Edinburgh Festival vs Olympics 52

19,000 athletes took part in the Olympics and Paralympics. 25,000 artists, performers and speakers participate – every August, in the Edinburgh Festivals. Total audience numbers for all Olympic venues across the UK were 8 million. Total audience numbers for the Edinburgh Festivals, every August, are 4.2 million. Crammed into an area not substantially bigger the the Olympic Park.

Total gross taxpayer subsidy for the Olympics was north of £12 billion. £12,000,000,000. Total gross taxpayer subsidy for the Edinburgh Festivals is south of £3 million. £3,000,000.

The Edinburgh Festivals every year bring a net inflow of 105,000 tourists to the UK who would not otherwise have come. By contrast the Olympics brought a net decrease in the number of tourists visiting the UK, not yet calculated exactly but likely to be around 200,000.

Yet the crazed doom-mongers of the security industry have not yet got hold of the Edinburgh Festival. There are no anti-aircraft missiles on blocks of flats in West Pilton, no frigates lurking in the Firth of Forth, no commandoes in motorised dinghies patrolling the Water of Leith. You can enter the King’s Theatre without a soldier rummaging through the pantie liners in your handbag. You don’t get a full body scan at the Usher Hall. Half the road lanes are not closed off for the use of very, very important bureaucrats. Small shopkeepers are not prosecuted for displaying Festival symbols.

And the fireworks are better. A lot better.

{Edinburgh’s summer festivals include the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe, the Film, Book, Television and Science Festivals. I missed some).

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52 thoughts on “Edinburgh Festival vs Olympics

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  • Mary

    Go to Afghanistan or the Yemen or to Libya last year or to Iraq to see (and hear) the REAL fireworks and what they do to bodies and brains. How stupid can the people be?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Technicolour and CheebaCow, my pleasure – it’s a psychedelic (sort of ‘Paisley’- patterned, originally Kashmiri patterns, of course) shirt, with Spanish flamenco boots and the de rigeur cap (!); the carpet is Persian (actually woven by an Arab tribe in Iran) and the painting on the wall behind is of a town, Portree, in the Isle of Skye. Part-composed for the frame, part-just-the-way-it-is, a sort of heightened version of reality. Synchronistically enough, it turned out that the Berlin-based German photographer’s helper/pal was from Andalucia. Much appreciated, it’s a great honour to be up there and a part of an evocative and historic exhibition in a beautiful old-new gallery.

    Anders7777, Barbara, Technicolour, great points about the hypocrisy wrt disabled people, the govt, cultures here and elsewhere. Thanks.

  • nevermind

    I agree with Anders 777 on Atos, their straw man job for this inhumane coalition has left a stale taste and stark reminder in many people.
    Disabled people are known to do direct action and I think that’s what we can expect in future, cause cutting 71,- squid of one’s weekly pay is quiet a drastic step, not something you can go along with if you have come accustomed to a certain care regime.

    I’m glad its over and normalcy reigns, whatever that is.

  • CheebaCow

    Suhayl, I tried to zoom in on the pic to get a better look at the pattern, but it got too grainy. I always appreciate it when I see a guy rocking a shirt like that. If only I weren’t too self conscious to do the same. Much of my childhood involved being dragged from fabric shop to fabric shop as mum went around ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’. It bored me to tears, but I now find myself slightly more appreciative of that kind of stuff than I think I would of been otherwise. Although I will never admit that to mum!

  • Mary

    As the moral pygmies in the ConDems attempt to extract the last of the feel good factor from the LimpIcs and the Paralympics, it is of note that the BBC have chosen Ben Brown to commentate on this afternoon’s parade. He is the one with the drawly voice and the one who carried out a hostile and dismissive interview with Jody McIntyre, the wheelchair protester who was thrown to the ground by the police during a protest in December 2010. The interview attracted over 1000 complaints to the BBC.

    (I got an ad for shampoo featuring Victoria Pendleton on this!)

    The mealy mouthed response from the BBC editor.
    There were 1065 comments on this.

    The Met later cleared the officers concerned, of course.

  • Mary

    Ha Ha!

    Boris http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/borisjohnson/9532545/Britain-shines-as-a-beacon-of-enlightenment-in-the-world.html

    Ha Ha Ha!

    David Cameron hailed the London games as the “best ever” as he thanked gamesmakers at a reception in No 10 on Monday morning.

    The “golden summer” of sport had united the country and shown that Britain had the “confidence to deliver big things”, he added.


  • Sam

    “Half the road lanes are not closed off for the use of very, very important bureaucrats.”
    No, they’re closed because of the bloody trams.

  • Cryptonym

    The trams are good in themselves, wall to wall diesel particulate belching buses aren’t so good, reducing these can only be a good thing, the trams being electric can be powered from renewable sources and people enjoying the city centre can do so without wishing they’d worn breathing apparatus. Disappointing that it isn’t continuing all the way to Leith and as in my own post earlier, elitist in that the trams will simply shuttle air travellers back and forward from Ingliston, and flying isn’t a mode of travel that should be encouraged at all, but road and rail links are so poor that even for UK visitors, flying is favoured option.

    I’ve never understood Edinburghers’ objections to the trams, other than to the short-term traffic disruption during construction, which comes over as pathetic snivelling whingeing for the sake of it, unless you’re suggesting that the trams are not for the use of the general and local public also. What the trams have done is convulse Edinburgh opinion so strongly and to the exclusion of all else, that when the trams are completed something else will be needed to keep them occupied with some other inconsequential trivia for another decade or more and out of everyone elses hair whilst the country gets on with Independence and certain better tomorrows. Pandas having still some mileage in them could be the thing.

  • Mary

    Boris has just made the first of his electioneering speeches. Agent Cameron looked as if he could have throttled him when he was being constantly cheered. Boris can relate to the people just as Cameron cannot. 🙂

  • nevermind

    Cryptonym, I have seen the tram operation in Edingburh and talked to someone who has worked on the local authority for some time. She says that in laying the tram, to speciafications akin to a nuclear bunker compared to similar track laying on the continent, it was decided to take all other services such as water gas and leccy, away from the tram and vibrations, making it easier in future to get to the latter without shutting off the whole road.

    The price for it is high, they are now approaching the billion mark and have sweet FA to show for it. once in place, it will soon blend in with the excellent Lothian service and the rattlin’ FIRST. Cleaner diesel technology on buses exists, it would help slugging up Dungas, what a long drawn out hillock that is.

  • Cryptonym

    It does seem significantly over-engineered and continental firms are largely involved in design and construction (sad to say with so much native engineering history and talent) but no doubt with significant spin-offs for local workers and firms. Serendipitous Keynsian deficit spending in action, (though the sums are miniscule compared to what the bankers have stolen and had lavished on them, for their towering talents) somehow though not advantaged by any savings due to the ongoing recession, in labour and plant availability, costs. Seems better though to have it done right and thoroughly, pains-takingly from the outset. Big corporate players in public construction projects ever ensure their bread lands jam side up.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    CheebaCow (at 1039am, 10th Sept 2012), many thanks again. I hate the grey, male corporate look of the mid-and-late-Victorians with which we remain saddled in now a crew-cut, militaristic manner, you know? Much prefer De Quincy’s ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’, the early Coleridge and all that wondrous smoke. If I had my way, men would be wearing bright colours, flowing robes, long hair and all.

  • Brian Mount Fujisan

    Great post Craig…Awsome Stats indeed…If you don’t mind i’ll be putting some of that post on my facebook page…Myself And a bunch of my friends with the wee yins…went to the Japan v Spain game in Hampden Park…Huge fucking Army of Police…Police spotters on the roof…Stewards every 10 yards all the way round the stadium..sitting staring up at the crowd…Two Stewards walking up and down the stairs all the way round the stadium…up n doon…up n doon..I felt like Screaming at them to Fk off out my sight….i was supporting and dressed for japan.. but the atmosphere was one of utter fun n friendship all round regardless…And we partook in an awsome Mexican wave

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Iran came 11th in the Paralympics medal table. They got 24 medals, 10 of them, gold. They were by the best-performing majority-Muslim country (the next one was Tunisia, at 14th – with 19 medals – a great result for Tunisia, esp. considering what the political upheaval they’ve just been through). Iran beat Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada (which has just broken off diplomatic relations with them), New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, France, Sweden, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic, Iceland, Chile, Argentina, Bulgaria, Portugal, Israel (whoops!), Romania, Denmark, the UAE (whoops!) and of course Saudi Arabia (whoops!), to name just a few.

    Iran came 17th in the Olympics – again, an amazing achievement for a ‘Third World’ – indeed, for any – country. I question why the Anglophone Western media has not deigned to explore this phenomenon, since it would make an interesting and topical feature article. A country which currently is being demonised and isolated by those countries whose primary adherence is to US elite interests is achieving far better than most of those countries on the sports fields of the world.

    We read a lot of coverage – rightly so – about ‘our’ equivalent fundamentalist theocratic police state ally, Saudi Arabia fielding their first female Olympic athletes, but nothing about Iran’s success. Such success does not come out of the blue, it takes years of investment and dedication, and also – especially, perhaps, in the field of disability – sustained cultural and political commitment.

    So, I ask again – why the silence?


  • Mary

    Sorry about typo in my earlier post. obvious s/be obviously.

    Quite agree Suhayl. Your question at the end was obviously rhetorical.

    Neither did we hear much mention of China whose medal take in both Games was much higher than ours although the ratio of their medal winners to population number is obviously different.

    Medal table http://www.london2012.com/medals/medal-count/

  • Mary

    Chossudovsky and Levesque on the Havlish v Iran lawsuit. However does Iran withstand all the s**t?

    ‘We bring to the attention of our readers a carefully documented study by Global Research’s Julie Levesque published in May 2012 pertaining to a high profile Manhattan lawsuit launched in 2004 against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The Havlish v. Iran lawsuit accuses Iran of having supported the 9/11 hijackers.

    At this historical juncture, with Iran being the object of numerous threats both byTel Aviv and Washington, The Havlish v. Iran judgment could be used as a justification for a waging a preemptive attack on Iran.’


  • Mary

    Olympic security firm G4S not paid since July – Locog
    The government was forced to call in the military to plug the shortfall in security staff

    Olympic security firm G4S has not been paid since it revealed it could not deliver the number of staff needed for the Games, organisers have said.

    Locog chief executive Paul Deighton said it had paid G4S £90m up to 13 July, but nothing else since.

    He said the remaining part of the £235m contract was now “up for negotiation”.

    G4S admitted last month that the Olympic contract had cost it £50m after it failed to deliver the 10,400 Olympic security guards needed in time.


  • Mary

    Just a little previous on our estimable head of LOGOC, soon to be chair of the British Olympic Association, etc etc.

    London Olympic organizer rejects U.K. boycott efforts
    Olympic champion Sebastian Coe slams U.K. academics’ efforts to ban Israeli academic institutions while visiting Israel.
    By The Associated Press | Jun.07, 2007 | 12:00 AM

    Sebastian Coe, the British Olympic champion and chief organizer of the 2012 games in London, chastised efforts of a British professors’ union to shun Israeli colleagues in protest of Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians.
    “The fact that I’m here at this time shows what I think about the academic boycott,” Coe said during a panel discussion Wednesday at the University of Haifa, according to a release issued by the university.
    Last week, delegates of Britain’s largest union of university and college teachers asked local branches to discuss a boycott. If approved, the measure would prevent Israeli and British professors and university staff members from collaborating on projects.
    Bill Rammell, Britain’s minister of state for higher education, has said the proposed boycott does nothing to promote the Middle East peace process. Rammell is planning to visit Israel to personally express the British government’s opposition to the plan.
    Coe’s statement came during a sports discussion panel at the University of Haifa, itself the subject of a 2005 boycott effort in Britain for alleged maltreatment of a pro-Palestinian history professor.
    The panel also included Alex Gilady, an Israeli member of the International Olympic Committee, and Yael Arad, whose silver medal in 1992 made her the first Israeli to capture an Olympic medal.
    Coe, a decorated middle distance runner, won gold in the 1,500 meters and silver in the 800 meters at both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.
    He subsequently served in the British Parliament and now heads the organizing committee for the London games. He also is considered a potential future head of the IOC.
    Coe has previously proposed holding a ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the deadly attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 games in Munich.
    A spokesman for the games said no plans had been finalized.

    PS I have not got a link.

    Yesterday’s love in of Seb at the Home Affairs Committee by Keith Vaz was excruciating.

    ‘The bizarre denouement to seven weeks of Olympics and Paralympics for LOCOG leaders Lord Coe and the soon-to-be Lord Deighton was in committee room 15 in the House of Commons on Monday.

    They were answering to the Home Affairs select committee on the G4S security shambles, which resulted in the army being brought in. But the MPs were more keen to congratulate the pair on their successful delivery of the Games, with chairman Keith Vaz even joking Coe was in line for canonisation.’

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