NHS staff are being threatened with a ban on taking leave covering the eight weeks of the Olympics and Paralympic Games – in other words, in July and August, the prime school holiday period. Other employers are telling workers to work from home or find alternative routes to work as the London transport system and infrastructure is predicted to grind to a halt.
London will become a security nightmare for the entire period of the Coliseum Games. Londoners should protest against the planned travel chaos of special VIP road lanes, bus diversions and arbitrarily changed train timetables covering access to the Olympic sites. Londoners should protest against the planned draconian parking fines – £1,000 a day to park in your own street in a now-designated Olympic no-parking zone.
And just like ancient Rome once the ‘blood and circuses’, an immense waste of resources is over, an even greater squabble over the Olympic sites and their ‘legacy’ will commence. Already the early shots have been exchanged with various London football clubs lodging claim and counter claim in the courts as to who should or should not claim the Olympic stadium. The London Borough of Newham, one of the poorest in London and the borough with the worst cuts in public services, has tried to find £40 million to engage in the promotion of one football club.
Londoners will be paying via their council taxes for the Olympics for the next 25 years and all before the Olympic Torch has been lit. Even the lighting of the Olympic Torch has been cynically re-routed to avoid showing the poverty of London’s East End to the viewing world. London should boycott the games so as to assert an independence from this billion-pound multinational diversion from the real needs of workers in Britain and the world.
In 1980 the United States of America led the boycott of the Moscow Olympics in so-called protest against the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. The continued deployment of British, US and NATO troops in Afghanistan which is now in its tenth year should generate a similar call from the trade union and labour movement in Britain. Workers should boycott the Olympic trinkets and mementoes being produced in near slave conditions in factories throughout the Far East. Workers should boycott the so-called “must have” brand names of trainers and sportswear produced in similar factories. ■