The next Millennium Dome

James Miller pointed me to this splendid rant by Andrew Rawnsley on the ballooning cost of the London 2012 Olympics. Sample:

The Games’ supporters do not like to speak about cost; they prefer to talk about ‘investment’, implying there will be some sort of return. Which will be what exactly? The experience of other cities is that international sports festivals do not attract tourists – they repel them. Tourists stayed away from Germany during last year’s World Cup because they did not want to spend their holidays in the company of thousands of football fans. When Australia and Greece staged the Olympics, tourists boycotted the countries, fearing traffic jams, a security clampdown and hotel rooms to be had only at rip-off prices. Who in their right mind is going to want to holiday in London in the congestion and security hell that will be the capital city in the August of 2012?

Just as with the dome, supporters of the Olympics say they will regenerate part of London. I’m all for the regeneration of the East End, but you didn’t need to do it by bringing this overblown, ludicrously expensive spectacle to town. It is a perverse and wasteful way to regenerate that area of the capital by squandering money on facilities for which there is no long-term use and stuffing the mouths of developers and contractors with gold.

When all their other justifications turn to dust, the cheerleaders fall back, just as did the supporters of the dome, on the claim that the Games will be some sort of tonic for the nation’s morale. The unfailingly optimistic Tessa Jowell proclaims that we should cheer for the Olympics because three million primary schoolchildren think they are going to be medal winners.

That’s three million children who are going to be bloody disappointed, then…

Great stuff. Worth a read.