I can assure Paul Finch that one doesn't have to be of the 'miserabalist tendency' to take exception to the way that Joanna Lumley's idea for a planted bridge has been manipulated and bulldozed so far, with the disreputable and supposedly discredited tradition of establishment cronyism being slowly exposed as being alive and well, with the active participation of the Mayor of London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and some well respected (?) design consultancies that appear to treat due process as an optional irrelevance , and deserve a hefty smack on the wrists from their professional bodies for conniving in a really quite spectacularly dishonest procurement 'fix' (if those bodies are awake, or even exist).
The RIBA seemingly is awake, and is surely correct in thinking that, whatever the merits of the design, there is no earthly excuse for the very real chicanery in the design procurement process exercised by TfL and the bridge promoting charity (yes, charity).
I happen to think that this project is an imposition on this river in the heart of this city that's still (just) the capital at the heart of Britain - and that the planning process, involving just the two local councils, was laughable.
I think that, in addition to the procurement process being corrupted, the justification has also been skewed , with the limitations on use and the really rather obscene intention to occasionally close the bridge (which TfL deems such an important addition to central London infrastructure) for private junkets on behalf of the charity's financial backers - some of whom appear to be up there amongst the corporate tax avoiders who've recently been in the spotlight.
I happen to think that Joanna's idea could well prove to be a popular draw for visitors, but in the setting of a country estate, a designed parkland.
Those that want it could pay for it - perhaps on a smaller scale, but without need for charitable status, or for involuntary contributions from public funds - which are far more stretched than some people seem to realise, Mr Finch.
However, it wouldn't form such a convenient tool for the use of upwardly mobile politicians - and that would be such a pity, wouldn't it?