BEATRIX CLARK: Why 2012 promises to be a right pain
IT S rare when I m out with my girlfriends that we talk about sport. Normally we focus on far more interesting issues such as whether our husbands have been annoying us, whether our kids should be allowed mobile phones and where to get a good Brazilian. A
IT'S rare when I'm out with my girlfriends that we talk about sport. Normally we focus on far more interesting issues such as whether our husbands have been annoying us, whether our kids should be allowed mobile phones and where to get a good Brazilian.
At a recent dinner, however, the conversation turned to The Olympics and boy, did it get heated.
One friend (the one who doesn't live in London and won't be paying for it) is adamant that hosting this ancient event is an honour and a privilege which will instil a sense of national pride and do wonders for a run-down area.
The other, meanwhile, thinks the whole thing will be a gross inconvenience and is already planning to escape to Florida.
I agree with her. Partly because I have zero interest in watching people throw javelins and vault over poles and partly because it will increase the threat of terrorism. But it is mainly because I think it's an utter waste of money.
If you're going to spend billions of pounds, why not spend them on something useful, like hospitals, schools, prisons or transport? All of which, as we're reminded daily, desperately need cash.
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And guess who'll largely be footing the bill for this multi-billion pound extravaganza? You, I and millions more middle-class Londoners who are already forking out from every orifice.
As for the promises of thousands of jobs and homes for local people, what about the many who are losing their homes and businesses through compulsory purchase orders?
What about the comment by the mayor of Newham that the locals might not even want the jobs - they might prefer to leave them to Poles while they carry on getting up late and claiming benefits?
We Brits have many talents, like shouting at the telly when the football's on and cooking Sunday roasts. But we're rubbish at building things on time and on budget. We're also rubbish at winning medals for sporting events - except for curling, which until recently I thought always involved tongs and hairspray.
We should have left the Olympics to the Parisians, then those who wanted to could pop on the Eurostar and get involved, while the rest of us would be spared a great deal of hassle and council tax. As it is, looks like I'll be joining my friend in Florida.