Olympics screws Greece, so why should London bother?
The initial estimated bill for Greece to host the Olympics was 4.2 billion euros (£3.2 billion; $6 billion). It turns out that the final tally is nearer 9 billion (£6.3 billion; $11.6 billion) - and that doesn't even include the costs of infrastructure building and repair in the run-up.
But hey - it's worth it, right? Tourism and stuff? Economic boosts? Well, erm... no, actually.
So why the hell does London want the Olympics? Lovely fancy designs are all very well and good, and the parts of east London in which the Olympic village would be built certainly need redevelopment, but is a two-week display of grown men and women running around in circles and playing in sandpits really the way to do it?
And how exactly is all this going to "help address some of the key issues our nation faces – health, social inclusion, educational motivation and fighting crime."? Is the Olympics suddenly going to include competitive heart surgery, being nice to people, teaching and beating up criminals?
And how are we going to pay for all this? The cost estimate is just £2.375bn - only a third of the Athens games. Will we stick to this budget? Well, if the Millennium Dome disaster is anything to go by, no - that hideous white elephant is currently costing the country nearly £30 million a year just for it to stay closed and empty, blighting the landscape and the view from Greenwich Park.
Of this under-estimate of £2.375 billion, £875 million is to be borne by London through a £20 pa increase in council tax. So I'm going to have to fork out an extra £160 over the next eight years when my Council Tax is already extortionate to pay for something I don't want in a part of London I've never been? Great. And those who actually WANT the Olympics - are they going to get free tickets in return for having their hard-earned money taken from them to pay for a bunch of well-paid athletes to have a jolly? Bollocks are they.
And what happens when the games goes over budget? As has been revealed, costs were double the estimate in Athens, and the same was the case with the 2000 games in Sydney. So the final budget for London hosting the games (which again doesn't include infrastructure costs or the promotional nonsense that's being done to "help the bid") will end up as much as £4.7 billion - none of which has been budgeted for. Genius.
Would it, perhaps, be more sensible to use this money to tackle the housing shortage in London, build some schools or hospitals, top up the pension fund, help some starving people in Africa, do some serious cancer or AIDS research etc etc - anything other than this mindless athletics nonsense?
(Sorry - browsing news stories on a lazy Saturday has a tendency to get me het up a bit... Time to head to the pub and calm down, methinks.)