I shall return to London next Friday, late on the morning of Friday 15th July, and can spend some time in the city before travelling up to Birmingham for Manorcon (happily, with added jvvw). Would it be convenient for any of my Friends to see me that day?
Not all discussion of London should be sad, though. I am absolutely thrilled that London won the right to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, which comes as a remarkable surprise to those who have been following tales of how far ahead Paris has been. Paris have so much excellent infrastructure in place already that this is at least as much a victory for British politics and people skills as anything else, but that's by no means a bad thing from a British perspective. I'm sure we will host an outstanding Paralympics and an excellent Olympics, though I have a gut feeling that Paris might be able to host better ones. A quick poll for British folk, please:
British citizens and/or residents: thoughts about London getting 2012 Olympics?
Thoughts about tickyboxes?
I have a gut feeling as to how the Olympics poll will go and it is something like 20% strong approval, 40% weak approval, 10% weak disapproval, 30% strong disapproval. At least, I expect there to be more broad approval than disapproval, more weak approval than strong approval and more strong disapproval than weak disapproval.
This will help London's infrastructure considerably, filtering through to the rest of the country in time. (The part where some of the stadia will eventually be reconstructed elsewhere in the country is particularly wise.) People talk about the London transport infrastructure being improved, but the excellent Always Touch Out suggest there aren't actually all that many Olympics-related transport projects. It has been discussed that there is no real prospect of Crossrail being ready in time for 2012, but this might be the impetus required to advance the Cross River Tram scheme so it's ready in time. We shall see.
It's interesting to note that the five Premier Partners of London's bid for the 2012 Olympics were British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Accenture, British Telecom and EDF Energy. The last one is interesting because even though it has local credibility by being the new owners of London Electricity and a couple of other regional UK electricity companies, but the EDF part comes from the fact that they're a part of Electricité de France. According to Wikipedia's EDF entry, it does seem somewhat like a hedge play by the French government against London winning.
There's also discussion of the possibility that there may be some Olympics-related multiple mind sports festival somewhere along the line, to which one might hope that people with some experience of the same might find some consultancy work. It's not clear when, if ever, these events may take place - I've seen speculation that events will take place at Summer Olympic venues a year afterwards, or at Winter Olympic venues somewhere down the line. I'll believe it when I see it, but it's nice to potentially be seeing it (and being part of it) in London!
The only downside is that there is suddenly a popular Conservative politician in the country - a former Private Secretary to the leader of the Conservatives, at that. Lord Coe has said that politics is something that he has been and done and doesn't want to do again, but people would call for him to earn a knighthood or a lordship had he not had a title already, so I wonder whether there would be a way for a current peer to become the next Conservative Prime Minister...