— The Erimtan Angle —

A lot of hype surrounds this year’s Olympic Games in London. And the UK has not spared any costs . . . hosting ‘the 2012 Summer Games cost a mere $14 billion’,[1] while the Cameron government has spent months preaching austerity and cutting services. . . but spending money to offer illusory comforts or sheer escapist fantasies is arguably cheaper than tackling real problems upsetting real people.

The ‘satirical, sardonic, and mildly offensive’ Daily Shame opines: ‘Dunno about you but this double-dip recession’s going rather well isn’t it. I read in the papers that austerity is the only path to growth, you see. David Cameron said so. George Osborne said so. I don’t know if you’ve heard of George Osborne, but he’s the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesdays, Wednesday mornings and Fridays between 11am and 2pm. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of David Cameron, but he’s the fat-faced fella who follows businessmen around with his tongue out saying “I’ll spread my legs for you if you give me some money”. So yeah, austerity it is, folks. That means no money for your health service, no money for wages, no money for libraries and all those things that Gordon Brown spent your money on – because we’ve spent it all on the banks and quantitative easing (i.e. the banks). But austerity is the path to growth’.[2]

In the grand old tradition of bread and games, the UK is now hosting the greatest show on earth, allowing McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and other big corporations to reap the monetary benefits of this orchestrated mass hysteria. Moreover, in this television and internet-saturated 21st-century world of ours, not just the British public is lulled into a serene sleep of oblivion, the whole global public out there will now be able to enjoy the benefits of Olympic anaesthetics like never before. The Belfast Telegraph happily reports that ‘[b]illions of people from across the world tuned in to watch the £27 million spectacular [Olympic opening show], while thousands of others travelled to the UK to witness the official start of the sporting celebration in person. The three-and-a-half-hour show seemed to be an instant hit with many, with its British sense of humour and vibrant soundtrack celebrated by viewers from other countries’.[3]

Danny Boyle’s quirky presentation of the Queen, Bond, and Great Britain has fired up a lot of people . . . even the exported talking head (read twat) Piers Morgan seems to have forgotten himself gazing upon the £27 million extravaganza. Obviously also forgetting that the EU is the new wanna-be European empire, albeit with London preferring to hang on to the Pound Sterling, Mister Morgan nevertheless went ahead and tweeted his ridiculous statement. A statement that led to numerous responses, such as this one: “Why don’t you invade India and report back on how it goes”, by jonronson‏@jonronson or the more sober “Sad that you would say that. World doesn’t need more empires”, by RayBeckerman‏@RayBeckerman. On a more serious note, Al Jazeera’s Kamahl Santamaria states that the ‘latest [UK] government report has the games on target to cost $14.5bn of public sector money. However, a recent parliamentary committee warned the full cost of the games could amount to $17bn and skeptics are saying it could be even more. So there is the cost but how will the Olympics affect the British economy?  A report by VISA predicts an increase in consumer spending of $1.2bn during the games and a $8bn stimulus to the British economy over three years. David Cameron, the British prime minister, is more optimistic, saying that the London Games will generate over $20bn. But when the games are over and the last medal is handed out, what kind of legacy will be left?  The idea of creating a legacy in London’s East End was central to London’s successful bid back in 2005. In Victorian times east London was a black hole of slums and disease. It got bombed heavily in World War II. Nowadays it can still present a picture of gloom, the forgotten part of the British capital, so London’s bid for the Olympics offered hope that the games might finally turn the area around’.[4]  Rather than the East End, the real winners this year will be the international corporations sponsoring the games: ‘The Olympic Games in London have got off to a shaky start, with political controversies, security failings and traffic concerns. And now it’s some of the athletes in the main spotlight, and not only because of their sporting skills. It’s their toned bodies that are grabbing the headlines, as RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports (28 July 2012)’.

‘Top sponsors at the Olympic Games are expected to pay at least £65 million each, with the International Olympics Committee raising over £12 billion in costs of the games from domestic sponsors. This comes as up to two-thirds of the tickets for the games have been given to Olympic bodies and corporate sponsors, while London closes off public roads for the exclusive use of VIPs. Mark Perryman, Olympics author, says the Olympics has turned from a game for the common man into a showcase for corporate greed, disconnecting sports from the average fan. Press TV has conducted an interview with Perryman to further discuss the issue (25 July 2012)’.

[1] Ryan Rudnansky, “Opening Ceremony 2012: Kickoff of London Olympics Lives Up to High Price Tag” bleacher report (28 July 2012). http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1275904-opening-ceremony-2012-kickoff-of-london-olympics-lives-up-to-high-price-tag.

[2] Admin, “Osborne and Cameron spread UK’s legs for business, close them for the rest of us” The Daily Shame (27 July 2012). http://www.dailyshame.co.uk/2012/07/satire/osborne-and-cameron-spread-uks-legs-for-business-close-them-for-the-rest-of-us/.

[3] “London 2012 Olympic Games: Billions tune in to watch spectacular opening” The Belfast Telegraph (28 July 2012). http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/london-2012-olympic-games-billions-tune-in-to-watch-spectacular-opening-ceremony-16191078.html.

[4] Kamahl Santamaria, “The cost of the London Olympics” Counting the Cost (28 July 2012). http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/countingthecost/2012/07/201272895042894654.html.


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