William Oddie has a very provocative piece on the Olympics in which he says:
The massive military involvement in the security for the Games is surely not merely disproportionate, but actually demented. The amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean has arrived at Greenwich, where she will remain until after the end of the Paralympics, acting as a helicopter landing platform and “logistics hub”.I share Oddie's curmudgeonliness about the Olympics, there is something distasteful about our military not only picking up rubbish after Olympic tourists but also policing them. Traffic lanes reserved for the elite of Olympic officials speeding in comfort whilst the rest of humanity struggles with a depleted bus service or sweats together underground on the tube, smacks of some distasteful dystopia. Making inaccessible great swathes of our Capital city to ordinary mortals by a stroke of an executive pen sets precedents that have been unknown in England for almost a thousand years.
A Navy spokesman said: “A mix of Royal Navy and Army Air Corps Lynx helicopters will be ready at short notice to launch from the ship’s flight deck to support the police by providing airborne and maritime security for the Games.” As well as HMS Ocean, RAF Typhoon jets will be stationed at RAF Northolt and Puma helicopters at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford.
Even before the extra 3,000 or so servicemen who have now to be deployed to make up for the G4S shambles, a total of 17,000 servicemen and women were involved in providing security for the Olympics, including 11,800 soldiers, 2,600 sailors and marines, and 2,600 airmen.
The whole thing is surely simply insane: all this military nonsense (costing how many billions? Does anybody really know?) is to give the illusion of security to (and here come all the personal prejudices I had sworn to keep to myself) a large number of self-confident and mostly illiterate young people running, leaping and otherwise cavorting around the Olympic Park and elsewhere (when, that is, they are not reducing London traffic to a state of gridlock). I admit, as I say, that this perception is entirely my own business, that my total inability to understand why so many people think the Olympic Games are actually important and worthwhile is my personal problem, and I do not expect anyone to endorse these feelings in any way.
And for what? An mega high cost circus without bread; an event brought to us by a big society of Government, Macdonalds and Coca-cola but mainly our Government whilst London's workers are urged to stay at home, which is fine for those who can work on-line but maybe not so good for the hoi poloi working in the service industries, paid for the hours they actually work.