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UPDATED FOR 2002The Millennium Dome. Can this be the same Dome, OUR illustrious Dome, the envy of the world, said Tony, the first line of his election manifesto, can this really be the same Dome that remains UNSOLD, the same Dome that continues to to be funded by taxpayers? If ever there be an elegy to New Labour, this is it! The Dome has cost us well over £1 billion since its conception - it is probably the most expensive "urban regeneration project" this country has ever seen. They said it would be a national asset, that it would cement our international reputation - it is because of our Dome that we are the envy of the world! It's been described as an "icon". Students across the land have been engaged in Dome Studies. Yet, despite what Tony said, it didn't turn out to be envy of the world at all, and the poor old British taxpayer just keeps on paying!
Lest we forget, here were the NMEC's objectives for the Millennium Dome:
WHAT'S NEW:23rd February: In Memoriam - Illegally slaughtered sheep and cows On the day that another sheep in Cumbria tests positive for foot and mouth antibodies, we are taking yo back to almost one year ago, when the Dome was knocked off the front pages to make way for the unfolding scandal of foot-and-mouth disease. We placed a pretty horrific picture on these pages showing a one day-old lamb drowing in mud unable to be moved from its field due to archaic restrictions imposed by our New Labour government. Whilst the rest of Europe vaccinates its animals against foot-and-mouth disease, this government won't consider it, and was therefore able, by way of its illegal contiguous cull policy, to illegally slaughter healthy sheep (and cows, even pet goats!) in an attempt to bring about the 25% reduction in the national sheep flock that Europe demanded. Shame on them! Coming Soon - Doomed Raiders!
New Words of Wisdom found!: On 19th June, 1997, Tony Blair, visited the site at Greenwich and declared that "we now propose an exhibition which will make a statement for the whole nation at the dawn of the millennium. It will open a window on the future; the future for individuals; for society; the environment and the world". Classic!
Earlier news has now been moved to Dome News
MISSION UNACCOMPLISHED!NMEC Mission Statement: To create, build, and operate a national Millennium Experience which attracts, inspires, entertains, educates and involves visitors and participants.
To seek, through the Experience, to influence positively each individual's view of themselves and the world's view of this nation.
PEARLS OF WISDOM
"To lose one preferred bidder is unfortunate, to lose a second is perhaps careless" - Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat Dome spokesman, 15th February 2001.
"It's a story of mind-blowing incompetence" - Peter Ainsworth, Shadow Culture Secretary, February 2001.
"... it's been a flop" - Clare Short on Question Time, BBC1, 21st September 2000
"If the Dome were a barn on a farm, it would have been burnt down months ago for the insurance!" - Germaine Greer, also on Question Time.
"I never said it was crap, I never said it was going to be crap. What I did say was that unless there’s decisive creative management it could be crap." Former Creative Director of the Dome, Stephen Bayley.
"...we now propose an exhibition which will make a statement for the whole nation at the dawn of the millennium. It will open a window on the future; the future for individuals; for society; the environment and the world". Tony Blair on visiting the site at Greenwich, pre-Dome, 19th June 1997.
THE NUMBERS GAME
They said there would be 12, then 10, then 6, now 4.5 will do. What am I talking about ? - why, MILLIONS OF VISITORS, of course. With the regeneration of Greenwich the primary aim of the Dome, and visitor numbers a mere bonus, why should we even be interested in just how many have passed through the doors ? Check here to play the numbers game.
WHAT A BUSINESS PLAN !
The Dome's original business plan budgeted for 12 million paying visitors, and only received 4.5 million paying visitors - that works out as a public subsidy of £138 a visitor. Each new grant was been accompanied by assurances that this would positively, definately be the last the dome was to be bailed out. Despite closure, the Dome is still costing £1.8 million a month to run, and with no sign of a contract being signed by a new owner, the prospect of the Lottery having to bail the Dome out, yet again, draws ever nearer .....
HOW MUCH ?
Latest calculations reveal that the Dome is costing £742,000 a day to run, yet the NMEC cannot explain where all the money has gone
QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ASKED!
Following the continuing comparisons made by some members of the Government between the Dome and the 1851 Great Exhibition, some little snippets are forthcoming from questions answered by Lord Falconer in the House of Lords on 20th July.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill: "My Lords, without in any way wishing to undermine the great achievements in relation to the Dome, is the Minister aware that, in answer to a Question a year or two ago, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, indicated that, at 1998 prices, the Great Exhibition of 1851 would have cost a total of £30 million, as distinct from £850 million for the Dome at 1998 prices."
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: "My Lords, I was not aware of the figures. As to the Dome's achievements, if in the years to come one looks at the permanent regeneration of the Thames gateway, it will be regarded as money well spent."
And that's not all .....
Baroness Strange: "My Lords, is the Minister aware that the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum were all built from the profits of the 1851 exhibition? Can he tell the House what he hopes to build from the profits of the Dome?"
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: "My Lords, the result of the building of the Dome is a regenerated north Greenwich peninsula. Before the Dome was built, Greenwich was a peninsula in east London which was so contaminated that it could not be used for anything. The effect of building the Dome was, first, that the area was decontaminated; then the Dome was constructed; then followed further housing, industrial and retail development. The prize of the building of the Dome is the regeneration of the area and 30,000 jobs. I regard that as a prize worth fighting for."
The Dome. One Amazing Day. One Year Only. Thank God.
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