And they're still going strong ....

Janet Anderson, Tourism Minister, February 2001: It was "The government is determined to see the Dome stay on site because it is recognised as an icon around the world."

Tony Blair, December 2000: It was "A triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity"

Tony Blair, Labour Party Conference, October 2000: It was "Yes, there are things we have done that have made people angry and we should be open enough to admit it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if I had my time again I would have listened to those who said governments shouldn't try to run tourist attractions."

On 7th September, the Daily Telegraph published an article, reproduced below, entitled "WHAT THE POLITICIANS SAID - THEN AND NOW".

Michael Heseltine: Deputy Prime Minister when the project was launched:

THEN: "It's a fantastic site and it's going to be quite wonderful but don't ask me how". - November 1997; "The die is cast. This festival is going to happen. In my view it has the capacity to attract dramatically large numbers of people". - January 1998; "I have no doubt at all that when we get to the Millennium, the world will come to see what we have done and this country will stand proud of having had the courage to own the most exciting project anywhere in the world". - January 1998;

NOW: "From the point of view of the overall long-term vision, I'm delighted that we have had this huge shot in the arm for the Greenwich peninsula. Self-evidently the actual outturn of the Dome has been disappointing in many ways although 85 per cent of the people who go there think it's very well done".

Peter Mandelson: in charge of the Dome as Minister Without Portfolio:

THEN:"If it is a success it will never be forgotten. If it's a failure, we shall never be forgiven". - February 1998; "I know it's possible I'll forever be associated in people's mind with the Dome. I don't mind. The Dome is a wonderful building and it's going to blow your socks off. I feel proud to be associated with it".- 1998; "I intend the Dome to be a symbol of all that is best in Britain. And it will be. Promise." - September 1998; "We have now had three independent surveys showing that the overwhelming majority of the paying public likes the Dome, yet there seems to be a media vendetta against it among some newspaper editors". - January 2000;

NOW: When asked for a comment on the Dome, on 6th September, his spokesman said "I will ask him, but don't hold your breath."

Tony Blair: who pushed ahead with the project in the face of Cabinet opposition:

THEN: The Dome would provide "the most fantastic day out in the world" - February 1998; "It is a spectacular achievement and has the potential to be a great British success story. I want this to provide the greatest day out on Earth in the year 2000. That's what we can do". - June 1998;

NOW: Downing Steet said "Millions of people are enjoying the Dome. It has regenerated a run-down part of east London, created thousands of jobs and there will be a lasting legacy there for the country."

John Prescott: deputy Prime Minister who helped to persuade Tony Blair to back the project:

THEN: "If we can't make this work, we're not much of a government" - June 1997;

NOW: A spokesman said "John Prescott thinks that you need to consider the whole area that has been regenerated and not just the number of people who have gone through the door of the Dome. If you do that, you see that it's a huge success."

Chris Smith: Culture Secretary, in charge of lottery spending:

THEN: "I recommended that we go ahead with something smaller and more educationally focused than what we ended up with. However, once the decision was taken, I was happy to push ahead with it in the best possible way." - July 2000;

NOW: "He is not commenting."

Lord Falconer: Cabinet Office minister in charge of the Dome:

THEN: "It would be extremely difficult now for there to be any suggestion that there be any additional payment to the Dome. It has to get by out of its own resources" - July 2000;

NOW: "Something in excess of 500 million of lottery money has gone in. As a result, something in excess of 1 billion of private sector money is going to go into that part of the country, one of the poorest. That was the prize the Millennium Commission sought when they agreed to go ahead with the Dome in 1996".

They just can't keep quiet ....

Advertising blurb, Pokemans Adventure, 1st-3rd September 2000: [It] will be "the biggest event Europe has ever seen"

Lord Falconer, August 2000 on being given a grant: "No further money for the Dome will be required"

Guy Hands, Nomura International, 28th July 2000: "We will create a spectacular venue that will, over the next few years, provide a first-class urban entertainment resort,"

John Prescott, standing in for PM Questions, 25th May 2000 (slightly overstating the popularity of the dome which had had only two million visitors at that point !): "Nearly six million people have visited the facility - that is a huge amount of people"

PY Gerbeau, on 23rd May being given 29m of a 38.6m request: ... this was "definately" the last time the dome would ask for more funds

PY Gerbeau, on appointment, February 2000: ".. the key target is to deliver the project over its lifetime within the 758m cash limited budget" , pledged to make it "the hottest ticket in town", and described it as "the most exciting entertainment project in Europe today"

Lord Falconer, 8th February 2000: "This can't be run by politicians or people from Whitehall, this has got to be run by people who know how to run a visitor attraction"

Jennie Page, January 2000: "We are on course to meet, if not exceed, our target of 12 million paying visitors in 2000. Sales have surged since New Year's Eve and we are delighted that the public is showing such enthusiasm for the Dome."

Glenda Jackson, Transport Minister, December 1999: "This is not a project which is dependent on access by the private car...access to the Dome by car is not possible."

Lord Falconer, 23rd July, 1999, answers questions on BBC Website, on being asked "how many schools and hospitals could be built with the money spent on the Dome ?": "You can't spend money from the lottery on schools and hospitals, it's spent on things that aren't mainstream government activities. The money from the lottery could never be used on schools and hospitals".

Tony Blair, 1999: The Dome is to be "the first paragraph of my next election manifesto"

Deputy PM John Prescott: The Dome would be "the first big test of competence" for the government

Peter Mandelson: It will "bring the nation together - people of all faiths and none, people from all backgrounds and walks of life, people from all over the country, in a shared national experience"

Peter Mandelson, House of Commons: "The Millennium Experience will create a focus for Millennium celebrations on a national scale and put the UK at the centre of world celebrations. The Experience will engage, inspire and involve the whole nation in a celebration of which it can be proud, and which will leave a lasting legacy."

Peter Mandelson, on 1st June 1998, House of Commons, on being asked by Norman Baker, MP " What will happen if there is a shortfall, I hope that there will not be, in funding from sponsors ? Will the proposals for the dome be scaled down, will further money be taken from the lottery or will the taxpayer be further called on ?: "I have every confidence that the New Millennium Experience Company will raise the necessary funds. Nearly 100 million is already committed and confirmed in the form of private sector sponsorship. That is nearly 100 million of a target set for the end of this year of 150 million. That is what we have gathered since February. I have every confidence that 12 million or more people will want to visit the dome, and that the company's income target from visitors is equally realistic. I do not think that the problem to which the hon. Gentleman refers will arise."

Tony Blair, Dome topping out ceremony, June 1998: It would be "the best day out on earth."

Tony Blair, Why the Dome is Good for Britain speech, 13th April 1998: ".. we will say to ourselves with pride: this is our Dome, Britain's Dome, And believe me, it will be the envy of the world....the benefits to Britain are huge. And come December 31, 1999, at a historic moment in time, Greenwich will be the most exciting place in the world to be....It is not costing any taxpayer's money. It is costing just 400m of lottery money and the rest of the costs are coming from sponsorship, ticket sales, merchandising, licensing rights. It will turn a profit for Britain".

Peter Mandelson, 16th March 1998, in a speech in the House of Commons "Our problem will not be attracting people, but finding enough space and opportunity for them all to enter the dome to have the time of their lives."

Tony Blair, 19th June 1997: "The most exciting thing to happen anywhere in the World in the Year 2000"

The Dome.  One Amazing Day.  One Year Only.  Thank God.

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