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Oh fuck

London has just won the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

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85 comments to Oh fuck

  • Johnathan

    Just watch those council tax bills soar.

    Lots of jubilation in my office about this, though. I guess we have to look at the bright side and imagine how this will play in Chirac’s entourage.

  • GCooper

    There goes the council tax bill.

    If I promise to listen without interruption, will someone explain convincingly why I am expected to pay for their obsession with sport?

    And then will they sit patiently while I explain to them the definition of parasite?

  • Jon

    We won! But actually, we lost…

    from Catch22:

    “America,” he said, “will lose the war. And Italy will win it.”
    “America is the strongest and most prosperous nation on earth,” Nately informed him with lofty fervor and dignity. “And the American fighting man is second to none.”
    “Exactly,” agreed the old man pleasantly, with a hint of taunting amusement. “Italy, on the other hand, is one of the least prosperous nations on earth. And the Italian fighting man is probably second to all. And that’s exactly why my country is doing so well in this war while your country is doing so poorly.”
    “I’m sorry I laughed at you. But Italy was occupied by the Germans and is now being occupied by us. You don’t call that doing very well, do you?”
    “But of course I do,” exclaimed the old man cheerfully. “The Germans are being driven out, and we’re still here. In a few years, you will be gone, too, and we will still be here. You see, Italy is really a very poor and weak country, and that’s what makes us so strong. Italian soldiers are not dying anymore. But American and German soldiers are. I call that doing extremely well. Yes, I’m quite certain Italy will survive this war and still be in existence long after your own country has been destroyed.”

    “I don’t believe anything you tell me,” Nately replied… “The only thing I do believe is that America is going to win the war.”
    “You put so much stock in winning wars. The real trick lies in losing wars, in knowing which wars can be lost. Italy has been losing wars for centuries, and just see how splendidly we’ve done nonetheless. France wins wars and is in a continual state of crisis. Germany loses and prospers. Look at our recent history. Italy won a war in Ethiopia and promptly stumbled into serious trouble. Victory gave us such insane delusions of grandeur that we helped start a world war we hadn’t a chance of winning. But now that we are losing again, everything has taken a turn for the better and we will certainly come out on top again if we succeed in being defeated.”

  • Really sorry to hear it.

    Mainly, however, I’m happy that New York dodged it.

  • Zilch Van Nyet

    in the meantime, on a Forum accross the Channel:
    http://www.peres-fondateurs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=5927&p=1

  • Neal

    Jubliation here, too. Interesting, the londonders in this office are bemoaning the fact that they’re going to have to pay for it, but are all of the mind (at the moment at least) that its worth the cost, pain, transport problems etc, just to raise two very big fingers to Paris.

    And are currently hoping for more of the same from the G8.

    No comment on what I think about this.

  • Tim

    Anything we can do about it now? I mean legally!

    Let’s face it, by the time people realise what BS all the “regeneration”, “kids getting into sport” and all that are, it will all be paid for (or at least, we’ll be indebted for) and the people who agreed with it will be gone.

    There’s no benefit of it being here. Paris is 3 hours by Eurostar and we could still all watch it at a sensible time on TV, while they pick up the tab.

    Anyone who thinks they’ll get to see a 100m final is kidding themselves. Quarter finals of kayaking will be the extent of tickets you and I will get.

    As long as software patents get overturned today, I’ll still count it as a good day.

  • HJHJ

    Brilliant news.

    And if it keeps people like Verity away from the UK, even better! Not worth explaining anything to GCooper as he/she isn’t susceptible to listening.

    Carp as much as you like – the Olympics will be in London in 2012 – and if you want to waste your breath, that’ syour perogative. Nobody who matters is listening anyway.

  • Pete_London

    Funny that, “bollocks” is the considered view of the Londoners in my office, while the out-of-towners are jubilant. Welcome to 20 years of penury and misery.

    You wouldn’t want to be Chiraq’s cat’s arse right now. I suppose the one, brief, glorious silver lining to it will be the look on Chiraq’s face.

  • GCooper

    HJHJ writes:

    “Not worth explaining anything to GCooper as he/she isn’t susceptible to listening.”

    Just so that we can be sure, which of your personalities wrote the above? Captain of industry and blazer-wearer, Nobel prizewinning economist, impartial commentator, or was it Batman?

  • Mark

    The Beeb seems to be of the opinion that everyone has got what they wanted. Perhaps if Dermot Mernaghan wasn’t on a license-payer funded trip to Singapore he would have been in the study to receive the overwhelming amount of e-mails telling the IOC where to stick the London Olympic Bid.

  • Verity

    The one-man cabal of HJHJ, Bollo, A Neutral and Pommygranate (there’s a fifth, but can’t remember the handle – 1327?) says “Nobody who matters is listening anyway.” And that is correct. The decision-makers didn’t give a shit what millions of Londoners and English wanted. They care only for seeing themselves on large screen TV up in the VIP boxes, glorying in their fame.

    I confidently predict, there will be some very embarrassing logistical failures. Tony Blair and Ken Livingston couldn’t organise a what cha may call it in a whorehouse. They’re both shallow, phony salesmen, that’s all.

    A thousand Millennium Domes! Poor Londoners paying their taxes to glorify Ken ‘n’ Tone! Well, Tone will go out on a failure, which warms the cockles of my heart.

  • We New Yorkers are setting up emergency asylum facilities for any Brits who want to evacuate. 😉

  • Condolences to the taxpayers of the UK and particularly of London.

    Too bad you can’t figure out a way to get the French to pay for it.

  • The mood in my office (and amongst people having lunch in the Canary Wharf complex) appears generally positive, although they are rather less jubilant than were people in Sydney when Sydney won.

    I confidently predict, there will be some very embarrassing logistical failures. Tony Blair and Ken Livingston couldn’t organise a what cha may call it in a whorehouse.

    2012 is a long way away. I suspect that the politicians who get to glory in the VIP boxes and to watch thmselves on television will be different ones from the ones presently in power.

    As for the games, it is not without precent for a city to win the Olympics, then decide later that it didn’t want them and give them up. It happened for the 1976 Winter Olympics which were originally given to Denver but ended up taking place in Austria, but it won’t happen here. There will inevitably be bureaucratic screwups and logistical failures and the like in the runup to the games, but these will be solved by throwing money at them. More money than was thrown at the Sydney games and less than at the Athens games I suspect.

  • S. Weasel

    I’m surprised you were the first to see that silver lining, Verity. Previous Olympic hosts have generally felt sore, abused and rather hung over by the time the circus leaves town. Another big, fat millenium dome for Blair to go out on…

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Since you’re going to pay for it, there’s only one thing left to say:

    Grin and bear it. 😛

  • HJHJ

    Wrong Verity – no-one gives a shit what YOU think.

    Nor GCooper.

    Neither of you have anything to say other than to make mendacious allegations about other people. I suppose it’s the only resort once your specious arguments have been defeated.

    Did I mention that the Olympics wil be in London in 2012?

  • JuliaM

    Half & half here in my office – jubilation from some, despair from others.

    Most of the most sports-oriented guys are very ‘anti’ – citing the logistics, transport, etc.

    One thing even the joyful agree on though – Tony Blair’s reaction to the news will be absolutely sickening. In fact, more people are dreading seeing Tony strut like a bantam than happy that the French lost, which must be a first!

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    ‘HJHJ’ wrote:

    Wrong Verity – no-one gives a shit what YOU think.

    Sorry, but I give a shit what Verity thinks, and I’m not a no-one. Therefore, someone cares what you think, and your assertion is incorrect.

    We may have some Turtle Wax for you as a parting gift, however. 🙂

  • Verity

    Actually, Michael J, 2012 – poviding he wins the next couple of elections, and given that the Conservatives and Labour seem to be incapable of running anyone with more charisma than a dried mushroom against him, he will – will be Livingstone’s year of the swan song. He’ll be around 66/67 and he’ll retire on this wave.

    Lord Bliar of Bombast and Buffoonery will by then have become an elder statesman, either the unelected president of the EU – his dream of absolute power come true – or with a hot shot EU consultancy firm in DC with his name on it. So either way, he’ll be sitting up in the stands in glory.

    But it will fail, so at least the poor taxpayers of London will get a vengeful laugh for their money.

    HJHJ’s head is even more crowded than Diana’s marriage. G Cooper, you forgot to mention the degree in physics. Remember? That was the HJHJ personna. Waitrose has extremely high standards of help on the Customer Service Counter. Bollo is the one with the economics degree.

  • HJHJ

    Verity: “blah, blah, blah, blah, rant, rant, rant”

    Yawn

  • Writing from Atlanta, the city that insured that something as grotesque as an open and honest profit motive could never again be allowed to soil the Olympic dream.

    I feel for ya. The Olympics were fun when they were here and we got a couple of cool stadiums out of the deal. The private entity that ran the show (financed almost exclusively from Olympic tickets, licensing and marketing deals) broke even and the footprint left by the event was minimal and mostly positive (no public debt to speak of). But, we had street vendors which offended the sensibilities of Europeans and our buses didn’t always run on time. Of course, that was blamed on the lack of government control over the affair (read: city and state officials using taxpayer dollars to fund things). So, blame us for the fact that future host cities will be required to have a substantial publicly financed commitment to whole song and dance.

    Cheers! (and console yourself that Chirac is probably more miserable than you)

  • Verity

    Well, I actually feel sorry for the French because they would have run it with dazzle and style and everything would have worked. Have you ever heard of the TGV breaking down? Or being late? I haven’t. Have you ever heard of a British high speed train breaking down, or being late? Their medical system works extremely well, too. In other words, they are good at logistics and they have flair.

    BTW, with all the ills that plague humans on the move, changing climates, undergoing the stress of travel, accidents, isn’t it a bit of a cruel joke to have encouraged the IOC to believe that Britain’s medical system can cope with a couple of hundred extra emergencies every day?

  • Lets hope there is a big bribery scandal and the London bid will be disqualifed from hosting it. Its a very black day for London and the UK. There is no silver lining to this…

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Verity wrote:

    Have you ever heard of the TGV breaking down? Or being late? I haven’t. Have you ever heard of a British high speed train breaking down, or being late?

    The Brits have high-speed trains? 🙂

  • Johnathan

    HJHJ, keep it civil or you will be barred from this blog.

  • Tim

    Verity,

    Regarding TGV, quite true. But, at what cost? SNCF get subsidies that dwarf our fail system. France does these projects well, because they are very much a “grand projet” nation.

    Look at the other side of France – massive unemployment, bureaucratic business laws, very little inward investment, high taxation.

    Socialists love things like the olympics. It provides a sham view of their nation (remember how amazing the DDR were at athletics, whilst their nation were driving Trabants). I’m convinced that Margaret Thatcher would never have gone after the Olympics like Blair has. Her first question would have been the right one – who is going to pay for this. If it’s such a good deal, a private company should bankroll it.

    I wanted the French to get it so we could watch it on TV while they paid for it 😉

  • HJHJ

    Johnathon,

    What you mean like Verity and GCooper? I presume their abuse and mendacious accusations are completely acceptable?

    It wasn’t me who started using words like fuck and shit.

  • Verity

    Ted Schuerzinger – Ahhh …. um … I thought I heard … actually, wasn’t the Flying Scot a high speed train? But you do have a point.

  • Shaun Bourke

    You poor buggars!!

  • Verity

    Tim, everything you say is correct. But the French would still have run a successful Olympics with everything going like clockwork, and lots of glamour. Of course, they’d have been paying it off for years, but for them, it’s a small price to pay for la gloire. The Brits just don’t think like that, as you know.

    Also, I don’t think Margaret Thatcher would have thought it worth going after the Olympics – not just for cost considerations – but because London is an ancient, renowned, extremely powerful city and has been so for over a thousand years. Even now, it is the second most powerful financial centre in the world. It is the second most important oil trading city in the world. The last thing London needs is a passing carny to “put it on the map”.

  • Pete_London

    Tim

    Verity’s right, France and Paris would naturally have put on an Olympics with style and panache. Yes, in many ways the country is a basket case but how they arrange their affairs is their own business.

    They would have had the pleasure of paying for it and any sporting jocks on this side of the Channel could have jumped on a train to Paris.

    This weekend I’ll be the one on the train for a weekend in Paris. Oh joy, the French and their waiters even more surly than usual towards the Anglos.

  • speedwell

    Verity: “blah, blah, blah, blah, rant, rant, rant”

    Yawn

    I’m sorry, HJHJ, I don’t understand the substance of your argument. It frankly looks almost as if you stuck your thumbs in your ears, waggled your fingers, stuck out your tongue, and emulated a four-year-old’s halfhearted attempt to taunt a playmate. Then it looks sort of like you woke up, realized what an obnoxious bore you were, and yawned.

    But since noone in possession of half a brain cell would seriously attempt to present that as an argument or even a serious taunt, you must be either a performance artist, or you could be using some sort of esoteric, postmodernist, symbolic language, or you might, in fact, most likely not be in possession of the aforementioned half a brain cell.

    But anyway.

    Since I was also an Atlanta resident during the Atlanta Olympic fiasco, my stomach also turns in sympathy for the good people of London.

  • John K

    Well, now we’ve got it, I hope it’s a success, with facilities built to time and on budget. And if it helps put any pressure on the govt to re-establish the Olympic sport of target pistol shooting I will be happy, not that I’m expecting anything from the Great Helmsman on that score, since he is busy now trying to outlaw even toy guns. I hope the people of East London know what is in store for them.

    God willing, 2012 will be the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, so I hope Londoners are ready for the traffic jams (assuming we are still allowed to own cars, of course).

  • Zilch

    Tim is absolutely right.
    Whatever runs smoothly in France is only thanks to massive investment from the state.
    The SNCF is a monopoly (well was until very recently) with massive subsidies, the health system… well even the french are not so happy about it, what good it does is thanks to a huge deficit (le trou de la secu), and the free market in choosing your doctor. Then you have the strikes…

    By 2012, France will be some kind of banana republic on the verge of civil war anyway, this is probably what the comitee considered before appointing London to the job.

  • pommygranate

    Following the rather vicious assault a month ago on those few of us (i am not HJHJH) who dared voice the contra-Samiz view of being pro-London, I conducted a poll amongst my many Sydney based friends and relatives.

    Verdict was that not one single person regretted Sydney hosting the 2000 Games. This despite the fact that it is now becoming clear that the Games will cost the Sydney tax payer an awful lot more than they first thought.

    There is such a thing as national pride. The internationalists on this site just dont seem to share it.

  • Tim

    Pete/Verity,

    All good points. I think we agree. Paris would have done a great job, and we’d have had a great time at their cost 😉

    Incidentally, I had someone reply to me elsewhere that this would be a great thing for the health of the nation, and encourage kids to do sport. Funny as heck.

  • John K

    Or even her Diamond Jubilee. I’m off to look for a Finnish restaurant now to get some lunch, don’t suppose I’ll meet Jacques Chirac there.

  • Verity

    John K – That was funny!

  • Why, oh why do I keep laughing ? It’s because I live in Paris maybe ? I really feel for you though!
    You got the Olympics! You’ll get the taxes and transportations headaches for years after!

    Bwahahahahha 😀

    Hey, sorry. I mean it: I’m really sorry for you. Heh. Bwahahahaha 😀

  • London has won and will do a good job of hosting these games, despite the whinging of the “Paris is so much better, we can’t organise anything, we are sooo sad and useless” brigade. For goodness sake pull yourselves together and stop sounding so pathetic.

    Of course, I feel for my friends who live all of 20 miles away inside the M25 who’ll be picking up most of the tab but I cannot help but feel good about the bid and beating the French.

    Poor Chirac’s not having a great summer is he?

  • Ron

    This jolly jape by The Sun is funny, though…

  • JEM

    Have you ever heard of the TGV breaking down? Or being late? I haven’t. Have you ever heard of a British high speed train breaking down, or being late?

    The Brits have high-speed trains? 🙂

    I’ve been stranded on a TGV half-way between Lyon and Paris that sat, broken down, for hours. TGVs often break down and are often late. What they do not have is fatal accidents. None. Ever. So far. That is largely due to the state-off-the-art automatic train protection system, often promised but totally absent in the UK.

    Eurostar is a TGV. It is regularly late, and regularly breaks down. But it does most of it’s breaking down and time-loosing in France.

    As anyone who has travelled any distance on French railways could tell you, once you get away from the TGV, the ‘ordinary’ French railway system makes Britain’s current system appear to shine by comparison.

  • Verity

    WillS – Millennium Dome. Multiplied by hundreds.

    You must remember this government does not have one original thinker in it. There is no one in the entire government with a flicker of flair, a spark of creativity, a fleeting inspired idea. Tone’s the front man and the rest of them are grey cardie wearers sitting in endless committee meetings sipping their Fair Trade coffee out of mugs bearing Che’s photo. These joyless dolts could not organise a pissup in a brewery.

  • Zilch

    Verity,
    and do you think the french political class is any better?
    you brits tend to be quite negative about your own achievements, Cheer up guys, London 2012 will probably run just as smoothly as it would have in Paris, only we’ll be paying for it.

  • Verity

    Zilch – No, we’re not at all negative about our own achievements. Did you see Trafalgar Day? But we’re not blind to our weaknesses.

  • Andrew

    Sorry to hear it. Mercifully, San Francisco’s 2012 bid crashed and burned at the USOC level. And I don’t have a single good word for the Tahoe Regional planning people, but every time someone proposes bringing Winter Games to Lake Tahoe, TRPA tells them to pound sand.

    * * *

    That said, I trust the UK and council governments will prevent people from renting out their homes at anything approaching what the market will bear. I know that they did that in Atlanta. Bastards. We, the Olympic organizers, will enjoy graft and bribery — but you, the unwashed masses, must sit in construction traffic for years and not get a buck out of the deal.

  • Tim

    WillS,

    Throw enough money at it, and it will probably get done (but I think Paris would have done it with more flair). And this is going to cost huge amounts. The infrastructure alone – getting the tube updated to be able to serve all the people wanting to get to it from all over London is going to cost big time. It’s nuts that it’s about as far from the London airports that you could possibly get (meaning links are going to need building).

    The question is, what do we get for the billions spent? 3 weeks of a sporting event that I could have watched on TV beamed live from Paris. Great.

    We don’t need this at all. London isn’t Seoul where it put the city on the global map and let the world know about them. We are already on that global map. The 3rd most visited city in Europe for tourists. 4th largest economy in the world. We simply don’t need it.

    As for the tab, the chancellor has basically underwritten the games, so that means you too.

  • JEM

    Winning the right to host the Olympics is a bit like wetting yourself on a cold winter morning. At first it can seem pleasantly warming, but the benefit is very transient as the reality of the situation becomes clearer.

    On the other hand as Andrew Neil put on the BBC earlier, the pleasure in Olympics hosting is not the winning as such, but beating the French.

  • HJHJ

    Pommygranate,

    The fact that you’re not me won’t stop the likes of Verity asserting that you are or making vicious attacks for having the temerity to disagree with her. Or meandering on about the Waitrose customer service counter (what the hell was that all about?)

    JEM, of course you’re right about French trains. Much as I like the TGV (I have often used it for business travel in the past in preference to air travel) it does break down and is often late. It has also starved the rest of the French rail network of investment, with the consequence that the average speed of all French trains is lower than in the UK (I’ve had some nightmare trips). The TGV is very safe, but overall, the French rail system is no safer than ours. Where we’re wasting serious money is on the west coast main line upgrade – £10bn! Of course, Verity never lets the facts get in the way of a good rant.

    Incidentally, I wonder whether Jacques Chirac could do something about the catering facilities on the TGV? Worse than any intercity service in the UK (not that it’s particularly good here). He was also being somewhat unfair about Finnish food, I feel. Although my experiences may not be typical (mainly restaurants on business travel) I’ve generally enjoyed the food in Finland. From my experience of company canteen food on business visits, I’d say that Germany is worst, closely followed by Holland (only milk to drink in the Philips canteen!). Belgium is best, France generally pretty good though predictable, and the UK generally reasonable and improving. US canteens can be very peculiar (often disposable everything) , though not always bad.

  • JEM

    It’s nuts that it’s about as far from the London airports that you could possibly get…

    Look at your map again. It’s only a couple of miles from the City of London Airport and really handy for London Stansted, which will soon overtake Gatwick in capacity and could well be on its way to overtake Heathrow as London’s main airport in a decade or two. No, airport-wise, it’s really rather well placed. And of course it’s directly on the CTLR that’ll be taking Eurostar from 2007–so day trips from Paris will be possible.

  • Tim

    JEM,

    The problem with that is that it’s kinda short term. I bet that in 5 years time, the French will be laughing at how much the whole thing is costing us.

    At least spending a few billions of taxpayers money on the TGV has some long-term benefits, which means that businesses can travel faster. Spending a few billions on the Olympics gives us a sporting event for 3 weeks, a few extra tourists and me being able to watch the athletics an hour earlier.

  • Zilch

    I bet that in 5 years time, the French will be laughing at how much the whole thing is costing us.

    I bet they won’t, because the cost will be bearable by the UK economy. Can’t say this about France

  • Jacob

    From the NY times:
    “The [NY]city’s Olympic bid delegation – a group of about 300 people – had watched the vote tally on a giant projector screen in a wing of the Ritz Carlton hotel in Singapore. Guests sipped wine and nibbled on dumplings, spicy fish sausages and croissant-wrapped shrimp in what was a generally giddy atmosphere stoked by the perception that the team’s presentation was a show stopper. But when New York was eliminated, the room fell into a prolonged, stunned silence, according to people who were there.”

    You see – the Olimpycs aren’t totally useless !

  • The Wobbly Guy

    At the very least, it’ll provide a short/medium boost to the construction sector.

    Since the Londoners are paying for it, they might as well enjoy it. And if they really don’t like it, they can jolly well organize protests to hinder construction, but something tells me that’s not gonna happen.

    TWG

  • Jacob

    There is a phrase that may be appropiate for the ocasion:

    Let a worse catastrophe never hit London.

  • Tube upgrades are necessary and planned regardless of the Games. Of the venues, 80% were going to be constructed regardless of the Games. CrossRail is necessary and planned regardless of the Games. London held Wimbledon, Gay Pride and Live8 simultaneously without a problem.

    Bitch about the city council taxes all you want, but don’t be so negative about London as a city. It wouldn’t be visited so often if it were truly as bad as some people portray it.

    Oh well, personally I’m just glad I can cheer on my mate in London instead of Paris, if she makes the selection for the British national team.

  • HJHJ

    Tim, that’s the point about the Olympics – most of the cost is going on infrastructure which is being built anyway (it is, of course, debatable whether this is good value) – principally things like transport and utilities (and these are the bits most likely to go over budget. Even things like the Olympic village accommodation will be built for sale afterwards.

    It’s a much more finely balanced debate whether the Olympics-specific costs (running the games, building sports facilities, etc.) outweighs the revenue, direct and indirect (TV, tickets, sponsorship, tourism etc.), resulting from the games. The official figures show a modest profit on this (contrary to those that blandly assert that the Olympics represents a “sport subsidy”), although the error margin means it could go either way. However, the evidence from Sydney (where TV income came in way above budget, as did the stadium) is that despite the well-publicised fiancial problems of the stadium, these are modest compared to a much greater overall economic benefit.

  • What everyone should do is figure out what part of their council tax bill is to pay for this boondoggle and send Seb Coe an invoice for that amount.

    New Yorkers are so lucky they lost.

  • Zilch

    So the French do not get to host the olympics, but they still get to pay, Sweet!

  • pommygranate

    Zilch

    You are right about London being just as capable as Paris of running a good Games.
    I work with many Parisians. Their immediate reaction was one of disappointment which has quickly given way to a surprising consensus – one that London will handle the Games better than Paris anyway.

    There is a palpable despair and defeatism held by Parisians who work in London about their mother country.

  • pommygranate

    Transportation upgrade….£2bn
    Infrastructure program……£1bn
    Look on Chirac’s face……..priceless

  • Zilch

    There is a palpable despair and defeatism held by Parisians who work in London about their mother country.
    Pommygranate,
    I was in Paris last weekend, my girlfriend (who is south american) and I were on the metro when she told me Paris was just as Buenos Aires, the people are rude, things do not run as they should, the underground is dirty and not safe.

    As i said higher up, the Brits tend to overlook some of their greatest achievements of the last 25 years. and to an extent I guess it is a fairly sane attitude when it comes to evaluating what doesn’t run as it should in 21st century Britain.

    But considering what has been accomplished in 25 years, Brits need to realise that the rest of Europe is looking up to them with envy, and despair for some.

  • Pete_London

    What is it with people thinking that we’re talking London down? I know that I’m from of the very few truly great world cities. I’ve never been anywhere on earth and not met locals who have been or want to go to London.

    But that’s the point: London and Now Yoik City don’t to demean and embarrass themselves by grasping for the Olympics. Begging and pleading and yearning for the right to host a sporting event is for lower level cities, for an Istanbul, a Munich, a Perth.

    London and New Yoik should have the confidence to remain above such embarrassing behaviour.

  • Lupin

    “And then will they sit patiently while I explain to them the definition of parasite?”

    Yes, possibly they will. And then, GCooper, you can have a nice lie down while I tell you things about “society” and “civilisation”.

    And Verity can suck on her lemon.

    And the rest of us will continue to read your blog every day, and laugh at you, because you are pathetic.

  • John Steele

    “Condolences to the taxpayers of the UK and particularly of London.
    Too bad you can’t figure out a way to get the French to pay for it.
    Posted by Taylor at July 6, 2005 01:33 PM”

    Don’t write off the Brits just yet. They may yet find a way to stick the French with the tab.

  • Johnathan

    Lupin, do tell us about society and civilisation. I am dying to know.

  • GCooper

    Lupin writes:

    “….you can have a nice lie down while I tell you things about “society” and “civilisation”.”

    No thanks, I get that kind of clatrap from the BBC and the Guardian and twerps like Tessa Jowell.

    Unlike you, however, I know better than to believe it.

  • Verity

    Robert John Kaper advises us not to “be so negative about London as a city”.

    Where did you pick up this misapprehension? Not one person has been negative about London as a city. All of us who think this is an affront to one of the world’s great cities think London is slumming by hosting the Olympics. London was long the most powerful city in the world, and it is still immensely wealthy, is still a centre of great power and renown. We feel the Olympics are for people who need a boost. Not a great city like London!

  • I love London. I think it is one of the three or four greatest cities in the world – maybe the very greatest city in the world – and this is why I choose to live here. And for much the same reasons as Pete_London, that is why I believe London does not need the Olympics, the way some lesser cities do.

    On the other hand, the news e-mail I have just received from the mailing list of the Institute of Civil Engineers is busy expressing extreme delight, so there are clearly some beneficiaries.

  • JEM

    HJHJ: Where we’re wasting serious money is on the west coast main line upgrade – £10bn!

    It is a consequence of living on a tight little island that we have a lot less empty space to build brand new railways on than do the French. This is the rational for upgrading the WCML rather than building a brand new LGV (Ligne a Grande Vitesse) but the consequence is a renewed line that is more expensive and disruptive to build and of a geometric design that cannot handle the highest speeds attained on the French LGVs. Hence the tilting trains. I agree the cost/benefit assessment makes the project look dubious at best, but if we have to maintain a national railway system worthy of the name, the WCML, serving the four largest population centres of the country, is absolutely key and there may be no practical alternative.

    Incidentally, all of the original main French railway system, mostly of 19th century vintage, was built by British engineers which is why it (including the modern RER around Paris) operates on a ‘keep left’ basis like British roads and railways, and unlike the rest of Europe, for instance German railways. The one exception in France is the Paris Metro, which is not connected to the RER or main line tracks, and keeps to the right.

    Not a lot of people know that.

    I don’t supose it’s got a lot to do with the Olympics, but it’s more interesting… at least i think it is.

  • GCooper

    Michael Jennings writes:

    “….there are clearly some beneficiaries.”

    Indeed there are!

    But that is also true of speed cameras, congestion charging, identity cards and Council Tax.

    The question is, why should the rest of us pay even more tax to keep the smiles on their pretty faces?

  • Verity

    Lupin – or may I call you Lupy? I feel I already know you, somehow. I am guessing you are related to our friend Pommygranate, who in turn appears to be related to A Neutral and Bollo the economist. HJHJ appears to have more manifestations than a Hindu diety.

  • The one exception in France is the Paris Metro

    That’s not actually the only exception. Trains run on the right in Alsace, too, for fairly obvious historical reasons.

  • HJHJ

    Verity – play another record. The current one is worn out and was unbelievably boring anyway. No-one is interested in your increasingly obtuse rantings. Why not just jot them on an email and send them to yourself (c.c. GCooper)

    JEM, on the WCML, it’s a bit more complex than you say. Without going into details (which I can’t entirely remember anyway), John Redwood wrote a very perceptive article about the railways last year, which explains in technical detail about the difficulties of running different types of trains on the same lines and many of the other issues. My point is that £10bn is a ridiculous amount of money for the benefits that can be expected. I like railways, but this line will carry so few people on long distances and make so little difference to road congestion that it’s pretty difficult to justify upgrading the line in the way that it is being done. A different type of upgrade may well have been a better choice.

  • I am looking at Seb Coe’s face on the news and all I want to do his punch his lights out. Any thinking that scumbag was ever a Tory is out the window. Thanks for giving us a socialist nightmare you total arse.

  • HJHJ

    Verity says:
    “Where did you pick up this misapprehension? Not one person has been negative about London as a city”

    What a short memory she has. We had chapter and verse from her about how superior Paris was not so long ago and many derogatory comments about London. She has even gone on about how she has left the country as it’s so awful nowadays.

    Lets hope the Olympics keeps her away for much longer.

  • lupin

    “I feel I already know you, somehow.”

    guess again. believe it or not, verity, more than one “critical rationalist” reader of this blog thinks you’re a vile and joyless old moonbat.

    our name, in fact, is legion. for we are many.

  • Tim

    Andrew Ian Dodge,

    Sad about the tories supporting this bloody circus. Never mind the principles of small government and making a case for it, just move down to the lowest populist level of the Labour party.

    The trouble is that I’ve seen people who support labour and tory today who support the games. The tory ones love the patriotism of it, even cheering on the odd canadian/us athlete who has spent almost none of their life here.

    The only hope is Alan Duncan getting the leadership job.

  • GCooper

    Lupin writes:

    “our name, in fact, is legion. for we are many.”

    I rather got the impression that that was just what Verity was suggesting. A bad case of MPD.

    Meanwhile, we are still waiting your dissertation on ‘society’ and ‘civilisation’, with special reference, no doubt, to the profound influence of state-subsidised P.E. thereon.

  • Verity

    Thank you, G Cooper. “A bad case of MPD.” Indeed.

    The handle HuwJenkinsHuwJenkins might have given the more alert among us an initial clue, after all. When HuwJenkinsHuwJenkins, the keen rower and holder of a degree in physics, was trounced in discussions pinpointing the lack of democracy in taxpayers being forced to pony up to support other people’s hobbies, in flew Bollo, an economist. Bollo was a stalwart supporter of HuwJenkinsHuwJenkins.

    When they failed to make headway, enter stage left (or right, I don’t mind) A Neutral. In a mind-boggling coincidence, A Neutral shared all of HJHJ’s prejudices. Yet, oh, I dunno, something was missing. Arguments were still being made by many of us on this blog against HJHJ’s position, so the cast got larger. Pommygranate, a fairly genial type, suddenly entered, again, with all HJHJ’s exact stream of hatreds. Today, Lupin flew across the stage in a Peter Pan harness, landing clumsily onstage. Supporting an identical point of view in identical words!!!!! What are the chances?

  • GCooper

    Verity wonders:

    “What are the chances?”

    Probably zero.

    Especially after I’m Suffering For My Art caught the hapless poster using the same e-mail address for one of his fictional supporter’s posts.

    What interests me (far beyond the idiocy of the Olympics, I must say) is desperate need to win at all costs.

    As personality disorders go, it’s one of those that sets alarm bells ringing.

  • Verity

    G Cooper – Agreed. There’s an unsettling air of win at any cost, no matter how ridiculous. No matter how many recruits with ridiculous email addresses have to be brought in.

  • pommygranate

    I wish i had Verity’s self confidence. To fervently believe that if dissenting voices do appear, they must in fact be just a lone critic in various guises.