Perspective: False start for London 2012 Olympics over security staff fiasco

SO it is Ready, Get Set....well not quite all systems Go for the London Olympics 2012.

We do like to have a bit of drama to enliven things and that’s certainly what we are getting as the clock ticks down to the greatest sporting event on Earth.

It was all of seven years ago when our capital city was chosen to host the Games, seven long years to get everything ready in time, from new stadia to having all the public loos at venues fully stocked with toilet rolls.

OK, most of it has been done but I noticed on Monday – 11 days before the start of the Games - that they were still putting some finishing touches to the Olympic Park.

We had the drama of a crack suddenly appearing on the M4, threatening to put the major highway linking Heathrow Airport and London out of commission. Engineers were able to find a big enough box of Meccano to patch it up in time for the first rush of athletes to land at Heathrow on Monday. Thankfully, there were enough staff on duty to see them through immigration without delay. Let’s see if it carries on like that.

What is really shocking, of course, is the fiasco over the employment and training of security staff to man the Olympic venues. Private company G4S, which has the multi-million pound contract to mastermind the operation, failed miserably. What amazed me, and no doubt many of my fellow Brits, is that public knowledge of this major failure to get enough people in post in time did not emerge until less than a fortnight before the Games start.

The rest of the world may well be sniggering that the government has had to call in thousands of troops and police officers from several forces including Hertfordshire to make up the numbers.

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Let’s hope the performances of the host athletes wipe the smiles off their faces.

I realised this week that I have long been living ahead of my time. This happened with the publication of the latest Census figures.

For some reason I had it in my mind from the time of the previous Census details being released 10 years ago that the population of England and Wales was 56 million. So in recent times I did some extrapolation of the figure and told anyone who asked me that there were about 60 million people living here.

Now I discover that there are in fact 56.1 million. I think I will continue to use the 60 million figure which should be about right in 10 years time. Don’t forget, you read it here first.

Call me old fashioned but I mostly use my mobile phone to make calls. This makes me different from many others.

A new survey reveals that this is only the fifth most used function of such devices. More popular are browsing the internet, checking tweets, playing computer games and listening to music. Surprisingly, texting is only the seventh most used function. At least that’s one good result for those who like to talk.