By Rix Bragg
This summer London will play host to the 30th Olympiad, a sporting extravaganza touted as a showcase of the best of British, as providing unparalleled opportunities for urban regeneration and private investment in the East End.
The reality is very different.
The promised private investment never materialised, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill for the tremendously expensive complex of sports venues and accommodation. The city has become a militarised zone, with army and navy helicopters and RAF Typhoon jets regularly flying overhead. Residents who protested the installation of surface to air missiles on their roofs have been threatened with eviction.
To top it off, the real meaning of the term ‘urban regeneration’ has arrived like a slap in the face to hundreds of residents who, through a combination of housing benefits cap and rising rents, are being up-rooted from their communities and transported to Stoke-on-Trent, in a move by Newham Council that can only be described as social cleansing.
The Olympics reflect the absurdity of capitalist society, where billions are spent on grotesque follies for the amusement of the rich while the services that the poor depend on are axed in the name of austerity.
Where ‘improving communities’ means purging an area of the community itself and where the glittering façade of the games is an attempt to hide the rot of the system.