Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Storm in an Olympic Teacup?

Never let it be said that even the most obscure British politician is incapable of seriously raising my blood pressure. Step forward Derek Wyatt. Via the Devil, who got it from Bookdrunk who ... (Ed's note: sodding incestuous, isn't it, bloggerdom.)

Shock and horror (1) - commercial organisations sponsor major sporting events for commercial reasons.

Shock and horror (2) - the International Olympic Committee is not entirely free from financial dodginess (or out-right scandal).

Not-really-shock but certainly-horror (3) - Nu-Labour MP utterly clueless.

Well, let me have a little think about this ...

Security for major events is a rather expensive business. As Vicola points out, this often involves paying people relatively small sums of money to wait about endlessly just in case something happens. Frequently and thankfully, nothing does.

Identity verification, a small part of the overall security equation is, in this and many other contexts, about the ability to bypass certain security checks. Let us consider this in the Olympic context - you have officials, competitors, staff and spectators. What sort of identity checking and verification is necessary (or, in the absence of necessity, is actually likely to occur)?

Now, if you are Jacques Rogge, no identity check is going to be necessary. The sheer mass of fawning arse-lickers that will surround you as you are whisked from 5-star hotel to special hospitality box will mean that any mere security person will be shoved so far out of your road that they will be getting a train back from Preston.

As for a competitor - well, I am sure a letter from the Ruritainian Olympic Committee attesting to your prowess in your chosen sport (or, for one of the great Olympians - I am serious, here: the taking part is vital, the fortunes won by the professional sports stars much less so - of the modern era, Equatorial Guinea) will get you your Visa-provided ID card, access to the Olympic village, and a somewhat shorter queue to get into the relevant stadium. You may even get a seat on an LRT mode of conveyance, but I doubt it.

Staff (mere, including security, rather than the exalted officials of the IOC, national Olympic Committees, or sport governing bodies) will probably need to present very little core identification before being issued their Olympic ID Card. Probably proof of eligibility to work in the UK (although where in your typical HR trainee's education fraudulent passport and birth certificate recognition is and what does a Luxembourg national ID card actually look like?) - but does this apply to unpaid volunteers? So you get your Olympic card. What does that prove? Not much, I wouldn't think.

As for the mob who will have shelled out some quite significant moolah for the privilege of attending and will then have had to drag themselves through the fetid swamp that is cross-London travel in the summer ... Nope, don't think this applies. At best, they would be confirming the validity of your ticket (and possibly that you have the same name as on the ticket - although this may be rather difficult given the widely international nature of the event.) No actually identity checks or subsequent verification (e.g. I, who am not, book the ticket as Derek Wyatt, and turn up with fake ID claiming I am a person of that name) takes place.


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