Sunday, September 03, 2006

Betcha I know who'll win……

You’ve got to laugh haven’t you? All those councils up and down the country busily putting together their little proposal folders in the hope they will manage to get the SupaCasino awarded to their neck of the woods. What amazes me is they actually seem to think they have a chance of winning.

Two hopes. Bob Hope and no hope. They haven’t got a chance. It’s a done deal – it’s going to Prescott’s mate, Philip Anschutz and his Millennium Dome complex. The allegedly impartial Casino Advisory Panel are the people tasked to peruse all the proposals before impartially and inevitably recommending it goes to the Dome. So confident is the American that he will win, he’s nearly finished the casino building within. So, how did he get planning permission for that then?

Naive councils throughout the country should stop wasting our money on futile SupaCasino bid proposals they haven’t a hope of winning. Governments of all persuasions have after all, got ‘form’ in fixing previous ‘free and fair’ public competitions……..

Remember how the Dome itself came into being? – It was the supposed winner of a National competition to choose a place within the UK to build a celebration of the coming new Millennium. After much presenting from the provinces – it was given to a polluted site in Greenwich…. It cost millions to clean it up and zillions from the Lottery Fund to pay for this biggest of big fat white elephants. As former Tory minister, David Mellor said at the time of the award "It couldn’t go anywhere else – it just had to be Greenwich"…… And so it was.

Leap forward a few years and the competition to decide where the brand spanking new English national football stadium should go. A good few English cities had a go, including Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham …. and London, in the form of Wembley Stadium.

The proposals were duly lodged with the Department of Culture’s pet quango. They perused and mused, umm’d and arr’d, before announcing their winner. Amazingly, they announced that Manchester had won the prize. Equally amazingly, they said that Wembley’s bid was the worse of all. Wembley actually came last. Last.

Bizarrely, the quango then criticised Manchester’s bid – and suggested they clarify a few points – as winners, they would have to resubmit with the necessary amendments. Outrageously, as the very worse bid, Wembley would also be given another chance to get it right the next time.

The writing was on the Manchester Town Hall wall, they must have realised then they would lose in the 2 horse race. After all, Manchester already had the site, already had the motorway links, already had the stadium costed and Manchester was about 20 miles from the very centre of England. Ah yes, but they had a big problem – Manchester wasn’t in London.

Inevitably, Wembley won and inevitably, their solution was 5 times the cost of the Manchester one…. As former Tory minister David Mellor said at the time, "It couldn’t go anywhere else – it just had to be Wembley"…… And so it was………….

(And so it always is).

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