Early this morning two figures in chemical protection suits, tanks on their backs, spray lances in hand, were giving the white horse its final grooming before the Olympics.
Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries ever considered on the Dorset coast is about to be solved – will anyone turn up?
Of course there will be the sailors themselves, support staff, family and friends but will anyone else bother? The organising committee has hijacked Weymouth council tax payers’ property to charge extortionate prices to those who want to watch the least entertaining spectator sport ever devised. Far more interesting and possibly better attended wil be the arrival of the Olympic torch, two weeks in advance of the actual games.
While the question of how many will come remains to be resolved, what is certain is that the Olympics are a disaster for Weymouth. Two years of traffic chaos, gross mismanagement by both Dorset County Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have achieved what exactly? Businesses throughout the town have been destroyed. Parking facilities have been virtually eliminated or consigned to out of town wastelands which drivers refuse to use. Unless you are a banker or a corrupt local government employee then you have no chance of affording town centre prices but why would you want to go there anyway?
Weymouth’s attractions as a seaside holiday resort have been destroyed – all for the ego trips and self-aggrandisement of local politicians. That is the only reason that this Olympic delusion has been pursued. Watch out for Richard Drax, local MP. Never seen him before? Believe me, he’ll be everywhere once the TV cameras arrive, gladhanding and ingratiating himself wherever he can gain kudos, always with that seat in the Lords in mind. How much longer will our very own aristocrat of ancient origin have to put up with the tedious public service of the Commons?
The other notable achievement has been the elimination of the progressive, intelligent form of traffic control known as the roundabout and its replacement with dysfunctional, expensive, so-called “intelligent” traffic lights. The only thing that is certain is that traffic lights are far more intelligent than the planners and policticians that decided on them. The pinnacle of their achievement has been the creation of the deathtrap road junction between Asda, the fire station and the marina. Truly this is an achievement of note. Originally conceived by a psychopathic, violence-addicted, computer game designer for “Death Race 2012 – the Olympic edition”, a mix up in the local highways computer department printed out the wrong plans. The mistake was noticed but it was decided to let it go as the inevitable reconstruction work will mean more jobs for the boys very soon.
Before I drown in a Weymouth bay full of cynicism, fair dues,great creditmust go to the National Sailing Academy and its management which has achieved a remarkable coup in bringing this event to the town. It is the only institution that emerges from this episode with its integrity intact and deserving of congratulations. I hope for its sake and the competitors that we do not see the frequent July /August occurrence here of dense fog and no wind. That would be most unfortunate.
Whatever happens, in this summer of the worst weather in living memory, the true beauty of Dorset remains. Out on the water, along the Jurassic coast or in the hills behind and particularly in our most precious valley, we are gold medal winners every day.
Soon it will all be over but the valley never will be. There is inspiration, blood, sweat and tears, triumph and disaster here every day. Here it really isn’t the winning but the taking part that matters. Paradise Valley is its own winners podium and the national anthem plays every morning in the hearts of those who start and finish here.