British Prime Minister David Cameron was told he should be “ashamed of himself” by a heckling London 2012 volunteer during a speech to mark the fact there is a month to go until the opening ceremony.
During a visit to the uniform distribution centre in east London where 200 so-called Games Makers were collecting their outfits, a protester shouted, “Shame on you, David Cameron — you are crippling the poor in London. Shame on you.” When he tried to continue, he was drowned out by other volunteers in attendance and ushered out of the room.
Cameron responded by saying, “This is not about politics. This is about Britain. It is about volunteering. It is about our country. It is about a successful Olympics.” A London 2012 spokesman said the individual, who was not named, would keep his job. “People are allowed their political views. It was just a rather inappropriate place and time to air them,” said the spokesman.
The 70,000 Games Makers, who will work for nothing in a range of roles from car park attendants to trackside bag carriers, are seen as crucial to the success of the London Olympics. The centre has so far handed out 40,000 uniforms to volunteers, staff and contractors. It expects to process between 2,000 and 2,500 people a day.
Cameron, who had earlier helped dole out uniforms to volunteers, told those present: “You will not just be part of the Games. You will be what makes the Games a success. The people who come to the Games, the visitors, the athletes, the foreign leaders — what you do will make a real difference between a successful Games and an absolutely fantastically successful Games. Please give it your all to give everybody an incredibly warm welcome.”
London 2012 organising committee chairman Lord Coe also spoke to the volunteers and thanked them in advance for their contribution. “I am very lucky. I have competed in two Olympic Games. I have been a worker at about five others,” he said. “It is you who will be in the memories of people that leave our country. You turn the lights on and you turn the lights off at the end of competition.”