16 December 2011

13,500 Olympic troops - not needed

Two pieces of related news reach L.o.w.a towers. One - that the public purse is to stump up another £270 million to feed the insatiable apetite of the security industry (and its private 'consultants') and - two - more than 13,000 military personnel and equipment are to be deployed to 'protect the Olympics' at unknown cost.

The idea that people will be safer with a load of squaddies in Trafalgar Square or a naval launch in the River Lea is the sort of vain Bush/Blairite willy waving power show that promotes the country at its worst not its best. It is good intelligence, information and undercover operations that deal with the sort of terrorism directed at the west by non-state players. But that's neither glamourous or headline grabbing.

If Lib Dem ministers had any say on this decision (and I suspect they did not) I'd have hoped they would have pointed out two things. One - in times of austerity the country should not be stumping a single further penny for the Olympics when the IOC - one of the richest (and corrupt) organisations in the world - could easily pay for any security measures or ceremonies they see fit. And - two - a western liberal democracy does not routinely deploy armed troops on its streets regardless of what foreign jamboree is taking place on its shores at any time.

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