It’s also a bit willingly naive to suggest that Khan ‘supported it during his election campaign’.
In fact, Khan’s first public statement on the Garden Bridge was to call it a ‘white elephant’ and support the Leader of Lambeth Council when she temporarily wavered and called for its cancellation.
He was then clobbered for three days straight in the Evening Standard — which was a relentless cheerleader for the Bridge. It must be difficult to win a London election with its leading free newspaper calling you a miserable killjoy who hates flowers. (As if all the subtle insinuations that he was a terrorist weren’t bad enough).
So he found an artful way to look like he was supporting it. Then, in office, he played a very canny game of looking like he was supportive, while simply letting the project fail under the weight of its own contradictions:
1. He insisted on the publication of all internal TFL documents on the project, which allowed opponents to run riot.
2. He insisted on fewer closures for private hire, when the business plan clearly required more (a lot more) to stand any chance of being viable.
3. He stayed true to his pledge of not releasing any further funds.
4. He initiated the Hodge review which turned out even more damning of the project than expected and gave him a basis to withdraw the offer of a financial guarantee.
And that was the ballgame.
Location aside, the whole concept needs a re-think.
The importance and urgency of an appropriate Holocaust commemoration is real, not least because it is poised to pass from living memory. That's what prompted the establishment of the cross-party Holocaust Commission to begin with.
The Commission consulted widely and came back with 4 key findings:
1. Dissatisfaction with the current national memorial in Hyde Park.
2. Holocaust education fails to reach young people.
3. Inadequate support for regional projects and lack of long-term funding for Holocaust education.
4. The testimony of survivors and liberators needs to be urgently recorded and preserved.
From all that they somehow concluded that what was needed was 'a striking and prominent new National Memorial'.
What's more, the Memorial HAD to be in Central London -- because they cannot imagine that anything can be of national stature if it's not within walking distance of The Strand.
The whole thing is just bizarre.
I find it a little difficult to be critical of the two Milanese clubs and their architects for opting for a new stadium rather than a refurb of existing San Siro.
In terms of the heritage and tradition, we go through this ritual with every new stadium. A period of sentimental angst and outrage, a few objections, a gushing farewell to the old place (maybe Bruce Springsteen writes a song about it), then everyone falls in love with the new place. It happens all the time, even with the oldest venues.
Then there's the environmental argument. But I think it's a bit rich for us to be lobbing criticisms from the UK at two big, historic European clubs that continue to coexist within a single stadium. The story here is that a city the size of Milan, with two major clubs, still only needs one stadium. Why is it so far-fetched to imagine this for Liverpool and Everton? Or Man City and Man United? Or all the different London clubs? (Plus the big extra one that we only use for the national team and One Direction concerts?)
There is story in the world of stadia about EPIC environmental waste. It's not in Milan.
I'm not unsympathetic to Paul Finch's 'dead horse' point. Those of us that opposed the project are going to have to decide what is that we want from this prolonged autopsy -- and Boris Johnson's head on a pike seems a bit unrealistic.
Personally, I'm willing to call it a day if and when someone (anyone) at TFL or the Garden Bridge Trust offers up a fulsome, bullshit-free and preferably contrite explanation of why they awarded a £100 million contract in February 2016, when the Trust still hadn't secured the land, planning or nearly enough money to complete the project. I'd settle for an explanation of why they didn't trigger the contract's break-clause in April 2016, when they were bleeding fees and going backwards on the land, planning and money.
For all the flogging, it's quite extraordinary that that still hasn't happened. The horse isn't quite dead yet.
Phil - It is partly the termination payment to the contractor and presumably the settling of final invoices from consultants. But back when they were spending with abandon, they dipped into private donor funds that were conditional on the project starting construction. So those donors need to be paid back.