Simon BRADLEY's comments
Paul Finch says that he 'had no connection at all with the trust or its fund-raising'. Perhaps if he'd known a little more of how the Garden Bridge project operated, his pronouncements about it would be less deluded.
John Hinckley shot President Reagan in 1981, in a bid to impress the actress Jodie Foster. He is still in prison for his crime. If Boris Johnson proves to have acted illegally in a bid to impress the actress Joanna Lumley, let's hope that the law will likewise take its course.
The Garden Bridge Trust is looking increasingly like the Arcadia group, CEO (former) Sir Philip Green.
Let the last word go to the creator of the Garden Bridge:
' "It feels like we're trying to pull off a big crime," says its designer, Thomas Heatherwick, with a twinkle in his eye.'
(The Guardian, interview by Oliver Wainwright, 24 June 2014)
Paul Finch is missing the point. This scheme has proved uniquely divisive, and staggeringly dishonest too, both in terms of its back-doors procurement and its ongoing presentation by the Garden Bridge Trust and its supporters. Even if it were some sort of masterpiece, it's so compromised by its own history that it shouldn't be built. Except that it's no masterpiece - only a clunky, flashy and intrusive gimmick.
Once this dreadful project is officially abandoned, there will at least be some fresh public benefit in the release of funds pledged by existing charities. Top of the list is the Monument Trust, a Sainsbury family charity which put its name down for £20m. If there's any justice, that sum will now be spent instead on projects a long way from tourist London.
Brace yourselves for fresh trumpeting in favour of the Garden Bridge from the Evening Standard, London's monopoly newspaper. When still Chancellor, Its incoming editor George Osborne showered huge sums of public money on his friends' project, helping also to ensure that it escaped proper scrutiny. The mystery is why Sadiq Khan seems so committed to featherbedding the bridge, when anyone can see that the whole affair is as bent as a forged pound coin.
Why is the Mayor defending the Garden Bridge project on the grounds that VAT from its construction would go into the public purse? He is supposed to represent London and its citizens, not the Treasury. Any VAT flowing to Whitehall would certainly not be passed on to TfL. Instead, the Mayor's Office would have to raid existing funds to rescue this intrusive and overblown project from collapse. Financial illiteracy.
Why is the Mayor defending Garden Bridge project on the grounds that VAT from its construction would go into the public purse? He is supposed to represent London and its citizens, not the Treasury. Any VAT flowing to Whitehall would certainly not be passed on to TfL. Instead, the Mayor's Office would have to raid existing funds to rescue this intrusive and overblown project from collapse. Financial illiteracy.
Lord Rogers thinks that the Garden Bridge would be "worth a thousand times what it costs" to London. A thousand times. That's a return of £60bn on the proposed public funding, or £185bn on the estimated total cost.
By the same token, Lord R might as well argue that the more is spent, the higher the return. So the next increase in estimated costs - and it's high time for another update on this from the Garden Bridge Trust - will make the bridge even better value.
Expect to read this argument again soon, in the Evening Standard.