Two landmarks in preparations for the London Olympics were passed yesterday. Early details of the opening ceremony were released, and the Olympic Delivery Authority officially handed over the Athletes' Village to the Organising Committee.
Six months before the start of the Games, both inspired confidence that the planning is on schedule, and that – miraculously, for citizens who have learnt to be jaded about big public projects – London 2012 could be a celebration to be proud of.
There has been just one major wrinkle – aside from the unduly complicated and clunky ticketing procedures – and this concerns the £7m sponsorship from Dow Chemical. India's Olympic Association has pressed for the money, for the stadium wrap, to be rejected, arguing that Dow's involvement leaves the impression that the company has settled claims for the aftermath of the 1984 disaster at Bhopal. While the IOA has withdrawn a boycott threat, Meredith Alexander, a member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, resigned this week, saying it was "untenable and unacceptable" to be part of a body that endorsed the deal with Dow.
In view of the controversy, it is unfortunate that the theme of the opening show, "Isles of Wonder", will be about a land, according to director Danny Boyle, "that has been poisoned by industrial legacy, and the recovery of that land". It is not too late to tell Dow that its involvement is not wanted.