This has tainted my opinion of WMUK as an organization. Opposed or not, that this even made it into a draft is appalling. Quite simply put, if we get into the habit of expensive, aggressive, Olympics/World Cup style bidding wars, we're going to shut poorer counties and countries without strong fundraising chapters out of the process, and Wikimania and the movement will suffer for it.
Wikimania is not cheap, I quite agree, and there is tremendous value to the community and future partners in having a professional and exciting event. I did not read this thread as people concerned about the cost of Wikimania, but rather the costs of the bid itself. Washington, DC, is quite an expensive city, and the total amount of money spent on the bid was exactly $0. Spending money on a conference is investing. Spending money on a bid is gambling.
If an organization has to spend money to convince a committee of volunteers that Wikimania should take place under its care, then it already started off on the wrong foot. I think London is a fantastic place for a conference, with lots of museums, libraries, and potential partners. It could very well win the bid without any money spent on putting it together, especially since it's pretty much a retool of last year's bid. I hope that the board decides to hold the money allocated for the bid to use towards Wikimania, like for scholarships, as opposed to just on the bid itself.