The Hanging Gardens Of London & Sarah Sands’ Confused Mind

26 Jul 2016

Today’s Evening Standard had a comment piece from its editor, Sarah Sands, titled “London needs to show why it has to be the leader“. A bit of a confused conflation of thoughts in her head, it starts off talking about Brexit, then the arts before finishing with a brilliant short section on the Garden Bridge.

 

Sands manages quite a feat to fit so much weirdness into two short paragraphs and she has history in fighting for the project so loved of her two good friends Boris Johnson and Thomas Heatherwick. In fact, it is possible that she is using her position and newspaper to push for the Garden Bridge as a ‘thankyou’ to Johnson who is said to have got her the job of editor at the Evening Standard in the first place.

 

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND SARAH SANDS

Let’s tackle her brainspill piece by piece:

She calls Heatherwick the “wonder boy”, how sycophantic. This may be a good place to mention that there was an out-of-court settlement with a US design firm who suggested an almost identical cauldron a few years before Heatherwick was part of the project.

Thomas Heatherwick wasn’t “commissioned to design the Garden Bridge for the Thames”. Thomas Heatherwick was invited alongside two other architects to a procurement for a feasibility study into a new Thames crossing in a number of locations. At no point was a design asked for though in strange circumstances he was chosen to carry out the study even though he presented a finished design for a bridge. The whole procurement was a dodgy affair which has been well documented in both the TfL and Project Compass reports which you can find here. After his sham of a procurement, Arup were asked to develop the Garden Bridge concept and, coincidentally, chose to appoint Heatherwick Studio (who they had been working with on this project for years) as design consultant. But Heatherwick was not commissioned at any point.

I have no real idea what Sands is on about with the “hatchet-faced Left and accountants from the Right” means. I’ll just leave it here for you to make your own mind up.

“They don’t like the people paying for it”. Sands thinks the public do not like the public. So skewed is her internal logic this possibly makes sense in her head, but to anybody else it’s gibberish.

“They dislike its lure for tourists”. Why does it need £60m from TfL and the DfT if it’s for tourists? Opponants have long said that they are not against investing in the tourist industry, but that the funding should not be from the critical transport budget and that there are better parts of London to invest in which would make a real change for the community and also invite tourists to explore a new part of the city. The South Bank is pretty well covered for tourist options as it is.

“They do not understand the need for a new wonder of London”. Oh, gosh. “Need”? “Wonder”? This is just weird now.

“Just as there was no need for the Gardens of Babylon”. This is the moment when the editor of the Evening Standard completely lost all semblance of common sense, a truly bizarre comparison. though weirdly relevant, but not for her intended reasons.

 

THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON LONDON

There are comparisons. The Hanging Gardens were constructed by King Nebuchadnezzar to cheer up his homesick wife using money he took from his people. Not dissimilar to the Garden Bridge being pushed by Boris Johnson for old friend Joanna Lumley to remind her of the Malay Jungle of her colonial childhood and her desire to make a version of it near her home in London.

Also, as twitter user Michael J Keane pointed out, below, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon fell apart due to the weathering of the structure which decayed beyond possible repair. In short, it was built without a sensible business plan in place to cover its ongoing maintenance – ring any bells?

@AngelaOnHerBike @follyforlondon @sandsstandard BTW the Hanging Gardens of Babylon failed because the Babylonians couldn't afford upkeep 🤔

— ♻Michael J Keane ♻ (@KeaneMJ) July 26, 2016

 

YOU CAN BE A HATCHET-FACED LEFT OR AN ACCOUNTANT FROM THE RIGHT

This is now your chance to be one of these two – take your pick, hatchet-faced or accountant-faced? It’s up to you – but do join in by writing to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to explain your financial and transport concerns with the development.

Simply use this email, but do so ASAP as the Garden Bridge Trust are putting pressure on him:

chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk

 

EXAMPLES FROM ASSEMBLY MEMBERS

Two Assembly Members who have written to Mr. Grayling are Tom Copley and Caroline Pidgeon. Both know the Garden Bridge to minute detail having sat on the Oversight and Scrutiny Committee which spent half a year looking into the incredible procurement which saw Johnson set up the gig for Heatherwick Studio. There letters are here to give you some inspiration:

 


 

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