Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
Dadansoddiad a thrafodaeth radicalaidd o wleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru
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Flamin' madness

I did not go and see the Olympic torch that was run through Machynlleth (where I live ) on it's way North. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the Olympics, internationalism and coming together as a 'globe' to celebrate events. I wish I could have stood on the streets of Machynlleth with my friends, cheering the torch along and feeling part of a global community. It's just that I feel totally conned by the whole Olympic shambles.

Despite promises of being the greenest Olympics ever, it is not. BP, Rio Tinto and Dow are sponsoring the 'sustainability' side of things. Greenwash Gold is a campaign that set up around the Olympics to highlight the hypocrisy of the 3 of the world's dirtiest companies sponsoring the Greenest Olympics. BP are “devastating the gulf of Mexico and digging up the dirty oil in the tar sands.” Rio Tinto are providing metal for the medals- from the Gobi desert, where the mines produce deadly air pollution and endanger scarce water sources. Dow merged with Union Carbide in 2001, a company that had been charged with culpable homicide due to the death of 25,000 people in the world's worst industrial disaster. There is a horrific irony in Dow sponsoring the para Olympics whilst families in Bhopal are still forced to drink poisoned water every day and children are still born with health problems.

It is not just those reasons that I could not go out and wave my flag, McDonald’s and Coca Cola are official food providers. This defies belief, how can an event which is a celebration of athletic prowess and the capabilities of the human body,  that is the result of people who have undergone years of training and probably quite strict dietary regimes,  be sponsored by the companies which thrive on doing the opposite.
I know, rather than encouraging the British population to take up more sport and do something to tackle the obesity crisis, lets build them the biggest Mcdonald's in the world and fill the punters with fatty burgers and milkshakes.

Not only are these companies sponsoring the Olympics and quite frankly should not be but they are protected by branding and trading rules that make me shudder. A form of corporate authoritarianism has crept upon us . A shop in Stoke on Trent was ordered to take their window display down after the games organiser Locog carried out a check on the unauthorised use of Olympic logo. The branding rules outlaw unauthorised "association," for example using pictures that could be assoicated with the Olympics or using any two words from the following list-  "Games, Two Thousand and Twelve, 2012, Twenty-Twelve".

I thought my paramedic friend was joking when he told me that VIPs and sponsors can travel uber quick to the Olympics in special 'games lanes', which ambulances without blue lights flashing cannot use. Unfortunately he is not, its true, the lives of people will be put at risk so corporate sponsors can avoid getting held up in traffic.

On-top of all that is the eviction of houses and flats, the bulldozing of allotments, the enormous hike in rental prices that people are being forced to pay. All in the name of the Olympics. Then there is the crack down on dissent and intolerance of any thing that does show a beaming Britain. It is hard to read an article now that does not distinguish between an imminent terror attack and some greeny lefties waving a banner. In 2012 Britain, they appear to be the same thing.

Lastly there is the huge, bottomless pit of money that has been ploughed into the Olympics in austerity Britain. As libraries shut down, council services are cut and programmes to get young people into work shelved it is hard to see how it is okay to spend £11 billion of public money on the Olympics.

The answer is, that none of it is okay. The British Olympic Association should ask the sponsors to withdraw and encourage genuinely sustainable companies the opportunity to sponsor this international event. Food should showcase some of the amazing British delicacies we enjoy with an emphasis on health and nutrition. Existing sports centres and venues should have been used instead of ploughing millions into temporary venues. The big brother branding rules should be removed so that a genuine celebration across the country could take place. At least we could replace the Union Jack flags,  that makes towns look like bastions of the BNP,  with the more colourful and international Olympic rings.

The Olympics is something to celebrate, but it seems in our desperation as a nation to host them we have overlooked vital values of freedom and handed yet another piece of ourselves over to the forces of corporate authoritarianism.