Blog Archives

Fiddling as Rome burns?

In giant amphitheatres citizens appear to be wildly excited by the Olympic spectacle, forgetting for a while the ever-increasing aspects of Britain’s destructive ‘real world’, including: 
  • soldiers and civilians being killed
  • BAe and others arming dictators and their people paying the price long after their presidents are supplanted
  • government striving to pollute the country with genetically modified crops,  and more unwanted supermarkets, incinerators and nuclear waste
  • seeking to commandeer land and homes for HS2, benefitting a small elite who require taxpayers to pay for saving 40 mins of their time
  • doctors and surgeons who cannot find work after speaking out about practices leading to premature deaths in their hospitals
  • food producers going out of business because corporate retail denies them a fair price
  • bankers continuing to profit whilst the lowest paid bear the costs of their blundering greed 
And a reader sends news of the latest in a long-drawn-out saga of corporate-political corruption.

Professor Scott Cato points out in her blog, Olympicopoly: 

“(London) has become the playground of an international elite. Those attending the games are profligate financially and in carbon terms, jetting around the world for hedonistic pleasure. ”There will be spectators, but in global terms all will be rich, since no tickets are available within the price-range of the average global worker. Londoners have lost their city, their roads, their buses, their tube stations . . . 

“Small-scale entrepreneurs. . .are excluded from economic opportunities by the mother of all restrictive practices that the Olympic contract itself embodies. . .She points out that: 

“[A]lthough most of the economic value arising from the games will be enclosed and extracted by the corporate sponsors, it is the people of the UK who will pay the majority of the cost. So just as we subsidise the roads that enable Tesco and their ilk to drive their goods from underpaid producers to overfed consumers, so we pay for global marketing opportunities that are then exploited by a narrow range of global corporations.” 

“Before the TV transmission of the opening ceremony began, Danny Boyle dedicated the performance to the volunteers who made it possible, the people who worked without being paid, who he called ‘the best of us’. In a games that seems more obviously controlled by corporate interests than any before, that is the message we must hold on to.”

But is that all we can do – hang on?

Taxpayer subsidises Australian development: Westfield’s shopping centre


The Financial Times reports that it has been agreed, though not examined in detail by the National Audit Office, that the taxpayer will pay more than £200m out of £350m spent on roads, bridges and other infrastructure serving Australian developer Westfield’s new shopping centre at the gateway to the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London. 

The Olympic Delivery Authority, responsible for much of the £9.3bn Olympic budget, said that this agreement was made three years ago. 

Jackie Sadek, of UK Regeneration, a lobbying group, said: “At a time when this country is crying out for funds to kick-start regeneration schemes in deprived areas, this seems like an astonishing level of government subsidy to be siphoned into the pocket of the biggest shopping centre owner in the world.”