Simon Carr:

The Sketch: A gold medal for running away from the question

Share
Related Topics

A lot of us wonder what happened to Chris Langham, the funniest character in the funniest sitcom, The Thick Of It. There were personal troubles, if you remember, a little time spent in the nick. And he is repaying his debt to society by heading up the Olympic Delivery Authority. I'm sure it's him. The same long, disappointed face and plausible voice. He's adopted the stage name of John Armitt but he can't fool me.

Improvising freely in admin-speak, he told the committee how preparations for the Olympics were going: on budget, on time, on schedule. It was the deadpan delivery that did it. You can see why he wins comedy awards. His answers to questions couldn't have been scripted more accurately.

Is there to be a temporary media centre, the chairman asked. Armitt's answer was split into parts and ran off in all directions.

They were looking at a variety of options, he said. That the best balance was being sought between having one centre or more than one. That everyone was working for the optimum legacy. That the legacy opportunity was to be maximised and costs to be controlled going into the legacy opportunity.

He sounded just like a real chairman of a non-governmental body. We were in stitches. One criticism: not enough swearing. The administrative kindling needs a few sparky obscenities to catch fire.

Tessa Jowell came to the committee as well. Unless it was Kristin Scott Thomas with some prosthetic complications. Fetching, she was, in a very black jacket and a clever hair cut. That little lisp she has, she'd make a sensational seven-year-old.

She was asked whether, in view of the recession, we were going to have an Austerity Games, as in 1948, when our athletes trained on lardy cake and Woodbine cigarettes. Certainly not, she said. These are to be the Everyone's Games. The what? I refer you to the previous answer. "They're everyone's, in that everyone is going to pay for it," Adam Price observed.

Not necessarily. Tessa is not going to give up on private-sector money, or Government money, or indeed "a source beyond government". Ah yes, the fabled Money Vine that grows bullion by the billion. It's somewhere in Armenia, you know.

She was very encouraging about how much money was being cut from the budget. The recession is helping them make swingeing cuts to labour costs. I hope Gordon Brown wasn't listening, he's trying to get public money spent, not saved. It made Tessa sound like a Tory. Actually, it suits her. Like a very black jacket.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower