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London 2012

Death and the Olympic City

There are many tales of the Olympic City, lies, dreams of wealth, and profligate living! And of course, death!


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Olympics blacklisting - 'ODA were deceived, gullible or negligent'

Not so long ago the ODA was being touted by its former Chair, John Armitt, as a model for running infrastructure projects. Politicians and others should not interfere in these projects, which should receive cross-party support, instead they should be overseen by a quango - like the ODA. Armitt's proposal is backed by the Labour Party, which has created a panel to investigate the management of infrastructure projects. Lord Adonis, one of Armitt's panellists, rushed to endorse his proposal.

Armitt's big idea is based on his claim that the ODA 'got it right'. Far from getting it right the ODA failed to carry out its functions safely, as in the botched remediation, harassed and persecuted local residents affected by its programmes at places like Leyton Marsh and Leabank Square and lied constantly about alleged legacies such as Stratford City or the 'largest new park in Europe for 150 years'.

Now further evidence has emerged of its failure to investigate or even pay attention to allegations of blacklisting by its contractors. The case of Frank Morris was already known back in February 2011. The ODA took no action in response to the protests which followed over either the original sacking of a co-worker or of Frank Morris himself, when he raised objections to the original abuse.

In November 2012, the ODA's Chief Executive, Dennis Hone, told the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigating blacklisting:

“The ODA did not receive any evidence or could find any evidence of blacklisting on the Olympic Park during the construction phase or otherwise." He also claimed that: “At that time there was a discussion with our contractors and we requested evidence from people making the allegations and no evidence was forthcoming. If it had been then we would have gone after the contractors involved."


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The Olympic stadium - it's all Crystal clear

While they are trying to figure out what to do with their East London white elephant in Stratford the LLDC has 'ambitious' plans to get its hands on the summer athletics grand prix, usually held at that other place in South London, er Crystal Palace? So that's a two for the price of one legacy of white elephants then?


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What? Now it's 'the largest new urban park for a century' - in the world?

The lie of the 'Largest new park in Europe' has now become so well established that the Press regularly restates it and other Legacy myths even when the Olympic authorities don't use the term. Both the Evening Standard and the Huffington PostUK have informed their readers that the Olympic Park will be the 'largest new urban park for a century'. No attempt is made by these publications to distinguish between the different definitions of the Park, the Olympic Park as a whole, which includes the housing, stadiums and other facilities, and the park or green space. It is the latter space that the ODA and others have successfully sold as this illusory 'Largest new park in Europe' not the Olympic Park as a whole to which these journalists refer. Now the journalists just call it 'the largest new urban park for a century' - what, in the whole world?


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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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Oh! What a lovely legacy!

London 2012 gets another award! In December the Estates Gazette presented the London Legacy Development Corporation with its Outstanding Contribution to Property award to celebrate 'the outstanding progress London has made in securing a lasting legacy'. Outstanding progress? We can’t even get into the Park!


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Can the London 2012 Olympics ‘inspire a generation’? - An overview of systematic reviews

Can the London 2012 Olympics ‘inspire a generation’ to do more physical or sporting activities?

An overview of systematic reviews

Article focus

Increased levels of physical activity are linked with improved health and may play a key role in the prevention or treatment of most noncommunicable diseases.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games aims to leave a long-term legacy, which includes population level increases in physical and sporting activity.

We conducted a systematic review of systematic reviews to establish whether hosting an Olympic games leads to increased participation in such activities.


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Celebration Capitalism!

The Guardian led the way recently with its poll claiming almost 80% of respondents thought the Olympics had cheered Britain up. Hardly surprising considering the constant repetition in the media of the wonders of the Games. In the summer at the height of the medal winning frenzy the Guardian’s poll at the time only found 55% thought the Games worthwhile. When considering whether the Olympics were worth the money the Grauniad relied on the Government’s faulty £9 billion price tag rather than the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s £11 billion or Sky Sports’ more radical up to £24 billion total. However, in other respects the poll had less comfort to offer. 61% considered Britain’s status in the world had diminished in 2012 while 51% thought Britain will still be stuck in a slump at the end of 2013.


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