R.F.Wilson writes from London: How about those special lanes appearing on all major London roads for VIP guests to use during the forthcoming London Olympics, to be whisked to top billed competitions and then to parties and shopping sprees? Very Soviet of the organisers to do that, I must say. Just as it is very Soviet of them to tell people to stay away from London generally, not to spoil the festive mood? And how about those hasty efforts to patch up the roads and give a quick cosmetic paint job to the buildings and lamp posts in the capital? That last one is very Soviet indeed, Potemkin Villages and all that.
But that is beside the point really. And the point is this: who actually needs and wants the London Olympics?
OK, let’s point out the obvious beneficiaries. First, it’s the hookers. Yes, these babes are bracing themselves for some serious rise of income in the next few weeks. They are the ones who were probably jumping with joy when the first announcement about London winning the bid to host the Olympics in 2012 came through. And drug dealers were obviously overjoyed by the news as well, because any influx of people, who have pretty much nothing to do and have money to burn, means demand for dope rockets.
And let’s not forget pickpockets. These guys and girls must have serious plans for the London Games because there is nothing more exciting for them than mixing with crowds of tourists, with their wallets sticking out temptingly from bags and pockets. All that lovely cash and credit cards. Mouthwatering prospects for the fans of speedy wealth redistribution.
And then there are the hoteliers, who are going to charge a fortune for their rooms for the whole period of the Games, even though it gives London a bad name. Remember how the papers here were screaming that Ukrainian hotels and landlords pushed up their prices during Euro2012? Well, I can tell you that London hotels are putting Ukrainians to shame, slapping a grand on each room, the greedy bastards!
And of course the London mayor Boris Johnson and his lot are looking forward to blowing some serious money on entertaining guests and having some good times themselves. Olympic Games are a treat for anyone who knows how to promote themselves during big sporting festivals, so we might just as well throw in some politicians into the pot who will be milking the occasion for PR.
Athletes involved in obscure sports are big beneficiaries of the London Olympics as well, with the prospect of getting some serious attention after four years of obscurity. Fencers and cyclists and weightlifters, women especially, would be basking in the spotlight of sorts, giving interviews and telling about their punishing routines, as if anyone out there is interested.
But if you add up all these people you would get a tiny number compared to the millions who would be suffering during the Olympics, and even more people, who are going to foot the bill for this useless non-event that should have been mothballed in a time of a fierce global recession. The 20 billion smackers that the Olympics would cost eventually could have been better spent. And if the British government took a firm stand and said that it was postponing the Olympics due to economic circumstances few people would have objected. Apart, of course, from the ones mentioned above.
But that can only happen in dreams. These days common sense in not in fashion. And it’s a shame really.