Archive for December 8th, 2011

I called in this post here yesterday for leaders of all political groups and Mayor Lutfur Rahman to send a letter of protest to Locog chairman Lord Coe about Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the Olympic stadium (Tower Hamlets is a host borough, don’t forget, and Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales has already condemned the decision).

Well, today, Lutfur has obliged. His views on the subject have just been published on his blog here. In fact, he is most gracious about the work I and the Sunday Express have been putting into this issue and I thank him for his kind words.

I join him in calling on Labour’s Josh Peck, Conservative Peter Golds, Lib Dem Stephanie Eaton and Respect’s Fozol Miah to sign the letter he has proposed sending to Coe.

Here is the full text of the post on his blog:

LOCOG should not accept Dow Chemicals sponsorship

I don’t often find myself agreeing with the journalist Ted Jeory who writes for the Sunday Express, but I would like to congratulate him for his sterling work recently in reminding us of the terrible legacy of the Bhopal tragedy. Ted has been out in India, reporting from the scene of that terrible explosion. He condemns, as do I, the decision by the London Olympics Committee to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemicals.

It is a real pity that we did not get time to debate the issue at our last full council meeting, but, as Ted knows, we were trying to establish the principle of having ‘recorded votes’ in the council chamber, not least because the Labour Group seems to be in open collusion with the Conservative Group these days. It was Labour’s reluctance to accept such elementary accountability that prevented us from getting to the motion on Bhopal. So the idea that there was deliberate filibustering somewhat misses the point.

Frankly, I find it difficult to believe that LOCOG could have gone ahead with this extremely insensitive decision. I also believe that there is still time for Lord Coe to take a stand. So I hope that the leaders of all the other political groups and individual councillors will join with me now in writing a letter of protest, demanding just that, to Lord Coe and LOCOG. I am circulating this letter to all councillors to ask if they would consider signing it.

Dear Lord Coe,

On behalf of the leaders of the political parties and councillors of Tower Hamlets, I am writing to you to request that LOCOG reconsider the decision to accept sponsorship for the Olympic Games from Dow Chemicals, which took over Union Carbide which was responsible for the appalling loss of life at the time of the explosion and bares some responsibility for the continuing suffering in Bhopal.

We find it strange that due diligence failed to establish that there is continuing anger and concern directed towards Dow Chemicals as the successor company. We also find it difficult to believe that you were unaware of the strength of feeling locally and internationally over the issue.

Tower Hamlets is one of the host borough for the London Olympic Games, and we are delighted to be closely involved with what we hope will be an enormous success. Our borough is also as diverse as it is multi racial, with many strong political and cultural links to the Indian sub continent.

We all hope that in the light of widespread public concern and protest, that you insist that LOCOG revisits its decisions to allow Dow Chemicals to sponsor the event as soon as is practically possible.

Yours sincerely,

Lutfur Rahman

Mayor of  Tower Hamlets

UPDATE – 6.25pm
Lib Dem councillor Stepahnie Eaton has just signed up. Here is her letter to Lutfur:
Dear Mayor,

I am happy to support you in writing to Lord Coe to protest against the decision to accept sponsorship for the London 2012 games from Dow Chemicals.



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