Back in September Games Monitor reported that the amount of affordable housing in the Aftermath Zone (it's time to think of some more imaginative names than the QEII Park - suggestions welcome) would be reduced to 28%. The LLDC had waited to reveal this to, of all people, an American Community Land Trust organiser, Greg Rosenberg, who was visiting London to promote CLTs.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 23/04/2013 - 03:41.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Mon, 01/04/2013 - 00:00.
The personal story of Olympic pundit, filmmaker and journalist, Mike Wells: an entertaining yet troubling tale of wrongful imprisonment and intrigue. Wells uses the London Olympics as a lens through which to look at the state of Britain.
The case against me was the result of an unscheduled Olympic boxing match. It occurred in April 2012 at Leyton Marshes outside a construction site where basketball courts were being built for the Games. Local opposition to the basketball facility was passionate because it was being erected on much loved parkland. Protesting grandmothers, dog walkers, and transvestites amongst others had made themselves unpopular by sitting in front of construction vehicles. I was there shooting footage for my film ‘London Takes Gold’.
I arrived at Leyton Marshes, a beautiful green space in East London, to find an excavator working in open parkland without safety measures. ‘Worth filming’ I thought. A passing walker suddenly veered from his course and stood in front of the machine. He started yelling at the driver to stop work owing to the likelihood of crushing dogs and people with the machine’s wildly swinging arm.
Submitted by Mike Wells on Fri, 29/03/2013 - 15:13.
In a house in the London suburb of Ealing, hired for the occasion by a film company, an actor playing the part of an average guy, is checking in a mirror how he looks in his recently bought shirt. Out from behind the mirror steps the winner of the recent Olympic women’s heptathlon who reels off some spiel about a 2% discount. The actor/guy plays gobsmacked that this princess should emerge from behind his mirror, announce some cashback offer then humiliate him over his new shoes.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Thu, 28/03/2013 - 20:00.
Five of the 182 Critical Mass cyclists arrested for riding their bikes near the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony were finally convicted of breaching section 12 of the Public Order Act. Section 12 is intended "to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community." In this instance, the police, taking extraordinary measures under the Olympic state of exception, set up road blocks on bridges to stop the cyclists crossing the Thames, an action which caused far more serious disruption than anything the cyclists were likely to achieve, even if this was their intention.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 18/03/2013 - 17:30.
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.
For the Olympics the abnormal becomes normal. One of the most astonishing things to happen at London 2012 was the building of an electrified fence around the Olympic Park. The idea that this was necessary or sensible was seldom questioned. It may well be that most people didn’t even realise it had been done. People were constantly surprised when I pointed it out to them. But even those who did know of it probably thought the electricity was only on during the Games. Not so.
In December I asked the ODA
‘Is the electric fence around the Olympic Park still in use as an electric fence? If not, when was it last operated as an electric fence?’
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 21/02/2013 - 00:52.
So what exactly is an Olympic sports legacy? The Government seems to think it is more spectacles of elite sport. George Osborne has decided to waive tax rules to allow Usain Bolt and other top athletes to attend the Grand Prix event to be held at the Olympic Stadium in the summer. He says this is to ‘secure the Olympic Legacy’. Bolt hasn’t yet said he will come. Boris, son of John, has also weighed in with a spectacle of his own, a two day cycling festival to be attended by up to 70,000 including elite cyclists like Wiggo and Trott. Spiffing away Boris said: ‘"Following the superhuman efforts of our Team GB cyclists last year, thousands of cycling enthusiasts, both experienced and amateur, riding a fantastic route through the streets of our fine city is surely a fitting legacy’.
Elsewhere local media are now regularly reporting so-called ‘Olympic Legacy grants’ being made to clubs around the country. Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club, for example, has been given £50,000 to ‘revamp facilities’. Warlingham Squash and Racketball Club in Surrey has also got £50,000 to make improvements like putting in a boiler and building women’s changing rooms. Several clubs in Northamptonshire are to share £500,000 to do up their facilities. These grants are described as ‘Olympic legacies’. However, it is hard to see what is specifically Olympic about the grants. They are just National Lottery funds which are being distributed by Sport England from a pot of £16.6million from something called the Inspired Facilities Fund.
A couple of sports festivals and a £16.6million fund are not going to make much impression on the present furore surrounding the decline in school sports funding. Far from inspiring a generation London 2012 saw sport participation in the target group of 16 to 25year olds fall.
Nor does it make up for the £2.175billion taken from the National Lottery for the Olympics. This raid on the Lottery included the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds taken from children’s sport in the name of elite sport. Nor has the DCMS repaid the Big Lottery Fund from which it grabbed £638.098million. After over a year of lobbying and a campaign now supported by more than 3,200 charities demanding the return of £425million of the stolen funds it has indicated it may repay £100 to £150million, but not until 2014 at the earliest. Jowell originally promised to repay all the Big Lottery Fund money. The DCMS also say in an attached Freedom of Information response: 'Repayments will not include interest based on inflation'. Most of that is probably lost for good. The rest, of course, will not be repaid at all.
A full rundown of the money taken from the Lottery, which could have been spent on other, better causes was provided in the DCMS Freedom of Information response:
'a total of £2.175 billion of Lottery funding is included in the £9.298bn public sector funding provision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games…
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 04:05.