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Monday, August 13, 2012 

Reality bites.

Well, the less said about the closing ceremony the better, yes? There are after all enough innate contradictions in Jessie J's Price Tag dirge without her arriving to sing it in the back of a Rolls-Royce, in surroundings which confirm that err, yes, it really is all about the money.

Musical apocalypse aside, even a hardened pessimist such as myself has to admit the last two and a bit weeks have been both a success and thoroughly enjoyable. Despite the media's overwhelming positivity though, the Graun's poll on whether it was all worth it is hardly as conclusive as portrayed; 55% compared to 35% thinking it was is a percentage that will soon fall if, as expected the Olympics hasn't done as much for the economy as the coalition insisted it would. The far from universal euphoria will soon fizzle out (And check also the depressing numbers that, while supporting multiculturalism, still think that immigrants don't bring anything positive).

Some of the waste involved has been obscene, none more so than the ridiculous levels of security. According to the police up until Friday they had made a grand total of just less than 250 arrests, the vast majority of which were for ticket touting. Would a minister now like to remind us just why there was a need to put missile silos on the top of blocks of flats, or indeed why we had to have the Zil lanes that went almost completely unused? There was also no need whatsoever to close off vast swathes of land surrounding the areas where the events where being held, but such were the restrictions we were told were necessary.

As should now be obvious, the only thing the Olympics is really about is the sport. If they provide something resembling a legacy to deprived parts of London then that's a bonus. Instead, apart from the left over buildings and arenas, the one other likely to remain is yet another poxy unneeded shopping mall. Much of the responsibility for this does have to be levelled at the Blairites who convinced themselves the Olympics was just what London needed, and whom inevitably fell completely for the commercialisation of everything. Remember Tessa Jowell introducing the horrid logo, informing us all that this was a "iconic brand"? Everything followed on from there, and if we needed any further confirmation then the "VISA party" to mark the closing of the Beijing Olympics provided it.

Considering those involved in the planning then, that everything went almost entirely smoothly barring a few minor hiccups to begin with was a bonus. A successful games wasn't enough though, 65 medals for "Team GB" or not. Heaven forfend that everything built specially for the games should then be handed over to local communities to enjoy and run, as that would just be a waste. Hence the early sale of the Olympic village to the Qataris, and more is likely to follow. When David Cameron sets a ludicrous target of bringing in £1bn in investment, he sets himself up to fail. Everyone enjoys a change for a couple of weeks, being in a different city that bends over backwards to welcome the foreign guests and athletes, and then they move on to the next one. This is what the modern Olympics is about, as Sydney, Athens and Beijing have demonstrated. Rather than indulging in fantasies, we could have been realistic. For all the excitement and achievements of all and sundry, it's now back to earth with a bump. Still, hows about Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Usain Bolt, eh?

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"why there was a need to put missile silos on the top of blocks of flats"

This rock kept tigers away, did you see any tigers? Obviously worked then.

On the sale of the Village, only half of it has been sold to Qutar; the other half has been set aside for affordable housing. 1,379 new affordable homes and it only cost us £275m

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