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Olympic Games security: Heads used to roll for things like this

Just when you decide it’s time to be positive about those Games – more beaten into submission than newly sporty – along come the circus clowns to hurl a few more gremlins into the works.

Did I say gremlins? Apologies. That’s like Jeremy Hunt calling the latest Olympic fiasco a “security hitch” – which is how I’d describe forgetting to lock my back door.

No, these are more than hitch-bearing gremlins. These are serious foul-ups, over which – in any normal, mature, intelligent country – heads would roll.

But the culture secretary insists the risking of lives at London’s once-in-a-lifetime showcase event is no more than a mere hitch.

Having been entrusted with professionally safeguarding the 2012 Games, on which the eyes of the world will be focused, G4S has coughed, shuffled and prevaricated before, with only days to go to embarrassing opening ceremony, confessing the company can’t do what it’s being paid for.

“I think it’s completely normal that you’re going to find some contractors on a project of this size who aren’t able to deliver what they promise,” Mr Hunt said, mulling over the pros and cons of inconvenient hitches and gremlins.

“What you’ve got to do as a minister is make sure that you’ve got contingency plans in place so that the overall project is not at risk, and that’s what we’ve done.”

So now the armed forces will have to supply an extra 3,500 troops to help pull together a contingency... that’s in addition to the 13,500 they had already promised.

In the face of Labour’s fury and opposition calls for the head of Theresa May on a silver platter, Mr Hunt seemed awfully unconcerned by the possibilities posed by a last-minute security shortfall.

And that will be a puzzle to anyone who must wonder why, if the Government deems it necessary to litter the capital with loaded surface to air missiles, a crash in hands-on Olympics security plans should matter so little.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily hold with the consequent wave of griping and complaining about classing tip-top soldiers as second class, second choice options for defence. Though they have been.

Trained, committed and not driven by profit motive, our soldiers always were the best candidates for the job of protecting citizens from hate-filled harm. And if this country must engage in a war on terror, far better it be fought on home soil where it can make a difference.

That’s the way to avoid a hitch and keep gremlins at bay. Do the job properly in the first place, instead of prioritising Big Macs and fizzy drinks; outsourcing essential civil and national defence to a company best remembered for losing prisoners on the way to and from jail and reintroducing a fondly remembered tradition in Westminster circles.

Remember how it used to go. Simple equation: Government blunder + seriously dangerous consequences = rolling heads.

Ah yes, those were the days.

Have your say

Mr Evil McBad I can't help agreeing with everything you said, the sad thing is that this so called Labour Party did not help the situation by encouraging some privatisation when they were in power, what we need is a good clean out of rich politicians, and put in there place people who are not there just to feather there own nests.

Posted by Danleo on 22 July 2012 at 08:26

Anne Pickles may get her wish - don'r be surprised if Jeremy Hunt is moved on after the Olympics (it's an open secret in Westminster that the Culture Secretary post will be broken up after London 2012)

Posted by JOHN HASTINGS on 19 July 2012 at 14:51

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