By Tony Attwood
On 6 August Untold ran quite a long article about the way the new West Ham stadium is being financed with the club paying little towards the transformation of the ground into a football stadium, and the state financing the building costs, and the day to day running of the stadium.
Then on 31 August we had another go asking anyone who considered that this was not a reasonable use of public money.
Now we’re back, because in our own small way (well, middle-ish way given the number of readers we have) we have made progress working with many other concerned groups. Of course it wasn’t just us, not at all, but we did our bit to help.
And today after all of the abuse I had to wade through from alleged WHU supporters (abuse that obviously I deleted – for as I have said before someone who writes a comment calling the author of the piece a load of names is hardly likely to get published), I think I can say we’ve done our bit to take the campaign a step forward.
Which is not surprising I suppose when the main arguments made against the campaign for an enquiry were
a) if Arsenal had been gifted a stadium we’d be quiet
b) Man C got away with it so why shouldn’t WHU?
c) if WHU didn’t have the stadium then it would be empty
d) fuck off you bunch of tossers.
So what’s the new deal? Well, the Information Commissioner has ruled the terms of the deal should be made public.
The London Legacy Development Corporation and West Ham Utd didn’t want this and one might say, if they had nothing to hide, why not? Those details we had before were fairly useless because so much text was redacted.
Boris Johnson, who was instrumental in WHU getting the deal, might be slightly concerned that his attempts to hide the truth are unravelling, although of course he won’t show it.
But of course we knew we were getting somewhere when the government launched its desperate statements about the Premier League paying for grassroots football, now that Sport England has refused to give any more money to the FA, and the local authorities are nearing bankruptcy because their budgets have been cut by 40% – by the government.
The Premier League’s first informal response to the government when asked for money for grassroots football was along the lines of, “you’ve given state aid to West Ham over the Olympics Stadium, and you want us to pay for grassroots football? Wake up to reality!” Or words to that effect.
This move demanding openness today is a major step towards getting the whole shambles into the open, once we found the government, failed to apply to the European Commission for an exemption.
So we know that West Ham will pay only £15m of the £272m required to turn the Olympic Stadium into a football ground. We know the lease price is being kept secret, although some people talk about £2m a year – which is what the stadium will take within one or two matches.
Things like the proportion of the naming rights, catering, merchandising and other revenue that WHU will get have been kept secret, for reasons that have never been explained. Commercial confidentiality was claimed but is laughable – that is a viable excuse only if the information is of use to a rival business. How could it be? How could Arsenal benefit from knowing how much WHU paid in rent?
So now the LLDC must say which costs it pays and just how little WHU pays, plus the terms of the lease. We know WHU keep all the money from ticket sales. What else do they get?
One of the more amusing defences lodged by WHU is that if they had to reveal the terms of the deal it would in their OWN WORDS have a “very real potential to damage the perception of WHUFC in relation to the stadium”. The LLDC said it would hurt the sale of naming-rights and other incomes.
In other words, if we knew the truth, we’d know we’d been done, and think less of WHU and the LLDC and the Olympics. Yes we would, but that is no defence.
Then, in an amazing move we discovered that West Ham had said it would sue for breach of confidence if confidentiality clauses were broken. An amazing move, since you can’t sue anyone for obeying the rule of law, even if your contract says otherwise. One wonders about the planet of residence of those who said that.
It was obvious that the information being held back was of no use to competitors and we and other interested groups made that point.
What makes everyone so interested is that £148.8m for the stadium came from the taxpayer – you and me (if you reside and work in the UK). It is our money and we want to know how it is being used.
Of course the LLDC can spend more taxpayers money and take up more time in appealing in the name of secrecy. Let’s hope they realise they have done enough damage and simply get on with it. If they are now sensible and decent we should start to get details in October.
As I noted last time around, the problem we have is that football clubs tend not to point the finger at each other very often, as they have to do business with each other, and a row with WHU now, could mean a failure to buy a player from there in the future.
So it is have been down to the supporters to keep the publicity alive, which is why an alliance of supporters’ trusts including the AST promoted a petition on the Government website calling for an a public inquiry into the deal for West Ham United to become tenants at the Olympic Stadium.
As I noted above, at a time of massive cuts in central and local government benefits and services, plus a long pay squeeze on public employees the question was why is central, regional and local government offering huge subsidies to the owners of West Ham United?
Our argument has always been that public money should be used responsibly, and in a way which does not distort the competitiveness of independent sports bodies and businesses.
And thus considering the cost to the taxpayer, and the effect of this taxpayer subsidy on competition between clubs, a full public inquiry into the deal is needed.
The Untold Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
- 15 September 1953: Chelsea 0 Arsenal 2. Having won the league the previous season Arsenal had to wait until this, the 9th match of the season for their first win, by which time they were bottom of the league. Both goals came from Lishman.
- 15 September 1971: Arsenal’s first European Cup game: Stromsgodset IF 1 Arsenal 3. Simpson, Marinello and Kelly scored in Norway in front of 23,000.
- Why this season is not a one-off for Arsenal, but probably a sign of things to come
- Why, when a player assaults a referee, the ultimate guilty party is the media
- Arsenal and Tottenham both built stadia, and each suffered the consequence. But…
- Being a visionary is not as easy as it looks
- Fifa appeals to Swiss courts against Court of Arbitration in Sport ruling
42 Replies to “Campaign to fight against State Aid for WHU stadium wins a victory”
All very interesting, Tony, but I still feel that Untold is hardly the right forum to air objections against the WHU proposal.
Remember your own banner above, “supporting club, players and manager”.
if you rented a house would you expect to pay toward the purchase and upkeep of said property?
You do really need to get out more. Why the “or words to that effect” comment rather the ny factual content? I think we only get the stadium for 23 days a year so £2m + extras seems quite reasonable to me when they get catering revenue etc. I think the problem is really with the lack of foresight in the stadium design and the bidding committee’s compete lack of confidence in winning the bid unless they jumped through all of the hoops going. Spuds actually had a good idea for a change and suggested rebuilding Crystal Palace for athletics and having a proper football stadium on the site with all of the infrastrture that the tax payer has also paid for.
Will you also delve into Swansea’s deal for their stadium? Or is it only west ham you are complaining about?
The Liberty stadium is still being investigated by the EU so need to write about it, WHU and LDDC have been so secretive about the deal and attempted to avoid any examination of the deal – if all is above board then the related parties have nothing to fear.
Swansea you will find are joint tennants of the stadium with the Ospreys rugby club. Both teams rent the stadium which may fall under different criteria. There is also the fact that Swansea city were second or first division when they negotiated the deal they have. I live in Swansea and have local knowledge on this one.
John, if you had a 99 year lease on the house, yes you would. That’s the point.
September 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm
Yes. The purchase is paid for in the rental. The upkeep is tenants responsibility unless the rental is high enough to cover upkeep.
I have no problems with an agreement if that includes 51% West Ham Fans. The owners (& their future generations) are enjoying a ride on taxpayers money. That does not secure anything for the Fans.
Menace & Billy the dog…. What planet are you on???
It is all landlords responsibility to maintain their property to the required standard as agreed between them and their tenants. All landlords would ensure the rental obtained will cover the cost of the mortgage plus a little profit to cover unforeseen expanses. The tenants responsibility is to keep the property to the standard they were given it….nothing else. So, in respect of the stadium, as an example if the property needs a new stand because the current one is faulty or becomes unfit for purpose then it is the owners responsibility not the tenants. Again if your rented a house/flat and the carpet became worn through wear and tear, it would the landlords responsibility to rep[lace the carpet. So transferring that to the stadium, if the pitch gets worn out, its down to the landlord to replace that.
And as West Ham will not be the only tenants of the stadium during their agreed term of lease, then obviously West Ham will only pay a proportion of rent required for a year….remember West Ham only have use of the stadium for 25 days of the year, leaving 300 plus days for other events to take place.
The whole joke of all this is that West Ham had agreed to BUY the stadium, albeit at a loss to the taxpayer, but with much work required West Ham would have had to pay all this extra funding to turn it into a football stadium…but you can thank Barry Hearn & Spurs for wrecking that and turning this whole situation as farce.
And so to you Tony Attwood….
As a supporter of a club who find it hard to spend any money I would have thought the frugal nature of West Hams deal would appeal to you. BTW that’s was written in fun before you think its nasty. However as has written before, most people who have put their name to this campaign are truly hypocrites. Mo doubt you will tell me you haven’t fiddled your fares, and all the other things that save us as individuals a few bob. I bet you’ve never bought anything under the counter etc, that you have always done EVERYTHING totally upfront. If so you are someone special because most people in this country have fiddled or cheated to save money, or lied about their income (however little)for tax savings or claimed benefits when they shouldn’t etc…. and that too has a knock on effect on the taxpayer.
The whole of the Premier League, Arsenal included, have cheated the taxpayer regarding police payments…. forget what it costs to police inside the ground, how about clubs paying their way for all the policing needed outside the grounds which has a social effect on the area. Never seen you write a single word on that.
So not a nasty dig at you at all…just realise that the words glass houses and stones apply to you…No doubt you will bar this post because id shows this site in a poor light.
Tony’s point has been about two things 1) State Aid to private businesses is an inappropriate use of taxpayer’s money especially where other businesses can be damaged and 2)the secrecy involved in 1)is also inappropriate in an open and democratic society. You can argue about the clubs not paying their fair share of policing costs but by and large that is in the open and can be discussed and changed. Tony has been extremely consistent in saying that Arsenal has flaws (see living wage discussion) but his main point today is that there can be no conceivable reason to keep any of this secret…if it is above board. Bring the contract into the open let us discuss it. All your talk about fiddling tax receipts is a red herring.
Does Swansea City AND the Ospreys share the same playing surface? Surely not. 😉
Steve, i echo GGG’s comments, its about openess and miss-use of public funds. Arguing from the perspective of ‘let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ is a fairly trite argument. If I (and I wouldn’t) burgle your home can I justify it on the basis that you once (and I’m sure you haven’t) shoplifted from Tesco’s? No
Me thinks some people are confusing private rental and commercial rental completely different ( no landlord would ever replace a worn out carpet they would tell the tenants to gfts ) if the public knew the details of the contract it can be discussed at the moment it’s all speculation I personally have no problem with WHUFC renting the ground as long as they are only doing that and not making money out of it (naming rights catering etc)
I would like to answer a point raised in this article ‘Commercial confidentiality was claimed but is laughable – that is a viable excuse only if the information is of use to a rival business. How could it be? How could Arsenal benefit from knowing how much WHU paid in rent?’ Commercial confidentiality is not laughable. The stadium ‘owners’ are looking for other organisations to use the stadium when West ham are not using it. The ‘owners’ want to get the most they can rather than being told ‘West Ham are paying x amount so we will only pay y amount. Business doesn’t work like that.
Transparency will be good for all. So lets see what the outcome is when all is made public.
That said, as an Arsenal fan, and originally hailing from the Eastern reaches of London, I have a soft spot for West Ham and purely from a footballing perspective I’m pleased for them and their supporters. I concede I may be in a minority.
Like Gooner S, I’m from an area closer to them than to us (if you see what I mean) and my brother is an ‘ammers boy, many (many) years back I was at school with a few guys that had trials for them and one joined them (not for long), so I do have a soft spot for them (no ‘on hackney marshes’ or ‘beckton waterworks’ jokes). But without knowing the terms of the deal we don’t know if it’s fair. My guess is that the 2.5m per annum is about 7m too cheap but it’s a guess. If they suddenly become V successful and fill the stadium every game, play in the CL etc, does the price change? It’s a deal involving public money, the details of the deal should ‘in the main’ be in the public domain.
This article and some of the succeeding comments are ridiculous and clearly made by people whom have no business acumen whatsoever:
1) “How could Arsenal benefit from knowing how much WHU paid in rent?” – Your naivety and self-indulgent nature is hilarious. Why would you assume that the commercial confidentiality has anything to do with Arsenal or any other football club for that matter? West Ham have had to set up a completely new business model seeing as they will not get the income that they would from owning a stadium outright. As has been stated on numerous occasions West Ham are renting the stadium for match days. Do you really think it is unfair for a Premier League club to look to gain revenue from those few match days in order to sustain the clubs operations/the future of the club seeing as the club will basically have no assets to their name?
2) “if all is above board then the related parties have nothing to fear” – Everything is above board, I’m sure those related are shaking in their boots at the protests of such intelligence brought forward, whether the deal is to the approval of Arsenal or other clubs, there is an agreed contract in place that went through all the necessary bodies and protocols, unfortunately some (especially those “big clubs”) don’t like to see “smaller clubs” get on in the world.
3) “Our argument has always been that public money should be used responsibly” – Your argument is therefore ludicrous. If I had my way I would rewind back a few years, West Ham would never have got involved and developed their current location. The commercial deals which have been obtained for both West Ham and the public would never have happened without the assistance of Brady & Co, (not that I’m particularly partial to any of them but they are undoubtedly efficient in what you do not understand about the business world) and you would be looking at a stadium which has a couple of Taylor Swift concerts a year. No doubt the very small minded beings would then be the first to say “hang on a minute, how are we ever going to recoup MY money spent on this white elephant?”
All the best x
If you think the taxpayer is getting a raw deal over this wait until HSR 2 is built
Perhaps someone can explain what David Dein meant when he said Arsenal’s new stadium will not be fit for purpose in a few years time and why ” the cantankerous one” in SW London always says WE when they win but at the moment it’s THEY because they are not and it’s not his fault it’s everyone else’s fault but not his .its just a dream but wouldn’t it be nice to really turn them over with at least a dodgy penalty an offside goal and they have Hazard and Costa sent of in dubious circumstances then Maureen goes bezerk punches a TV reporter and then the Russian sacks him!!! Might have a 50 bet on that!
andy bishop, you’ll probably be proved correct but you can only question government driven events around the time it’s happening rather than so far ahead of time as it’s always “subject to continuous review” so they don’t have to answer any questions….
Chris there are some interesting points you make, but you make them full of assertions about the writer – who you don’t know. Why do you do that? How do you know I have no business acumen? I could bore everyone stupid with the details of the four company directorships I hold, but then why should I defend myself about a person who believes he can read my mind – but then gets it so wrong?
Tony – do you mean like the very assumption you are making about the deal West Ham have done with the LLDC that you believe the public is getting a raw deal from?
Numerous approaches have been made to the higher authorities prior to now about how this deal has been procured to which no fault has been found, hence why in their disappointment just a few are still kicking and stomping their feet in hope that there may be some wrong doing to find.
I believe when the envious few finally get their wish, the figures will come out to show that this was still the best option for all parties involved (other than selling the stadium, which nobody would allow/want to do). How would you feel about WHUFC turning around now and saying “do you know what, we don’t want to be involved, just pass us back over the £15m we’ve invested and good luck getting in a guaranteed yearly income along with all the other streams of revenue that come with being associated with an EPL club”?
Chris….this is a website that provides articles from an Arsenal point of view….of course it is self-indulgent and subjective the clue is on the Home Page….The “Big Clubs” supporters trusts that have voiced their views include: Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leyton Orient, QPR, Spuds, the “Smaller Club” line or more aptly Poor Little ol’West Ham line is truly self indulgent/delusional.
Good luck to West Ham and the new business model in the new stadium, it is good thing that the stadium will be used productively, that decision can not be undone.
It is not unreasonable for details of the wider commercial arrangement to be in the public domain and scrutinized accordingly, particularly line items that are the typical cost of doing business for a football club e.g. match day security,under soil heating, corner flags etc…
It may well be that this deal is all above aboard, the lack of clarity from LDDC and WHU has only fueled suspicion that there might be more to this than is in the public domain.
Sorry if this has been addressed properly by others but I’ve skipped a lot of comments out of sheer frustration.
Can I just clarify that I haves dealt with residential leases, commercial leases and a variety of property lettings, tenancies (regulated, assured and assured shorthold) and licences to occupy (excluded or otherwise) over a career spanning over 40 years and counting.
I have yet to come across a commercial lease or indeed any residential ‘leasehold’ property where the “tenant” (for want of a more technical term) does not bear the cost of repairs and indeed, servicing of equipment, decorating, replacement of carpets, buildings insurance etc., etc., etc. Leases are, in practice, very different from residential tenancies (although even they will impose certain upkeep conditions upon the tenant).
I don’t pretend for one moment to know the conditions surrounding the West Ham situation but when someone comes on and makes a bland statement like “if you rented a house would you expect to pay toward the purchase and upkeep of said property” as if it means something, it reminds me greatly of people who also think they know which forward AW should have bought in the transfer window!!
Oh and btw, not only does a tenant/lessee pay for upkeep, the rent may (as in the case of virtually all housing association tenancies)include a ‘claimable’ element under Housing Benefit regulations for repayment of mortgage costs………I knew that one day I’d be able to provide an informed opinion on something on UA 🙂
At the end of the day, I think the point of the article is that whilst everything is secret, nobody knows whether it’s appropriate or not. It may turn out to be fine but it is difficult to wonder why it’s secret.
Me thinks Chris is a bit upset and thinks only he can run a business just so he knows I run my own business but never really take comments to heart and for the record started my business with no government money or loans. As a tax payer ( who will try to pay as little as possible without breaking the law lol) I would like to make sure the contract is in the best interests of the public.
Syd – you’ve just hit the nail on the head; “try to pay as little as possible without breaking the law,” you will find when everything comes out this will be exactly just what WHUFC have also done. Cheers
@andy mack..absolutely….I understand 100 million of taxpayers money has already been spent on consultations, reviews, legal process on HSR2..its happening now..the waste I mean…who will eventually benefit from operation licences, leases etc and to what financial extent remains to be seen. What West Ham seem to have benefited will be peanuts in comparison. Bit off topic I know but having followed the demise of one or two entertainment venues within London against massive public opinion the whole process becomes hidden and distasteful…sorry I mean “commercially sensitive”.
Goonermikey…I am surprised at your comments if your business has been in residential businesses and commercial rents.
I live in a rented apartment, unfurnished and I CAN ASSURE YOU that in my contract it states all the upkeep for the apartmenmet is done by the landlord. I cannot even paint anywhere unless I ensure they are returned to the state that they were when I first arrived. If the boiler goes bang, the landlord fixes it, not me….if the windows smash (not done by me ) the landlord fixes it….If the light fixing drops to the floor, the landlord fixes it. Now, I also happen to have an rented office in London and its the same thing. Everything must be put on the walls by the landlord, pictures, paint everything. They repair the carpets, change the chairs or desks if damaged, supply cupboards etc.
The Olympic Stadium is owned by the council and if things are not up to the standard as they were when first rented and that if wasn’t wilful damage by the tenant I can assure you it will be the landlord who pays.
Chris I was one of the people who opposed the Blair government’s decision to bid for the Olympics and the World Cup. I am also a person who utterly favours openness in all walks of employment and business life. Many of the things I have read and seen over the stadium case suggest to me something is not right.
Further I do not believe two wrongs make a right; so if public money is being used to help WHU use the stadium, I think this is as wrong as the initial decision to build the thing without any idea of how it was to be used afterwards.
Likewise when the government announced that the legacy of the Olympics was to be an increase in sport I wrote in one of the publications my company runs that I felt that on their programme that outcome would be very unlikely. So it has proven to be.
So having the stadium standing empty because no club can be found to pay the full market rate for the place is for me a better option than having a tenant who pays only part of the money that would be the normal market rate because it would be a monument to the folly of politicians seeking publicity through these big events and might mean that we would never again as a nation be trapped into such folly.
It seems to me that all who have asked for this are really quite worried because you know full well west ham will sell this ground out week in and week out and become a bigger club than you your sad clubs and it all stinks of sour grapes to me
Tony, Having just read your last email, I am at a loss as to why you oppose something which most living people have never had the chance to see. The last Olympics were in 1948…we get them again 64 years later and they were firstly a huge spectacle and a massive feelgood factor for the country on the back of almost financial meltdown. Ask the people who were at the stadium on THAT Saturday when UK won 3 gold medals and see if they felt it was all a waste of money. Why would you oppose it? The World Cup in England would be amazing tho I was 9 when the last one was here. But again what an amazing spectacle it would be. Yes it costs money to put on, build etc, but like most of these major events, they normally make money. And they draw in people from around the world bringing money into the country which otherwise would not have been. Id call that a win win situation.
The truth is that the politicians have let us down for a least a generation with lack of foresight regarding world sporting events. And the OS is just the latest. The Labour Government at the time, Livingstone, Coe…these are the people you should be aiming your anger and worries at rather than at the possibility of another team about to challenge what most Arsenal fans perceive to be a guaranteed top dog status.
Anyone with any business acumen can see that over a short period of time (15-20 years) the stadium will have recouped all the outlay leaving nothing but profit for the rest of its days. Those profits coming from the multitude of events already lined up and yet to be announced. Why would you want a white elephant in the middle of the east end. Do the taxpayers who live there deserve that? Whatever deal West Ham have got can only be a good thing for the area, the residents and the revenue of not just the east end but London as a whole. Without a top sports club occupying it, its pulling power would diminish quicker than Arsenals Champions league challenge.
MAYBE A BETTER QUESTION TO ASK IS WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PROFITS FROM THE OLYMPICS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OFFSET AGAINST THE BUILDING OF THE OS IN THE FIRST PLACE???? THERES A THOUGHT
Maybe if WHU/LDDC had been open in the first place we would not be having this debate now. there’s a thought!
Sadly Tony you, like most of your compatriots think you are good at mind reading, but actually you aren’t.
Steve – I was there at the Olympic Stadium on the Saturday. I was also in Moscow for Ovett, Coe & Thompson winning their golds & in Athens to see dame Kelly winning her golds. I still think there is massive corruption in the game process & the money doesn’t get to where it should.
You seem to think that lease holders should not pay for anything other than the privilege of using the facility & pocket all the profits of usage. Gold & Sullivan will rob you of everything that West Ham deserves. Lets see what is being hidden between Boris & the bog.
Menance… I agree that there is massive corruption in world sport these day….. FIFA just an example.
However, what West Ham have done is not about corruption is it. All they have done is sort out the best deal possible for the club. Its up to the Government, council to set what they want and for the interested parties to agree to it. And if the Government/councils bargaining position is weak on this occassion, then again I, as I mailed earlier, its to the likes of the government of the day, Livingstone & Coe that questions need to be asked.
I certainly don’t think that lease holders should not pay for anything. And frankly at £100,000 per match, I don’t think that’s cheap. But consider this. If you were looking for somewhere to hold an event, what would you expect for your money. If you rent a local council football pitch, do you expect to take your own goalposts? Or grass? No of course you don’t. You’d expect everything to be in place to be able to perform the event for which you’ve hired it.
And it is commonly known that West Ham have given up 80% odd of all catering revenue, any monies to naming rights (both of which go back to the public purse)which in reality leaves tickets, programmes, merchandising & sponsorship of the team. Those things correctly go to the club for the event they are staging. Nobody stages an event anywhere to not make their money back or a profit. Even the boy scouts know that.
And its also been publicly stated that IF GOLD & SULLIVAN ever want to sell up, they will hand any profit made from the sale directly back to the taxpayer.
As to the lack of openness, when you are using a muli purpose stadium then of course details of one of the tenants contracts is going to weaken any future deals the stadium owners may try to make. I say again, the fact it is being used by a top club in the Premier League will only help draw possible future events into the stadium thereby creating sustainable jobs, a wealthier more attractive area and, which is everyone’s seemingly main bone of contention, money paid back into the taxpayers purse.
This whole witchhunt I’m sorry to say just smells of petty mindedness begun by Spurs and Hearn followed quickly by a probable realism that by virtue of this move West Ham will become a more powerful club…and that’s the main worry behind all of this. And as for the guy at Charlton Supporters Trust, the way he has acted and spoken is frankly appalling.
PS…. I didn’t know Arsenals Champions League challenge would diminish quite that quick!!!
Tony A – I know you do not like having your mind read, but would it be wrong to assume you are a Tory? It would seem the idea of others benefiting from such a successful Olympics does not appeal to you as a bit of an ‘I’m alright Jack” status, with all these businesses you run.
Surely you see some fault in your logic about rather keeping the stadium empty and thus the area not thriving? I would love to have a browse of your business accounts if you think that option versus getting money back in to the taxpayers pocket over a period time makes good financial sense.
There is a lot more wrong with this country at the moment than what is happening here, I as a taxpayer for once do not mind there finally being something that (whilst certainly is not the deal of the century by our Government) benefits my selfish needs as well as all those in and around Stratford who will prosper from it, and had this involved your club or any of the others whinging on about it I’m sure you would be able to see past the mistakes which had already been made and cannot be undone.
With regards things more importantly wrong with this country, would you please ask the same 25k people to sign up to a petition to find out what the Government is doing about public sector fraud which is a circa £20bn a year problem and benefits fraud which is a circa £2bn a year problem? These are things that concern me much more about what my hard earned money is contributing to than this little drop in the ocean.
Chris I will reply to this but this must be the end of the discussion because it is not now related to what the post was about. No I am not a Conservative and have never voted Conservative in my life, nor for any party to the right of them, and I always vote. I feel that the waste of public funds on building stadia for the Olympics and World Cup and which are then left empty (Brazil, South Africa, Greece….) is a world-wide disgrace in a time of international housing crises, and that all attempts at reasoned argument has failed to stop this practice. Every effort has been made to stop it, but without success, (and this was the site that highlighted the change in Swiss law six months before the Swiss allowed the Americans to arrest Fifa execs) so trying just to reduce the loss a bit and then allowing the state in England to boast that it did not follow the South African model, would be unreasonable. The argument that there are bigger issues to fight over is always a red herring to my mind, and it is exactly the argument that has been made here each time the stadium issue has been raised. One fights the issues one feels impassioned about and leaves others to do the same. I would suggest, if you are concerned, you do as I have done, and set up a web site to campaign for what you are concerned about. It has taken Untold 7 years to reach its current position of 1 million page views a month, so it can be done, but it has always openly been done because it is a campaigning web site. I think that is why so many people like to read it. If you feel strongly, launch your campaign, and devote hours a day to what you believe and I am sure you will motivate other people to follow your line of thinking.
Why have you closed this thread…too much commonsense being put?
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