Games: a panacea for everything
As the Roman Empire teetered on the brink of collapse, Games became a major feature of Roman life. More and more lavish, while resources were being depleted, and the barbarians were baying at the borders of the empire. Sound familiar? I don't want to be a wet blanket on all the enjoyment and goodwill that has come from the Olympics, but ...
The world is on the brink of an environmental disaster on an unprecedented scale. It’s not a question of if it happens, it is now a question of when. In different parts of the world it will happen at different times. Manila is currently under water, floods increasingly impact towns in Britain, Asia has yet to fully recover from the Tsunami of a few years ago, a tiny Icelandic volcano brought international air traffic to a halt in the northern hemisphere, the list goes on. Some of these events were tiny on a global scale. The wheat harvests in Russia and the USA are going to be well down this year, and already world food prices are rising dramatically. The population of India and China continue to grow, but more alarmingly, continue economic growth and increase demands for natural resources.
And what happens in Britain? Billions of pounds are spent on the most expensive Olympic Games ever. In order to grab all the medals to fuel national pride, some £264 million was spent on subsidising sport by the government over the past four years. One of the smallest subsidies was £2.5 million for shooting. Think how much wildlife could have been saved with that. Let alone the £26 million poured into cycling. As our Council Member Simon Barnes has pointed out, it has all been helped along with a massive publicity campaign for Coca-Cola and Macdonalds, the sponsors of the Games.
To me the analogy between Britain at the beginning of the 21st century with Rome in its final days is painfully obvious. The politicians are using the same techniques to cling onto power – amusing us to death, because they cannot face the realities staring them in the face.