Yesterday, whilst listening to Radio 4 discussing money, politics and other current affairs, and whilst I tried to avoid thinking about a McDonalds breakfast, I realised that I live in one of two major population centres that are the furthest away from London. It wasn't a big surprise truly, as I have been on the 7 hour plus train journey from Aberdeen to London Kings Cross more than once, but what it did suddenly dawn on me was that I sit in the position of being the furthest from the Olympics that I could really be.
At its core, I have little to no interest in the Olympic games. I have never been an athletic person, begrudging any participation in a sprint, run or long distance trek during my school years, as someone without any real stamina or pace, and with a distinct lack of a competitive bone in their body (except for 007 GoldenEye on the N64). As such, races and athletics have been wide of my personal interest for a long time now. It is now, that I am with a person who was athletic, and had athletes in her family, and played varsity sports at college, I am exposed to the wider facets of the sport and the fact that despite my mutterings, the Olympics is something my interest has peaked in.
Firstly, I don't fall for the gain that the whole country will feel when the opening ceremony starts in a few weeks time. I am far removed from any benefit that the games will bring directly to my city, and to my life. Even a passing of the Olympic torch, a symbolic event, feels rather pantomime. I can understand the benefits that sport will have on the kids that go to school and the possible inspiration that it will give them to better themselves, but the outlay is astronomical for such a minimal benefit to my everyday life. Should I expect it to, though? The biggest argument against the Olympics being held in the UK is that the cost would be better put to use elsewhere. I contest that on a few grounds – the first being that London need regeneration, and this is a nice way to trick the government into doing it, and is what Ken Livingstone even said when first bidding for the games. Secondly, anyone who thinks that the budget for the games would suddenly be sent to schools or healthcare in England and Wales, and Scotland, are kidding themselves – this coalition government have reduced spending on services not only because they "have to" to reduce the deficit, but remember they are a conservative government and that's a basic tenet of their ideology. It's a home run trick to believe that it's anything else. The games budget wouldn't be spent anywhere else, and especially not on sports and infrastructure no matter what anyone says.
In the end, the games are hap-pening and we're spending the money, and I'll probably watch more of the games now than I ever have – I have even considered going to see some "Olympic" football at Hampden, and maybe even head to London to see some friends and take in the Olympic village for a time. Who knows. But the legacy of the games is hard to fathom now – I just don't expect it to make any difference directly to life in the North of Scotland.
And I'd watch those commentators in Scotland and what they are saying about these games – despite it being a much smaller budget in 2014, Glasgow has the commonwealth games, and the regeneration that that will bring will be great for the city, as well as the boost for tourism like no other event Glasgow can put on.