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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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Sochi 2014 - Risks or Rights?

NoSochi2014 is a campaign by Circassians living outside Russia, who want to draw attention to the genocide perpetrated against their people 150 years ago. Sochi happens to be the capital of their former homeland, Circassia, so its choice as the location for the 2014 Winter Olympics is a source of further pain as no recognition is given to Circassia or to what occurred a century and a half ago. On the contrary the Sochi Olympics is seen as providing an opportunity for the Russian state to create a new reality and simply paint the Circassians out of history.


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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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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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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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Statewatch: A “clean city”: the Olympic Games and civil liberties by Chris Jones

A report by Statewatch

In 2005, the UK won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Seven years later, the Games are due to begin, but they are not without controversy. Sponsors of the Games – including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Cadbury’s, BP and, perhaps most controversially, Dow Chemical [1] – were promised “what is chillingly called a ‘clean city’, handing them ownership of everything within camera distance of the games.” [2] In combination with measures put in place to deal with what have been described as the “four key risks” of terrorism, protest, organised crime and natural disasters, [3] these measures have led to a number of detrimental impacts upon civil liberties, dealt with here under the headings of freedom of expression; freedom of movement; freedom of assembly; and the right to protest. The Games will be hosted in locations across the country, but primarily in London, which is main the focus of this analysis.


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This might be a very small, very local Olympics legacy story...

At the end of July 2012 residents of Wick Village rallied to oppose ODA plans for the construction of a new bridge to cross the canal from Gainsborough School. The original bridge had been just for the use of children to get to their playing field on the opposite side of the canal at Arena Fields, a beautiful green space enjoyed by local residents which was destroyed to make way for the Media Centre. The new bridge, however, would include a ramp to allow for possible future public access to the bridge which would take away 30% of residents' communal space and leave the rest unusable. It also meant there was a danger their estate would become a through route for people trying to reach the Media Centre. Residents thought they had succeeded in defeating the plans when the ODA (not Hackney!) turned down the proposal.

However, things have followed a familiar pattern where the Olympics are concerned. After the latest meeting to discuss the revised plans one of the original objectors, Dee Dee O'Connell, tweeted:

'they're doing almost exactly the same thing as last time. Possibly worse.'


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Blacklisting - Ian Kerr comes clean

So now we have it from the horse's mouth. Ian Kerr of The Counsulting Association has given evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee that 'Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and possibly Skanska' had used his services to run blacklisting checks on workers employed on the Olympic Park.


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Olympic closures continue

Local knowledge is invaluable! @grahamdwalter Graham Walter informs us 18 Nov #ThamesPath still closed @EtonDorney 2.5 months after #Olympics.


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It's the East End stupid!

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has been at it again. Following its espousal of the as yet uninhabited E20 postcode it is now predicting a boom based on the vibrant technology, creative and media sectors of the East End. However, this is located not in the attractive E20 zone but in the areas of Shoreditch, Hoxton and Bethnal Green. Of course, these are not usually associated with London 2012 but, no matter, a plug is still given to the Olympics, which supposedly accelerated the trend and brought with it a housing and transport infrastructure boom! That the Athletes' Village remains unoccupied and no housing has yet been built on the Olympic Park, no new transport infrastructure was introduced as a result of the Olympics and E20 and the Shoreditch, Hoxton, Bethnal Green areas are several miles apart are insignificant details to the researchers with their 'unparalleled range of skills and expertise'.


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