Olympic Opulence: Bread and circuses without the bread

David Cameron in Trafalgar Square
A clown at the circus

I am getting increasingly unhappy about the Olympic games. I have no problem with the concept of international sporting events, but the obscene amount of money that has been spent on the 2012 Olympics disgusts me. The budget has constantly increased and rather than the £2.4 billion that was expected in 2005 we will actually spend £9.3 billion on the games. That is even more than the horrific £9 billion that has been cut from welfare. The budgets for the opening ceremony and the security around the event have both recently been doubled. Jeremy Hunt said this week that we will not have an austerity Olympics because we must harness the opportunity. He said that hosting the Olympics would have a “massively positive impact” on economic confidence. David Cameron talked about “the global drama of the Olympics and the glory of the diamond jubilee”, and insisted that we should “look our best” and “feel pride in who we are and what we can achieve.”

Both of these statements seem to show that they care more about how the UK looks to the rest of the world than about how we develop our country or distribute our resources. There is an argument that looking good to the rest of the world might bring foreign investment to the UK but but quite honestly I think that’s irrelevant. It is unlikely to create any jobs where they matter and all the profits simply leave the country and return to the investors. And to be honest, they’re not very clever investors if they are fooled by some fancy games and by seeing idiots waving flags for a redundant queen.

Much was made of the benefits that the 2004 Olympics would bring to Athens and Greece but after that event the new infrastructure languished unused and bringing no economic benefit. There might be some benefit from the new infrastructure after the 2012 games are finished – thousands of homes have been built for the Olympic Village and housing association Triathlon Homes will purchase 1,379 of those homes. Another 1,439 homes will be bought by investors Qatari Diar and developers Delancey at a loss of £157 million. Personally I think that if these homes are being sold at a loss then they should ALL be social housing, not privately-rented homes. After all, our government is slashing housing benefit to save money and yet is not finding any alternative homes that people can afford to live in. And we still don’t even know what we will do with the Olympic Stadium after the games.

It has been reported that four thousand BMW cars have been purchased so that VIPs can be chauffeur-driven through London for the Olympics in reserved lanes and automatically given green lights that will cause chaos for all the other traffic in London. (Also in The Telegraph and The Daily Mail for those that way inclined.) Presumably this has been done to impress rich and important people and damn the consequences for the peasants. Overall the Olympics look to bring travel chaos and huge disruption for most ordinary people in London.

This is, quite literally, a case of Bread and Circuses. Keep the population happy with trivial entertainment and give them food and the politicians can screw the country over for the benefit of themselves and their banker friends without interference. Except the Tories seem to have messed even this simple thing up – there’s no bread. Bread has been cut.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

4 thoughts on “Olympic Opulence: Bread and circuses without the bread”

  1. Am I to take it that you believe the welfare of
    population at large is more or less irrelevant to our ruling elites?  If that’s
    the case, what should we do about it?


    Cheers Joe

  2. bring back real gladiators.i would watch that.i would like to see gangs of convicted looters fight for there freedom.( to the death).

  3. We could have cleared the ground and built hundreds of houses on the site – I would rather my taxes gone on that than this.  So many back handers, and who benefits from it ,….. Once again those like Banks, the already well off and the criminal classes.

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