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Monday 14 August 2017

Boris Owes Londoners £37 Million

And so, after London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan acted on the report he commissioned from Margaret Hodge on the Garden Bridge project and declined to spray any more taxpayers’ money up the wall on it, those involved in this leftover vanity project from the ruinous City Hall terms of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson have finally admitted defeat and formally thrown in the towel. The vanity Garden Bridge idea has been scrapped.
A total muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street

Some are demanding a public inquiry. Labour London Assembly member Tom Copley was in no doubt where the blame lay for the débâcle: “It is a scandal that the cheerleaders for the bridge were allowed to waste so much public money by [Khan’s] predecessor. Boris Johnson drove forward this vanity project during his mayoralty, and the lion’s share of the blame for this whole debacle must fall at his feet”.

The numbers tell their own story: £37 million, perhaps rising to £45 million, has been spent - for which, read wasted - on this whitest of white elephants. Even then, it would have needed probably another £70 million, on top of he money pledged, to finish the project. No new backers have come forward in the past year. The land for the southern end of the bridge was never secured. The procurement process was questionable.

And there is only one person to blame for all of this: Bozza himself. It was, along with the vanity cable car, the vanity bus fleet, the preposterous Arcelor Mittal Orbit pile of stylish scrap at the Olympic Park, and the water cannon, another example of his wastefulness.

But by mere coincidence, none of the usual suspects out there on the right so much as raised a finger against Bozza’s largesse. There were no complaints from the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, not a peep from the IEA, CPS or ASI, not a murmur from the right-wing press. Bozza could do no wrong. Hurrah for Bozza!
An artist's impression, which will remain just that

So it should surprise no-one that, as the scales fall from the eyes of those who believed all along that the former Mayor was some kind of saint, the Tories and other establishment toadies are rallying to blame not their man, but Sadiq Khan. You think I jest? One look at today’s Evening Standard editorial is all you need.

The detachment from reality is off the scale: “The Garden Bridge project has been scrapped because the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, failed to give it his backing”. No, it’s been scrapped because it wasn’t a viable idea. “It was a brilliant and imaginative plan to put the river centre-stage in London, designed by one of the most distinguished contemporary British architects”. It was a gigantic waste of money, in other words.

London will be the poorer for this decision”. Will it buggery. “It would have taken boldness and political courage to back the plan; they were not forthcoming”. No, it would have taken a politically suicidal nincompoop prepared to piss away the thick end of another £100 million. And dead right it wasn’t forthcoming.

But enough of this drivel: there is only one reason the Standard is playing “look over there” - to deflect from Bozza’s all too obvious liability for the fiasco, a project which, it should not be forgotten, was refused funding by his predecessor Ken Livingstone.

Boris Johnson should be on the hook for that £37 million. So get your wallet out, Bozza.


Arnold said...

The three comments to the Evnin Stannit article think the bridge was a crap idea from the start.

Anonymous said...

"...designed by one of the most distinguished contemporary British architects...”

Yeah, right. Like all the other shite that's turned the London skyline into the ugliest in Europe - high rise slums of the imagination, some of them neon lit. The worst type of Legoland "architecture" since Canary Wharf. Uglier even than a combination of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

No surprise when Bozo came up with a supplementary lousy idea. It matches London "culture" perfectly.

A horrible, polluted, deluded shit hole of a city. A sort of overpopulated Reno divided by a a muddy brown strip of sludge.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Updating Arnold (above):

I see 29 comments, all agreed that this inglorious failure is a good thing, indeed, deserving only joy, abuse and questions of how those who wasted time and money can be persuaded to cough up for their mistakes.

And whom does Mervyn Davies blame? You really need to ask: Sadiq Khan — but of course!

A V Lowe said...

Hooray the first of the rushed and cart before horse projects is binned sadly some have preceded it and cost us dearly - the binning of the bendybuses (a bonanza of a 3+:1 replacement ratio for new (UK made) double decker buses) some included the Borismaster which was almost the antithesis of the Routemaster One took 10 years to develop a design that worked the other rushed through a concept that the design had to be fitted to One is still a lead contender for the lightest bus per passenger, the other is such a lardbucket that the passenger capacity has to be racked back. The RM has grown - twice to RML and XRM had several engine and transmission changes easily delivered through the modular assembly on a monocoque body. Current upgraded buses fully meet modern Euro6 standards 60 years after the first production models rolled out.

As for the dangleway..... It might actually be useful at Tilbury?

Billsmells said...

So the project was a courageous decision? What would Sir Humphrey Appleby say to that?

Anonymous said...

One error. Bozo does not owe Londoners £37m: this is money that could and should have been spent outside London, which is already grossly subsidised by the rest of the UK.

rob said...

Like a troubled bridge underwater?

Anonymous said...

As far as I am aware, the remit of Margaret Hodge's report was not to decide whether the Garden Bridge Project should continue or not. The decision by the new Mayor not to provide more funding came before her report. The recent decision of the organisation promoting the Garden Bridge to close down comes as a result of the end of the seed-funding from public coffers and the failure to subsequently raise any private capital.

The remit of Margaret Hodge's report was to learn lessons from the GLA's involvement in the project, and a very interesting report it is too. It would appear that Boris Johnson refused to cooperate with this "lesson learning" exercise, and you can see why: he comes in for a great deal of diplomatic criticism and presumably he would have found it difficult to answer the questions raised. The report suggests that Johnson ignored the established procedures when committing money to the Project. In my view, an interview with Inspector Knacker is in order as well as repayment of the public seed-money to the Project. The "lesson" of the report appears to be that none of this would have happened if established procedures had been followed.

(PS - some of the public comments blaming the current Mayor for cancellation of the Garden Bridge ignore the fact that this was supposed to be a privately-funded bridge. It is the failure to raise this private capital that has brought the Project to a close, and this is due to it not being viable. I sense a Stone Soup strategy by the promoters - trying to con money out of the public purse by repeatedly saying "just a little bit more seed-money and it will be viable".)