London has been scandalised by the rows of empty seats at this week’s Olympics. Well, what did you expect from the IOC?
Once again, officials either can’t be bothered to show up, or, more likely, are sulking because they haven’t been able to offload their tickets on the black market. But twas ever thus with the IOC.
The bigger scandal, closer to home, is the ghost town that is London. And in terms of a rap we can’t pass the buck to faceless officials of various nationalities.
Sure, LOCOG must take some of the blame. But so must the government, the media, logistics and traffic modelling experts, public sector unions and opportunist cloud computing suppliers, who’ve successfully terrified not only London residents, but the entire country, into thinking that the capital would grind to a messy, unproductive, almost radioactive halt.
When we talk about a legacy, I’ve no doubt the gazillions spent on modernising our travel infrastructure in the past 18 months will bene t the nation for a long time to come, and should also create a favourable impression among tourists.
But speaking to Londoners attending various events this week, we seem to have completely surprised ourselves that the UK has been able to put on a good show. And that’s ridiculous given not only the fact we hold numerous major sporting events every year, but the sheer amount of extra money we’ve spent to guarantee that everything works like clockwork.
No-one can quite agree on how many extra people will come to the capital every day, as a result of the Olympics, but in the middle of the summer holidays, London is always quite quiet, with tourists bringing much needed footfall while we all take our holidays.
And you would like to think sophisticated modelling could take this on board. Instead, in a case of hype and scaremongering of Y2K proportions, aided and abetted by politicians - including idiotic Olympics minister Hugh Robertson - and whipped up by the media, LOCOG has trapped us in its mental logjam. And then done everything we could not only to keep Londoners out of the capital, and away from our shops, but to give them time off!