Since blogging an hour ago that Ken Livingstone would this week make a statement on the Dow Chemical/Olympics/Bhopal issue, his team have sent me the following statement that he will issue tomorrow.
This ratchets it up a few notches. As Tower Hamlets Council is expected to vote this week to lodge a formal objection to Locog, the big question now must be, locally at least, is whether the other and main host borough, Newham, will follow suit. Does its mayor Sir Robin Wales want Dow advertising the main stadium in his borough? Let’s see…
Here is Ken’s statement:
I am opposed that Dow Chemicals being a signature sponsor of the Olympic Stadium. Water supplies in Bhopalare still contaminated as a result of their wholly owned subsidiary’s activities – meaning that children in affected areas are born damaged at a rate ten times higher than in other parts of India. Dow has a moral responsibility to act to clean up the mess that the Union Carbide disaster left.
Dealing with industrial contamination was the first necessary task to transform the Olympic Park from a derelict polluted wasteland into the largest urban park in Europe. It would undermine London 2012 to take money from a sponsor that refused to clean up its own subsidiary’s mess.
Last week’s announcement that the Indian Olympic Authority is voting on whether or not to boycott the London Games shows the strength of feeling that exists on this issue. It can go as far as creating a potential crisis of legitimacy for the Games.
Bearing this in mind, do we really need to accept £7 million from Dow Chemicals so that they can rehabilitate themselves and destroy London’s reputation in the process? Our objective should be an Olympics that is good for London, not a them-and-us Games.
The soul of the London Games is worth much more than 0.08% of its budget.
It is not too late to prevent the damage. LOCOG and the Mayor should admit that they have made a mistake.
If they can’t find another private sponsor from the other bids that they had on the table, they should use a tiny fraction of the ODA’s under-spend to pay for the stadium wrap. It would be far better to do this than to allow Dow Chemicals to exploit an opportunity that has been paid for by people in London and across the whole country.
Our thoughts should be with the victims of the Bhopal Union Carbide disaster. The Mayor and LOCOG must pull back from the brink and not risk damaging the London Olympics’ reputation, or the success ofLondon’s Olympic Games, any further.