The Null Device

London Olympic police powers revealed

Details have emerged of the suspensions of civil liberties to be brought in for the 2012 Olympics in London, and even by the standards of New Labour Britain, they are severe. Police will have the power to enter private homes and seize posters (so no putting a "Free Tibet" poster on your window then) and, to keep sponsors placated, will prevent the public from carrying "non-sponsor items" to sporting events. Not sure if it'll apply just inside stadia or inside an "Olympic Zone" of London as in Sydney in 2000, so if, say, KFC are a sponsor, whether it'll be an offense to be seen eating a box of Sheriff Sam's Al-Halal Texas Fried Chicken ("Tender and Tasty!") in the streets of Stratford. Or, indeed, whether the laws will stay on the books afterward, to be brought out when expedient (as happened in Sydney, where Olympic laws were later used to suppress protests against the Catholic Church's "World Youth Day").

Given that the Olympics are a merchandising exercise which invariably involves notionally liberal states bending over to placate corporate sponsors by suspending civil liberties, perhaps it would be better if future Olympics were held only in totalitarian states, where the legal frameworks are already in place. Pyongyang 2016 perhaps? I hear the North Koreans put on a killer show...

There are 1 comments on "London Olympic police powers revealed":

Posted by: regina Wed Mar 17 00:54:56 2010

I have been certain that the Olympics should be permanently confined to one location but never picked a location. Pyongyang it is. That would be beautiful. They are excellent at spectacles in stadiums and their roads are reportedly empty so transportation wouldn't be a problem. As noted, social control has been taken care of. Having the IOC force an Olympics on an anti-tourist country would require them to wine and dine North Korea instead of the IOC being wined and dined by lunatics desperate to land the event. I don't know how North Korea could refuse the offer and, if they accept, it would destroy the government. Perhaps, instead of waging wars to create peace, we could wage Olympics.