Thursday, June 30, 2005


What's even more depressing than the discovery that Live8 has elected to put a cap on the number of disabled people it's allowing to attend the event is the apparent willingness it's shown to lie and to try and blame Westminster Council instead:

Live 8 publicist Bernard Doherty told BBC News a platform had been constructed to offer the best possible view of the stage but its capacity was restricted to 140 wheelchair users and 140 of their carers by regulations laid down by the licensing authority for the event, Westminster Council.

"We are very sorry - but the platform is now full," he added.

Now, we're quite prepared to believe bad things about Westminster City Council, but they seem to feel they're being traduced:

"We take umbrage at the suggestion we told them how big the platform could be - that is up to the promoters and should be based on the number of people who want disabled access.

"We are surprised they are saying we are responsible for the decision. We would be more than willing for them to widen the platform, provided it satisfied health and safety requirements."

Bernard Doherty starts to twist in the wind:

Mr Doherty told BBC News there were already twice as many places allocated to wheelchair users and their carers as there had been at the last annual Prince's Trust Party in the Park concert in Hyde Park, which was attended by 100,000 people.

The existing platform had access to disabled toilets and refreshment stands, and a shuttle bus would carry people to and from free disabled parking spaces, he added.

We're sure the thought of a free shuttle bus they can't catch because they've been excluded from the event will be really comforting for those people who've got tickets they can't use. And the "twice as many" is a bit of a red herring, surely - there were 100,000 at Party In The Park, whereas Live 8 distributed 150,000 in the first tranche and then a further 50,000 released yesterday, which, erm, seems to suggest there's twice as many people going overall.

There's something a little puzzling about a campaign for social justice failing to treat disabled people fairly.