Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:06 pm Post subject: 24 BILLION BILL FOR THE OLYMPICS, WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY
|country, rescue RBS, lower taxes, build the HS2... or spend it on Mr Crow's unions' blackmailBy Steve Doughty
Last updated at 11:04 PM on 27th January 2012
There is a lot you could do with £24 billion.
It would pay to defend the country for about six months. Or perhaps you could add it to the existing defence budget, and give the navy six aircraft carriers instead of two, with a bit to spare to avoid making too many soldiers redundant.
You could buy the Royal Bank of Scotland from the Government, probably for less than £24 billion the way the share price keeps falling. Then you could be chief executive and pay yourself a £1 million bonus.
Staff on the Docklands Light Railway network - which will carry spectators to and from the Olympics - have been offered a 25 per cent increase in overtime
And when the bank goes bust the Government will buy it back off you again.
You could give the entire population of the north of England, as far south as the Humber and the Mersey, the same special taxpayer subsidies that the Scots enjoy, for a year.
You could build the Coalition’s treasured new super railway, HS2, three quarters of the way from London to Birmingham. Alternatively, you could put another 72 miles of it into tunnels in order to protect the seats of Tory MPs.
Or you could give the money to Bob Crow.
We’re not actually giving it all to Mr Crow.Just some of it, to his deserving union members who drive the trains. It’s their little drink from the £24 billion slush fund that the Olympics has become.
The £24 billion is not the official figure, by the way. That remains at £9.3 billion, slightly less than four times the original Olympics budget, and still, in my view, the sort of sum you would miss if you lost it down the back of the sofa.
But Sky News has added up all the costs that get left out of the official budget, such as buying land, anti-terrorism measures, conversion of venues after the Games, extras like employing anti-doping staff to try to keep the athletes straight, and transport costs.
Their sums work out at £24 billion, over 10 times the original budget, and, you have to ask, which do you believe?
If this were a horse race, the form book would not favour the Whitehall estimate. We should take the advice of Damon Runyon, who said the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.
So, those transport costs.
'Waste of money': Taxpayers' money was used to pay for this £335,000 Olympic sculpture by Richard Harris, which will greet motorists entering the sailing events in Weymouth, Dorset
We have learned that Mr Crow’s RMT has secured special pay worth up to £2,500 for workers on the Docklands Light Railway in return for their taking the trouble to turn up for work during the Games. Tube and London railway workers have already been given similar Olympics deals, and there may be strikes on the buses unless drivers and mechanics and so on get the same consideration.
By July this principle looks likely to extend to drinks all round. How about road maintenance workers? NHS staff? Surely water and energy workers will want a look in? The police cannot be left out – although we can be sure their overtime payments will in any case reflect officers’ onerous responsibilities.
Which, by the way, will include arresting anyone who tries to advertise anything near an Olympics site without first paying off the International Olympics Committee. So much for our guaranteed European human right of free expression.
'Bragging': Bob Crow, the RMT Union's General Secretary
Our money will be paying for a number of very large artworks, all of them attempting to outdo the Angel of the North in the national championship of kitsch. This week we have had £335,000 worth of sandstone and stainless steel toadstools in a field outside Weymouth. Another triumph for the Arts Council.
You may have noticed that the opening and closing ceremonies of the games will come with a bill of £81 million. They will be organised by a famous film director. Some may think this sort of thing is great popular art. It always makes me think of North Korea.
It’s not as if we will get a world-beating sporting spectacle for our money. I do not see vast crowds and TV revenue millions being attracted to beach volleyball between Olympics. Nor to synchronised swimming, or swimming at all for that matter.
When I went to the pub last Sunday the drinkers gathered round the big screen were not watching wrestling, or archery, or fencing, or judo, or water polo, or handball, or gymnastics – rhythmic, or weightlifting.
Nothing against any of these sports or performances, you understand, I just don’t see why I have to pay to put them on.
I like watching athletics and boxing, and I admire athletes and boxers, when they are not cheating. But the same applies: why I am paying to stage a competition for sports that can very well afford to do it for themselves?
More...Waste on an Olympian scale! £335,000 of taxpayers' money goes on giant toadstools sculpture in muddy Dorset field to mark London games
Blackmail pays! Strike-threatening railway union negotiates extra £2,500 to work during Olympics
International prestige? Nuts. International prestige has about as much value as the influence politicians always warn us we will lose if we don’t do as the European Union tells us.
The cost of all this is not trivial. £24 billion amounts to more than £800 for every income tax payer in the country.
The Olympics has a long history of boycotts, and it may be time for another one. Forget queueing on-line for hours in the hope of getting ridiculously overpriced tickets for the badminton. Spend the last week of July and the first two weeks of August without TV in Scarborough, Barmouth, Dunoon, Portrush, Biarritz, Barcelona, Rome, or anywhere but London. I’d rather be in Philadephia.
Its all to satisfy the egos of the despicable little newt Livingstone and the repulsive megalomaniac Coe and the totally corrupt Olympic Committee. it should permanently be held in Athens and restricted to Atheletics and the original sports.