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A Bankrupt Field of Dreams

The fraught disputes over how best to recoup the high construction and maintenance costs of the London Olympic stadium conform to a pattern previously seen elsewhere in England and abroad. The story of the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield provides a cautionary tale of how the visionary delusions of ambitious politicians end up ruining the chances of ordinary people gaining adequate access to affordable opportunities for healthy recreation.


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To the Manor born - 15% affordable housing in the Aftermath Zone?

Back in September Games Monitor reported that the amount of affordable housing in the Aftermath Zone (it's time to think of some more imaginative names than the QEII Park - suggestions welcome) would be reduced to 28%. The LLDC had waited to reveal this to, of all people, an American Community Land Trust organiser, Greg Rosenberg, who was visiting London to promote CLTs.


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(kuhn-ver-juhns) n:

Convergence: Screengrab from London Evening Standard,  http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/social-cleansing-row-over-bid-to-move-newham-council-tenants-7675561.html


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The London Olympics and the state we’re in

The personal story of Olympic pundit, filmmaker and journalist, Mike Wells: an entertaining yet troubling tale of wrongful imprisonment and intrigue. Wells uses the London Olympics as a lens through which to look at the state of Britain.

The case against me was the result of an unscheduled Olympic boxing match. It occurred in April 2012 at Leyton Marshes outside a construction site where basketball courts were being built for the Games. Local opposition to the basketball facility was passionate because it was being erected on much loved parkland. Protesting grandmothers, dog walkers, and transvestites amongst others had made themselves unpopular by sitting in front of construction vehicles. I was there shooting footage for my film ‘London Takes Gold’.

I arrived at Leyton Marshes, a beautiful green space in East London, to find an excavator working in open parkland without safety measures. ‘Worth filming’ I thought. A passing walker suddenly veered from his course and stood in front of the machine. He started yelling at the driver to stop work owing to the likelihood of crushing dogs and people with the machine’s wildly swinging arm.

Passing walker shouts at digger driver to stop workPassing walker shouts at digger driver to stop work


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Some Shortcomings of Olympic success

In a house in the London suburb of Ealing, hired for the occasion by a film company, an actor playing the part of an average guy, is checking in a mirror how he looks in his recently bought shirt. Out from behind the mirror steps the winner of the recent Olympic women’s heptathlon who reels off some spiel about a 2% discount. The actor/guy plays gobsmacked that this princess should emerge from behind his mirror, announce some cashback offer then humiliate him over his new shoes.


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Another Olympics Cycling Legacy - Critical Mass Convictions

Five of the 182 Critical Mass cyclists arrested for riding their bikes near the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony were finally convicted of breaching section 12 of the Public Order Act. Section 12 is intended "to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community." In this instance, the police, taking extraordinary measures under the Olympic state of exception, set up road blocks on bridges to stop the cyclists crossing the Thames, an action which caused far more serious disruption than anything the cyclists were likely to achieve, even if this was their intention.


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Leyton Marsh: Malice and the prosecution of Mike Wells

Two weeks ago the trial began of nine members of Critical Mass, out of 182 originally arrested, for riding their bikes too close to the Olympic Park on the evening of the Opening Ceremony. Another malicious Olympics prosecution (see p 12), that of citizen journalist and photographer Mike Wells, finally came to an end almost two months ago on 17th January 2013. The story began with an unsubstantiated allegation that Mike assaulted the driver of an excavator at Sandy Lane, the unmade road that runs alongside Leyton Marshes, and ended nine months later at Stratford Magistrate’s Court. Mike’s prosecution occurred against a background of warnings from police and politicians that the authorities would take a hard line in the face of protest and disorder.


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How topping! Olympic Park fence electrified from mid 2010 to 22nd October 2012

For the Olympics the abnormal becomes normal. One of the most astonishing things to happen at London 2012 was the building of an electrified fence around the Olympic Park. The idea that this was necessary or sensible was seldom questioned. It may well be that most people didn’t even realise it had been done. People were constantly surprised when I pointed it out to them. But even those who did know of it probably thought the electricity was only on during the Games. Not so.

In December I asked the ODA

‘Is the electric fence around the Olympic Park still in use as an electric fence? If not, when was it last operated as an electric fence?’


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