Or costly awakening?

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Olympic 2012 Park in London. It really is an astonishing place. Everywhere you look, from the soaring peculiarity of Anish Kapoor’s ‘Orbit‘ sculpture to the sweeping elegance of the aquatic centre, there is evidence of brilliant design. Even before the arrival of 14,000 athletes, 20,000 journalists and over 200,000 daily vistors, there is a spectacle about the place. The view below was taken from a hotel overlooking the park where every room has been booked for the past seven years in anticipation of the Olympic Games.

Left to right: aquatic centre, The Orbit, stadium & water polo centre

The sums of money involved are stupendous, and measured in the billions rather than thousands. Once you start to think about them it is hard not to dwell on all the other things that £9 billion could buy. The shopping list for water and sanitation needs, affordable medicines and education alone would stretch many times around the Park.

How do you place a value on the  flicker of inspiration which the Olympics sends around the world though, I wonder?