Monday, 20 August 2007

Update: You really, really do support the Games!!!

An eagle-eyed Glasgow resident spotted this story in the Scotsman from 17th June:

"Survey shows weight of Scots backing for Glasgow 's 2014 Games bid


A NEW survey has underlined the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bid team's claim that the city is sport-hungry, revealing that the proposal has significant support from the Scottish population. Of those polled, 78% said they were in favour of the multi-sports event being staged in the city and while 15% remain undecided, only 7% claimed they were actively against it." (article continues here).

78%! That's a really big majority in favour! Funny how there's no mention of this on the Back the Bid website (at least as far as we can see, and obviously we're not picking up everything we should). And we've had a hard time finding any mention of this poll anywhere else. (BTW, if anyone can do a LexisNexis search for us, please get in touch).

Anyway, our eagle-eyed Glasgow resident, who we'll call Citizen X, thought it was a bit odd as well and contacted the Back the Bid folks. Citizen X asked how the poll was carried out, and if she could see the actual poll results. This was the reply:

"Hi ...
The survey was carried out face to face in the city centre of Glasgow .
If you can give me a few more details on why you would like to see the full results I will find out if that is possible, is it a work or university project? Are there any particular areas you are interested in?"

"Why would you like to see the full results"?! Maybe because she's a resident of Glasgow?

As yet, there has been no reply, but Citizen X promises to keep us updated. If you're curious about the poll, why not get in touch with the Back the Bid crew. Let us know what you find out. And if you were one of the people polled "face to face", get in touch.

"Buy into" the Games!

From City Strolls:

"Now we keep hearing how we are all going to have a wonderful experience when we "buy into" the Commonwealth Games - Olympic Games. We have heard nothing about who is going to make the most profit, how much "we" the citizens are going to get out of it. How the games are going to be policed. What will happen to the undesirables - homeless, beggars, folk who don't want to play the game, areas of deprivation, that can't be covered up for the tourists? You don't half buy into these corporate deals. When the ball starts rolling the decisions are taken out of the hands of the Purcell's, and put in the hands of business. The "Prison Industrial Complex" is the third biggest growth industry in America. Guess where Britain is getting most of its business ideas?"

Commonwealth Games boss "praises" Glasgow

From BBC News:

Games boss praises Glasgow 's bid The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation has praised Glasgow's bid to host the sporting event.

Micheal Fennell said he was "very satisfied" that the city could maintain the standards required to make the games a success.

Only Scotland and Nigeria have remained in the race to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Commonwealth countries will decide on the winner in a secret ballot to be held in Sri Lanka in November.

Commonwealth Games Federation delegates do not get a vote.

Speaking on a visit to Glasgow, Mr Fennell said the city's image had changed for the better over the past 10 years.

"The level of commitment here is absolutely great," he said.

"The commitment has to come not just from sportspeople but also from government, the people, the city council, to host the games requires a strong commitment from everyone."

Let Mr Fennell know how you feel - drop him a line:

Thanks to Glasgow Residents Network for spotting this one.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

"Our research shows you really do support the Games!"

So, you don't back the bid, eh? Well, as it happens you're wrong. And the folks at the Back the Bid website can prove it - here's how they answered the Commonwealth Games Federation question about providing evidence of public support for the bid:

Question 2.11
Provide any evidence of the support of the national, regional and local population towards your project of hosting the Commonwealth Games, including possible other localities involved in your project.
• Opinion polls –
Please provide details of any polls carried out including:
dates, questions asked, sample size, area covered
• Referendum (if applicable)
• Awareness campaigns
• Other.

Public support

The Bid has received formal support from individuals and groups throughout Scotland. All local authorities, chambers of commerce, universities, national agencies and a vast range of other organisations in the public, voluntary and commercial sector have signed up. Many have been represented formally in the Bid structure.

Individuals, companies and organisations, schools, other educational establishments and sports clubs have been encouraged to Back Scotland’s Bid and so far total support represents over 1,700,000 people in Scotland and further afield [our emphasis]. Included in these numbers are some of Scotland’s best known figures from business, culture and sport. Glasgow and Scotland will continue to reflect the ride in hosting such a prestigious occasion.We will use it further to raise national and International awareness of the Games, the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Wow! "So far total support represents over 1,700,000 people in Scotland and further afield". That's a lot of people. Funny though, I don't remember being asked. And as you can see from the answer above, no opinion polls were referenced, and there will be no referendum - so how do they figure 1,700,000 people support the Bid?

Well, when we look at the Back the Bid website, all is revealed. At the moment, apparently the number of supporters is up to 1,745,159. And a helpful breakdown is given:

"Who is backing the bid?
87,424 individuals
1,437,920 companies & organisations, staff & members
32 local authorities
179,218 educational establishments, staff & students
40,565 sports clubs and their members"

So, actually 87,424 individuals have signed up to support the bid. The rest of the numbers are arrived at a little generously it would seem. And the individual backers are indeed from "further afield" - like New York, Copenhagen and, interestingly, Halifax, Nova Scotia. You may remember that Halifax's bid fell apart recently.

And we're not entirely confident about the Back the Bid website's information gathering abilities. The first listing under "companies & organisations" is " ,Edinburgh" (sic). Do they mean the entire city, or is there a company in Edinburgh with no name?

We'll be contacting the Back the Bid website and asking when they plan on carrying out some opinion polls.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Daylight robbery

Image from City Strolls

"Final pish backing Scotland's bid"

City Strolls links to a marvelous example of propaganda:

Final pish backing Scotland's Bid for 2014 Commonwealth Games - Steven Purcell and Nicola Sturgeon [video]

"Olympic sized horror in Greece"

Thanks to City Strolls for this one:

'We are also getting bombarded with stories about how Athens is "a city transformed" by the Olympic Midas touch. As International Olympic Committee Chairman Jacques Rogge put it, "At Athens the legacy will be a new airport, new metro, new suburban train, ....this is a legacy the Greeks will be proud of."

'But don't let the gold, silver, or soft-core sexism fool you: These Greek Olympics arrive bathed from head to toe in blood and dust.

'You won't hear about it in NBC's gauzy coverage, but Amnesty International estimates that anywhere between 40 and 150 construction workers died in work place accidents building Olympic facilities. The new center right government of Costas Karamanlis, terrified of international embarrassment for not having a modernized infrastructure, turned the screws to finish facilities by any means necessary

'In the last push of round the clock preparation alone, 13 laborers were killed at the service of making Athens, in the words of one Olympic official, "habitable for a global audience".
As Andreas Zazopoulos, head of the Greek Construction Workers Union said, `"We have paid for the Olympic games in blood."

'Their deaths aren't the only cause of local anger. The Karamanlis government has scuttled Greek law forbidding foreign personnel from carrying weapons in the country by allowing hundreds - perhaps thousands - of American, British and Israeli Special Forces soldiers to be armed to the teeth throughout Athens.

'City authorities are also, according to Democracy Now, "rounding up homeless people, drug addicts, and the mentally ill requiring that psychiatric hospitals lock them up. Also affected by Athens Olympic clean-up are refugees and asylum seekers, some of whom are being targeted for detention and deportation in the days leading up to the games." '

the whole story.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Financial trouble for the bid


Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Bid Has Financial Setback

A council report published Wednesday reveals that the cost of refurbishing the Royal Commonwealth Pool has increased by seven million pounds in less than two years. The Edinburgh News reports that the planned overhaul is now estimated to cost 36 million pounds and officials have warned it will rise again unless work starts next year.

The pool overhaul is a key part of Glasgow’s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with diving events planned to take place in Edinburgh. The project would also feature an Olympic-standard 50-metre pool and diving arena, as well as a new “fun pool”.

The newspaper reports that the rising cost means the project faces a nine million pound funding “black hole” unless the Meadowbank Stadium is sold off for housing or the Scottish Executive bails the city out by covering the shortfall.

The reason for the increase is attributed to rampant inflation in the cost of construction projects across the UK.

The council now has pledged 27 million pounds for rebuilding the pool complex.

The refurbishment is scheduled to being next fall, is due for completion in 2010, and is earmarked as an official training camp for both the London 2012 Summer Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

If more funds are not committed the Edinburgh News reports that the only other realistic option is said to dramatically scale back the plans or shelve the project.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

The "facts"

Here are the"facts" about the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, acorrding to this bit of glossy propaganda from Glasgow City Council:

"*Just the facts

  • £250-300 million – the cost of staging the Games
  • 80 per cent will be paid for by the Scottish Executive
  • £81 million – the net economic benefits to Scotland of staging the games
  • £30 million – the benefit to Glasgow’s economy
  • an estimated four per cent increase in tourism – excluding conference bookings
  • £5 million – the cost of bidding for the 2014 Commonwealth Games
  • £6 million – the net economic benefits to Glasgow of staging the Games
  • half will be paid for by the Scottish Executive
  • 7,500 athletes and officials expected to attend
  • 1,000 – net Glasgow jobs and 1,200 Scottish jobs
  • The five “core” sports which have been confirmed for the 2014
  • Commonwealth Games are: athletics, race swimming, lawn bowls, rugby 7s (men) and netball (women). A further 15 will be selected"

We'll be coming back to these figures as time goes on.

This sort of thing couldn't happen in Glasgow!

From Not the Clissold Leisure Centre:

Watchdog warning over Olympics Games costs

"Significant uncertainties" over the London 2012 Olympics could drive the cost of the Games higher, the government's spending watchdog warns.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said the £9.3bn budget announced in March was "sufficient to cover the estimated costs of the Games" as plans stood.

But the NAO report warned it was true only if "the assumptions on which the budget is based hold good".

(Via BBC NEWS England London Watchdog warning over Games costs: .)

Saturday, 4 August 2007

It ain't over yet...

Commonwealth Game delegates have been visiting and the Herald makes it all sound super-fabulous! - apparently formerly "dreary" Glasgow has been through a "metamorphosis". (A visitor to the Herald website commented: "Obviously never went out to the schemes then?")

But Abuja could be outbidding its rival, and there are some who think its about time for an African nation to host the games. And that makes sense, but we still can't help wondering what the people of Nigeria think of their government offering countries "a $125,000 grant towards travel and training."