The Real Austerity Games


To the leadership of the Public and Commercial Services Union, and their leader, Mark Serwotka:

They called the 1948 Olympics the “Austerity Games”.

Britain in 1948 and during the preceding war was the closest that this country has come to real austerity in living memory. Milk, meat, butter, sugar, tea, and sweets were still rationed – as, I believe, were bread and clothing. Many British cities still bore very visible scars from bombing during the Second World War. Thirty years later, some of those scars would still be there.

We couldn’t afford to build a single new sporting venue, or an Olympic Village to house the visiting athletes – they had to avail themselves of pre-existing accommodation.

We were such a weary and depleted nation at the time, that we seriously considered giving the Games to our friends and allies, the United States, to host.

THAT was austerity.

And yet we pulled together as a nation, and opened our doors to the world for the 1948 games of the XIVth Olympiad.

Based on a membership turnout of 20%, you decided to threaten and then lead a strike of UK Border Force customs and immigration officials in an attempt to blackmail better pay and conditions out of the British government, and to further your anti-privatisation, ideological agenda. Creating havoc at UK airports and other points of entry in the immediate run-up to our country playing host to the Olympic Games for the third time.

Go to hell.