|low graphics version | feedback | help|
|You are in: Talking Point|
Monday, 13 November, 2000, 09:38 GMT
The Dome: Who is to blame?
The Millennium Dome has been condemned as a risky, mis-managed and financially weak project by the government's spending watchdog.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The National Audit Office says in a report that visitor numbers were greatly over-estimated and that Dome operators lacked the experience to run this type of attraction.
The Dome has so far cost £628m of lottery money - £229m more than originally forecast.
So who should take ultimate responsibility for the ill fated Dome? Should Dome minister Lord Falconer resign? Do you think he is being made a scapegoat?
Hey, at least you got your Dome. Over here, politicians would have spent that much (probably borrowed from your own good selves) just talking about it.
At the end of the year, we should force Mandelson to buy it.
Peter Mandelson hoped to outdo his ancestor Morrison's success with the Festival of Britain. A spin doctor might have had the wit to realise that it is much more difficult now, because the kind of people who did not have a television then are now addicted to their favourite soaps. Even Disney finds the live entertainment business a struggle in Europe.
I have been astounded by some of the hypocrisy surrounding the Dome. On Any Questions (R4), Barbara Roche MP backed Lord Falconer, saying that incompetent ministers should not resign. Yet on the very next topic, she argued that incompetent teachers should be sacked. Why the double standard?
Badly planned by the Conservatives and badly managed by Labour - I did enjoy visiting it. The Dome was never planned as a profit making exercise. However it appears to have lost more money than expected. The best use of the land would be to expand the London Docklands Financial District south of the river.
The Queen looked upset holding hands with the PM on New Year's eve last year. Maybe it was not the odd protocol that disturbed her, maybe she just didn't want to be associated with it.
William E. Bennett, USA
Since the Dome was paid for by the mathematically challenged in for the form of the avoidable Lottery tax, I really don't care that much about how much it has/ will cost.
The only sad thing about the whole Dome episode is seeing so much political meglomania in so many people in positions of power.
It is Labour that has presided over the financial fiasco that is the Dome but nobody can say that the Tories would have done any better.
Guy Chapman, UK
In business a new CEO is responsible for all decisions he/ she makes under their leadership. If their predecessor made a bad decision, it is their responsibility to reverse it. Taking this analogy Labour should stop trying to pass blame. They should have either stopped it when they got control, or got it right. They did neither.
Where did the money come from - the Lottery. So shouldn't some of the blame go to everyone who poured in their cash in the pursuit of greed, knowing that the Dome was a major recipient, when they could all have sent that money to genuine "good causes" instead?
Sam Spanners, UK
The Government says that it has been the biggest attraction in Britain. It has to be pointed out though that if everyone who visited a rusty old gas works in Greenwich was given fifty quid it would have been even more popular and on current figures a lot cheaper. The plug should have been pulled on this waste of money months ago. The sight of Lord Falconer sitting there saying he wishes to carry on is a laugh. The mistakes were on his watch, someone new is needed to sort out his mess.
I have been to the Dome and confess to have enjoyed it.
However I cannot see how it cost 1 billion pound to make. If it cost £100m I would be surprised and in fact this is the figure that the Japanese takeover bid offered. This means that somewhere £900m has been spent on intangible things which I find very hard to believe and if this is so I believe that some of the recipients should pay back part of this money.
I know this will never happen.
Why blame anybody. The whole Lottery Millennium fund was dedicated to pointless projects which all needed extra funding. All that has happened is that we've had fewer of them. The dome just happened to be the most expensive. All of this money was never going to be spent on anything else (like hospitals) and I don't remember anybody making a lot of fuss at the time. Also the Dome wasn't a complete flop. I think it's less of "a National disgrace and more a "Well we won't do that again". There are more important things in life to worry about.
To blame or not to blame, that is indeed the question. I guess we are all to blame to some degree or other. The presiding government for the foolhardy project and the general public for not supporting the spirit of the event. The effort was designed to celebrate the millennium, a dubious cause indeed, but a folly nevertheless and it was generally publicly believed to be so from the beginning.
Here we go again, looking for someone to blame. WE, the public are to blame because we allowed it to happen. We allowed our elected representatives, whether Labour or Tory to raid the lottery fund, our tax pool and WE didn't put a stop to it. I haven't written one letter of complaint to the government, so I got what I deserved. When will we stop looking for someone else to pin the blame on and start taking our responsibilities as citizens as seriously as we demand our rights?
I'm not sure who is to blame, but I find it so offensive that any modern government could see it as their role to run a tourist attraction using public money! Labour has taken public funds and completely wasted it! This is the key issue, a government should govern, not try to run a business. What century do this people think they are living in?
Tim Miller, England
Labour has to take the blame. They decided to continue with the Dome and ultimately had control over it. The talk of generating jobs in Greenwich is garbage - £900,000,000 to create 30,000 jobs works out at £30,000 per job created - enough to keep the average worker in salary for almost two years!
In Scotland, the entire board of the exam authority, the SQA, resigned after a damning report. The head of the Scottish Tourist Board had to resign in similar circumstances. However, when it came to a damning report about the new Scottish Parliament building, the presiding politicians DID NOT resign. So does anyone expect Lord Falconer to resign over the Dome? Of course not, POLITICIANS ARE NEVER TO BLAME.
How many people are joining the Dome debate without actually having been? I visited recently, thought it was pretty good and didn't see anyone looking like they were having a dreadful time. If the media hadn't decided from the start that they were going to pan it, I'm absolutely sure millions more would have visited, there would have been no financial crisis and there wouldn't be the current witch-hunt.
J. Lloyd, UK
Both the Tories and Labour are to blame. It was a bad (Tory) idea in the first place and should have been dropped by Labour as soon as they won the 1997 general election. I don't think Lord Falconer should be made a scapegoat. What about Mandy Mandelson, who conveniently jumped ship when it looked like it was going wrong or Michael Hesletine whose idea it was in the first place? How about turning the Dome into a cycling velodrome, so we can get more medals to go with the ones won at the recent Olympics and World Championships.
Why not kill 3 birds with one stone: Refit the Dome as the new British Houses of Parliament, move the government and associated civil servants in (giving them the modern facilities and space they constantly crave), turn the Palace of Westminster into a museum dedicated the history of government, sell off a whole swathe of ancillary buildings currently used by MPs to the highest bidders (thus increasing the amount of available office space in the capital) .. Go on give it a go!
Peter Simmonds, UK
We all know it was a huge waste of money, but I think we could get more mileage out of the Dome by looking to put it to some better use... a shelter for the homeless of London would be a start.
Just think what that £900 million plus could have done for the NHS, education and public transport. Allowing future citizens of Great Britain to grow up healthy, intelligent and able to travel to and from school and work safely would have been a much more fitting celebration of the millennium!
John Swift, England
To regenerate the environment, economy, infrastructure, and non-dependant culture of the North Greenwich hinterland would have cost billions and billions of public money. It seems like the government has got this for a snip at GPB 1bn. It is also Britain's most popular [pay] attraction.
Those responsible for the Dome's
failure are those who make it fail - the
incompetent politicians (of both sides),
management, and journalists - who
think it's clever to do something down,
but are incapable of building
something up, or who try to make a
celebration commercially viable. My
family went and we had a great time.
On that day, we made the Dome a
P.S. I agree with Dawn Staff - keep it
for a sports college!
Who in their right mind would build a structure costing many millions of pounds, which at the end of a predictable loss-making year is to be torn down. I think the politicians got a little over-enthusiastic and forgot whose money they were spending.
It was funded by the lottery (money that was essentially provided by gambling!) and although it cost more than strictly necessary and attracted less people than expected, it is still a great attraction that more than rivals any other tourist venue in the UK.
So who to blame? The organisation that locked the media out on New Year's Eve, and the media themselves for not supporting what could have been a great project.
Sam Clayton, UK
Governments are notoriously bad at running commercial ventures, which is what the Dome is (was). They should create the vision, but then turn the whole thing over to the experts. In this instance, a call to Disney or Universal in the US, with an offer to let them build and operate the Dome, I am sure would have shown totally different results. (Those who have visited Disney and Universal will know what I am talking about) The Government could have taken the credit and everyone would be happy!
Paul Jones, England
If the Tory party and the media had not damned the Dome so much maybe more people would have visited. We went in a party ranging from 78 years to 8 and had a fantastic day. All the staff were professional and obviously well-trained.
The people who should take responsibility are those who would have claimed the credit for its success.
It is important that those mainly responsible for the Dome fiasco should not be able to hide behind other people, and let them take the blame. The main proponents, as I understand it, were Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, both of whom are quite adept at distancing themselves from criticism.
While Falconer should go, he shouldn't take sole responsibility for this fiasco. After the 1997 election, there were wise voices within New Labour who advised that this project should be dumped, but no, Blair, Mandelson and the rest of the crowd who thought image was everything insisted that it go ahead. Having maintained from the very start that this was a ridiculous waste of money in a country starved of investment in public services, I'm not pleased at being proved right, I'm gutted!
Of course Falconer should resign, but since he is a lawyer he won't, he doesn't understand what responsibility means in the real world. To Charlie it's all a bit of fun and the money is not important, like his mate in Downing St. he lives in an unreal world.
To some it seems a waste of money - what would be a waste is if it is pulled down. Let it be turned into an Olympic sized swimming pool plus other sports' training facility - After the Olympics, and hearing the comments from the swimmers, it was apparent that such a facility is required. And the setting is ideal!
The minister is being made a scapegoat in one sense - but right at the outset it should have been made into a millennium sport stadium.
09 Nov 00 | UK
'Ill-fated' Dome condemned
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to other Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy