I visited the Olympic Park in east London today with a number of other MPs and met with Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport & the Olympics, and Lord Coe, the Chairman of the London Organising Committee.
I have to confess to being something of an Olympics-sceptic. At a time when the Government is having to take some very painful decisions, should we really be spending over £9,000 million on the Olympics? Think what we could do with even a tenth of that money in south London. Then there is the unfairness in the way the Games are being paid for - Croydon Council Taxpayers have paid a surcharge on their Council Tax for the last six years, despite there being no venues in the borough and precious few nearby, but residents in parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, who live much closer to the Olympic Park, haven’t paid a penny. And finally I object to the conditions the International Olympic Committee imposes - the road closures that are going to make many Londoners lives a misery, the way you can only pay for tickets with a Visa credit card (because Visa are "the exclusive payment services sponsor for the Olympic Games"), the ban on having a sign in front of the stadium advertising the British company that built it (Sir Robert McAlpine).
Having said all that, I was really impressed with the job the Olympic Delivery Authority has done. They have delivered some iconic venues on time and on budget and they deserve a lot of credit for that.