Where the Hell Did All These People Come From?

London 2012 banner at The Monument.
London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it’s the first day of the 2012 Olympics. Folks are flying small or large national flags in front of their houses to show their patriotic support. London is theoretically packed with Olympian fans from countries around the globe and amazingly the weathermen accurately predicted that it would rain on the evening of the opening Olympic ceremonies.

I will readily admit that I’m more impressed by the accurate weather forecast than anything else that might be happening in London or anyplace else for that matter. I know that the press has been predicting that traffic down to (or up to, or across to depending where you live in the country) will be horrendously congested as folks flock to the games.

Well, I don’t know but I think a whole group of them have gotten lost and wound up in my neck of the woods.

I just went down to pick up a prescription that I then had to drop off to the pharmacy of my local Tesco Metro. For those of you who don’t live in England, the Tesco Metro is a mini version of the Tesco supermarket. And despite the friendly folks who work there, is a giant pain in the ass. It is conveniently located so that older (aka retired) folks can get the essentials for their homes. It is also almost always crowded. There seem to be an awful lot of old people where I live.

Today it was worse than ever. Because today it wasn’t just the old folks shopping, it was every bugger and his dog shopping. The queue to the tobacco kiosk, with it’s very popular lottery till and scratch-n-win tickets, was so long I thought maybe the kiosk was giving money or cigarettes away for free.

Amazingly, I dropped off my prescription, paid for it in advance, did some shopping, and walked to the local library (only to find it is closed on a Friday) and came back to collect my ‘drugs’ and the queue was sill ridiculously long. On top of that the Metro itself was suddenly ass-deep in people.

I felt like a linebacker trying to make a touchdown against a team that had ten times more players than the side I was on. Now I know it’s a Friday, the day that is traditionally a pay day. But surely in this day and age of monthly pay-checks and electronic banking and shopping not everyone is going to flock down to the nearest store.

I mean it’s summer people! You should be on holiday with your over-weight sunburned children, in-laws and grandparents. You should be at the seaside or at the English home-away-from-home, Spain (specifically Majorca) or at the very least Bognor Regis and complaining about the English weather. Not at the Metro around the corner from my house.

I think somebody put up a detour sign that funnelled all the Olympic traffic heading to London to the Metro. That’s the only explanation. It has to be, if that isn’t the reason, where the hell did all these people come from?

Hey! Maybe they are giving away money and cigarettes! I’d write some more on the subject, but I just remembered some things I forgot to get from the Metro.

First self service Tesco, St Albans, England Р...
First self service Tesco, St Albans, England Русский: Первый магазин самообслуживания Tesco, открытый в 1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 Olympics…Nero and His Fiddle

As the start date of the 2012 Olympics draws near, I cannot help but look at the money that was spent and is being spent by the government and shudder.

The state of the English economy is appalling. Along with every other country in the world England is struggling to meet it’s financial obligations. Daily we are treated to more ‘knee jerk’ solutions to our financial dilemma.

Pension ages have been raised along with the workers contribution, while the payable pensions are being reduced. Cutbacks, pay freezes, job redundancies, businesses going broke, public sector jobs being farmed out to companies who then hire workers at slave wages. I could go on and on about the financial horrors that the great English public are facing on an daily basis, but I think I’ve made my point.

In eleven days time the 2012 Olympic games will officially commence. The amount of money that the government has spent on this ‘event’ is in the billions. I have no idea how much has been spent on advertising the games or how much has been set aside to ‘fund’ the torch relay that will culminate in the opening of the games. You can bet the bill is massive.

Television advertisements are being shown as often as possible to evoke some sort of national pride in the games. With special emphasis being placed on the Paralympics and local news relaying the relay of the Olympic torch‘s progress. The British public is being inundated with coverage of the games before they’ve even started.

But no one is asking the question, “Can we really afford to be supporting this?” This multi-billion pound ‘business’ venture that may or may not even pay for itself? The organisers can’t even afford to provide adequate security for the Olympic venue. G4S cannot come up with the physical numbers required so it has been decided that the military will have to help.

The same military that, like other ‘governmental employees’, is having it’s numbers cut-back to the bone and is already massively over-tasked.

I feel as though the British government is suffering from a huge amount of tunnel vision concerning the games and their possible net profit benefits to English coffers.

The emphasis on the spectacle of the games has a “whistling through the graveyard” feel to it. Even worse is the knowledge that while the British economy is burning to ash and rubble, the government, just like Nero, are madly playing their fiddles while more jobs, lives, and businesses go up in smoke. 

2012 Olympics: G4S Lets the Side Down on Security

So G4S, the company that helps the prisons in England to move their prisoners, who were contracted to provide the security for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, have seriously fallen short in the area of numbers.

To be fair the target numbers for ‘policing’ the games has gone up repeatedly since the initial estimate from officials of 2000 people. Due to repeated ‘re-estimates’, the number required is now 10,000. G4S has agreed each time to the increases and now at the eleventh hour have fallen very short.

With the Olympics due to start on the 27th of this month, organizers are starting to panic. The army, who are already pretty much over tasked, have been further tasked to provide around 4000 troops  to bolster security. Leaves are being cancelled as they attempt to fill G4S’s shortfall.

But how did we get into this mess? Were the organizers and the government too busy rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the money that the games will undoubtedly bring pouring in? Why were their estimates at the beginning of negotiations with G4S so low compared to what they now want?

Surely somebody in the government or the games organizers would have had a better idea of what was required in the way of security. The news stations are focusing on G4S and implying it is their fault. I think that the fault lies with all three of the players.

The government for not taking the security seriously from the out set. I think that they obviously left the decision up to the organizers.

The organizers for believing it was acceptable to keep changing the goal posts that they originally agreed upon and expecting G4S to “step up smartly” each time they changed the numbers.

G4S for failing to tell the number changers that it was not able to meet the higher requirements, instead of pointing out what they had originally agreed on.

I believe that G4s is just as guilty as the government and the organizers of rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a ‘great little earner.’ In a similar fashion of “not seeing the forest for the trees” I think all the main players in this little fiasco couldn’t see the logistics for the money.

Why couldn’t they have contacted out to more companies to provide security when the initial numbers turned out to be too low. That way they could have shared the wealth and met their ever increasing requirements.

Nobody really believes that the pressure to hold the Olympics was down to “national pride” or any such sentimentality. It has always been about the money and the revenue that will be generated by visiting athletes and their supporters from other countries.

I’m sure that everyone connected with this security gaffe knew all along that G4S could not provide the numbers that finally were decided on. I think they always intended to seconder the military to help out.

Since it is all about the money, why cut your possible net profit down by having to pay for more security when you can get the military to do it for no extra cost.

I won’t used the clichéd phrase of  “something being rotten” but I will say the whole debacle stinks to high heaven.

London 2012 banner at The Monument.
London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if I Wrote a Blog and No One Read It…

2012 has been a year of stiff competition. I still do several blog-posts per day and my views vary accordingly.

I say accordingly, because there are a lot of factors that dictate how many, if any, views your blog will receive on any given day. For example, we have the 2012 Olympics going on just down the road. You have the football season. New video games and old ones (getting a DLC to correct the creators SNAFU on the original ending, is just one).

London 2012 banner at The Monument.
London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer is also the season of the Blockbuster film. School is for the most part out. Holidays are historically taken in the summer months. People who have been glued to their computers, laptops and iPads are now going out and cutting their grass, having barbecues and garden parties.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Basically the season of dithering and resting while waiting on warmer weather has passed.

The only ‘constant’ is my posting to my blog.

Of course you do get concerned when you check your view count and realise that it has increased by exactly one view in the last four hours. You tend to grumble and think why am I wasting my time. Don’t people realize that I live for high view counts? That my postings are like my party trick?

Look mummy at how well I can write! Look at my broad topic range! Look, no typo’s! In essence I feel like a performing dog. Running through hoops and jumping flaming walls and hearing cricket noises when I’ve finished.

I know, I’m over-reacting. My daughter calls me the “Drama King” and for good reason. Yes. I do exaggerate. But that is only for effect. I know that folks will pay more attention if I am telling a story about, oh, say…grasshoppers and the little buggers are in their millions. Grab’s your attention, doesn’t it? The mental picture of millions of little hoppers running around is much more eye-catching than hundreds of em.

Yes I am complaining, but, I’m also oddly content. Because if I can get just one person to read my little post, I’m happy. One person that is not a friend or a family member. One person who is an actual stranger to me. This makes me happy. This fulfils the longing in me to be noticed for my talent.

Okay so my talent equates to juggling three balls and very occasionally dropping one. But, minimal as it is, it is still a talent of sorts.

Even if you think of it as the literary version of running off at the mouth.