tourism numbers and in hotel occupancy but this was made up for with a rise in room yields because prices had been jacked up in anticipation of a tourism feast. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) had reported a plunge in visitors to attractions all over the UK during the summer, including the Olympics period.
The ONS makes a guarded statement about online retail sales where others were more outspoken about the decline. Retailers and restaurants were complaining at the start of the Games at the decline in customers and demanded TfL alter its transport advice and these impacts continued to be felt in particular areas like Greenwich and Leyton. The ONS stated that it had fixed Olympics ticket sales in the figures for this quarter even though the sales had actually occurred in previous months.
Statements from the ONS include a lot of possibles, mays, mights and 'no direct evidence':
*Employment agencies showed some strength in the quarter and it is possible that some of this strength was related to the Olympics. However, there was no direct evidence from survey respondents to support this
*Office administration: office administration was quite strong in the quarter but the evidence on any Olympic effect was mixed, with some respondents suggesting that it may have had an adverse effect, as opposed to explaining the strength
*Creative arts and entertainment activities: the arts and entertainment sector has been showing some strength for some time, with quite strong growth in the most recent quarter. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics
*Accommodation: hotels showed greater activity in the quarter and this was one area where one might expect to see an Olympic effect, albeit mainly in London. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics
*Food and beverage services: there was some strength in the food and drink sector and some evidence from survey returns that part of this might have been due to the Olympics
*Land transport: there was some strength in parts of the transport sector and some evidence from survey returns that this might have been due to the Olympics
*Retail: retail showed some strength in the quarter but there was very little evidence of any significant Olympic effect. Indeed there was some feedback from online retailers that sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online
*Motion picture, video and TV programme production: the data here were quite weak for the quarter and there was some evidence from survey respondents to support this weakness - 'people watching the Olympics instead'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 30/10/2012 - 16:00.
It's a daily occurrence at Draper's Field. Once again the police, this time two very pleasant officers from Glasgow, came to check out an Italian camera crew. We were on the pavement so entirely on public ground. It made no difference! So you can sit on a wall, be on the path inside the perimeter of Draper's Field or on the public pavement outside it, filming or just voice recording, but you will still be stopped. You can even have all the necessary accreditation but they will still come and ask what you are doing. The security guards don't get involved any more after multiple confrontations and being told it's none of their business. Their guy in the control room just calls the police.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 03/08/2012 - 21:15.
Yet again filming in Leyton was interrupted by two police officers, who told us they had been sent by a supervisor to tell us to move off the pathway on the private land that is Draper's Field, a path paid for by the residents of Waltham Forest and open to members of the public to walk up and down on. We were instructed to move onto the pavement which would have caused an obstruction, there was no obstruction where we were, and we ended up on the grass embankment which was of course part of the private Draper's Field. The police just gave up. The sheer stupidity of this operation resulted in footage of intrusive and objectionable security. The Dutch journalist took to filming the array of security cameras which festoon the electrified fence.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 03/08/2012 - 03:21.
by Kevin Blowe
This is a piece I wrote for Peace News - an edited version appears in its next issue.
With weeks to go before the start of this summer's London Olympics, a sense of foreboding has descended on many of the people who, like me, live and work in Newham in east London, one of the poorest and most ethnically diverse parts of the capital. This anxiety, shared even by those who are enthusiastic about the spectacle of the Games, has been raised by the stories over the last six months about snipers in helicopters, missile launchers on tower blocks and RAF fighters in the skies during the Olympics and repeated predictions that it may be almost impossible to leave the borough during peak periods. People speak of feeling trapped by the arrival of an event that seems more like an invading army of occupation than a welcome visitor.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Wed, 27/06/2012 - 23:09.
Being filmed next to Draper's Field. Security guard told us we couldn't film Olympic sites. Told him we were on public land. He called the police who agreed we could film but said hoped we understood why the guards were worried. Took film crew's details. Said if anyone climbed in they would know where to come!
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 22/06/2012 - 00:28.
GamesMonitor has been sent a copy of a letter to a relative of a user of day centres for dementia sufferers. From a manager of dementia support at Waltham Forest, it reads:
Closure of day clubs during Olympics period
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Tue, 19/06/2012 - 08:40.