The Olympics offer one more cover story for the looting of Britain. Public government is now just a human shield for private government, and private government is becoming the biggest threat to democracy in many generations.
At the far edge of my memory I can just remember being kept up late to watch Alan Wells winning an Olympic gold in the 100 metres. That and an even foggier memory of the Ovett/Coe rivalry from my childhood constitute every occasion I have found myself excited (or even particularly interested) in athletics. I admire the disciplines greatly, I just don’t find them awfully interesting to watch (did that javelin just go 6cm further than the last one or 6cm shorter?). Apart from the opening ceremony in Beijing and the turmoils I saw when visiting my Greek family as they tried to get their stadiums ready (more thrilling than much of the competition itself) I have never been very interested in the Olympics. I suspect that for this I will soon be charged with treason. But that’s just my lack of interest in athletics, not the perceived antipathy to England we’re supposed to wallow in up here. If the football World Cup was about to kick off in London I wouldn’t miss a game.
It’s just everything else about this Olympics that is turning me off even before it has started. The militarisation of peace-time London is terrible to see. It seems that we have now all just accepted that the world is a collapsing mess of fear and violence held together only by gun sites and missile launchers. The corporate corruption is breathtaking – everything has become a feeding frenzy of multinationals gorging on public funding. Again. The police crack-downs are just as alarming with the ’rounding up’ of Muslims underway (not all Muslims, just the bad ones). I assume that we’re going to discover lots of cheap forced-labour scandals soon enough as well. Plus for me personally the Olympics is a seamless transition from one blatant propaganda war for the British state to another – a Jubilee with running shoes. Set aside the constitutional questions, already trade unions have been branded traitors for hinting they might in any way inconvenience the jamboree of all that is good in the British money-grabbing corporate community.
I suspect this is going to get worse and worse. But before it does, lets pause on G4S. This corporation has failed miserably to fulfil its commitment to ‘do everything better and cheaper than government but without a public business case to show that this is true’. It doesn’t have enough security staff and by many accounts the ones that they have aren’t trained to be security staff. Imagine that! Corporation takes the money and then does as little as it possibly can in return. You’d think this was somehow linked to the ‘our contract doesn’t stipulate that we have to clear under the beds’ service contracts in the NHS. So the army is being called in (just before the quick march to the dole queue for many of them). Not to detain senior managers at G4S for fraud but to bail them out.
So the response from the Tory-Lib Dem coalition must be fury? I mean, you’ve handed over quarter of a billion quid and the bunch you gave it to have taken the money but not delivered. If this was EBay they’d be getting bad vendor ratings. If this was the public sector the Government would be screaming that it wasn’t fit for purpose. If it was Iceland we’d be freezing bank accounts and pursuing them under terror legislation. Millions of Londoners are being put at risk because this corporation is not delivering.
But it seems that the main strategy of the Government is to do everything it can to cover for G4S. No condemnation, no inquiries, not even a fine (according to insider sources). At the very least there must at least be a very good case for putting them on a black-list of companies never again to get public contracts. This, however, isn’t going to happen.
There is a belief that lobbying or media regulation are the biggest threats to democracy in the UK. Increasingly is seems that the real threat is from Global Private Government Inc. That cabal of G4S, A4E, Secro et all which exist only to make profit by surreptitiously eating away at the public realm is privatising democracy. They take the proceeds of the collective public will but are seemingly completely unaccountable. Scottish local authority Direct Labour Organisations (in-house work teams) were virtually abolished by Michael Forsyth on the pretext of ‘fraud’ at a fraction of the level of that perpetrated by A4E earlier this year. But nothing has been done and nothing will. The primary role of public government is becoming to protect the interests of private government.
Privatisation was a Big Message from Thatcher, a blatant ideology as well as a quick buck. The new phase is secretive and hidden. We are privatising everything and no-one knowns. Some of this may not be reversible. As Europe lies in economic tatters, these vultures are walking among the dead, picking their pockets. The Olympics offer just one more convenient cover for the looting.
Hope for Britain fades by the day. The Union Jack is becoming a sedative administered by corporations. And there is no debate, no serious public challenge, no light at the end of the tunnel.
No, I don’t think I’ll be cheering.