Simon BRADLEY's comments
Boris Johnson didn't 'dare to support' the Garden Bridge project. It was he who made it happen in the first place. Except he didn't, in the end - because it was always a terrible idea. Touted on a false prospectus, it could only be kept artificially alive with buckets of public money, after private donations melted away. Johnson then walked away, in search of bigger vehicles to crash.
The suggestion that the Garden Bridge's myriad opponents were somehow led astray by political concerns, as if the concept only ever belonged in some lofty realm of pure form, is naive to the point of childishness. This was always a nakedly political project, and no top-dressing of greenery was ever going to be enough to cover its embarrassment.
On our way to join Saturday's march, we walked down Arundel Street, with its new or impending luxury flats on both sides. This is the 'urban regeneration' which was part of the promised benefits of the Garden Bridge. Needless to say, it's all happening anyway. So here is another reminder of the miasma of bullshit which enveloped the whole business from the outset.
The bridge was a gigantic lie. It was touted as an impossible combination of irresistible visitor attraction (see Paul Finch, above and elsewhere), key transport infrastructure (its value as such would have been trivial), and 'oasis of tranquility' (in direct contradiction to both the above). Even the renders used in the media were dishonestly presented. Then we started to learn about all the procedural abuses in connection - a list that proved to be as long as your arm.
All these failings would have applied even if the bridge had failed earlier, and if the costs had been met by donors. Instead, £53m of public money was burnt through.
No surprise, then, that the unlamented Conservative mayor who was chiefly responsible for this wasteful and staggeringly mendacious scheme should also share the guilt in pushing the country to the present brink of disaster. The only surprise is that anyone should still regard this epitome of bad governance and bad faith as worth defending.
"Angry headbanging is a waste of time" - Paul Finch.
Now imagine that this brave principle could be rolled out across public life. It's the prosecution's fault! If only those headbangers would just shut up and move on, we could even make it look as though no offence had been committed in the first place,
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.