The Garden Bridge Trust are headed up by twelve Trustees, each carefully picked not from the local residential community but from a well networked strata of the corporate, financial and political good. And Joanna Lumley.
Lord Mervyn Davies
The Labour peer who has recently become the spokesperson for the Trust as they face increasing pressures, including when he appeared on Newsnight and dropped the information about increased costs and lost donors. His political connections have been useful for his development, but it didn’t stop his fellow peers vocally criticising it back in 2014.
Alistair Subba Row
Entitled Friend of Developers & Property
As a high-end commercial real estate advisor to immensely wealthy corporations and investors on the two sites the Garden Bridge would land, Subba Row has huge personal commercial reasons for pushing the project through. It is entirely beneficial to his clients, and consequently his business, to use public finances and land to bump up the massive sale and rental value of the penthouses, offices and consumer units each side.
Entitled Chair of Communications
There is no doubt that the Trust have recently been calling on Rudd’s skills as a corporate crisis management expert of late. As charities are not (yet) subject to the same Freedom of Information as political entities we can only wonder if he has contacted his sister, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, to help in any way. Formerly a journalist with The Times who have recently been promoting the Garden Bridge totally uncritically.
Entitled Communications Helper
Former speechwriter for Boris Johnson, and then for David Cameron in No. 10, Foges also has close links to the Conservative Party and The Times newspaper, where she has a regular column. It can only be entirely coincidental that her newspaper employee repeatedly promotes her Garden Bridge whenever they can.
Entitled Chair of Finance & Audits
Julie works at Ernst & Young, founding donors of the project and, coincidentally, auditors of TfL who recently carried out an audit into TfL’s internal report into their procurements.
It was actor Joanna Lumley’s idea and desire to recreate her childhood wilderness memories in the centre of London, coupled with her friendship with the then Mayor Boris Johnson, which led to the whole debacle beginning. Heatherwick claims she has been a member of his design studio since 2004, but nobody is really sure what she does there except lend her contacts and connections.
These are amongst the twelve Trustees who, in the words of Garden Bridge Trust Executive Director Bee Emmott in a recent Guardian article, “have to decide whether the project is viable, and if it’s prudent to keep going and spending money” and “have to reassess whether the project is ultimately viable or not.”
Though I am not as entitled or connected as the twelve I’ll give my assistance for free.
It’s not viable.
This post was originally part of The Garden Bridge 12 Days of Christmas.
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