Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online
Today's link is from this morning's Times - stating the obvious if the rather overlooked as Live8 frenzy starts the final build up to next weekend's orgasm. I may be a cynic, but it's catching!
The police have requested 55,000 extra tickets be issued. This is so they can seal off Hyde Park completely with nobody let in to enjoy unoccupied areas. The PR machine thus annouces the event will have the biggest festival attendence ever. This is pure bullshit! We had 250,000 people attend a Rolling Stones gig at Knebworth in the 70s and the Royal Air Force took the ariel photo-count to prove it. The licence was only for 160,000 - but it is no small matter to turn away 90,000 extra visitors and better to turn a blind eye. Ring-fencing tactics are always the better option for policing - yet also for population welfare.
Freddie Bannister, the promoter of the Kebworth event, was one of the few promoters I've ever known who actually paid out large sums of money to "employ" the police as part of the operation - thus sparing the average tax-payer the expense of subsidising a commercial venture. The result was always a level of unprecendented co-operation by the authorities and a harmonious time all round. Every Londoner will be subsidising the Hype Park concert with money that will financing police administration and pay rather than world poverty. Your average copper will not be "donating" his or her services!
I wonder if his bobliness has actually considered these incidental overheads. His planned march in the aftermath of the concerts will no doubt cost even more to manage than the principal events - not to mention the additional security blanket around southern Scotland. It is an expensive business and, believe me, the monies involved would feed far more of the planet's impoverished than the comparitively petty "official" (and conditional) contributions from the G8 governments themselves.
The absence of a blog yesterday can be attributed to the immense amount of catching up I had to do after a weekend immersed in surround sound and multi-stage Glastonbury choices courtesy of digital BBC. I wonder if I caught more of the performances simply by virtue of not having to walk from one area to another in all that mud. Overall it was disappointing compared with other years. Too much "attitude-for-the-sake-of-it" rather than any real convictions. The exception were possibly Primal Scream who appeared to pay the price by being rather uncremoniously pulled off stage by the organisers. A far cry from the hippie dreams and punk expression that once pervaded.
Exactly what Hype Park and Glastonbury have in common I'm unsure - but it sure ain't rock 'n' roll!
PS: A closing note. Last night's news was dominated by Blair's ID card plans and new revelations about the cost. Yet there was no mention at all of my little item in Saturday's blog - that the proposed contractors for implementing the job are the same company (Amerikan) that completely screwed-up the tax credits scheme that caused a furore earlier last week. I guess our media researchers were at festival too.