Saturday, 14 July 2012

A predictable failure

There's something tiresomely predictable in the fact that this:
Private companies will be running large parts of the police service within five years, according to [the head of G4S

Has become this:
Security guards provided for the Olympics by the firm G4S may not be able to speak English, the company's chief executive has admitted.

And this:
He confirmed that G4S stood to lose up to £50m because of the fiasco, which forced the government this week to call up 3,500 troops to meet the shortfall in security for the Games. the space of only a few weeks.

The Olympics are increasingly coming to represent all that is wrong with the relationship between the state and the private corporations who are endlessly seeking still greater power at the expense of the state.

Corporations have been allowed to brand the Olympics as their own, gaining sweeping powers to eliminate even the vaguest acknowledgment of their competitors from anywhere near the games. Barclays Bikes are to be parked 15 minutes away from the site, just in case anyone remembers they exist whilst anywhere near the actual Olympic site. You're not allowed to possess "any objects or clothing bearing political statements.

Here's my favourite:
Locog have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Mcdonalds, one of the Olympics' main sponsors, happy. A note distributed to catering teams within the Olympic Park has emerged, which reads: "Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonald's, Locog have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic park. The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish.
That's right, foods which aren't produced by Olympic sponsors cannot exist within the site.

Of course, the argument runs that Corporations are spending a lot of money to get the games going. The target (which wasnt reached) was for £700m to come from sponsors. But the whole project has cost around £9.3bn. Sponsorship is less than 10% of the overall cost, the rest being paid largely by the taxpayer, one way or another.

The state endlessly kowtows to overmighty corporations who do not pay their way, then howl that they are being treated unfairly. They fail to meet their obligations, or even try to meet their pledges. G4S has single handedly disrupted the operations of the entirety of the British military because it cannot manage to get enough security personnel, then reveal those it does have might not speak English. It's hard to feel the Olympics is secure when such basic things are utterly beyond such a major company.

Yet I'll open the paper tomorrow to be told that something new should be privatised, that the Government can learn oh so much from the public sector.

A pathetic and predictable failure.

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