It has emerged today that both Home Office staff and drivers on East Midlands Trains plan to go on strike this summer, despite and indeed most likely because of, the likely disruption to the Olympic Games transport infrastructure, although of course long border queues and delayed trains are hardly something us Brits only associate with strike days!

I must admit my views are split right down the middle on this one, well, I say they are, if I had to put it into one simple statement I’d say; “they shouldn’t go on strike”. However my motivations for that are not informed particularly by the fact that any disruption will make London/The UK look bad. The reality is that we no longer live in the pre-Thatcherite world in which strikes were generally supported by the nation, ours is a tumultuous time in which Thatcher and those who’ve followed her on both sides of the political spectrum have succeeded in shifting the sense of ‘Us vs Them’ away from ‘Government vs The workers’ towards ‘Public Sector Vs Private Sector’.

Essentially most people now seem to take the view that if they have been lumped with terrible pension pots and low job security then those in the public sector have no right to complain when their remuneration packages are brought in line with ‘the rest of us’. This is fundamentally wrong, we shouldn’t be calling for universal poor treatment  but collectivly sitting up and asking just why it is that having a secure future both in work and once we’re out of it is such a terrible thing to strive for as a society.  I might add that the reason we are forced to suffer such terrible conditions is because of the power of big business and its’ insatiable appetite for profit, however in the increasingly right wing world in which we live to speak in these terms now leads people to deem others as cluelessly idealistic and out of touch as a result. It seems we have convinced ourselves the fall of  the berlin wall was nothing short of a definitive answer to the question of “socialism or capitalism, which is better?”. Indeed it now seems that the idea of capitalism with a friendly face, something of a contradiction in terms you might say, has been entirely done away with beyond superficial policies which do little to help those in need.

Now, despite all of this stands one uncomfortable truth which leads me to argue that ultimately these strikes should not take place. If the public and the media don’t support it, it is doomed to failure before it has even begun. As a result of the reasons stated above, i.e, the change in the nature of ‘Us vs Them’ I would say it is fairly likely a strike of this nature will only gain negative publicity, for a strike to be effective the support of the public or rather, the media, is what is needed. Making us look like fools to the rest of the world is not how to achieve this aim. I must stress however that this is not a status quo with which I agree, the exact opposite is true. The cuts to government funding, although not entirely unwarranted, have been handled in a shambolic fashion which has left thousands of people both out of work and in need where previously they were citizens who could take a sense of pride from their contribution to the economic and social welfare of our nation. Those at the Home Office in particular have reason to be angry as staff numbers were first cut back and then hastily replenished as the Olympics approached. Sadly I fear this fact is unlikely to be well publisised if border staff go on strike and leave thousands of passengers angry a day before the Olympics, the news will simply be full of clips of tired tourists demanding to know why exactly they should be the ones to be inconvenienced. The Unions should wake up to this fact, and fast.

 

What do you think? Post a comment bellow.

 

 

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A great  series of radio documentaries presented by Clare Balding has been airing on Radio Four for a while now. This episode was of particular interest to me; this week Clare has been examining the role of sport in politics and politics in sport.

From far reaching acts involving millions of pounds of funding to Thatcher authorising the selling off of the playing fields of the nation, it seems sport and politics have a diverse history.

Listen to the show here.

Politics And Sport - A Good Combination?

Last week I was lucky enough to go on my second tour of the Olympic Park. Roughly a year on from my first visit a lot has changed; less rubble, mud and diggers, the theme now is one of gleaming steel and swathes of concrete. Oh, and the worlds largest Mcdonalds.  Not the most sympathetic image I’ll admit but with a little more landscaping and a couple of hundred thousand people these games are certainly going look impressive. Images of screaming fans wrapped in flags and covered in face paint on your TV screens are going to look amazing against the backdrop of the striking Arcelor Mittal Orbit, as yet un-nicknamed Olympic stadium, the beautiful Velodrome and rather lovely (from the right angle) Aquatics Center.

I can’t help but be excited.

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Claudia (fellow Social Media Journalist) and I had a quick chat about the latest logo disaster, Madrid 2020 have launched a rather colourful if not odd logo.

Here’s a video of the interview; filmed on an ipod touch. It really is that easy nowadays.

 

Questions over the decision to accept the sponsorship of the Olympic Stadium ‘wrap around’ from Dow Chemical were brought back into the spotlight yesterday as Meredith Alexander head of policy at ‘ActionAid’ resigned from her role as board member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 live on Newsnight.

Her resignation came in protest at the involvement of Dow chemical as an Olympic sponsor despite the companies links to the Bhopal Disaster of 1984. It should be said that Dow Chemical itself played no part in the disaster, however having purchased Union Carbide the company responsible for the Bhopal plant in 1984 Alexander felt that ;

“they got the good stuff, they got the assets they got the shares, they also got any debts and any liabilities”

Alexander feels  “liabilities” includes compensation for the many thousands of victims and family members of thise who have died in the years following the disaster. An out of court settlement of $470 million was reached in 1989 and Dow Chemical stands by the assertion that this settlement was full and final; many argue this fund has been inadequate however and that victims were not fully consulted over the agreement.

I cannot hope to have a full understanding of the disaster and am in no place to point fingers. However it seems clear that awarding the deal to Dow was a pretty poor decision by LOCOG; it was only ever going to generate negative publicity. Perhaps this could have been avoided had another sponsor been chosen, however the prospect of a Nike or Mcdonalds wrap seems pretty horrible too.

Lets not forget, Dow certainly did manufacture Agent Orange and Napalm, two of the most destructive and morally questionable chemical weapons to have been used in the wars of the recent past. Giving Dow a chance to rebrand itself in the form of an environmentally sustainable wrap (open to interpretation I’m sure) is not something I want to see associated with the Olympic Games, and I wonder how any Vietnamese or Indian fans and athletes are likely to feel about entering a stadium that to them may serve as a distasteful reminder of the past.

Yesterday was, as you may be forgiven for having missed, an auspicious day.

Why? Yet another Olympic milestone was passed as it was 200 days before the start of the Olympics, marked by what will no doubt be an extravagent and impressive Opening Ceremony.

The white elephant in the room?

The Olympics are starting to look a little out of place amid unrest in the middle east, Government cut backs closer to home and sluggish economic forecasts.

So, have the Olympics become an uncomfortable reminder of the boom before the bust? You tell me.

A happy new year to you all!

Right that’s the happy part out the way as lets face it; it’s cold and wet; the sun is stuck down low in the sky shining only the faintest of it’s rays down upon our embattled isle and nobody seems to have any money.

But of course this is the Olympic year, the year in which we must celebrate our island, our culture and our sporting prowess! (The last part isn’t all sarcasm, we’re actually pretty good at cycling, sailing and rowing) So we mustn’t be all doom and gloom.

To start of the year here is a video created by the Guardian that takes a look at some Olympic statistics. It’s more interesting than you think.

On the 22nd of November Benji Lanyado who works as a travel writer at The Guardian was kind enough to take us on a tour of the paper’s headquarters near Kings Cross in central London.

During the tour we spoke with three editors; Joanna Geary, Digital Developments Editor; Ian Prior, Sports Editor; and David Shariatmadari, Deputy Editor of Comment is Free . They gave us some very informative advice and I was inspired but if I’m honest I also left the building a little scared.

Becoming a journalist is going to be hard. Really hard.

I can hear the voices of an assembled crowd of beleaguered working men and women ringing out across the internet even now “what did you expect you fool? Of course it’s going to be hard. Life is hard.”  But blissful ignorance is a wonderful state to be in and as a 17 year old boy I have something of a monopoly on the market for it. So, despite the fact that it was a little immature, I was rather enjoying holding an aspiration to write based mainly on the end goals as opposed to the means, without taking my thoughts very far beyond “I’ll do a bit of blogging” and “I’ll do something with lots of writing in at University”. Clearly I was in serious need of some frank advice.

Read the rest of this entry »

As you may have noticed there has been a distinct lack of posting over the last few weeks. In one sense I’m happy because I have quite a good excuse for not getting anything done for once ,however I’m not sure that the nasty scars on my face as a result of a rather unfriendly encounter between my face and Upper Clapton Road are worth it. I should probably mention here that I fell off my bike on the way to a blogging session and wasn’t in any sort of fight as it seems most people who’ve seen me have thought. Anyway, a broken nose and six stitches later I am back and have plans to enter a worst injury of the month competition in my Dad’s cycling magazine. Here’s hoping for a ‘victory’ of sorts, I will of course keep you posted on the matter!

I am sure that I have your implicit trust when it comes to the factual accuracy of my writing but if you do find yourselves questioning the truth in my story here is a rather lovely picture taken by Charlie when he very kindly came to make sure I was alright:

About Me

I blog about Politics and the London Olympics. If you're looking for some passionate blogging from the perspective of a young Londoner over the next weeks and months then subscribe to my blog below and follow me on www.twitter.com/TheJakeReport.

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