Sunday, April 02, 2006

Barking's Barcelona

I have no objections per se about spreading money around. Now that I am better, I have returned to my pre-illness days of shopping here, there and everywhere in an attempt to give less money to the supermarkets. I do put my money where my mouth is – I was at Billingsgate fish market (a first) at 6.15am yesterday; after breakfast (double egg and chips) in the caff over the road, I bought the newspapers in the local newsagents and had a chat, and then toddled off to Queen's Market for my fruit and veg and the Newham Bookshop for chalk and a gift.

So, people may think that on reading Tristam Hunt's column in today's Observer that I agreed with his assertion 'The capital must share the spoils'. He is referring to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Before I tackle this issue I must just take him to task for even imagining that the 'Lower Lea Valley' could be 'reborn as Barking's Barcelona'. I am aware that he is attempting a spot of alliteration and that Barcelona did host the Olympics (not sure which year). I have never visited Barcelona but I am convinced it is a beautiful city. I am sure that even in it's roughest parts it does not compare to the blight of Barking. I live here. It is grey, dull and overwhelmingly poor. Racism and sexism are rife (which, when considering the football, certainly are also problems in Spain). The Olympics is not going to change that.

(I couldn't find an image of the infamous Gascoigne estate - but click the link for the kind of news it generates).

Continuing with the B's, Hunt asserts that the 'Bradfords and Birminghams' of the country should also benefit from the regeneration that the Olympics will (allegedly) bring. I agree totally but only if they too have to pay an extra fiver a month on their council tax. If Londoners have to pay for the damned Games, then Londoners should bloody well see the benefits. Can't say fairer than that.

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