In case you hadn’t guessed, yet, i’m not a fan of the Olympics. And while a part of that merely reflects a very personal aversion to team sporty things, there is, too, something I find more than a little tawdry, small-minded, about the entire enterprise.
Already, we have had headline-seeking politicians and journalists, on little evidence beyond a hoped-for lift to their own careers, putting weight behind a campaign likely to make the lives of many sex workers just that bit more violent and dangerous over the next couple of months. And now, as the torch – sorry, torches – set off around Britain, comes evidence both of profligacy and…possibly… just a little free-booting along the way.
Let’s start with the profligacy. Now, I may not be much into sport, but my impression of a relay race, drawn as much from greek pottery as from watching such activity in the flesh, is that you have many runners – and one baton. Hence useful little expressions like “she dropped the baton”.
I therefore, foolishly, expected, something similar in respect of the relay now starting to wind up and down the united kingdom. Silly me. Whatever gave me the impression that they would make do with just the one when, with a most impressive imitation of the glory days of pre-austerity new labour, they can pick up a job lot of 8,000.
At, according to the papers, an approximate cost of £500 a piece, that would represent a bill for £4 million – or an over-spend of £3, 999, 500! Wow! How nice to see our funds spent so wisely.
Although, of course, that isn’t the cost. Apparently the runners are meant to contribute toward the cost of their personal torch, which brings the total cost down closer to £2 million.
So that’s alright, then? Er, not.
I mean, keep a spare or two in a jeep round the back: but why is it necessary for every single runner to have their own personal one.
And apparently tis up to them to do as they wish with their torch afterward. Which is why the first such item to hit eBay earlier today is already attracting bids in excess of £150,000. That’s right: a return of well over 50,000%.
Given how noble heroic and community-spirited these folk are, one assumes that the money is to be going to charity. We shall wait and see.