Today’s post comes with a health warning, before reading further please hold on to something to steady yourself, or better still sit down.
It has taken east Londoner Paul Charman two years using the Freedom of Information Act to bring to our attention just what we signed up for when London won the bid for the 2012 Olympics and it makes sobering reading.
[D]on’t expect to find an available hotel room for the duration of the Games, London has to provide the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”), staff and officials with 40,000 hotel rooms including 1,800 four- and five-star hotel suites, ensuring the Dorchester, Grosvenor House and London Hilton are already booked solid, in addition an Olympic Village for athletes is being built in east London at a cost of £325 million.
Dedicated traffic lanes nicknamed “Zil Lanes” from Soviet Russia will provide 250 miles of traffic free travel – even the Royal Family doesn’t enjoy that privilege – and one lane stretches from London to Weymouth to facilitate access to the sailing events. Using those Zil Lanes (no buses, bikes or taxis allowed) will be 500 air-conditioned limos, complete with uniformed drivers.
All advertising for the duration of the Games can only contain material approved by the IOC, so unless you are a sponsor to the Games your product may not see the light of day in London. Even spectators may not wear clothing advertising a non-Olympic sponsored brand, so forget wearing your football stripe to east London. Journalists and photographers are not allowed signage of any kind, and so if a photo-journalist used a Nikon camera and if Nikon is not on the approved list, tape will have to be placed over the camera’s identity. London police have to be made available to enforce any infringements to these draconian requirements, so for the duration of the 2012 Games most of London will remain a State within a State with many of our rights and freedoms subservient to the requirements of the International Olympic Committee.
Every lamppost in the Capital looks to have hung from it what the IOC call pageantry, and because French is the Olympics’ second language expect the “pageantry” to appear in England and French.
This post can only be a taster for what is expected by the IOC, if you still have the need for more information to what London has signed up for, read the excellent article by Ed Howker and Andrew Gilligan in the Spectator.