BBC BLOGS - Roger Mosey
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This was never going to be easy

Roger Mosey | 09:58 UK time, Wednesday, 10 August 2011

In life it's better to be neither an optimist or a pessimist but a realist. London's path to the Olympic Games was never going to be an untroubled one. But the shock of the lawlessness and criminality of the past few days means the hurdles that have to be overcome are even greater.

I've sat through enough business continuity sessions to know that nothing is risk-free.

And it's worth a little perspective here. Of the cities bidding for these Games against London, all have sadly had either terrorism or civil disturbances in recent years. All of them are teeming with millions of individuals in the sometimes chaotic urban life of the 21st century.

London never underestimated that in its bid.

Indeed, it won because it was radical and it embraced the diversity of the city - the place where hundreds of languages are spoken and where almost every team from around the world will have "home" support.

Police on the streets of Croydon, South London, amid the riots

Communities have fought back after the riots brought havoc. Picture: Getty Images.

It chose to site the Games not in the leafy suburbs but in the East End and in some of the poorest boroughs in England.

You then add in what my colleague David Bond referred to yesterday about London being at the centre of media attention in the next year - and what I've always called the most unforgiving of global spotlights.

Everything - from transport, security and criminal acts through to pomp, ceremony and sport - will be covered obsessively by the thousands of journalists deployed on this story. It is simply impossible to come through this without a blemish.

This week's events have been horrific. But for those of us who love this city - and I unashamedly do - there's inspiration to be found too.

We see the strength of communities who are determined not to be cowed, and the countless individuals who make a difference in getting things back on track.

It also puts into perspective the conversations I've had with leaders in Newham, Hackney and the other Olympic boroughs. The political debate is about whether the £9.3bn budget is justified and whether it could have been better spent on supporting their areas in other ways.

But the Olympics are now happening and they see it as their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try to secure a legacy in a part of London that has often been marginalised.

The tougher-minded people in the East End have always known this could go either way. The showcase could be for better or for worse. This is not going to be some sugar-coated Disneyland experience.

But I've seen enough of the spirit of those communities to know that everything is still possible, and the key is to mobilise the majority over the criminal minority.

Most of the people of this city want to welcome the world in a year's time. The world in turn looks to London as a great historical city and a global capital capable of staging a wonderful Games.

Being a realist means I know we can't just wish that the two come effortlessly together, and this week has reinforced the risks. But the opportunities and the prizes remain there too.


  • Comment number 1.

    Another day, another blog. Please reopen Ben Gallops blog so that we can comment in the appropriate place.

    Stop the BBC Formula 1 Sky farce now.

  • Comment number 2.

    Please reopen Ben Gallops blog so that we can comment in the appropriate place.

    The closing of that blog has been a knee jerk reaction of the BBC when they noticed that they could not win the argument. They hoped that silencing the customers of the BBC - yes BBC we are your customers, treat us like that - would end the issue.

    That was, a knee jerk reaction, and I am sure that management of BBC Sports together with the Executive management are drafting a reaction as we speak. That reaction will probably fall short of our expectations, but lets hope we will be able to comment to that reaction.

    Please BBC, tell me I am right.
  • Comment number 3.

    You must read this:
    Phil Duncans blog on F1: Revealed! Channel 4's last-ditch bid to keep Formula One on terrestrial TV

  • Comment number 4.

    Well the headlines of C4's bid read like nonsense. Talk of red button hideaways for example only indicate their own failure to provide an interactive service. C4 coverage would have meant constant race interruptions for adverts. Yes C4 did a very good job on test cricket but have little record on anything else except horse racing. I was very upset and angry when I first heard of the F1 deal. But on reflection I think this may work out for the best. In particular this is the first time in the last two years that the BBC have fought back from losing a rights deal and looked for a way to stay in the market. I hope this is an indicator for the future. Most of the gibberish about censorship etc is getting ridiculous.

    Roger's post is actually a serious reflection on the riots and next year's Olympics. It is a sad comment on some of the F1 fanatics that with the terrible events of this week still fresh in the mind all they can think about is their private obsessions.

    Thanks Roger for your thoughts.

  • Comment number 5.

    And thanks to you, jcb336. More from me about the Olympics on Monday.

  • Comment number 6.

    I see Grandstand is effectively back for the day next Sunday with events that on the whole haven't been on the red button. Also see the BBC is putting red button coverage of the European Hockey Champs on the red button - but virtually all of it isn't on Freeview.

  • Comment number 7.

    jcb336. You are so wrong in your comments and you obviously know nothing about what has been tranpiring over the past 2 weeks. Six blogs have been closed down by the BBC - two of which had been open since September last year so if you want to comment about gibberish on censorship then I would suggest that you get to know your subject or refrain from commentary.

    Sad comment on F1 fans that we still have private obsessions in light of this week's events. Get a grip for goodness sake. We have been horrified by events but did we desist from listening to the TMS coverage of the 3rd Test from Edgbaston? No, of course we didn't, any more than I continued to fight against Sky killing a sport that I have been watching since the 1970's.

    Sad that you "hear, hear'd" the comments Roger, thought you would know better.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Sky killing a sport..." Oh for heaven's sake.

  • Comment number 9.

    @JCB336 "Roger's post is actually a serious reflection on the riots and next year's Olympics. It is a sad comment on some of the F1 fanatics "

    This wouldn't be the case if the BBC had not closed Ben Gallops blog which had 8,500 comments and counting. The BBC have closed the blog in which we can make relevant comments without answer. I'm sorry to Roger that the discussion is spilling over into other blogs, but he is the only person at the BBC who appears to respond, and we are appealing to him to get Bens blog re-opened.

    As for "Sky killing a sport". F1 relies on sponsors. BBC currently gets 3-6million viewers on a Sunday for the F1, Sky will be lucky to get 1 million.

    At least if it went to C4 it would still be available to ALL, not just those who can afford to pay Sky, and are willing to fund the Murdochs.

  • Comment number 10.

    Since everyone else seems to be going off-topic, just to add that I'm now trying out Twitter - @rogermosey - and it was good to exchange messages on Saturday at the Beach Volleyball Test Event with one of the valued posters here JordanD who also at the event.

  • Comment number 11.

    jcb336 I see your point about the riots and discussing the causes. There are many causes including greed, discontent, fear, peer pressure and a general erosion in the respect people have for people of influence and key national institutions. I originally wrote an off-the-cuff comment on the F1 blog expecting some kind of explanation from an institution - the BBC - that I held in high regard. But I have seen others' comments become increasingly angry because the BBC has apparently made a decision not to comment and news stories that I would normally expect to include an 'oh by the way' mention of this issue have ignored it completely: for example coverage of the e-petition website. As a result I have lost a lot of faith in the BBC and I have begun to understand how perhaps the more intelligent of the rioters were drawn towards a trigger point when they too had often witnessed disregard by a group that should know better. I hope you understand I am not in support of rioters and I am not saying the BBC's actions will cause me or others to loot the local Comet, set the local furniture store alight or stone police officers who are keeping the peace, but I can imagine if the BBC's attitude and lack of respect were all I had experienced in my life I would not be as calm as I normally am and I might be drawn towards militancy. May I add that Mr Roger Mosey has had the common courtesy to enter into a discussion with other contributors but his colleagues have not, this causes me to believe the BBC is not staffed exclusively by disrespectful and lazy people: my apologies to him for going so far off topic, but perhaps he could shake his colleagues a little to wake them up please?

  • Comment number 12.

    It''s amazing that the News International phone hacking is back in the news today, and the BBC are associating themselves with these criminals. When the Murdochs were in the dock last month, the BBC must have been talking through the F1 deal with them.

    Sickening that the Beeb would associate with an organisation that hacked a dead school girls phone.

  • Comment number 13.

    Well if you are so sickened with companies associating themselves with the Murdochs you'd have no interest in watching F1 anyway.

  • Comment number 14.

    Finally found the email address you can use to appeal to the BBC Trust:


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