Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Racing Certainties

Crap Logo
As a health advisory I shall say once again I am very pleased that London will host the 2012 Olympics. This still does not take away my fears about the ability of the current government to organise a piss-up in a rugby club furnished with unlimited free alcohol from every brewery in the land.

When you hear a minister, and yes, one of any politically colour, assure us that the sum of money to be spent on any particular grand initiative is known, capped, and under control we can, without even bringing cynicism to bear, assume that the real number is unknown, fundamentally without bounds and would take a forensic accountant a lifetime to calculate, even after the event.

For a well run government project we can put a finger in the air and guess that there is about an eighty percent chance of a noteworthy overrun on past performance, with such cast iron assurances in place. When it is admitted chance that there is a twenty percent chance of this happening, we can assume that the only real question on the Olympic overrun, even on its already doubled budget is how much, and how many nines we place after the decimal point on the likelihood of it happening.

I personally want the Olympics here in London, but we really need to start seeing the hard numbers, and the real funding plans. London should, if well run, should turn in a real profit in the medium term, but there is a real question over whether this is even remotely likely with our current financially incontinent central government, even before you begin to wonder about the business acumen of our local scion of the school of central planning, the ever useless Ken.

At least the legendary newt fancier has promised that no further burden will fall on London's council tax payers. At least in respect of the Olympics that is, as in other areas it is now seeming likely that the mayoral precept may put a spanner in the works of the attempts of more efficient (non Labour) boroughs to ensure that central government's politicisation of block grants do not result in large increases in local tax liabilities.

Well, at least we know that Livingstone will put the money to good uses for the benefit of all Londoners, not just a select few.

No comments: