Unfair Games

An advertisement in the Evening Standard asks London businesses, “Are you ready for the games?”, before going on to explain that the London Olympics are less than a year away and that traffic routes throughout the capital will be severely affected by athletes, officials and spectators travelling to the games. Businesses should be building contingency plans against staff being unable to travel to work, deliveries failing to arrive on time or at all, and customers staying away to avoid the crowds.

There’s an argument that the Games will be good for tourism, of course, although the experiences of Beijing and Sydney both suggest that for all the tourists who come to London for the Olympics, an equal number of ‘normal’ tourists will stay away to avoid the crowds and the inflated hotel prices. But London’s businesses and residents – everyone who pays tax of any kind to the London Assembly – have already made a huge financial contribution to the Games, even though many will get no interest or business advantage from them. Drivers and public transport users have suffered two years of disruption while networks are “upgraded” in a probably-vain attempt to ensure that tubes and busses run properly for a couple of months next Summer, before the whole creaking shambles falls over again.

What I’m leading up to is the question, why aren’t the powers that be in London protecting businesses and residents – and commuters – from the consequences of the Games, rather than bending over backwards to accommodate the sports and advising businesses to tell their staff to stay at home (which is the advice that the organisation I work for has received)? These taxpayers are London’s employers, not the travelling circus of the IOC.

Comments are closed.