Tuesday 17 July 2012

Olympic priorities: security or brand police?

Contrasting the G4S Olympic security shambles and the much more successful deployment of hundreds of Olympic "brand police" (to ensure that only McDonalds can sell chips in the Olympic zone and nobody uses the words "Gold", "Silver", "Bronze", "Summer", "Sponsor" or "London" in their advertising) tells us two very important things.

The first thing is the clear demonstration that the public sector can be more efficient than the private sector, since the successfully deployed corporate Nazi purple shirts are all retrained local council staff . An Olympic Delivery Authority spokesperson said that "We are using experienced local authority staff [provided by 30 local councils] who currently enforce street trading and advertising legislation". Meanwhile the state sector is clearing up the private sector mess to bail out G4S by cutting the leave of 3,500 (state sector) soldiers and several hundred (public sector) police to fill the security void left by G4S's abject failure of  to properly plan for the event. It seems clear that if you want to get the job done properly, then employ public sector workers. If you have been foolish enough to outsource the work to the private sector, you needn't worry you can always get the state sector to come to the rescue at the expense of the taxpayer who ends up paying twice for security.

The second thing that seems clear is that the Olympic organisers seem to have put a higher priority on ensuring that their "brand enforcement" militia are prepared and trained than they have on ensuring that they provide sufficient properly trained security staff. That protecting the interests and profits of their corporate backers has been taken more seriously than the protection of ordinary people that intend to watch Olympic events. That in the world of Olympic organisation, corporate profits trump human lives.

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