July 8th, 2005


The ups and downs of London town

Obviously yesterday's developments in London are very sad. Every Friend's relative or Friend's Friend that had a near miss saddens me; every Friend's Friend who is left to worry about one of their friends in turn far more so. I send warm thoughts and prayers to all those who worry. The effect LJ has had of improving the networks of our lives is undoubtedly positive on balance, but it also brings us all closer to grief. Americans for whom I am the token Brit on their Friends list, I'm OK here in Boston, but we are all a few degrees of Kevin Bacon away from someone who (nearly) wasn't.

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:

Poll #528604 For British residents and/or citizens only, please: Olympics poll

British citizens and/or residents: thoughts about London getting 2012 Olympics?

Strong approval
Weak approval
Weak disapproval
Strong disapproval

Thoughts about tickyboxes?

Strong approval
Weak approval

I have a gut feeling as to how the Olympics poll will go Collapse )

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...
  • Current Mood
    shocked very pleasantly surprised