Wednesday, February 16, 2005

More Baron Besmirching

After our quite shocking attempt to drag the good name of Silas Greenback through the mud by comparing him to Bob Novak, we now move to the unholy Olympic ruckus, which is paralysing two perfectly good cities, and London (badum-chah!), and soiling the best intentions of Baron Coubertin. London, Paris and New York are competing to host the 2012 fiasco.

New York has been threatening to build stadiums (see endless posts passim), and Mayor Mike has been flitting between literal and metaphorical shovels. Dan Doctoroff, the "Olympic' deputy mayor has a kind of Albert Brooks authority, and certainly looks like business.

And then there's Paris, where the mayor is certainly deadly powerful, and seems to have positioned the city as the effortless natural choice for 2012. The website looks rather adorable, and the Parisian mayors understand that the dirty construction planning is best handled in private. We have to say that the Parisians are looking handy...

Which brings us to London, the city we abandoned, the city that shuts at 11.30, the city with an alluring combination of low, ugly and low ugly buildings. They have a reasonably professional website, but it seems to largely be an attempt to enthuse Londoners about the bid. But, as a slew of reports have indicated, London seems wobbly.

We could partly blame the fact that it seems to be central government, rather than city government, that is driving the bid. The London website, for instance, is plastered with Tony Blair's simpering visage. And london's mayor, Ken Livingstone does not enjoy anywhere near the powers of his rivals. But we can hardly be sympathetic when Ken spends much of his time engaging in squabbles with the Evening Standard, and calling its Jewish reporters concentration camp guards. We are very fond of the row, mostly because whenever anyone asks Ken about what he said to the reporter he launches into a rant about how the owners of the Standard, Associated Newspapers, are a gang of Nazi-lovers. Which everyone then prints. Except for the Daily Mail, which is the paper that Ken hates more than the Standard.

Anyway, the fact that Tony now has to step in shows us what a shambles the whole thing has been. The Olympic chaps are in London this month, enjoying all of the free drugs and sex that the organisers can provide, before moving on to New York, before the Gates close.

[Update: from today's Guardian.

London's bid committee hopes they will be impressed with its plans to stage many events at world-famous venues including Wimbledon, Wembley and Lord's.

To paraphrase, London expects the Olympics, in much the same way it does for finance, tourism, and culture, to rely upon ancient infrastructure and past glories (yes, we know that Wembley is new). Expects Olympic chaps to be impressed by its unwillingness to bankrupt itself.]


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