Dancing nurses, shambolic public transport and disgruntled taxpayers…welcome to the ‘Isles of Wonder’

Janice Atkinson for The Daily Mail
29th January 2012

The BBC news proudly announced that the cost of the ceremonies for the Olympic Games has recently doubled to £27 million, one third of the £81 million budget. Fab.  And guess what it includes?

Courtesy of the tube drivers no late night travel home from the opening ceremony, dancing nurses and having a good laugh.

Despite the BBC’s endorsement of London taxpayers’ having to foot the bill without raising a single question on the justification of the cost, I don’t think many Londoners are laughing but they will certainly be making “noises” about it.

Danny Boyle, the producer of the opening ceremony, doesn’t want to give too much away at this time other than saying that he wanted the games to reflect our ‘Isles of Wonder’ and the NHS, prominently featuring nurses.  Can anyone tell me what nurses have got to do with a singing/dancing/musical extravaganza?  What’s the betting that David Cameron pops up in the middle of the dancing nurses, sleeves rolled up and tie tucked into his shirt to guard against spreading germs?

Then we have the tube drivers holding us to ransom with their Olympian demands. Every worker on the Docklands Light Railway can expect an extra £2,500 Olympic bonus. Indeed, DLR staff will get an extra £100 a week just for clocking on – for nine weeks. So is it too much to ask that they could work an extra shift to get people home after the show?

No, the ceremony, which begins at 9pm on July 27 (with the pre-show starting at 20.12), is expected to last well over three hours, but will need to end by 12.30am to allow spectators to get public transport home.  What happens to those who have to spend a penny before leaving the stadium, do they get left behind at the bewitching hour?

As much as I am sure the 375,000 NHS nurses will share Mr Boyle’s sense of fun and national pride, I am sure they would prefer to share the £27 million between them which equates to about £72 each. They could have a night out and a taxi home as they wouldn’t be missing the last train as the tube drivers refuse to work late.  Or they could spend it on Olympic mascots, boosting British industry. Oh, but they were made in China by slave labour.  Is the doubling of the ceremonial budget to cover the cost of the nurses taking part in the show or is it to cover the cost of Nigerian agency nurses who will be covering their shifts?

Either way Mr Boyle thinks £27 million is a good use of our money, let’s hope that we get an invitation to his New Year’s eve party.

Boyle said: “We are trying to capture a sense of humour. With the NHS we got an idea and then tried to make sense of it. Why not nurses and children and connect the two together? I daren’t say anymore because I’ve been told not to.”

I bet he doesn’t want to say anymore, until the money is spent and London taxpayers have picked up the bill.  The only ones who are laughing so far are the DLR and tube drivers and Danny Boyle.

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