Circuses, but Less Bread 1532


The London Olympics are already achieving the number one aim of the politicians who brought them here, which is making our politicians feel very important indeed.

The media is quite frenetic in its efforts to make us all believe we should be terrifically proud of the fact we are hosting the Olympics, as though there were something unique in this achievement. If we can’t competently do something that Greece, Spain and China have done in recent years, that would be remarkable. Of course the Games will be on the whole well delivered, sufficient for the media and politicians to declare it an ecstatic success. Some of the sporting moments will be sublime, as ever.

But did it have to be in London? We won’t know the total cost of the Games for months, but it will cost the taxpayer at least £9 billion and I suspect a lot more. I also suspect the GDP figures will, in the event, show that the massive net fall in visitor numbers has hurt the already shrinking economy further.

But to take the most optimistic figure, holding the Olympics in London has cost every person in the country an average of £150 per head in extra taxes. That is £600 for a family of four. Actually it is in the end going to be well over £2,000, as of course the money has been borrowed on the never never, and taxpayers are going to be paying it off their whole lives, along with the sum ten times higher they are already paying direct into the pockets of the bankers through their taxes.

The very rich, of course, don’t pay much tax, so they are not worried.

But to take just the figure of £600 extra taxes for a family of four, the lowest possible amount, and not including the interest. Is having the Olympics here really worth paying out £600 for? If Tony Blair had approached the head of the family and said “We are going to have the Olympics in London, but it’s going to cost you £600, would the answer have been from most ordinary people: “Yes, great idea, this is that important to us”?

People are not disconcerted because they don’t see that they have to pay. There is no special Olympics tax, and they pay their taxes in a variety of ways, and individuals are not the sole source of taxation. But this is nonetheless real money taken from the people in pursuit of the hubris of politicians.

I love sport. I hate the corruption of the International Olympic Committee, Fifa and the rest; I hate the vicious corporatism and militarisation of our capital and absurd elitism of the transport lanes; the sport itself I love. But with the economy contracting, and the NHS being farmed out for profit, is it really worth £600 for a family – and many families are really struggling in a heartbreaking way – is it worth the money to have the Olympics here rather than in Paris?

Of course it isn’t. I think many of us will feel an extra pleasure watching the Opening ceremony because it is British. Patriotic pride will surge. It is not wrong to enjoy the spectacle tonight on TV. The corporate well connected and ruling classes will enjoy it in the stadium.

But after you have watched it on TV, ask yourself this question. How much more did you enjoy it than enjoy watching the Beijing ceremony, and was that margin of extra enjoyment something that everybody in the room would have paid out £150 for?

Because they just did.


1,532 thoughts on “Circuses, but Less Bread

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  • Komodo

    About time the police clamped down on cyclists. They have much traffic chaos to answer for.

  • technicolour

    “Sad to think that Johnny Foreigner, when he thinks of us at all, thinks of this shambling and unfunny twat, but it is so, and his inclusion was unfortunately unavoidable.”

    yeah, so much better if we’d presented a robotic technical perfection…

  • Komodo

    Mary: Foster’s. So I don’t give a XXXX. Technically, it was brilliant. I’m a technician, and back in the day I worked on a Royal Tournament, about 1/10 the scale of that, so I am qualified to judge.
    Technicolour: You’re right. You spotted the pink arches, then? And now a word from our sponsor…. but it was very well done.

  • Komodo

    The last thing we need to present to anyone is blithering incompetence, Technicolour. Remember the IQ of the great majority. But Bean is very big in those luckless nations without a sense of humour, so he’s got to be there.

  • Fedup

    The maritime laws, and air-transport laws maintain slowest has the right of way/priority. Unfortunately when it come to road traffic laws it is evident that slowest has no rights of any sorts and can be basically fucked around by the faster vehicles operators whimsy. That is not withstanding the whims of the planners and designers, who are too busy addressing for vehicle needs and not the pedestrian and the cyclist, hence the nice road layout turns out to be a heck of walk, or a cycle journey just to overcome the distances which are specifically designed with engined vehicles in mind. This is further complicated by the fact that soon as a driver gets into the vehicle then they verily believe the patch of the road they are on is owned by them, and no pesky pedestrians and cyclists can have any access to the said patch.
    ,
    Although it must be added that with privilege comes the sting in the tail, any cyclist not strictly adhering and observing the traffic laws are treated on equal basis as their four wheeled counterparts, and in fact the driving licences of the individuals can be withdrawn despite the offender being in charge of a bicycle whilst committing the traffic law violation.
    ,
    Those travelling to continent soon find the rights of the cyclists and the insurance costs there, of, nothing is more impressive than watching an eighteen wheel juggernaut, coming to a halt to give way to a pedal cyclist. Needless to point out here in UK, and most of the third world cyclists take their lives into their own hands by just appearing near a paved road.
    ,
    Finally given that the protesters may not have applied for the relevant permits, and subsequently may not have paid the various levies, and fees as per the by-laws of the respective municipality, therefore Police then have the right to move in and arrested them for any number of offences on the statue which of course mean to lawfully stop the unthinking protesters!
    ,
    Dunchyou just love the smell of democracy?

  • Fedup

    much better if we’d presented a robotic technical perfection…
    Japanese could not deliver it on the budget set aside for it!!!!

  • Anapa

    Komodo,
    Where is Werrity anyway?
    ..
    I saw Liam Foxy this morning at Paddington station. No Werrity. Foxy had very turbulant look and he walked fast as if smn was chasing him. His face was very pale.

  • Abe Rene

    I just saw it on the internet. I don’t know that I would pay £150 to see the broadcast. But would I pay £150 for a ticket to the real thing? Well, the opening or closing ceremony, just maybe, though I never tried to get a ticket.

  • John Goss

    Over the last few years I’ve been trying to avoid the fact that the mystical side of Judaism, which manifests itself elsewhere as freemasonry, is totally influencing what goes on in the world. However the Olympic opening ceremony seems to show that what groups which might appear to be on the fringe have been postulating for some time might quite well be true. Without getting out of my depth, and without going into too much detail, if anybody else with a knowledge of freemasonry would care to get in touch and share their thoughts I should be happy to discuss.
    .
    I think all four songs were Zionist, but I’m not sure. Certainly Blake’s lines ‘And was Jerusalem builded here on England’s green and pleasant land’, the opening hymn, contains elements of Zionist ambitions, as some bloggers have noted. Then there was the beautiful Scottish hymn, or folk-song, ‘Flower of Scotland’ which refers to the thistle, an emblem, especially when connected with the rose, of Scottish lodges. Thirdly a group of Northern Irish singers stood on the Giant’s causeway to sing ‘Danny Boy’ which was, and is, one of the most awe-inspiring and emotional songs ever written. Then came Wales, and their hymn was ‘Guide me O thou Great Redeemer’ which contains the lines ‘Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed me now and evermore’. So ‘manna from heaven’ but what or who does ‘great redeemer’ apply? There is no mention of Jesus in this hymn, and no mention of a Christian God. What’s more there are lots of hymns like this. They need taking out of Christian hymn books. They say the Devil has all the best tunes. So let’s punk-rock!

  • Jives

    Sat in a Glasgow pub watching it.
    .
    All the punters horrified and lauging at the chaotic dark underlit shambles.
    .
    All choreography out of sync,most constant imagery of war and idustrial historical exploitation(slavery).
    .
    Overlong,homogenised,dark and sinister colouring.
    .A cycle of war motifs,slavery(industrial revolution) and the prattle of textual modernism.
    .
    Epic fail.
    .
    I think Danny Boyle was actually subverting the whole charade.

  • War Dance

    Ban Ki Moon was an Olympic flag bearer yesterday. I presume this was before he insisted that Syrian forces stop opposing the Western backed terrorists in Alleppo. Hypocritical piece of shit.
    .
    Well done Syria, keep it up.

  • Mary

    War Dance I agree. Seeing the USUKIsNATO stooge doing that was sick. Also what were Barenboim and Chakrabati doing there? And to drag old Mohammed Ali on who didn’t seem to know what was happening let alone able to stand, was cruel.

    I thought the technology behind the lighting of the flame was both beautiful and brilliant but would not like to be paying the gas bill. It rather exemplified the waste of resources that the 21st century world is guilty of.

    I thought that Churchill had returned from the dead to write Coe’s speech! If the Olympics survive the coming collapse, I see Coe positioning himself to take Rogge’s place.

  • Komodo

    “weirdly absorbing”… to a drunken Komodo.
    .
    And hence also, I’d say, to a sober Sun or Mail reader. Mission accomplished. No-one was looking to impress David Starkey. Also I think you could take any political message out of it you liked. Were the tophatted industrialists/bankers conjuring jobs or profits from the chimneys?
    .
    I would have preferred to watch it in a Glasgow pub
    …but maybe the pub TV needed adjusting, from your description, Jives.
    .
    I know someone whose birthday’s on the 7th. Creepy or what?
    .
    Thanks for the Liam Fox sighting.Good to know he’s unhappy.

  • Komodo

    BTW the Chanukah menorah holds nine candles. So the buggers have claimed nine as well…
    .
    If….Danny Boyle instead of the failed brewery-pissup manager we’ve got were PM….

  • Mary

    Remembering Ian Tomlinson who was killed in Cornhill, less than 5 miles fron Stratford in April 2009. He was living in a hostel in Smithfield at the time of his death. When married and living with his wife and family, his home was in the Isle of Dogs.
    .
    http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/opinion/15914-ian-tomlinson-a-story-of-injustice
    .
    {http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9412220/Ian-Tomlinson-a-brilliant-dad-whose-life-took-downward-spiral.html}
    .
    How did Harwood get off?

  • nuid

    @AidanBurleyMP got a lot of stick on Twitter for these:
    .
    ‘The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?’
    .
    ‘Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!’
    .
    Then he came back later and tweeted:
    ‘Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself’
    .
    which sounded awfully like recent excuses by American right-wing politians, the morning after appearing on a TV interview: “My remark was taken out of context.”

  • Komodo

    Barenboim (on his West-East Divan Orchestra)
    The Divan is not a love story, and it is not a peace story. It has very flatteringly been described as a project for peace. It isn’t. It’s not going to bring peace, whether you play well or not so well. The Divan was conceived as a project against ignorance. A project against the fact that it is absolutely essential for people to get to know the other, to understand what the other thinks and feels, without necessarily agreeing with it. I’m not trying to convert the Arab members of the Divan to the Israeli point of view, and [I’m] not trying to convince the Israelis to the Arab point of view. But I want to – and unfortunately I am alone in this now that Edward (Said) died a few years ago – …create a platform where the two sides can disagree and not resort to knives.
    Also a magnificent musician. What’s the problem?
    .
    Ali: yes, but maybe he wanted to come?
    .
    The bottom line is nothing to do with the slebs present. How much did Joe British Taxpayer wind up paying for an ephemeral event localised in London while the economy collapses in flames around him? How much if any of it will Joe Taxpayer get back in any shape or form?
    Wouldn’t it have been better to just regenerate the area for its pre-existing population?
    So many questions. What an American politician’s wife thinks is supremely irrelevant to any of them.

  • Komodo

    After a stimulating start, my eyes were glazing once they got to the sub-West Side Story love interest bit, and I can see where Burley was coming from. Neither the “stars”, nor what looked like a majority of the extras were white (as, I perhaps should remind my critics, the majority even now of the English population is) , and there was rather a lot of shite ghetto “music”, which IMO is not British culture. Celebrating multiculti is making the best of a bad job, and an inevitable one, given our enthusiasm for importing cheap labour and economic refugees. I’m surprised there weren’t tableaux of Somalis chewing qat or Poles picking strawberries, but there you go.

  • nuid

    It does seem a bit bloody daft to be denouncing multiculturalism in the opening ceremony of a yoke that will involve 205 countries. Yes, yes, I know it was a celebration of Great Britain, but still, Burley came across like an idiot.
    .
    I wasn’t planning to watch it, and missed the first 40 mins thereby, but got sucked in via Twitter.

  • nuid

    And Tim Berners-Lee tweeted live from the middle of the show, just before he stood up and waved. Good to see him there. One in the eye for the Yanks, most of whom have never heard of him.
    .
    I’ll be curious to see what Technicolour has to say.

  • nuid

    No, Komodo, he doesn’t – him and his ‘Nazi-themed stag party’.
    But he got such a deluge of response that he felt obliged to pull back, nevertheless.
    .
    I recommend “group viewing” of TV programmes via Twitter. Hilarious. The tweet commentary was far better than the BBC’s!

  • Komodo

    @John Goss –
    I think you’ll find, as you pursue your researches, that the Zionist strain in British/American Christianity derives more from the Protestants’ belief that they, not the Jews, are the people to whom the Old Testament applies. We got rid of quite a lot of these wackoes to America, starting with the Pilgrim Fathers, encouraged in their belief by the opportunities in the new land flowing with milk and honey which God had instructed them to take from the natives. American exceptionalism can be traced to that time.
    .
    Obviously if the Jews were the chosen people, the Christians wouldn’t be in with a chance, and certainly I remember being taught as a kid that “we” were the people. Hence the frequent references to Zion (including Methodist chapels named ‘Zion’) in British Christian works from at least the 18th century. Also I think this has much to do with the appeal of mass Christianity – again, Chapel as much as Church – to the effectively enslaved workers in the Victorian powerhouse. There is a better land to which we can escape…it says so in the Old Testament…During most of this period, Jews were not highly rated as members of society and it is doubtful if they would have exerted this kind of influence on Christianity. Enough that the rich ones could bail out the government from time to time.

  • Mary

    …’Did theology at Oxford, too…..’
    .
    And he did Zionism in Israel
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/aidan_burley/cannock_chase#register
    .
    I think it is highly relevant that Michelle Obama, the wife of an evil emperor, heaps praise on the empire which is their partner in war crimes.
    .
    I thought the gold emblazoning the uniform, complete with gold laces in the trainers, was naff and v Golders Green. Designed by Next {http://uk.eonline.com/news/333810/olympic-opening-ceremony-fashion-stella-mccartney-disavows-great-britain-s-suits-and-other-highs-and-lows}
    .
    Chief executive of Next? Why Lord Wolfson of Apsley Guise of course.
    {http://www.nextplc.co.uk/about-next/board-members.aspx}

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