Games Monitor

Skip to main content.

Blog

Running on black: Blacklisting at the stadium?

Back in the Spring of 2011 Daletech Services sacked Frank Morris after he raised concerns about the dismissal of a fellow worker. The co-worker's name had appeared on a blacklist used by Olympics contractors Skanska and Carillion, who were constructing the Media Centre where the dismissed electrician was working. Recently further accusations of blacklisting at the Olympics have been made against Sir Robert McAlpine, who paid Consulting Association £26,842.20, including a spike of £12,839.20 for 5,836 blacklist checks back in the period July to September 2008 shortly after McAlpine started work on the Olympic Stadium in May 2008.

The information was provided by Ucatt General Secretary Steve Murphy when union leaders gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee probe into the now defunct Consulting Association run by Ian Kerr.


| | | | |

Barcelona and London: Who tells the story?

When telling the story of Barcelona Professor Muñoz also made some interesting comments about the previous occupants of the docklands area which was cleared to make way for the new gentrified suburb. They were, he said, 'mainly women and squatters'. If I recall the number moved was 55,000, a lot of plainly undesirable women and squatters! Of course, as with the Lea Valley the allegedly derelict nature of the area was also rehearsed. It was after all a docklands area, rather like the industrial land cleared for the London 2012 Olympics, land deliberately used by the city for 'dirty' projects and providing services others preferred not to have on their doorstep but then condemned for those very purposes to justify its seizure. Professor Muñoz referred to the process by which the company redeveloping the site moved from being publicly controlled to privately controlled, as if this somehow justified the loss of housing for the poor. The Barcelona Olympics was supposed to deliver public benefits but failed to do so. As a public project it was for the city and national governments to ensure this occurred but they failed to do this.

Also bumped into Paul Brickell, who is now Executive Director of Regeneration and Community partnerships at the LLDC and also a Newham Councillor. He actually did come to visit us at Clays Lane, something neither Mayor Wales, who promised to do so when I saw him in Stratford Mall but who, two people told me on separate occasions, later described Clays Lane residents as 'peasants', something he now denies, nor Lyn Brown MP, who told her constituency Labour Party members that she had been visiting Clays Lane, managed to do.

Mr Brickell said the LLDC disagrees with the ODA over the new park being the largest new park in Europe for 150 years. He referred to the Northolt and Greenford park, already publicised on Games Monitor, as a larger park in London in the last twenty years. Not sure if he got this from Games Monitor. However, he noted that this particular lie now seems too well established in its endless repetition by lazy journalists and academics to be uprooted, although he didn't use quite this language!

Property development is of course key to understanding the Olympics. How appropriate then that Barcelona should be the subject of the first of UEL's new series of seminars, the Olympics where gentrification featured so powerfully and which was organised by that leading fascist Barcelona property speculator Juan Antonio Samaranch.


| | | | |

never look a gift horse in the mouth

Diamondgeezer delicately deconstructs some of the Gifts of the Games spin. I'm only horrified that London Fields Lido hasn't yet been claimed for 'legacy'.


|

Barcelona - who tells the story?

Went to seminar on the so-called Barcelona model: Learning from History - Barcelona 20 Years On, which was being put on by the University of East London at the offices of the LLDC, with two speakers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Berta Cerezuela and Francesc Muñoz. Given the connection with the IOC and the LLDC maybe it wasn't surprising that this was strongly supportive of the 'success of Barcelona' theme.

Dr Cerezuela simply provided a long recital of the ways Barcelona had tried to propagate the idea of a Barcelona legacy. Professor Muñoz produced a number of maps of the city with circles, lines, arrows and such like on them and referred to the legacy of public open space where Indian migrants now play cricket in the public space on the newly opened up waterfront. There was a lot of talk about 'memory' and 'managing consensus'. Nothing about the 55,000 people removed from the docklands area, about the importance of who tells the story or of an alternative point of view until these were raised by members of the audience, at which point he agreed the process had led to the creation of an exclusive suburb with only 5% 'affordable' housing followed by a widening process of gentrification, which had made Barcelona a difficult city for many (poor) people to live in.

A more supportive member of the audience asked if Barcelona was now a happier city. Professor Muñoz thought it was!


| | | | | |

Auto Coe!

Well what a coincidence! SebCo Ltd is about to publish his biography - the auto version.


|

Coe cashes in

Now that he's preparing to move on to greater things in the world of sport administration Lord SebCo Ltd has decided to cash in his Complete Leisure Group Limited at a reported profit of around £12million by selling up to Chime, who also took over Alan Pascoe's Fast Track Sales Ltd, formerly vice-president of the London 2012 Bid team. Another shareholder to benefit from the sale of CLG is Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Nice work if you can get it!


| |

Sustaining, supporting and reviewing communities

One of the proudest boasts of those promoting the London Olympics was that they saw 'sustaining and supporting' local communities as a key objective. At Clays Lane the first thing the LDA did was lie to residents telling them their estate would be demolished even if the Olympics didn't come. At Leabank Square the ODA threatened legal action for defamation when residents made some pointed remarks about the performance of the community liaison officer on their own estate blogspot. At Wanstead Flats the Government overturned the Epping Forest Act in order to grab a piece of land for a police barracks.

At Leyton Marsh the ODA told local people there would be no children's open day at the basketball training facility because they had dared to protest at the blatant breach of planning rules by the authorities. Further supportive action included taking out an injunction, launching prosecutions resulting in an ASBO for one protester, jail terms for others and remand in custody for a photographer and seeking court costs of over £20,000 when local people tried to challenge the breach of planning rules. When Save Leyton Marsh held its MarshRoots celebration on Saturday 21st October a patrol turned up and warned them not to cause any damage to the site right next to where the ODA had failed to meet its deadline for restoring the ground and where a large area of rain soaked mud was still fenced off to keep out local people.

Plainly thinking it had not been sufficiently 'supportive' the ODA then sent an email demanding Save Leyton Marsh supply a copy of its calendar saying it wanted to 'review' it! Save Leyton Marsh had already been subjected to the scrutiny of its artistic endeavours when a local venue which was hosting a fund raising event was told to expect a visit from the security services and posters of the event were taken down by officers, thought to be from Waltham Forest Council, no doubt for a similar review as that now proposed by the ODA.

The Olympics has involved all kinds of creative activities by the authorities, mostly in the field of fictional descriptions of their projects, but 'sustaining and supporting' communities plainly now includes the criticism of artistic productions.


| | | |

Treat with caution!

Alongside the claim of an Olympics boost to the economy, is the claim of an Olympics jobs boost. It is certainly the case that some temporary jobs will have been created during the summer, but it is entirely unclear how many and these claims have been made without any detailed supporting evidence. The Olympics was supposed to have helped reduce unemployment by some tens of thousands between March and May without any specific information as to what these jobs were long before the Games began and after construction had come to an end. Then again in the third quarter the same claims were made, this time for 100,000 Olympics jobs, once again without any specific evidence. Given that tens of thousands of Olympics jobs had already been claimed for the previous months one has to wonder what all these people were doing. According to the statistics 101,000 more people were in work in London during the summer so it seems all of these are simply credited to the Olympics! The other 'evidence' cited is a claim by the Games' organisers that the Olympics would create around 200,000 jobs, 70,000 of which would be volunteers, so these figures appear to have been swallowed whole as the basis for the jobs boost. Of course all sorts of claims for job creation have been made over the years, some of which have then been disowned by the same organisers who proclaimed them, while in other instances the organisers have been unable to provide any information in support of their projections.

As the LDA said on a previous occasion 'treat with caution'.


| | | |

Olympicsboostsh*t

There is a concerted effort to suggest the Olympics has pulled Britain out of recession. But the BBC has provided an interesting perspective on this. The third quarter is expected to show a 0.7% rise in GDP. The second quarter included an extra bank holiday which knocked the economy by 0.5%, so this deficit was recouped in the third quarter. The remaining 0.2% is accounted for by ticket sales meaning that in reality 'excluding the Olympic and Jubilee effects, growth seems to have been broadly flat'. However, what is curious about this concoction is that, of course, ticket sales actually occurred months ago so could just as easily have been included in those earlier statistics. The fourth quarter is then expected to sink back into deficit.

Olympicsboostsh*t!


| | |

Ambulance thefts? Must be al Qaeda

According to 'sources' more ambulances were stolen during the Olympics than usual. The security services were apparently concerned this might indicate an al Qaeda attack was imminent. Why al Qaeda would want to draw attention to themselves by stealing lots of ambulances and why they would leave it to the last moment to execute these thefts is not explained. But then that was the Olympics and the authorities might also have thought it a good idea to put missiles on top of some blocks of flats and shoot down civilian jets over the city!


| | | |