There is a callousness about our society which is pervading every walk of life – our politics, our social life and our sport.
In the UK 2012 was going to be a year of celebration – perhaps the final gasp of the old Britain which would leave us exhausted, rather like the final mating of the salmon. The year 2012 is auspicious it is the anniversary of 60 years on the throne of Queen Elizabeth II, 50 years since the formation of the Beatles, the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict, 175 years of P & O Cruises, 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic, the 200th Birthday of Charles Dickens, 100 years since the formation of the Royal Flying Corps, and even 75 years since the introduction of the 999 Emergency Call System – the list is almost endless.
2012 was the year we could seemingly celebrate anything – and the crowning glory was The 2012 Olympic Games. Is there nothing we could find an excuse to celebrate? This was the year we could celebrate the Great in Great Britain. Sadly the truth is more tawdry, like the stories we tell ourselves, than we let on.
The most disgusting aspects of the games is the highlighted case of the Olympic Cleaners,an unseen, but necessary, part of the games.
It is reported that the Olympic Cleaners will be housed on a camp site, forced to sleep 10 to a room, share a toilet with 25 other people and a Shower with 75; and pay £18 a day for their accommodation, such as it is. This is the totally unacceptable face of these games that will go unreported as the Queen open the games, as the athletes strive for their medals and Cameron derive reflected glory from their achievements. The 2012 Olympics appear much on the Roman model, of inequality and exploitation, I do not know much about advertising in Ancient Rome or Greece, but we have that – exploiting the power of money to its maximum.
Before the issue of the cleaners arose it was common knowledge that only sponsors could advertise on the route into the Olympics, that anything vaguely referencing Olympics was subject to copyright, and to run with the Torch you must have had roughly £200 to pay for it. The commercialism of the games is proceeding apace, and reflects perfectly Cameron’s vision of the UK of ‘anything for a price’ and the exploitation of the Labour Market.
Is this the kind of games I want to see, no it is not – and it is a kind of games that should never happen.
When you cheer your team onto glory, remember the Cleaners and ask yourself ‘does this detract from the Olympic ideal’.