The Olympics ought to be the greatest sporting show on earth. And, in part, it will be, but the way that corporate interests are being catered for leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Some would say the same about “Fries”, those fried pieces of mash and flour served in fast food joints that have the cheek to call themselves restaurants. It takes a clown to come up with that one! But what if we don’t want “fries” but proper chips? You know, thick cut from real potatoes? And what’s the connection with the Olympics?
Workers have had their chips!
Wednesday’s Guardian ran an article about how workers preparing for the Olympics were not allowed to eat chips unless served with fish. Instead they had to eat … McDonalds Fries. You see, McDonalds have signed a deal with the Olympic committee giving them the exclusive rights to selling fried potato products in AND AROUND the Olympic complex and all Olympic sites. The only exception to this is yer traditional British Fish and Chips. So a number of small dealers were allowed to sell Fish and Chips, but not chips on their own. The workers on the site wanted proper chips, thick cut from real potatoes, but despite the claims that Capitalism means freedom and choice, they couldn’t.
This led to the suppliers of Fish and Chips having to put up notices that they would withdraw altogether if their staff kept getting threatened for refusing to serve chips on their own. Eventually McDonalds conceded the right for these people to sell chips without fish, but you can see how these corporations can pay to squash all competition, and remove choice from us. Governments keep going on about how the free market gives us choice, but this incident in a nutshell exposes what’s really going on.
But the good side of all this is that McDonalds, and other big firms who have signed exclusive contracts with the Olympic management will pay tax on the huge profits they will undoubtedly make, which will benefit the British public, right? Wrong!! They will pay no tax at all. You see, the Olympic village, stadium etc., has been set up as a tax-free zone, and foreign companies and workers will not pay UK tax on their earnings. But of course, isn’t McDonalds based in the UK? Well, yes it is. And no it isn’t. McDonalds has subsidiaries all over the world, including in tax havens, and it won’t be McDonalds UK that runs the concession, it will be McDonalds Tax-haven-land.
Multiply this by all the corporate sponsors of the Olympics, who have paid sums of money to ensure that they have no competition, and a licence to print money, and you can see that of all the money made at the Olympics, precious little of it will find its way to the ordinary people, either of the local area or the UK. And foreign workers will pay no tax either on earnings made in the area. I can see a lot of big bucks being siphoned through the Olympics.
Chaos for us, Bonanza for them
People in the East End, who have to get to work throughout this, and live in the middle of a virtual police state, will be inconvenienced badly. Meanwhile, Acer, Adidas, Atos, BMW, BP, BT, Coca-Cola, Dow, EDF, General Electric, Lloyds, McDonalds, Omega/Switch, Panasonic/Sanyo, Procter and Gamble, Samsung, and Visa will have monopolies on certain areas of the games, and will not be liable for tax. (British Airways are also sponsoring the games but do not have subsidiaries in any tax havens, the only firm that doesn’t.) We put up with the inconvenience, and disgusting “fries”. They walk off with the cash.