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Raiding the piggy bank

Dave Lee's The Olympic Borough has an exclusive one day in advance of the next Save Wanstead Flats public meeting. His FoI request reveals that the Met have blown £50,000 on their publicity campaign trying to justify their (perhaps temporary) enclosure of part of the Flats protected under the Epping Forest Act.


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Cheesy Wotsits

That recent bit of bad publicity about the North/south divide - South gets Olympic contracts seems to have got the spin merchants exercised again. Surely it's no co-incidence that we're treated to news that some of the cheese to be served in the Athletes' Village is coming from west Wales?


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Now Delhi demonstrates tourism and Games don't mix

Now it's Delhi's turn to discover that tourism does not prosper at mega events. Travel agents report cancellations of almost 50%.


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Olympic traffic lanes divert marathon

Apparently the reason the 2012 Olympic marathon will not be run in East London is because East London's roads will be needed to get the Olympic family to the Games on time in East London, where, of course, they will not get to see the marathon and will, therefore, probably choose to stay in Central London!

This bizarre set of circumstances is matched by an equally bizarre project in which a ten metre tall statue of Lady Godiva, well known for her Stratford connections, will be brought to London from Coventry by a peleton of fifty cyclists to feature in the Cultural Olympiad.

Maybe the almost certainly iconic Lady Godiva will be unable to reach her Olympiad destination when she finds the roads are blocked off so that Olympic family members can exceed the speed limit along their designated lanes as they rush to get back to the centre of London to see the marathon diverted to allow them to get to East London.


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Will public services cope in 2012?

A third of customer services managers surveyed by the Institute of Customer Services say they expect London's public services to fail during the 2012 Games. I am not sure if they have taken into account the possibility that the Games will not attract the expected number of tourists and that many small businesses may take a holiday to avoid the Olympic fallout, thereby reducing the numbers moving around London.

It is also unclear whether these managers have included the coming public sector cuts in their calculations. These may well mean London's capacity to cope on an everyday basis, let alone during the Olympics, will be in doubt.


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Air pollution - Beijing sees 'pleasant irony' in London's discomfort

London is being advised by Frank Kelly, professor and director of the King's College London (KCL) Environmental Research Group, to learn from Beijing's example and restrict traffic during the Olympics to combat air pollution. This is making Beijing feel rather smug, especially as the same Professor Kelly was amongst those raising concerns about air pollution there back in 2008.

London is already in trouble with the EU over its failure to tackle poor air quality. The ODA, which has continually trumpeted its own green credentials, has contributed to this failure with its refusal to fit non road mobile machinery (NRMM) with exhaust after treatment.

The China Daily is upfront about its delight at seeing the London pot being called black: 'Those who remember what China - especially Beijing - was made to go through during the run-up to the Games would call this a pleasant irony.'


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A little 'hyperlocal' legacy

Last weekend an 'unconference' took place both on- and offline - London Neighbourhoods Online. By Monday two new hyperlocal blogs had sprung up in Olympic boroughs, both started by famous figures within the London Blogosphere.

Bow local hero Diamond Geezer kicked off ee three and is inviting others to get involved:

Only news and comment from the E3 postcode will be permitted. That includes Mile End, Bow and Bromley-by-Bow, even Three Mills and Fish Island, but not Victoria Park or the Olympic Park. Please let's have nothing extreme, nor rampantly advertorial, nor anything applicable to Tower Hamlets as a whole

Adam Bienkov aka Tory Troll is now flying his Kidbrooke Kite.

By way of Olympic-themed tasters:
Snickers
Olympic Legacy comes to Kidbrooke Green


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Human Rights at Mega Events - Sport's shameful silence

How dare they stick athletes in sub-standard accommodation! I don't think I have heard any of the various sports bodies or sportsmen or women at present criticising the Delhi Games organisers express any concern for the 100,000 or so people evicted to make way for the facilities, the street vendors prevented from making a living, the underpaid and mistreated workers who have slaved to build the stadiums or the beggars forced to move out of the city because of the Games.

Delhi's 'lootfest' is just the latest example of the narcissistic indifference of sports people to the suffering of those in the way of mega-events.


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2012 Board given Lib Dem massage

Following the appointment of Olympic budget masseuse Tessa Jowell to the 2012 Games Board two Liberal Democrats have joined her. It had been suggested there was a competition between Don Foster and Ming Campbell for just one place but it looks like another seat has been added to the table.

Don decided to have a pop at Labour when he announced the appointments at the Lib Dem conference: “While Labour's support for the games can't be questioned, their record in planning for its legacy certainly can."

SebCo may have something to say about that. He said Jowell, Labour's Olympics Minister, had made an "enormous contribution". Maybe he and the masseuse will put Don right at the next meeting of the Board.

Don also felt it was necessary to make some complimentary remarks about Ming: “It is particularly pleasing that Ming, a former Olympic athlete, will be able to bring his knowledge, experience and wisdom to help ensure success in 2012.”

Maybe this was because not so long ago the Lib Dems thought he was past it and dumped him as leader on account of his age. So presumably they think the 2012 Board is a pretty easy number.


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Olympics to save police from cuts?

The Olympics has its uses. Now the Metropolitan Police hope the 2012 Olympics will protect them from the cuts. The security budget is likely to expand beyond the £600million already planned. Get ready for more Olympic security, terror, protest scare stories?


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