2012 Games “will be under budget,” sez Boris!!

Update: Egan hypes himself up for Olympic gold bid

Tensions have opened up between the London 2012 planners (ultimately the British government) and the IOC over whether the UK should try to match the $23 billion splurge of Beijing for the world’s biggest 3 week TV sports series. Did you ever hear such an arrogant and bonkers statement as that coming out of the mouth of the IOC President Jacques Rogge:

“London still has to deliver as well as China with regard to the quality of the Olympic village, venues and transport. The Games are for the athletes, the Games are not for London, the Games are not for Great Britain.”

Doesn’t it ever cross the mind of the head of a self-perpetuating oligarchy running a three week programme of minority sports that this is a tad over the top?
National governments I suppose have only themselves to blame for pandering to this degree of hype and elevating the IOC to the status of temporary world government . Remember Tony Blair’s finest hours in the Singapore bid during the roller-coaster week of Live Aid, when Blair was stretched to the limit, with Olympics bid and result, G8 summit and then the plunge into shock with 7/7/? I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been Brown in Singapore, growling out a few platitudes – maybe £9.3 billion savings?

For once Boris is right, defiantly promising a “games under budget,” a view supported by leading scrutineer of the London mayor Andrew Gilligan. Democracies can’t say ” no expense spared” in harder times, unlike authoritarian regimes trumpeting their arrival on the world stage.

Scaling down the issue somewhat, what price now an Olympics role for an NI stadium, now that another modest politician Gregory Campbell is bravely promising a decision “within weeks?”

The extra cost of hawking an Olympics infrastructure with local support over to the Maze/Belfast/ the Sperrins??? doesn’t bear thinking about.

A more modest intimate Olympics in 2012 maybe, but London’s 8 minute segment in tomorrow’s closing ceremony is costing a cool £ 2.5 million.
In “Shipping forecast and rejigged anthem to kick off 2012 Olympiad tomorrow,” I see the hand of old BBC friend Bill Morris, once head of BBC Radio 2 and now 2012 Events organiser. Overall, I hope Bill can pull off an old BBC trick of making spectacle look more expensive than it really is ( yes really).

Quotes from Daily Telegraph story:

“As the Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong passes the flag to Boris Johnson, the Greenwich pips will herald the start of the London section of the show followed quickly by a rendition of the national anthem – including, unusually, its second verse, performed by 25 children from the National Youth Theatre.

A London bus will then be driven into the arena, chased by Britain’s Olympic gold medal winning cyclists Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.
The top section of the vehicle will open up like a “lotus flower” to reveal a stage from which elevated platforms will lift Lewis and Page. A further platform will rise up to reveal former England captain Beckham, flanked by a violinist and a cellist dressed in Britain’s official Olympic kit.

Beckham, who featured in England’s disappointing 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic at Wembley on Wednesday night, will then kick a football into a crowd of athletes in the centre of the arena.”

All very tasteful!

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London