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London 2012

East v West, the battle goes on

So the little guy hasn't given up after all. Barry Hearn says Leyton Orient plan to fight on to prevent West Ham taking over the Olympic stadium.


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London tourists aren't smiling

Will tourists be returning to London after their experience of the Olympics? Maybe not. Apparently visitors to London did not find the city friendly despite all the adoring coverage of Games Makers overcoming London's unfriendly image. It was also not found to be clean, safe and definitely not good value for money by comparison with rival destinations.


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Star Struck by missiles

It was hard to see how putting missiles on the top of flats enhanced security during the Olympics. If a plane had managed to penetrate the exclusion zone and had not been destroyed by Tornados out in the countryside shooting it down over London would plainly cause massive casualties. It seemed at the time this was simply a demonstration of the power of the state to take this kind of action (the missiles were installed without the agreement of the residents, the MOD said they would only be consulted after the decision to use them had been taken) to impress corporations and governments and show off its hardware.


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Was that the Euro 2012 Olympics?

The headline of a BBC Newsbeat article declares 'London Olympics dominate 2012 Google searches in the UK.' So presumably the most searched terms would be something along the lines of 'London 2012 Olympics'. Hmm, apparently not. The article continues:


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Democratic deficit

The principal legacy of the Olympics, apart from the endless lying, seems to be they just stop people thinking. Now John Armitt has said infrastructure projects should follow the example of the Olympics - they should get cross party support and politicians shouldn't interfere! It should just be down to a quango to decide on projects like building nuclear power stations or new runways. So don't ask questions and just dish out the dosh to the corporations.


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Turning a deaf ear

One of the curiosities of the Olympics is how other groups like to be associated with it regardless of the realities on the ground. For example the Noise Abatement Society gave the ODA its so-called 'silent approach' award for its code of construction back in 2010. It specified the following:

The ODA’s Community Relations team work closely with the contractors to ensure that the construction programme has little impact on residents living close by. This is achieved through:

the provision of a free Construction Hotline

regular residents’ construction update meetings for people living closest to the park

the Corporate Social Responsibility programme and community events.


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West Ham to get hammered again?

As expected West Ham are the preferred bidders for the Olympic stadium. The usual claims of hundreds of jobs, legacy benefits, more visitors to the Park, social inclusion, community involvement and profit sharing if the club sells up accompanied the announcement. Actually, as with the rest of the Olympics, this has far more to do with property development and the prospects for making a killing on the redevelopment of the old Green Street ground. Of course, if the owners did sell out it might well be because the club was bankrupt or the owners were experiencing financial difficulties, they already have debts of over £80 million, so there might well not be any profits to share. As for the idea that a football club will attract more visitors to the Park I wasn't aware that many people visit Green Street because West Ham are located there. On the contrary, especially on match days it may have the opposite effect with people trying to avoid the crowds.


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The not so inspiring Olympics

Far from inspiring a generation to take up sport it seems the Olympics has actually been accompanied by a decline in the level of participation among the target group of young people. Sport England's latest survey shows a decline among 16 to 25 year olds from 55.7% to 54% since the Olympic bid was won in 2005. Adults and women have shown an increase, with a leap in July and August, although the rise among women follows a fall in last year's survey. The main increases have been among the better off who already enjoy far higher levels of activity while the much lower levels of participation among poorer groups have barely changed. The original target set by the previous government was to get one million more people to participate in sport three times a week in the five years to 2013. They are still 500,000 from that goal.


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