Political Promise

DEBATE: Are the Olympics a complete waste of money?

In Charlie Edwards, Matt Gardner on July 29, 2010 at 10:13 am

Matt Gardner says YES, Charlie Edwards says NO

Two of Political Promise’s founders go head-to-head on the Olympics.

Matt Gardner:

“Approximately £10bn pounds will have been spent on the Olympics by 2012, almost certainly more. How long are the Olympics? Not very.

In a time of recession, the government in cutting all public sectors, except the commissioning body of the Olympics, who are happily pumping money galore into the organisation and running of the Olympics. I fully understand that we should be proud, and honoured to have been selected to have the Olympics in London, but £10bn worth of pride? The stadium being built, is flashy, the aquatics centre being built is more than flashy, you get the picture. Yes it’s nice to have an intricate and flamboyant building, but do we have the money to do that?

BP have put the cost of their oil spill to £30bn. That’s £10bn a month, although don’t trust my maths. So the biggest oil spill in recent history is equivalent to the cost of the Olympics for Britain. Again, I’ll ask the question: do we have the money to do that?

We have the flashy ceremonies, not to mention the huge security that’s going to be needed. Of course, that’s providing we have enough police after the cuts that are happening, and will happen in the future. Think of someone nicking all the money from your wallet, and then doing it again. Three times. And then double that. That’s what the government are doing.

Do we have the money for that?”

Charlie Edwards:

“Notwithstanding the massive social benefits from staging the Olympics in the home of organised sport, there has already been great investment into an area of London in desperate need of rejuventation. East London is characterised by rising levels of child poverty, not opportunity and promise. This is no ‘circus’, this will have a long-term effect on the area and on the British economy as a whole.

As with every part of government, the Olympics budget has been cut by £27million, so it’s not exactly ‘merrily pumping money’. Just scanning the pages of the Private Eye, you are alerted to the hundreds of millions of pork-barrel government grants (Sheffield Forgemasters, Manchester City Council’s ‘Virtual town hall, building schools for the future…) that are wasted on useless bureaucracy and needless capital investment projects. Until there is a clear plan of what the Olympic park legacy is, the Olympics project was also be ‘needless’. But it doesn’t need to be. The O2 arena was profitable within its first full year as a music venue. No-one remembers the furore surrounding the ‘Millenium Dome fiasco’ now that the likes of Jackson, Bon Jovi and High School Musical 2 have graced it with their presence.

I like the way you manipulated the BP figures. I think it is extremely skewed to make comparisons between an oil spill and an Olympic games. If BP can foot a £30bn bill for this disaster, does that not put a better perspective on the relatively miniscule £10bn project which has taken 7 years of planning? It won’t be a waste of money in ten years’ time, where our lingering memory will be an Olympic stadium, an upgraded public transport system and thousands of youngsters introduced to new sports they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to this time ten years ago.”

What do you think? Comment below 🙂

  1. It’s too late to bin it now chief.

  2. What “Manchester City Council virtual town hall”? Think you got your facts wrong there matey… And if you can’t get simple facts right, what does that make your argument?

  3. Basically Olympic games is an old fashion concept that was created by the ancient Greeks as a marketing tool to show they are better than anybody else!! Nowadays with the massive globalisation and immigrations of various nationalities it doesn’t really make sense to have various nationalities representing another country(ie a Russian representing USA or an Iranian representing GB); IT JUST SEEMS TOO WEIRED!. We already have World Games, any maybe from now on it should be “individual” games!! Another thing with Olympics that bugs me is that we already know which teams are going to win the most Golds and really it is all about the top ten massively funded countries who are competing for the glory.

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