Nu-Labour's police state gained another hobnail in its jackboots with the unveiling by the Home Office this month of the £600million security operation for the 2012 Olympic Games, when it was revealed that police will have powers to enter homes and tear down anti-Olympics posters. The new powers have been described as 'Chinese-style', and not only police officers but Olympic officials will enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material. Breaking the rules could land offenders with a fine of up to £20,000.
Civil liberties groups compared the powers to those used by the Communist Chinese government to stop political protest during the 2008 Beijing Games. Anita Coles, of Liberty, said: 'Powers of entry should be for fighting crime, not policing poster displays. Didn't we learn last time that the Olympics should not be about stifling free expression?'
The powers were introduced by the Olympics Act of 2006, passed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, supposedly to preserve the monopoly of official advertisers on the London 2012 site. But the law has been framed to include 'non-commercial material' - which could extend its reach to include legitimate campaign literature.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is a Government who just doesn't understand civil liberties. They may claim these powers won't be used but the frank truth is no one will believe them' (he's right there: we don't! - GOS). Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'This sort of police action runs the risk of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We should aim to show the Chinese that you can run a successful Olympics without cracking down on protestors and free speech.'
For the police, Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said: 'We have no intention of using our powers to go in and take down demonstration posters,' but as we have said many times in these pages, once a law exists there's always some self-important little arsehole who'll get satisfaction from enforcing it.
Campaigners said the existence of the powers was 'dreadful'. Peter McNeil, who is against the holding of equestrian events in Greenwich Park said: 'It's bullying taken to another level. It's quite appalling that this should happen in a democracy.'
The Games will also have a disastrous effect on normal travel in and around the capital - indeed, in the whole of the UK. Hundreds of flights could have to be diverted every day, with planes prevented from passing over the main venue for the London games. Olympic security chiefs said they expected to have to 'manage' the airspace over the Olympic Park in east London. A senior Home Office official said: 'We do expect there will have to be some management of the airspace. We do not expect that any airports will have to close.'
In addition more than 250 miles of road will be reserved for VIPs during the London Olympics so that up to 80,000 officials, sponsors, politicians and athletes will have the congestion-free lanes that have been denied to ordinary motorists for decades. The "Zil" network (nicknamed for the cars used by Russian politicians and oligarchs) will include sections of the M25, and motorists will face fines of up to £5,000 for straying into it.
Nor will the network be confined to East London. It is thought that it will include Heathrow, Weymouth and parts of Berkshire.
In a nice piece of Orwellian double-speak, Hugh Sumner, Olympics transport director, said no public routes would be shut, and no doubt he was telling the truth: once they're dedicated to Olympic bigwigs, they'll no longer be public routes, will they?
The GOS says: Who'd have thought, even just twenty years ago, that we'd be comparing this country to China and Russia in the same page?
Of course, we have only ourselves to blame. We didn't shout loudly enough in the first place about the absurdity of hosting the Olympics in one of the busiest and most congested cities in the world, in a country ruined by fifty years of government failure to invest in a proper transport infrastructure, a country that can't manage even the simplest major building project. Remember the Dome, that most pointless of white elephants? Remember Terminal 5, which Will Hutton in the Observer described as "another British cock-up that had to happen"? He summed it up rather neatly, we thought: "Britain does fiascos well and by any measure, the opening of BA's £4.3bn Terminal 5 was a corker". If we can mess up a tiny £4.3bn project so thoroughly, just imagine what we can do with the Olympics which are expected to cost more than twice as much.
If we were French and the authorities tried to close off 250 miles of road that we'd all paid for, the tractors and HGVs would be parked nose-to-tail all the way from Staines to Stratford. But we're not. We're British. We toe the line. We tut-tut and mutter in corners, but when a shifty young man in a cheap suit presents his clip board at the front door and asks to come in and inspect our walls to make sure we don't have any posters critical of the government, foreigners, other racial groups, homosexuals, the disabled, travellers or the Olympic Games, we'll probably offer him a cup of tea and a Jaffa cake.
Mind you, we have heard one good idea about the Olympics. After it's all over, the Olympic village should be turned into accommodation for all those poor MPs who apparently don't have a roof over their heads while they are working so hard on our behalf. Of course they'd have to surrender their expenses.
And they'd have to go to work on the bloody Central Line, which would just about serve the bastards right.
Oh ... while we're at it ... here are some of the logos used for recent Olympics. Pretty cool, some of them ...
... and now here's Lisa Simpson, still giving someone that BJ ...
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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