Posts Tagged ‘olympics’

It was just over seven years ago that London won their bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

I remember exactly what I was doing when we began our campaign. I was on my honeymoon at the Atlantis Resort in the the Bahamas. I cannot express the joy and hearing the news… or the sorrow the following day when the 7/7 bombs devastated London.

Now, seven years later, London is stronger than ever.

However, our efforts to hold one of the most memorable moments in history haven’t gone without its problems.

It was feared that London traffic would come to a standstill in a bid to get Olympic officials to the venues on time with the introduction of  the ‘Olympic lanes’.

Many tax payers protested at the amount of money being spent on the venues when the current economic climate was already in a state. Then there was the outrageous scenes of blocks of empty venue seats when tickets were impossible to purchase.

Most embarrassing of all? Only a fraction of the security team arriving for work on the first day of the Games.

And then there was this man, Minister Jeremy Hunt – the cherry on the cake…

But, Britain is strong. We will always survive.

And here’s why…

It all started with the torch bearers, cheered on by thousands of supporters who lined the streets come rain or shine as they carried the Olympic flame around the country.

But, our Armed Forces stepped in to secure the venues and the opening ceremony was absolutely breathtaking. Millions around the world watch Kenneth Branagh ‘build’ London. Dancers danced, singers sang, and we even had a little help from Mr Bean.

When it was time for the Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth to arrive, who better to escort her than James Bond himself.

And Britain went on to have one of their most successful Olympics…EVER!

But it’s not just the British that have made these past two weeks so special. It has been an entire nation.

There have been tears of joy and sorrow. Medals have been won, and medals have been lost. But above all, for two weeks, countries rejoiced together. War and disagreements were buried and put aside. Instead, we supported one and other.

I just hope that spirit can continue.

Did you watch the Olympics? What was your favourite moment? How do you think London did hosting the games? Did you find it hard getting tickets? Did you attend any of the events? Let me know.

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I didn’t have to think hard about what to blog about this week. If anyone has had access to a television or newspaper over the last couple of days, you will have seen the horrific images of London in turmoil.

So, what kicked it off?

Well, originally it was linked to an incident which occurred on Saturday in Tottenham, when police shot and killed an armed drug dealer. A quiet protest was held by the victim’s family….and then all hell broke loose.

By Saturday evening, shops in Tottenham were being looted with one newspaper reporting, “Youths broke into MacDonald’s and started cooking their own hamburgers.” I think this statement sums up the intelligence of the Neanderthal’s involved.

The first I heard about the trouble was on Sunday when my hubby saw the news feed on his phone. And, if I am completely honest, the only reason we were remotely interested in reading more was because my hubby grew up in Walthamstow, which is only miles from Tottenham. It isn’t the first time youths have caused trouble in this area and I’m sure it won’t be the last. By Sunday night, we were aware the trouble had reached Walthamstow, but were unprepared for what happened the following evening.

The BBC reported that Monday’s violence began when police stopped and searched a man in Hackney. Nothing was found and the man was allowed on his way. Then, later in the afternoon, groups of people started throwing stones, and a bin, at police officers.

I returned home Monday evening after an meal out with friends. We began discussing the trouble Tottenham and Walthamstow had seen over the weekend and decided to see if there were any new updates. We switched on the television……..and sat in stunned silence. Buildings were ablaze, shops were being looted. Rioters were fighting with police. It looked like a war zone. The only time we spoke was when police steamed after the gangs – for that we cheered…loudly.

Throughout the evening, the trouble escalated to Clapham, Hackney, Lewisham, Ealing…..Everywhere. It even reached Ilford and Romford, which was way too close for my liking; My Dad and sister live nearby.

In front of my eyes, a building burned until it was nothing but a shell. Shop owners where robbed, and our under staffed police force could do nothing to help them. Teenagers picked up metal fencing and lobbed it at security shutters that protected the shops inventory inside. Police cars and fire engines had windscreens smashed. How could this happen?

I was at my friends, in Romford, early the following morning. Her house overlooks the London sky line, and unfortunately the eerie reminder of  the buildings and cars destroyed by fire.   

Last night saw local residents take a stand against crime and the trouble makers thinking they had a right to commit it. Walking the streets, these remarkable people protected their friends and family, properties, and businesses. The result saw hardly any trouble in London. However, the rioting escalated further north of the country in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Unfortunately, three people died when they were purposely mowed down. One man arrived on the scene and instinctively tried to help the victims. Someone then told him his own son was lying behind him. Covered in blood, this father immediately started CPR. His son unfortunately died. These three men were just trying to protect what was theirs and our thoughts and prayers are with their families today.

But why are people doing this?

There have been many comments from the youths and rioters – none of which I feel remotely sorry for. One youth, his face covered by a bandana, said: “I’m here for money and cause the police nick you for stupid things. This is payback. They (police) can’t do nothing.” And this is a spokesman? Doesn’t really put forward a very good case, does he?

One youth who, while expressing he in no way condoned what had been going on, tried to rationalise it. “It is wrong, but they (rioters) are trying to make money cause they can’t get to college. It’s showing everyone’s frustration. No one has a future.”

What amazes me is that this barbaric behaviour is being put down to the economic status of this country. ‘Youths don’t have a voice’ and ‘People want money and are frustrated.’ It makes me sick. We’ve all been down on our luck at times, and all felt the depression and stress that brings….but not once have I ever considered going out, robbing a shop, burning down an entire building, and throwing a brick at a copper. There is absolutely no excuse for this!

The public are screaming for the rioters parents to be brought to account. Well, I hate to break it to you but, knowing some of the areas these youths derive from, the parents probably sent their children out armed with a crowbar and an list of things to steal.

And to add insult to injury, we now have Germany taking advantage of the situation by comparing London to the Capital of Samalia. And many other nations, including Australia are saying we shouldn’t be holding the 2012 Olympics. Hey, why not just stick a barb wire fence around our shorelines and be done with it?

And today?

So far, over 400 people have been arrested and today saw some very busy courts. It makes my blood boil when ‘youths’ cannot be named due to their age, but one 17 year old has been charged with burglary. His lawyer described him as ‘someone with promise and who was studying to be a sound engineer. This was a moment of madness.’ A moment of madness? Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it was more like twelve hours of madness.

The most stupid so far?

The man who was arrested for stealing a bottle of wine from Somerfields Supermarket with a street value of probably no more than £3.99! And two sisters for stealing bubble gum from a newsagents.

I think David Cameron, who returned home from his holiday yesterday, said it best. “For too long there has been a lack of focus on the complete lack of respect shown by these thugs. I’m clear they are no way representative of the vast majority of young people who despise them as much as the rest of us do. But there are pockets of our society that are not just broken – they are sick. When you see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, and when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are in fact robbing him, it is clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society.”

So, have you seen the images? Have you watched the news reports? What do you think of what’s been happening in London and England in the past few days? Do you agree with what some of the rioters argue? Let me know.

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