The Corner

Demanding Guests

The London Spectator is running a good story (behind the paywall, alas) on some of the things to which (it turns out) London has had to agree in return for the ‘honor’ of hosting the Olympics in 2012. Here’s a sample: 

What we did not know is that London is, according to these contracts, required to provide the IOC and the ‘Olympic Family’ (including the Committee members, staff and officials) with 40,000 hotel-room bookings for the entire duration of the Games. This includes 1,800 four- and five-star hotel rooms for the IOC elite. Six Park Lane hotels have been booked out for the duration of the Games, including the Dorchester, the Grosvenor and the Hilton…We knew that the IOC were being given 250 miles of so-called ‘Zil’ lanes — named after the old Soviet limousines that enjoyed traffic-free passage. They will stretch from London to Weymouth, where the sailing games are being held. It now emerges that there will also be 500 air-conditioned limos whose drivers must wear hats and uniforms…

…These IOC edicts are called the ‘Olympic technical manuals’. They are attached to the contract signed by the then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, when we won the right to host the Games in July 2005. The contract itself was later made public, but for years London 2012 and City Hall refused to publish the manuals, furiously resisting Freedom of Information requests on the grounds that the ‘confidence of the IOC’ must not be breached. It took two years of campaigning by Paul Charman, a strikingly determined east Londoner, for the documents to come to light. The real reason, perhaps, for this sensitivity is not because of the hats, the dance cafés or any of the other petty embarrassments. It is because the documents show that the British authorities have cravenly agreed to let the IOC create what is, in effect, a state within a state. During the Games, normal London life, including ordinary commerce and the right to basic freedoms, must be subordinated to the five-ring circus that is the Olympic ‘brand protection’ policy….The toughest restrictions apply inside and immediately around the Olympics venues (if you’re a newsagent next to, say, Greenwich Park with a Pepsi sign on your shopfront, heaven help you), but there are also quite serious restrictions in so-called ‘Level 4’ areas — that is, the whole of the rest of the city — in which the organisers of the London Games ‘must attempt to exert as much control over advertising as possible’.

‘Brand protection teams’ will, according to the manuals, ‘conduct surveillance… in the [host] city’. They must ‘attempt to confiscate any infringing ambush material whether inside or outside the venue’. So much for the idea that it was just the police that had search-and-seizure powers on the streets of London. Some of the teams will be accompanied by ‘an attorney, in case it becomes necessary to serve any court documents’ and they ‘must have a police officer within the team or on call within range to assist if necessary in the enforcement of the orders’….

… There is even, according to the documents, an ‘airspace plan’ for London 2012, ‘to prohibit any [non-sponsored] presence within the airspace above the Olympic venues, and in the surrounding areas within the host city’. Even the IOC has the grace to admit, however, that ‘there may be obstacles to carrying out airspace requirements completely. For example, it may be impossible to alter the regular flight pattern of commercial airlines.’  

And all this is before we start to think of how much the UK’s unfortunate taxpayers are being asked to ‘contribute’.

It’s probably too late for London to escape from its grotesque Olympic burden, but if British prime minister David Cameron has any self-respect he will make clear that the more absurd of these impositions will simply be ignored. I’m not holding my breath. It’s worth remembering, incidentally, that Nurse Bloomberg actively campaigned for these same IOC parasites to be given the run of New York City in 2012 (New Yorkers had to make do with a lesser infestation, bed bugs, instead) and, of course, Barack Obama rallied behind Chicago’s mercifully unsuccessful effort to impose this nuisance on its unfortunate citizens in 2016.

Links to some some of the offending documentation can be found here.

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