Monday, February 07, 2005

Scrap the London Olympics

I used to think those anti-capitalism anarchists were just a bunch of bright green dreadlocks and mangy dogs on bits of string. But that was before I checked out’s Scrap the London Olympics page. Now I’m with them.

They highlight the huge costs of the bid, and the spurious nature of the much hyped spin-off benefits like regeneration. To the extent these are important, they should be provided directly, not as part of some sprawling circus that will inevitably run way over budget, draining resources from all manner of good causes elsewhere (see earlier post).

I couldn’t agree more. The facts are these: the government estimates the games will cost £4.7 billion, but will bring in £2.4 billion of revenue. Against that, the Sydney Olympics cost more than twice their original budget, while Athens ran at least four times over. And as the Picketts Lock and Dome fiascos amply demonstrated, the ability of our government to stay within project budgets is roughly zero.

So the final cost of the games would probably be upwards of five to ten billion. On top of the complete disruption of London for months.

Like me, you’re probably already rooting for our new good friends across the Channel, but we can now link arms with some even newer friends closer to home.

I’m off out to get a couple of nose studs.

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