Forgive my lateness in jumping on the Olympic bandwagon, but the thing has been heaving with every sort of opinion known to man – from Boris Johnson to a rather worrying anarchist forum poster at the London Evening Standard website.
My incredulity at the entire affair is exasperated by the notion that Boris Johnson knew more about the problems surrounding Olympic security than the home secretary!
The day Boris Johnson, a man whose twice appointment as London’s mayor is more mind-boggling than that strange period when the Terminator was California’s governor, is more clued up about the state of nation than all of Whitehall is a dark one indeed.
The hapless Theresa May, apparently immune to being fired for groan-worthy ineptitude, has been dancing so clumsily around the G4S that Anne Widdecombe’s graceless performance on Strictly Come Dancing so many years ago can now be considered worthy of the Bolshoi.
“It is not a shambles,” Ms May stated emphatically last Monday about the startling ball of bumble-fuck that is G4S and the Olympics. Meanwhile, only a third of the promised G4S staff had appeared in Manchester. Concurrently, the 58 personnel promised for Newcastle did turn up, 48 people short. Theresa, bless her, tried to her best to defend the shortcomings of G4S (understandably, her husband is a shareholder after all) in the face of merciless scorn from Labour.
The gap of 3,500 personnel being plugged in G4S security plans by the military should concern every Briton, if not least because this is the firm meant to make up for the shortfall in the British military once Whitehall’s done cutting away loyal servicemen – these same servicemen are now being expected to cover for the bumbling private security firm even as they wait to hear who will be axed.Nick Buckles, the chief executive of G4S (which I think means Gross 4-midable Stupidity), has been trying to keep hold of his job in the face of this insane show of incompetence. In fact, five days before admitting inability to deliver, G4S was claiming it could not only provide the staff promised for the games but were saying they could do the same in Australia – at exactly the same time. At least G4S must foot the bill for the extra security, a small consolation.
To the untrained observer, it appears as if the Olympic security scheme is a
well-oiled machine with this singular hiccup (more like episode of uncontrolled projectile vomiting) around G4S that can be written off as bad luck. Considering the fact everyone and their dog knew about the mess before Theresa May, the person in charge of it, fills me with the opposite of faith. Though it is pleasing to know that the missiles all over London are there for pragmatic reasons – as in, more people will die if a plane ploughs into the Olympic stadium than if it tears Greenwich a new one after being shot down in a fireball. I’d actually have preferred to continue thinking they were just for show than know the somewhat ruthless calculations of British security staff. Lets just hope that there aren’t terrorist groups who aim to be shot down over Hackney.
As a gloomy parting thought, there are American liaison officials in London working alongside the behemoth Olympic security team, essentially nannying them into acting the way Washington would prefer them to – keeping an eagle eye on preparations. A British official told the BBC why retaining the Americans’ confidence is essential, as otherwise it will be – “a world of pain where they want to do it all themselves”. Just a moment? “Do it all themselves”? We retain American confidence on our security preparations, or they will seize control of an operation pertaining to an event that isn’t even in their fucking country? I would ask if the American nation had the nerve to, but when have the wishes of another sovereign state ever stopped them? I’d rather be patted down by grumpy British service personnel than frisked by a Yank in Britain. There’s something intrinsically offensive about the notion.
- Cobra committee discusses Olympics (independent.co.uk)
- Olympics blunder a ‘humiliating shambles’ (capitalfm.co.ke)
- Security boss ‘humiliated’ (wwos.ninemsn.com.au)
- Now the Army is giving the orders (independent.co.uk)
- ‘Olympic whinge’ finally ends as media get behind the Games (theweek.co.uk)
- Soldiers brought in to protect the Olympic Games charged £1 for a shower (standard.co.uk)