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London 2012

Statewatch: A “clean city”: the Olympic Games and civil liberties by Chris Jones

A report by Statewatch

In 2005, the UK won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Seven years later, the Games are due to begin, but they are not without controversy. Sponsors of the Games – including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Cadbury’s, BP and, perhaps most controversially, Dow Chemical [1] – were promised “what is chillingly called a ‘clean city’, handing them ownership of everything within camera distance of the games.” [2] In combination with measures put in place to deal with what have been described as the “four key risks” of terrorism, protest, organised crime and natural disasters, [3] these measures have led to a number of detrimental impacts upon civil liberties, dealt with here under the headings of freedom of expression; freedom of movement; freedom of assembly; and the right to protest. The Games will be hosted in locations across the country, but primarily in London, which is main the focus of this analysis.


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This might be a very small, very local Olympics legacy story...

At the end of July 2012 residents of Wick Village rallied to oppose ODA plans for the construction of a new bridge to cross the canal from Gainsborough School. The original bridge had been just for the use of children to get to their playing field on the opposite side of the canal at Arena Fields, a beautiful green space enjoyed by local residents which was destroyed to make way for the Media Centre. The new bridge, however, would include a ramp to allow for possible future public access to the bridge which would take away 30% of residents' communal space and leave the rest unusable. It also meant there was a danger their estate would become a through route for people trying to reach the Media Centre. Residents thought they had succeeded in defeating the plans when the ODA (not Hackney!) turned down the proposal.

However, things have followed a familiar pattern where the Olympics are concerned. After the latest meeting to discuss the revised plans one of the original objectors, Dee Dee O'Connell, tweeted:

'they're doing almost exactly the same thing as last time. Possibly worse.'


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Carpenters: UCL Students vow to continue struggle despite 'intimidation'

Students have vowed to continue their struggle against UCL's proposals for a Stratford campus after being forced to end their occupation in solidarity with residents of the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. They were served with an injuction after beginning the sit-in on Wednesday 28th after an inconclusive UCL General Council meeting, which failed to agree the University's plan to develop the housing estate at Carpenters Road, Stratford, as a new campus. Students and academic staff have been expressing concern at the plans and offering support to residents over the past months but UCL has pressed ahead regardless in its collaboration with Newham Council prompting the sit-in.


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Blacklisting - Ian Kerr comes clean

So now we have it from the horse's mouth. Ian Kerr of The Counsulting Association has given evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee that 'Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and possibly Skanska' had used his services to run blacklisting checks on workers employed on the Olympic Park.


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Babes are born and cauldrons bubble

Now it's the Telegraph's turn to recount the miraculous capacity of the Olympics to boost fertility! And just in case anyone should doubt its truth even science is recruited to provide an explanation for the baby boom. Janice Hillier, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships informs us:

“When you experience feelings of novelty, interest and motivation your brain releases dopamine and noradrenaline, which in turn increase levels of oxytocin and vasopressin – chemicals associated with arousal. On a neurobiological level, the Olympic baby boom makes sense.”


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Olympic closures continue

Local knowledge is invaluable! @grahamdwalter Graham Walter informs us 18 Nov #ThamesPath still closed @EtonDorney 2.5 months after #Olympics.


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An accidental cycling legacy?

On 1st August a cyclist, Dan Harris, was killed by a bus coming from the Olympic Park at a spot near where TfL had made alterations to the road markings for cyclists on account of the Olympics. Not only had London 2012 failed to provide simple safe routes for cyclists to enter or circumnavigate the Olympic Park during the Olympics, it closed key cycle routes like the Greenway and, just before the Olympics began, the critical towpath on the west side of the Park which was shut without warning for reasons of security forcing cyclists onto busy roads. Local protests were, of course, simply ignored.


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Meta-evaluation of the Impact and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

This report brings together the findings from phase one of the Developing Meta-Evaluation Methods study, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the Meta-Evaluation of the Impacts and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The Meta-Evaluation has been commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The work on methods is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) . The aim of this element of the study is to review and advance understanding of methods of meta-evaluation.


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