Town mouse on Olympic obstacles

The other day, we had tea in St James’s Park. It was, alas, the last chance we’ll have to do so until September, because the cafe has now closed for the tea in St James’s Park. London is getting used to the Olympic effect. As I walked home last week, in the hope of mitigating the effects of a convivial lunch, I found that it was impossible to cross the Mall: high, wire fences now line its whole length.

Security gates are being erected. I looked in vain for a notice apologising for the inconvenience of the works, let alone one of those light-hearted hoardings with which the more considerate developers beguile the frustrations of the Londoners whom they delay. Nor had the guards redirecting my steps much training in people skills.

That’s the character of Olympics communications. Westminster City Council and Transport for London announce road closures and Tube disruption without any soft word to turn away wrath. I’m all for London 2012 being a success, but the organisers seem to be a blend of Tamburlaine the Great and Enver Hoxha. Sport may be a serious activity, to be pursued with ruthless and single-minded determination, but does it have to boss the public in quite such a charmless manner?

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