Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

The volunteers are 70000 reasons why these Games are great – and they are changing Britain for the better

Posted on 9 August 2012 | 10:08pm

Just back from another fabulous day in and around the Olympic Park. To any of you who have missed my blog musings in recent days, apologies, but I have been loving every minute of every day just absorbing and enjoying as much sport as I can.

But it is less about the sport than the cultural impact (hopefully) of these Games – and in particular the thousands of Games Makers- that I want to focus on in this little pre-bed blog.

I have exited hundreds of stadia in my time, mainly football, but also rugby, cricket, tennis, boxing, athletics, many more sports. And the atmosphere coming out of the Olympic Park in these last few days is like no atmosphere I have ever experienced before.

The first thing you notice is how clean everything is. Cans, bottles, litter – they seem to be in bins, not chucked to the ground.

There are also fewer police officers than you usually see leaving a big event. Tonight a group of police officers were singing Happy Birthday to a volunteer.

The volunteers are the key to all this. They are everywhere. And they are nice. And they are just having a good time helping others to have a good time.

I find it hard to imagine coming out of a football ground to see a young British Muslim woman in a headscarf, megaphone in hand, singing ‘if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.’ But it happened tonight and people clapped along.

There is such a positivity to these Games that comes from so many different things: the scale of the project and the fact Britain pulled it off; the superb venues and the smoothness of the movement of big crowds through them; the transport system working well; the amazing performance of the British athletes, and our position at the top end of the medals table, well above countries that like to look down on us; the weather; the fabulous opening ceremony; the phenomenal support the British public are giving at every single venue.

But right up there is the role of the Games Makers: Mr and Mrs Britain. These are the real Middle Englanders, and they are the antithesis of the negativity of those newspapers which claim to be the voice of the British people.

The Games are good. And the men and women in their Games Maker outfits are 70000 of the reasons why. They have shown not just the desire to volunteer in our country; but the capacity that volunteering has to deliver organisational and cultural change.

  • Peter Jc Moore

    Wish I’d gone over to say thankyou to the two gamesmakers in the tunnel at heathrow t3 the other day. Not one of the glamorous postings but they were still smiling.

  • @maryuyseg

    Thanks, Alastair
    from a  Gamesmaker  who is very tired, but really enjoying volunteering in  the stadium.

  • reaguns

    Perhaps its not the time, but I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to quantify the positives versus the negatives, economically speaking.
    We know the games cost 12bn, but its hard to work out the definite returns in gate receipts, tv money, tourism, and so forth. I think its accepted that those definite returns will be much less than 12bn.
    However there is then the hard to quantify, but real benefits, such as future tourism that is attracted by organisation of the games, future business that comes due to the advertising of London, demonstration of British excellence in construction, art, events.

    I still can’t quantify it but my gut feeling is that it could have gone either way, but because the games have been such a huge success, everything has went well with the venues, the transport, the security, the volunteers – my sense is that there will be a huge overall positive economic effect.

    Certainly surprised a cynic like me, but one who will admit to calling this one wrong. So wrong that I’m a bit sad that I chose to avoid the whole thing, I should really have tried to at least attend a bit of the boxing. If I’d thought for one moment that the transport would work so well, I probably would have. Then again, perhaps it works so well because they have done a good job scaring away folks like me – I think this was the right thing to do.

    • Michele

      As I’ve asked Olli I’ll ask you too.

      ‘cost £12bn’ …. how much of that was cost the state / us and how much of it was sponsors’ input ?

  • reaguns

    I think those volunteers show that David Cameron was right about the Big Society after all eh? No I don’t think so either!

    I suppose the funny thing to watch now, as well as everyone trying to claim the credit (when really a lot of people deserve it) is that Labour have be saying that the games will cause an economic boost. However if we don’t then get growth after the games, that argument can be dashed and used to attack labour.

    As far as credit goes, well… I think history will probably show that Tony Blair was right to go for the games, and people like me were wrong to be against it. I have pointed out before that on the two things people dislike Blair for, Iraq from the left, immigration from the right – history may be a lot kinder and show him to be right on both issues.

  • Chris Creegan

    Great blog Alastair. Here’s my take

    • Michele

       Good blog, I hope others open it 🙂

    • Ehtch


  • Ehtch

    But I hope they are paid travel expenses at the very least. Free grub during their stint goes without saying.

    And some freebies when it is all over, say free footie tickets or west end tickets (whatever their fancy is) during autumn in as an extra thanks, and all that.

    Perhaps it would humble the nasties in Westminster, even, with these with their selfless devotion for the bigger picture.

    But there is a chance the button would be pressed to the default mode very quickly, and it would be nasty business as usual.

    No doubt.

  • Ehtch

    Olympics is better than war, isn’t it?

    Sounds dull saying that when for some reason our betters then decided to hold the 1936 one in Berlin. Can anyone, looking back, make any sense of that, and what went on there?

    Artists, and I mean really gifted welsh artists were sent to the US in 39-45, just in case, only a couple, Meredydd Evans was one, not to be another Wilfred Owen, but Meredydd had to really be dragged screaming and shouting to go, like an evacuated twenty something child,

    Things went on around then, many things, which has yet not seen the light of day, from closed paper bunkered stores. 75 year up soon, 2015….

  • Ehtch

    Alastair, sorry to bother again, but Jackie Lee sent me this, a song she did around 1970ish, but someone supplied a modern London filmtrack to it, since I was barking on about our Olympics here.

    These days lives over the ocean, Canada mooseland she lives now. Discussed Connie Fisher from west wales, Maria and all that, throat problems made her give up career, as happened to Jackie decades ago too, discussed,

    Jackie is looking forward to the closing ceremony on sunday afternoon (for them) canadian telly. Told her it should be quite a show, and hope Stephen Daldry wotsisname and his crowd don’t let us down.

  • Adrian Newnham

    Dare I say it – these volunteers are the kind of ‘Big Society’ that Cameron could only dream of, but could never articulate because he simply doesn’t understand us or it.

  • Yet again Alistair you and you hero Tory Blair allow your right-wing, anti-people agenda to bubble fervently to the surface of British politics and it’s utterly disgusting.

    It’s disgusting because you’re prattling on about how wonderful it is for people to work for ZERO PAY in a capitalist society, and your attitude toward these people must be made criminal if we’re ever going to redeem Britain from the rip-off culture that you and your fellow Tories keep advocating.

    Simply by way of evidence to confirm that you’re advocating people work for no cash, no wages and no regular pay whatsoever in a Nation with MASSIVE unemployment, here’s a short quote from one of your beloved “volunteers” that makes the UK so damned wonderful through your rose-coloured specs –

    “A Games Maker is a volunteer, helping to ensure the London 2012 Olympic
    and Paralympic games are a great success.

    As a Games Maker, we don’t get paid for our time, nor do we expect to as
    it is a privilege to be selected to take part, we will be given travel
    passes to travel around London, ie to and from our venue, we will also
    receive meal vouchers for the days we volunteer.”

    Politicians who REALLY care about people and our Nation would decry such voluntarism and demand a living wage for a living days work.

    What’s so wrong with that Comrade Alistair?  Or do you, like your feloow Tories, always seek something for nothing?  Not very politically clever in my book.

  • Nick

    so many times in the past week I have heard athletes from all over world saying they have never experienced anything like the crowds and the atmosphere they have generated.The British have a unique passion for supporting their teams .I doubt  this will ever be created again in a future Olympics .Unless of course we manage to get them again .
    Just a pity we were missed out on getting the World Cup.Can you imagine the atmosphere in Quatar compared to an Old Trafford St James’s park or Wembley ? !!

  • Olli Issakainen

    Going for the gold?
    According to the Olympic ideals winning is not important. All that matters is noble competition.
    I do wonder how many competitors believe in this any more..?
    I have a confession to make. I have started watching the Olympics for the first time since 1984.
    I am a huge sports fan, but I stopped watching the Games due to drugs scandals, commercialisation etc.
    As for the opening ceremony, I wait with interest an analysis by the website vigilantcitizen which specialises in occult symbols.
    Olympics raise serious issues: war on terror, civil liberties, privatisation and global ethics of giant coprorations.
    More attention should have been given by the media to these aspects.
    Sports can also offer an escape from the real world. With the economy now heading for a collapse due to bankers and a new war brewing in Syria/Iran, we should not be living in virtual world.
    Scandals involving Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered need our attention, too.
    But with three Finns in the javelin final, perhaps we can wait a day or two… 

    • Michele

       Danny Boyle wasn’t contracted to make a documentary.

      I had my misgivings as I’m not ever so familiar with his work but he’s brought many worthy arrrrtistes to our attention and is still referred to as Danny Uncle by a few children who managed to leave Dharavi slum.

      I plonked myself down at the start of the OC, expecting I’d turn off in 15mins or so, it being Friday evening after all ….. and ended up watching the lot.

      It was so affectionate and non-boastful, I was stunned by his choice of Bond girl  …. 😀

      The previews, with kids bouncing on hospital beds etc, had concentrated on only one of our big reasons to be cheerful and I wondered how many international viewers would understand the acronym GOSH (an incredible institution that Johnny Depp gave £1m to a couple of years ago after they saved his daughter, who’d been pronounced likely to die elsewhere).

      Talking about Reasons to be Cheerful …… I believe that’s the theme of the Closing Ceremony.

    • Michele


      OMG, I’ve just posted about ‘Reasons to be cheerful’

      bubbles, is it code containing 666?  
      Can anyone else see lizards?

  • Pete Haine

    Thanks for your kind words! Our love of sport, of the Olympics and of people are the reasons we volunteered. It is touching that the small part that each and every GamesMaker has played in making the London 2012 games so memorable for those visiting Great Britain is being recognised.

  • Olympics Tory

    Blimey, the infectious positivity created by the Olympics has even permeated through to Alistair Campbell. He has actually managed to go through a whole blog without mentioning Eton, private schools, the Bullingdon Club… or Michael Gove (a current bee in his bonnet).

    Well done AC.

  • Trevorsmith27

    The National Lottery it seems today  is to be targeted for a bigger contribution to sports.
     Lottery  funding for elites is absolutely fine  but where do the elites come from?
    Schools encourage the talented and tertiary education and sports clubs develop the foundations laid.
    It is just not on for Cameron and Gove to take any credit for GB’s Olympic medal successes by athletes developed in the years before 2010
    The £130million taken out of spending on sports in schools as one of his Government’s first acts will have a devastating effect down the years as will insufficient funding for continued high quality coaching  and for training primary school teachers in sports education.

  • Richard

    You surely have had a busy week.As one who failed to get any tickets at all at any stage of Lord Smug’s lottery ticket system I am very happy for you.

    WE ought to be told, however, how you got your snout so deeply in the trough, Al.

    Were you paying £2,012 per ticket? Or just lucky that you got all the tickets you wanted, day after day, in the lottery?

    I think not. Hand delivered in a plain brown envelopes?

    Perhaps Party allocation to Ed’s mates.

    Taken together with your admiration of the volunteers, it is rich coming from you. If they had been paid £500 tax free the cost of £35 million could have been saved by more modest opening and closing ceremonies.

    We will be looking out for you over the next three days. You came up for oxygen overnight, blogged and no doubt the snout is firmly back in trough today.

    Finally, how do you feel occupying seats when participants’ family members can get no tickets? You are a perfect match for Lord Smug!

    • Michele

       In hopes that someone’s been along ahead of me to mop up the luminous green stuff  ……. oh my 🙁 …… more info about the Games Makers :

      I’m not sure how many guards G4S failed to get in the same period
      (article is from Feb) but we can easily compare the efficiency of one
      group vs the other.

      G4S’s task was also as complicated as deep water, easy-looking on the surface but difficult to plan and make attractive, why on earth were May & Hunt not aware of and on top of the job they’d delegated to private?

      Who, if employed, was going to change jobs to move in to one that required a training period followed by the inevitable hiatus till the job actually started?  It’s obvious G4S would have had to ‘train’ in batches, not take people in all at once.
      Re those not so lucky to be already employed, who was going to give up the safety net they were depending on with the similar simple deterrent of the unpaid in-between?
      Were G4S even counting on some from ‘Workfare’?

      G4S have evidently done well from it though, new logo, smart new uniforms and vehicles.
      The Games would never have been won for us (even if they’d been competed for) under Whispering IDS and we can only be thankful that so much of the planning was underway and committed-to, long long long before May ’10.

  • Ian B

    I originally read that post and had you down for just a random ranting tosser but on reflection I have come to feel pity for your enclosed little world.  Seriously, you need to find a way out of your box mate.

    • Thank you for your kind concern as to the state of my mental health.

      I’ll be sure to mention your name-calling and obtuse disrespect to any new Consultant Psychiatrist our wonderful NHS still provides.

      But in the event I fail to make it far enough to any such service or person, perhaps you’d care to improve your attitude toward your fellow Man – after all, that’s where true respect and a decent culture is founded upon Ian.

      But thank you kindly for taking the time to respond to my observations anyway. Please, keep taking the medication you so clearly require Comrade.

  • Michele


    Someone bring the nurse fgs !!! 

  • Michele

     There isn’t any negativity about objectivity.

    Facts is facts and it’s those that pretend they are not that are being negative and discriminatory.

    Why not go and find out about the 21 (out of 22) applications to sell playing fields that Gove has approved in only two years?
    Why not find out whether any of those applications had been in the pipeline for years before and got shunted through?
    You could even find out whether the sales happened because, as we know, many kids find gyms more trendy than outdoor exercise.
    Go on some more and explore whether, despite their preferences, more kids need more fresh air so their choice should not be auto-pilot waved through.

    There’s so much positivity for you to show 🙂

  • Wendy

    People who are games makers DO NOT just come from England but from all around the country, which include Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and various parts of the world to be volunteers at London 2012

  • Proud to be a Games Maker and generally involved in London 2012. Brilliant, Greatest Team and Country. Kim 

  • Sarah Turner

    Thank you…. I have loved every minute being a Gamesmaker… though having a day off to rest my weary feet, but shall be back for my final shift on Sunday at the NGA with the Basketball finals… Amazing time… Sarah

  • DA Brown

    I’ve taken the Torygraph and any ‘special’ Olympics correspondents to task for this already so don’t think i’m necessarily singling you out. But. I was involved as a volunteer recruiter for the Gamesmakers for about 18 months before the Games. I think i can speak for everyone involved when I ask, as I do ask these people, – where were you?
    It wasnt a secret activity. We were daily assailed with stories about how everything would be wrong and if a negative angle was available it would run as headline news all this time.I spoke to maybe 250 of these recruits and others did more shifts – I’d say 98% of those applicants were hugely keen and competent. And we recruited 10s of thousands, all the while the papers telling us that these people didnt exist.
    Mostly they were people from around London but some came distances, they were so keen to take part in some way. You only have to look to see we had an enviably diverse recruitment pool by age and ethnic background.There was a tendency for retired people (many teachers) with time to devote and young students – many from Asia and Eastern Europe and from Australia and past host countries, either temporary or fully adopted Londoners. These students I might add were often doing courses the captains of industry disregard and they had stop-gap opportunities to volunteer because no–one will give them a job.
    It was the best job i’ve ever done and I looked forward to my shifts, which doesnt happen often. When I started as one of the volunteer cast for the ceremony, Danny Boyle actually told us he had worked for 2 years or more before the start of the auditions but it was only when the volunteers started to come forward that he was really aware of the Olympic spirit that was going to be needed to carry it off. I knew exactly what he meant.
    It wasn’t nice to ask people to do long shifts for no money and, with thousands to be brought on, inevitably they were going to be far away from their favourite events. I don’t know if you chatted to GMs? (But you’ll find they, and the soldiers, would really like less praise and maybe one of your tickets instead? Some are posted well outside the park and won’t even have visited the main venues..
    My point was – this was a substantial operation involving many oridnary people, but nobody in the press seemed to be aware fore fully 18 months. Suggests to me they didnt even have any relatives amongst the ordinary sports nuts. And they couldn’t, or couldn’t be bothered to, find out.

  • KDouglas

    Alastair must have a bigger address book than most, so of course he gets to go the Games.  I don’t really begrudge him that.  He isn’t responsible for the ticketing scandal.  

    I will be very interested to see what lasting impact the Games have, at every level.  Once London starts filling up again will people start cursing one another as they routinely do?  Or will they start to rally round the right causes?  

    I’m glad Danny Boyle got the NHS into the mix at the opening ceremony, but I wonder how many people watching really understand what has already happened to it.  I also loved the industrial revolution sequence but our economy is tanking and we threw £9 billion and counting at the Olympics.  Does a massive hangover await?  Or was this expensive bit of therapy worth it?  I’d love to think we were about to turn the corner socially and politically.

  • I totaly agree with the artical.  I have met some amazing people along my journey as a gamesmaker for the medical team in the Intenational broadcasting Centre and the Main Press centre.  Everyone one I have met over for the last month have been amazing people including the Police, Armed forces, Fire marshells, Paramedics, all the  Broadcasters and the press personel, security etc etc. .  It has been an absulute pleasure meeting and working along side these amazing proffesional workforce.  Everyone has made the Olympic Games london 2012 what it is, paid and unpaid staff alike.  This is one of lifes journey I will never forget.  I cherise every moment of it.  Sadly My last shift is looming on the 12th August with the amazing awesome medical Team of the medical centre for the Broadcasters and press personel.   Also the eaton Manor Camp site where I have been staying have been absulute treasures, they have a volunteer group that provide for our every whim, from making the campsite secure and keeping us safe through the night.  Getting up early to make sure breakfast is provided for us before real early shifts 6 to 6.30 starts.  they have even given us a number to call if we need to be met late at night from wanstead if we have to walk home alone. Truly amazing rugby club volunteering team.  x x 

  • Janet Keene

    I may have been one of those in T3. We enjoyed what we were doing. It was glamorous, as we rotated the jobs but spent most of our time helping athletes and officials get to their transport. I had a great time and met some great new friends.

  • Anonymous

    Well, you have just spoiled it, by mentioning such.

    Anyway, commenters as like oneself usually push it – the beeb has been my bugbear this Olympics – I tried to follow the closing stages of the decathlon yesterday, online as well as on telly, and the beeb were useless. Even online it took them a couple of hours after the 800m final event what the standings were. It has been said by the top dog of the bee that the coverage has been too wettingly GB, and not enough on overseas competitors. The yank fella that won the decathlon, Ashton Eaton, did well. No GB competitors in it, but if there was one like Daley Thompson or Dean Macey, it would have been a different story for the beeb.

    And beeb letting Cameron sneek on Chris Evans radio show behind their back, and coming out with his unbalanced propaganda on school sports and fields, just shows the beeb are dropping the baton all the time.

    • Ehtch

      oops, edit, 1500m decathlon final event I meant, I was in Jess Ennis heptathlon 800m mode then it looks, like the beeb….

  • Anonymous

    Wonder how much Prince Wills and co. paid for their tickets, you should be asking. And being in the armed forces, why wasn’t he checking bags, ey?

  • Anonymous

    I did the same thing with the opening ceremonies. I usually hate them and switch off when I get bored of a load of dancers in camp costumes repetitively jumping about and twirling whatever those things are called.

    At the start I thought “Hey up… at least this is something different” and it just got better, I was blown away to be honest. I didn’t think it was “leftist” or “excessively political”, and the bit in the middle with the music was brilliant, he didn’t just play the sort of music that people who like ceremonies play, he had the prodigy, the sex pistols etc, and no other country could put on such a ceremony with Queen, the Stones, the Beatles etc.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but as far as I understood the 12bn was not the cost of the games per se, which we could then look at to see what was the state / us and what was sponsors, I think the 12bn is the actual cost to the taxpayer. But don’t quote me on that one.

    To be honest one of the reasons I never looked into it was because to me the whole thing was overhyped, not that big a deal, so I looked up more “important” stuff. As I have already admitted, I now feel I was wrong on that, it has been as big as the optimists said it would be.

  • Anonymous

    reaguns, Fred Evans, another taffie if you didn’t guess, into the welterweight final on sunday, beating the amateur world champ from Ukraine. Brilliant performance, close at end though.

    Weterweight was my fighting weight in the odd fight I unadvisadly volunteered to fight, when I was yound, and thinner…

    Song for them both, Ukraine lad did alright, but home support was astounding for Fred,

    Looks like he will fight Serik Sapiyev from Kazakhstan in the final, the way it looks at the moment, last round at the moment, he is well ahead, minute to go, he has won his semi it looks. Boxing tonight live here,

    Yeh, Sapiyev won it, 18-12.

  • Michele

     I don’t think any insinuation has been made about your mental health and it’s an accusation that shouldn’t be thrown about.
    I’ve joked about a nurse being needed elsewhere on thread (based on someone’s bilious envy) so do hope Rich won’t be as opportunistic as you to IB.

    Given that you’re prolific elsewhere but apparently found yourself on this blog all of a sudden ….. whooosh, plop …. with such a peculiar ‘take’ on people’s politics…. puzzling (as is the objection in your link to having been labelled a pirate, while using the avatar you do.  But there y’go, I’m so prosaic).

    I don’t usually intervene so whoooooosh, bye.

  • Anonymous

    Alastarir, Newsnight at the moment again, after the durg arguments between those opposite foghorns Brand and DM’s Hitchens, female sport. Have they ever heard of Boudicca from year dot? We went backwards from there, I do think.

    Take it away Boudicca, the original Essex girl,

    Perhaps celtic sexual equality is finally returning in our land? We told the romans, angles, saxons and normans off, but would they listen to us? My arse they did!

  • mightymark

    The volunteers were doing this for s few weeks for heavens sake – they were not being condemned to a life of grinding poverty and exloitation.

    Might one not even liken their voluntarist attiude to someone who – just to to draw on a random example you understand – heads a blogpost “avid filesharer for no cash, no profit”?

  • Anonymous

    By the way Alastair, and I am not bullshitting again Alastair, used to speak to Gabby Logan years ago too, can’t remember where, but it could have been on a Leeds footie site, or a youtube vid on Leeds footie, with about her Dad, Terry, from Swansea, who played for them and was there in the brilliant Revie era.

    Or was it on one of the various rugby sites I used to bother years ago. Anyway, she let slip who she was when I started talking about Leeds United on there. Nice lady, oh yes…

    hope Kenny doesn’t mind me saying that, he is bigger than me, and scottish…

    Ach, bugger it, a song for Gabby and Kenny, with love, an’ all that bollocks… : )

    Tidy bit of Gaelic singing, ey, Gabby? From Canada/Oregon they are, old scots, youngsters.

  • Darren Young

    After crawling into bed in the past half hour it really does make me smile when I see things like these about being a gamesmaker. I’m just really glad that we have managed to have such a positive impact in the games. It is truly amazing 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Chinawhites will be stinking full of brit athletes late sunday night, after the closing party up the road. Been there once, was not impressed – couldn’t get sense out of anyone, apart from the bloke I went with, who will remain nameless, after I bumped into him in the Glasshouse Stores in Brewer Street, Soho.

    Roadhouse is more my thing, in Covent Garden – very international, I always recomend it to yankies I bump into, their timetable here in this for sunday the twelveth,

    Think extended hours will be sunday into monday morning for such places – wouldn’t surprise me it will be still going mid-day monday, even, when workers turn up for work, and decide to not, and go elsewhere, and catch up with the party.

    See what happens.

    Song for them, as well, and why not?

    Emmon is from Sweden, Sverige ,by the way, mmmmm, quite a rare animal in her country you could say, looking at her eye and hair colour. She is popular there….

  • Anonymous

    see if Alastair will post more Sverige, where Emmon shows her eyes, for the ladies to dance to, as they do, only…

    Brit female athletes? Can’t take them anywhere, I am telling you, on a night out….

  • Charltonlaw

    As one of the Gamesmakers working for 4 weeks in one of the smaller Villages it was a wonderful and enriching time.

    The only down side is the corporate celebrity side; it is marketed as the people’s Games but the people are the volunteers to smile nicely at the Beckhams, Blair, Paul McCartney and Alistair Campbell as they view multiple events on a 3 week jolly. You could have been a Gamesmaker AC – that would have been a powerful statement. The youngest GB competitor from the diving in 1948 failed to get a response to requests to see the Olympics.

    So yes the volunteers are wonderful and the athletes are great role models and have done us proud. However my friend you are part of the old Britain – the celebrity and power obsessed elite. I look forward to hearing about you becoming a scout group leader

  • H_jenkins1

    I’ve absolutely loved volunteering and it’s great to read articles like this to know we’ve been appreciated.

    But being Welsh, surely in that last paragraph you meant Middle Britainers, not Englanders???

  • I’m all for ‘voluntarism’ where those volunteers can easily and comfortably afford to volunteer their time, hard work and cash.

    But it’s clear that the vast majority of London 2012 Olympics’ volunteers were already unemployed. And THAT’s why I object so strongly to this organisational exploitation of otherwise powerless people.

    Had these volunteers been City of London merchant bankers, business owners UK-wide or members of the bored aristocracy then I’d see the real point in them contributing their time and hard work for free.

    To so do with powerless people is nothing short of cynical exploitation and MUST be outlawed forthwith. In fact, Article 23(3) of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which the UK is a signatory) states –

    “(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”

    So what’s the REAL problem here?

    Unemployed people working for ZERO wages, or our organisers of the Olympics being too tight-fisted to pay wages in compliance with this International Treaty whilst raking in so much profit from Corporate Sponsors and running the London venues as if they’re Soviet Gulags where you can only buy approved goods under specific circumstances?

    Bring it on folks. This is a SHAMEFUL NATIONAL DISASTER.

  • Michele

    Tom Daley, Gary Barlow, now AC.

    You are letting down people that had been viewed by absolutely everyone as full of positivity.

    You had your way of doin’ good, without AC we can’t be sure we’d have had New Labour in Govt in ’97, we can be sure of how crap things would still be if that had been the case.

  • Michele

    ‘But don’t quote me on that one.’

    I won’t be quoting you on anything, ‘quoting’ is how it happens that in just the past few days back I’ve seen ‘quotes’ of 6, 9 and now 12 £Bn coupled with ‘I think’.

    What sort of ‘quotes’ are they?  Handy, known provenance, plain old cynical exaggerated, are they useful?

    It’s how loons like this one gain cred from people who, if still in their teens/20s, would be away in the hills living in sects or, if in their 50s, are making up for not having done so  :

    As it is they just post ramblingly about 666 panes of glass and people that work with the cousins of step-brothers or grandsons or ex-neighbours of people they worked with decades earlier (in a world inhabited by people descended from wow! other people)……. trouble is that some of it’s TiC and some isn’t.

  • Anonymous

    You lost me part way through this, but regarding the figure, as someone with only a casual interest who reads papers from the telegraph to the guardian to the mirror, watches some news and follows some blogs, the 12bn figure is quoted everywhere and I haven’t heard anyone challenge that, its just a question of whether you think none, some or all of it will be recouped, or if indeed you think that it will be earned back and then some, or many times over, or whether you think it is worth spending it even if not recouped (for the enjoyment and so forth brought by the games.)

    I haven’t been able to establish if 12bn is the cost before or after we add up the gate receipts, tv money etc.

  • Michele

     Given that most of the volunteers were recruited over a year ago I would think it very unlikely many, if any, were unemployed (be at risk of letting down the organisers in the situation both sides would be hoping for, that of their getting paid work in ensuing months).

    From what I’ve read, most of the recruits were students or retired teachers or avid sports fans using their holiday weeks  (the places where the recruitment advertising happened, sports colleges and the like bears this out too).

    I had honestly never heard of the scheme till I saw people in the uniform travelling back and forth on the DLR / Jubilee lines.  I’m sure they must have received free travel and comfortable accommodation during duty – a very far cry from what we hear of workfare (an extremely far cry from G4S’s organisation methods exploiting already-downtrodden people being left to sleep in the rain under the arches during Jubilee weekend – that so-called organisation not even being capable of planning bus arrivals for overnight travelling). 

  • Michele

     That is my point, why quote something you don’t know the truth of?
    If it’s not what you know and/or actually think then it’s only a step away from being a possible lie.
    Repetition doesn’t mean true,it happens with other myths and legends.

    I do think it will prove to have been an investment.  That’s fact.
    We can already see that our reputation has zoomed upwards, not just for the mostly-great organisation (especially those parts called ‘public’)  but also the spirit on display.
    The design and the sheer style have been absolutely wonderful, especially all the BBC ads and animations.

    Bossyboots 😉

  • Michele

     Sorry, I forgot to address what you’d said about losing you part way through.
    Don’t worry, that was for the covert crap within some of the ‘Bilderberg’ worries.

    Banking is a humongous  fit-up, we know so, we know there will be yet more to come out re pensions and all types of insurance.  We don’t need to distort the legitimate concerns about all that with the covert bilge that conflates them so subtley with something else entirely.

  • Jamieshep24

    I have been fortunate to get around most venues in my role as a volunteer and I have met many many wonderful people. Not one of them was unemployed and I doubt very much whether there are many who are so. Most are teachers, students and retired people but there are also a great many who are taking leave from work to do this. They do not receive any accommodation and have to pay for it themselves as for travel to London (within London an oyster card is provided). People also had to pay for all travel and accommodation to all of the training sessions. I decided in 2007 to volunteer in order to be a part of what I believed could have a transformational impact upon London. It was “easy” for me as I live in London. My hat goes off to those from Carlisle and Glasgow etc who put themselves out and out of pocket to do this. Truly inspirational. I have done days ranging from 4hours to 18hours and loved every minute of it, so have thousands of others. There are a lot of assumptions people have made here to support their own blind political ideologies. The fact is I have been AMAZED that we GB’ers have carried this off and we should celebrate that. I has restored my faith in society.

  • Anonymous

    Hard luck to Fred, but he’s young.

    Yes I was badly advised to fight as well – by myself lol! Would give anything to be a young guy again, to try again, to start earlier, train harder, believe in myself more, to get more experience earlier in my career. Don’t think I’ll ever get over my disappointment.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I agree. That is the point David Aaronovitch makes in voodoo histories – conspiracy theories take our focus of real problems. Pensions is a good case in point, the money that is supposed to be invested then spent on pensions, is in fact blown straight away on all kinds of other spending.

  • Anonymous

    Well I agree on the investment point, but mainly because such a good job has been done, ie I don’t think that was definite and predictable, but because of the wonderful execution of the whole thing, I think it will.

    Regarding quoting the figures, we don’t all do our own research and counting of everything, we usually have to place our trust in others, and of course we have to trust who to judge. Seeing as no political party, newspaper etc seems to oppose this 12bn figure, I am quite content to believe it. Do you think its a problem if its 12bn, would things be different if it was 6bn or 20bn?

  • Anonymous

    Oh dear, Fred was outpointed and out-fought, but the lad did well, gave it his all, and final and silver is excellent. Only 21, so hope he sticks around for Rio. But the pro world does sniff about, with their big big bucks.

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, reaguns, Fred the number 6 vid part in above beeb watchback link, if you missed it – hover on bottom of vid for the different parts to it. Other weights too at other number parts.

  • Michele

    I don’t care whether they paid for their seats or not.

    They were there for one reason as far as I’m concerned, to show their confidence and trust in the security.

    I’m glad you’re content about what you missed 🙂

  • Michele

    Sorry to hear people had to pay for their accommodation Jamie!

    It just doesn’t seem right.

  • Anonymous

    oooohhh – get her!!

    : )

  • Margaret

    Thank you for your kind comments about Games Makers.  It was a privilege and amazing experience to be there.  Good to meet you as ‘The Real (!!) McCoy’.  It has been known for ‘doubles’ of prominent people to precede them by helicopter….!  Hope you enjoyed the rest of the Games, as did the Games Makers.

  • Just so you know, the Beeb had no say in what was filmed – all filming on sites was done by the Olympic Broadcast Service, who then syndicate it out to everyone, Beeb included…

  • Mark Wright

    I’m not exaggerrating when I say that it was the volunteers who made my day at the Olympic Park one of the most memorable of my life. Thank you 🙂

  • Anonymous

    excuses excuses.
    Seems beeb was just trying to do it on the cheap, by relying on “stack it high – sell it cheap” providers. Surely there was a way around it, a few bucks in someone’s backpocket and all that….?

  • Anonymous

    excuses excuses.
    Seems beeb was just trying to do it on the cheap, by relying on “stack it high – sell it cheap” providers. Surely there was a way around it, a few bucks in someone’s backpocket and all that….?

  • Anonymous

    I wanted to play centre-forward for Leeds, open for Glamorgan, play outside-half for Wales, be even a welterweight champion of everything, even win the RAC Rally, all at the same time, but honestly, I was just not good enough for any of them.
    However, if I stuck at cricket and gave that a real go, I could have – that was what I was best at, and I wasn’t too bad, even captained the senior school side, when the old captain was useless, when our PE teacher noticed me “advising” the old captain where he was going wrong, setting the field wrong, on noticing opposition batsmen, and who to bowl to such. When I was in school, I should have joined a cricket club, but oh yes, of course, I was cycling round the countryside like a lunatic at the time, hoping to be the next Eddy Merckx, of course!

  • Anonymous

    I wanted to play centre-forward for Leeds, open for Glamorgan, play outside-half for Wales, be even a welterweight champion of everything, even win the RAC Rally, all at the same time, but honestly, I was just not good enough for any of them.
    However, if I stuck at cricket and gave that a real go, I could have – that was what I was best at, and I wasn’t too bad, even captained the senior school side, when the old captain was useless, when our PE teacher noticed me “advising” the old captain where he was going wrong, setting the field wrong, on noticing opposition batsmen, and who to bowl to such. When I was in school, I should have joined a cricket club, but oh yes, of course, I was cycling round the countryside like a lunatic at the time, hoping to be the next Eddy Merckx, of course!

  • Anonymous

    Used to go along the main London road to Irish ferry Fishguard to Carmarthen on my bike, twelve miles, to it’s turn of twentieth century concrete velodrome, and thinking off all those huge trucks with bad brakes in the middle of the 1970’s just gives me the creeps now. Only takes one napping paddy truck driver, and I would have been toast. But I remember my ears worked well then, and when I heard something that sounded coming close, I ended up in the trash. How the hell did I do that? A sixth sense. No wonder the RAF were encouraging me to be a Harrier pilot or something at their maximum age.
    Pic here of the Carmarthen cycling Velodrome, opened in their park well before Queen Vicky (non-Penders hovis bread) left us,,%20Carmarthen,%20Park%20and%20Cycle%20Track.jpg
    Cracking photo of it, ey? Cycled round that more times than a hamster in his fecking wheel!

  • Pingback: Google()