back to article London Olympics site to become digital mega-hub

Flamboyant London mayor Boris Johnson has formally inked a deal which will see the enormous press centre built for the 2012 Olympics turned into a "colossal super hangar" crammed with thousands of "digital and creative" workers who won't have needed to be "brilliant at school". The London Legacy Development Corporation and …


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  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Pardon my cynicism but...

    How does providing a large office space with lots of power points and ethernet sockets actually "create 6500 jobs"?

    Surely the jobs will be created (if they are) by businesses who use the space which otherwise would not have been established due to their inability to find office space with working power points. And I'm sure it's impossible to find office space anywhere in the UK these days...

    1. Buzzword

      Re: Pardon my cynicism but...

      Indeed. The recently-opened Shard provides 575,000 sq ft of office space in zone 1; this "technodome" will provide just 300,000 sq ft in zone 3.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Pardon my cynicism but...

      Because each "digital social creative media cloud government relations consultant" requires a barrista, a personal assistant, a life coach, a yoga instructor, a nanny .....

      So you only need a few government website concepts to be concepted about - to easily create 6500 new jobs

    3. LarsG

      Re: Pardon my cynicism but...

      This is another case of throwing money at so called IT because it is the only and most important industry in the world.........

      This shows up all that is wrong with Government understanding of IT, where they see the panacea for all ills is another technology park and that higher speed Internet will transform our economy and lives.

      Great, so we can download a job application or porn film in a couple of seconds, that will make so much difference.

      They want to invest in manufacturing a bit more... Lets start making things again.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pardon my cynicism but...

      You need that many power sockets to create one Boris-load of hot air.

  2. Mike Brown


    ive never understood why people voted for him. He just seems like such a oafish buffoon. Maybe he gets the oafish buffoon vote? Who knows

    1. gribbler

      Re: boris

      He makes me laugh. That's more than any other politician ever did for me...

      1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

        Re: boris

        You have never laughed at a politician before? You need to get out more lad......

    2. Waspy

      Re: boris

      " 'cause he is that funny guy wot is off the telly" seems to be a worryingly real reason I've heard from others.

      To be fair to him he has done more good for London than I thought he would and he does have a certain charm about him in an everyman Clinton/Kennedy/Blair teflon kind of way...but aside from the fact that he stands against everything I admire politically, I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him.

    3. Cliff

      Re: boris

      That's the thing with Boris, he *comes across* as oafish, but is actually a smart cookie. Very disarming, people don't realise quite how his front distracts you from what he's actually doing.

      1. ScottAS2

        Re: boris

        "Boris Johnson, people always ask me the same question, they say, 'Is Boris a very very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No.'" - Ian Hislop

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: boris

          While I have a heck of a lot of time for Ian Hislop and find that he tends to be right about most things, when I read Boris' written pieces I have to conclude that, in this case, he's wrong.

          Anyone who writes and uses classical references that well cannot be an idiot. Pompous arse possibly, but idiot? No.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: boris

      He just seems like such a oafish buffoon

      I'm going to give you but one hint: he is not what he seems. He found the buffoon act to work for him, and he's shrewdly used it ever since, which has allowed him to laugh himself past incidents that would have hung other politicians. The man is far shrewder than he lets on, and that includes having the smarts to listen to others.

      There is, of course, one other MASSIVE advantage he has: he's not Ken Livingston. That alone is worth a vote :)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: boris

      But he is a clever idiot.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: boris

        1) It's probably an act, as stated. He went to Eton, so he can't be all THAT stupid (famous last words).

        2) He's a politician. That means he's VERY good at projecting a false front, and making people think he's something he's not. It also means he has to come across as harmless and friendly.

        3) When he cocks up, he says so. That alone is enough to put him above others who reel out all sorts of excuses about why they did what they (deliberately) did.

        4) He cocks up a lot. I'd rather have someone who cocks up than covers up.

        5) He's backed several quite good projects - banning alcohol on the Tube, the Olympics (as much as I hated it, people seemed to enjoy it generally), Boris bikes (getting us into the 21st century in terms of transport, behind just about every other EU country that already has them, using a way that doesn't involve pandering to drivers or spending lots of money), and the Thames airport is probably quite a sensible idea. I'm not aware of any completely ludicrous ideas that he's backed (which is either fabulous PR or decent common sense).

        6) In the expenses scandal, he had a few taxi fares totally a few hundred pounds that were allowed under the rules. You could say they were excessive (for taxi fares), but you'd be hard-pushed to put them on the same scale as claiming for houses for ducks or second homes costing millions of pounds.

        If you want people to trust you, one of the best methods is to make them feel superior to you, and supporting good ideas instead of attacking them. He pretty much has this done.

        And, simply, out of all the politicians I've seen, he's probably the least scummy. I imagine I could have a drink with him at a pub and not feel like I was being preached at, or that it was some publicity stunt. You get the feeling you could take him out on a stag night and he'd not feel like the butt of the joke even when he was.

        I don't vote (various reasons, but basically because I DO NOT KNOW these people, so how can I honestly put in a claim that they should be running a service/country? And I also can't vote for the people that I *DO* know who would probably do a good job, e.g. a prominent mathematician/economist for a finance minister, etc. because of the way the rules about who can run for election work - it's not a democracy, for example, if I can't vote for ME or Fred Bloggs down the road). But there's something about the way Boris works that makes him more appear approachable and normal than the others. Sure, he's a stereotype (bumbling Eton graduate who knows more about Latin than he does about the working man), but he's comfortable in that stereotype and even panders to it (I'm sure).

        Boris is probably the only politician that I actually LIKE (that's very different to wanting him to be put into a position of power with my explicit approval on a ballot sheet). Hell, we all had the same reaction as Paul Merton when the self-styled buffoon managed to get into the mayoral office, but the fact is that enough people put him there because they liked him / trusted him more than the alternatives (and have kept that like / trust).

        He's a fool. But he's a lovable fool. And he's different to other politicians. There's something "unofficial" about his demeanour in public. He's not all stuffy and using long words for the sake of it. He has fun, even at the Olympic ceremonies and things talking about "wiff-waff" and entertaining the crowds while getting stuck up on high-wires. You can easily imagine him as "the posh one" in a crowd of people, and he'd be great fun.

        Of course it's only an image (which is my primary objection to voting for politicians I don't know). But it's an image different to the others, and one that works. It's like voting in Prince Harry or something. Probably not the most talented person to put into office, but one that you trust and has a public image that suggests he won't DELIBERATELY do things wrong.

  3. DrZarkov

    Look on the bright side.

    I pity you Britishers, Ed Millibob is going to be your next PM, lol.

    1. Neil Greatorex

      Re: Look on the bright side.

      Not in my lifetime...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Look on the bright side.

        "Not in my lifetime..."

        Sorry to hear you've got a terminal disease. The polls are pretty unequivocal. The Tory vote has been trashed by Cameron's Blairite NuLab stance and the rise of UKIP, but the Labour voters remain firmly united behind the party that has rained economic death on this country. Which is understandable if you are on the payroll of the state. Looking at the percentage of GDP represented by government spending that's about half of the population dependant one way or another on the public spending (civil servants, state pensioners, welfare claimants, public sector employees, companies who are primarily suppliers to the puiblic sector).

        The destruction of the Tory support base is a great things, it shows that people have seen through their cyncial lies and incompetence. Unfortunately that hasn't been matched by an understanding amongst Labour voters that the unsustainable shambles we now have is almost exclusively the fault of the Labour party (with a load of millionaires on their Parliamentary front bench, just like the Tories).

        Millitwerp will, without doubt be our next feckless, useless, traitorous prime minister, like so many before him. I'm no happier than I suspect you are with this idea, but "call me Tony" Cameron isn't going to reverse the damage he's done, and Labour support remains united (kif misguided).

    2. Snapper

      Re: Look on the bright side.


  4. handle

    40 mega volt-amperes

    I hope it has power factor correction and that's pretty close to 40MW.

    1. Natalie Gritpants

      Re: 40 mega volt-amperes

      No no, this is the new thing, the amperes are 40 megavolts wide. It makes them go faster. The fuse boxes glow in the dark and the plugs only have one pin.

      1. A Twig
        Thumb Up

        Re: 40 mega volt-amperes

        Really hope you're being sarcastic and not confusing your AC & DC ;) If you are being sarcastic, thanks for providing a much needed chuckle on a Friday morning!

  5. JaitcH

    So this is the Olympic Legacy?

    I was of the understanding that the IOC party leftovers were to be used for sports related activities.

    Given that the shindig cost 12-BILLION POUNDS +++ I wonder what the true cost of this building is and whether the proposed rents will actually help recoup the capital outlay, or is this yet ANOTHER Tory giveaway to business?

    I imagine workers in this place won't be too enamoured of it's location when it's a game day at the stadium.

  6. ratfox

    "digital and creative" workers who won't have needed to be "brilliant at school"

    Is that the new euphemism after "correctional facility"?

  7. Neil Lewis
    Thumb Down

    Oh really

    So this will be a "world-leading hub for the digital and creative industries"?

    Given that the government's plans for so-called 'orphan works' is likely to decimate the actual creative industries while benefiting those who merely copy and re-use, perhaps he really means this will be a "world-leading hub for those who rip-off the creative industries on an industrial scale".

    1. ParsleyTheLion

      Re: Oh really

      Eh? Surely if a work is orphaned it means that nobody claims it and so won't miss the revenue.

      Or are you afraid of being out-innovated by dead people?

      1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

        Orphan Works

        E.g, stripping metadata off of images so that the actual owner can't be found and thus won't receive his entitlement.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Oh really

        If only it was that easy to create an orphaned work

        Mr J. J. Abrams - would you mind stepping over here, near the edge of this multi-storey car park

  8. strangelybrown
    Thumb Up

    The 6,500 jobs bit will be one of those staggering stretches of imagination which seems to involve assuming every person actually employed in the conversion, running, and populating of the thing will create an extra 5 jobs trickling down through the economy.

    Then you add a bit, and multiply the figure by 3.14... Then round up to a nice sounding number. Finally release the statement being careful to prefix everything with 'up to' or 'as much as'

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have Boris checked its ok with Apple?

    I mean "iCity"..............

  10. Anonymous Coward

    If this doesn't inspire confidence among employers, nothing will!!

    "The jobs [on offer at iCity] are potentially open to people who haven't been brilliant at school or haven't got fantastic qualifications, but have a natural aptitude for dealing with gizmos that I barely understand."

    They're making the press center into the world's largest Best Buy??

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    "Can nobody rid me of this turbulent priest?"

  12. Anomalous Cowshed


    I want one of them new megavolt hampers!

  13. David Pollard

    Notting Dale Itek?

    Does anyone remember the Notting Dale Itek, a sort of free college set up in the 1980s by Dr Chris Webb in the Shepherd's Bush hinterland? He had begged, borrowed and stolen to get a whole lot of computers set up in a disused school together with a staff of a few IT instructors.

    There were no formal courses and the pupils were local 'yoof', self-selected on a first come first served basis. The notion was that those who were bright enough to hear about the scheme on the grapevine and go along to enquire about it were bright enough to learn something about computing if they were given access to equipment and a bit of encouragement.

    Apparently it did lead to a reduction in crime locally. And a proportion at least of those who studied there found their way into a career rather than remaining unemployed. However plans to roll out similar Information Technology Centres across the country faded.

    This present venture seems to have some similarities.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Notting Dale Itek?

      >This present venture seems to have some similarities.

      Except for the educational aspects and local yoof

      This is subsidized office space for big companies who are frends with the government to stick a bunch of call center people in with a couple of felt tip web designers upstairs to get the digital-britannia bit and the occasional school party being shown some of this "multi-media stuff" to justify the educational tag

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Notting Dale Itek?

      The 80's were a very different arena in terms of IT. Computers were expensive. Nobody really had one until later in the decade.

      And, no, Google knows nothing of Notting Dale Itek, nor of the Dr you state. In fact the only link that matches anything is this very page.

      So although it may have been a success back when we were all buying our first BBC's and ZX Spectrums and those kids probably had never seen a computer before, it's long-dead now that even the poorest of kids is carrying a mobile phone around and have broadband at home (even if subsidised by their school).

      I work in schools. Putting IT in front of kids does not teach them anything. It's the teachers that teach them. Unfortunately, decent teachers are very rare (I've seen MUCH more than my fair share of teachers that have no knowledge of the subjects they teach, and who aren't actually very good teachers in general anyway). And even with the best tools in the world, you don't get better kids out of the end without some basic teaching skill going on.

      I posit that the guy in India (featured on something like Russell Howard a few weeks ago, I think) who painted some blackboards on the underpass of a bridge and gets kids to sit on blankets in the dirt while he teaches them everything from writing to maths to geography, for a few hours after his (and the kid's!) work, is actually doing more good for the planet than anyone involved in an educational IT project in a first-world country that involves slapping thousands of pounds of equipment in front of kids with even an average teacher, and students that probably aren't really bothered about learning in the first place (or else they'd be in school).

      IT is a tool. It doesn't kill people. It doesn't educate people. It doesn't make things magically quicker. It doesn't make things more reliable. It's a tool. Used by clever people, you can get some clever stuff going. But just putting a machine into a classroom without either having a decent teacher, or first getting someone to the point they can be decent, is like handing out silicon chips to primates. It won't make them any cleverer primates than they already are.

      And, the fact is, a decent teacher could teach computing on a blackboard with chalk and probably do a better job than someone with all the equipment in the world (do we not all feel disdain towards those teachers who teach their kids how to use only Microsoft Office, to paste in an image into a Word doc and send it to someone, but not why they should have a least-permission model on their system, or not take 10bn cycles to draw an image on the screen, or having never tinkered with a piece of basic electronics?).

      P.S. I'm NOT a teacher. I spend my professional life dealing with them, which is enough to put me off going into the profession and makes me worry for my daughter's future education. But the fact is that it's the teacher that makes the lesson work, not the fancy equipment. A teacher with fancy equipment can work WONDERS, I agree. But a good teacher with no equipment will beat a bad teacher with fancy equipment EVERY SINGLE TIME.

      P.P.S. This is my primary argument against the Raspberry Pi (which I was an early supporter of and own one of the first batch). Technical issues aside, it alone does not make kids better computer users. And the biggest, most prominent, most warned-about piece that's missing even after all this time? Getting effective use out of what is - admittedly - a wonderful tool in the right hands. Fact is, they couldn't be bothered to exhibit properly in BETT, have few teaching resources available and, thus, it's those teachers who can already teach well that are using it and getting results. They made a device "for education" and didn't follow through effectively with any of the actual "education" side. Sure, you can run Scratch. But I can run Scratch on a Windows PC that every school already has. The actual support of the educational side is pathetic, and left to the teachers. As such, schools have bought it thinking it's some magical tool that will make their IT teaching better, and it ends up in a cupboard after a year (along with the tablets, netbooks, interactive whiteboards, visualisers and every other fad that's been misunderstood in the same way).

      1. David Pollard

        Notting Dale Itek? @Lee D - it's here

        "Google knows nothing of Notting Dale Itek"

        After a bit of a search on Google myself, I've found the article I wrote about it. Apparently the place itself was called a 'Technology Centre'. Maybe 'Itek' was the word Chris Webb used when he was talking about his plan to roll out similar setups across the country.

  14. smudge

    Check it for rocket motors

    "...a "colossal super hangar" crammed with thousands of "digital and creative" workers who won't have needed to be "brilliant at school"."

    Sounds to me suspiciously like the Hitchhiker's Guide's B-Ark.

  15. PassiveSmoking


    I hope its security systems are built with keeping ninja turtles out in mind. Shredder and Krang have some very specific security requirements after all.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the biggest

    Since there are already several 60MVA datacenters in the UK, how does their claim hold any water?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To those questioning a megavolt-amp

  18. Andy The Hat Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    ... and what are they producing the 'green' 40MVA from? Pigeon poo digesters on the roof? The entire average daily output of the UK's windfarms? Hot air from management conferences? 90 acres of solar panels plastered on grade 1 arable land (the occupants of the building will obviously eat McD's and pizza, not food, so that's ok then)?

    Or perhaps, it'll just be painted very green?

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...the slightly un-snappily named IBC/MPC."

    Thank you Boris, a masterpiece of understated sarcasm there.

  20. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Clueless politicians

    "How does providing a large office space with lots of power points and ethernet sockets actually "create 6500 jobs"?"

    Oh that's what you get when you have politicians who have no clue pushing for projects. Here in Iowa (midwest US), the politicians in one of our towns just BEGGGGED Google to come in. They said it'd create like at least 1000 jobs, I mean hell, look at that square footage of that data center they want to build, that must mean lots of jobs based on how many jobs a factory that big would create! Google pointed out "No, this is a data center, not a factory, it'll take like 30 people to man it." The politicnas stuck one thumb up their asses and the other in their ears, and gave Google all these tax breaks to put in the data center. NOW, the politicians are like "We don't get it, it's only created 30 jobs!" They started trying to blame Google, who of course pointed out "You idiots, we told you it'd create 30 jobs before hand. Don't pretend it's our fault.", at which point the politicans had to clam up.

    This seems to show some cluelessness -- a) Just turning some space into a "digital space" won't magically make it churn out jobs and money. b) Why are they pre-determining it'll use 40 megawatts of power? You've got companies now worrying, if not about the environment, at least about the power and cooling bills. They are saving serious electricity on their racks, among x86 the 8-core systems now use about as much power as a single or maybe dual did a few years back. The ARM servers save even more.

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