Britain as a whole, meanwhile, is ambivalent about the Games, in contrast to the joyful eruptions in 2005, when London learned it would make history by hosting its third Olympics. Now, only 44 percent say the country should have offered to host them; and in an age of austerity, the potential price tag to the public of $17 billion – nearly triple the bid estimate – does not sit well. The muchness of it all leaves some asking if the Olympics have gotten too big, and too tied to the ambitions of big business and big government.
Security preparations are a major part of the overruns and the concerns.
London 2012 will trigger the largest peacetime mobilization of British security forces in modern times, involving 50,000 troops, police, and private contractors. The number of soldiers exceeds Britain's deployment in Afghanistan.
An aircraft carrier will be parked in the Thames, and Typhoon fighter jets will be deployed in west London. On top of citywide cameras, police have access to unarmed drones for surveillance. Security screeners will confiscate liquids from spectators before they enter venues, and officials are warning of significant lines.
The Home Office insists, however, that the effort will be in keeping with a British tradition of understated security despite resonances with the US-led global war on terror.