"..a bardy view!"

The Shard

The shardI watched a programme recently about the building of the Shard in London.

It's the tallest building in western Europe, and its method of construction is a great human achievement in manpower and engineering.

Particularly as it used a technique of building up as it was building down at the same time. Until that is, the depth of the foundations had reached it's limit, at which point it was all hands on deck.

The statistics are incredible and the concrete used would fill five Wembley Stadiums.

The cranes alone were the tallest, and one even sat in a lift shaft suspended in the central core to erect the final floors and place the pretentious and (if I may so say) ridiculous flourish on the top (assuming it is now complete).

But the question is why?

Well, the cost to the developers at £1.5B is insignificant for the returns on offer. Apart from a tourist viewing deck which will attract scores of thousands (at a price) every year, there will be a hotel, and luxury apartments for the exceptionally rich, paying £30m per unit.

They will be the best views over London and beyond.

Yet, for all the time and effort, the money, the disruption to London and clearly the employment of builders and construction engineers, as well as the associated industries – it is a pile of junk.

Shard, clearly a reference to a shard of glass is nothing more than a mass of glass, steel and concrete; and if it survives for a hundred years or even two, it will still be a pile of junk, and eventually, when it has to come down – for indeed it will – future generations will ask a simple question – how the hell was it allowed to be built in the first place?

Environmentalists are up in arms, conservationists are crying in their beer, and Londoners are shocked and bemused that a monolith of such magnitude is protruding from their beloved city. Even UNESCO have indicated that the integrity of the iconic Tower Bridge as a World Heritage Site could be compromised by it.

But guess who was the minister who approved this planning permission in 2002? Non other than our old friend John Prescott – then Deputy Prime Minister to Tony Blair, now Baron Prescott who sits in the House of Lords (none of which was revealed in the documentary). Readers would have to delve into the archives on this blog to read some of the nuggets about him.

Due to opposition and concerns of local London Authorities and heritage bodies, including the Royal Parks and English Heritage he set up a planning enquiry (something very popular under the now defunct New Labour regime) and approved it, with the caveat that it must be of an exceptional design.

Well, it's certainly that. Why would he care anyway? His record in public office is hardly something to be proud of, and he was part of a government which thought they were living in Disneyland. (It doesn't matter a jot that the Shard project was bailed out in 2008 by wealthy Qatari investors (who incidently seem to be buying up most of London), what matters is he allowed the planning permission and gave it the green light.

During the 13 years that New Labour were in power from 1997 they systematically changed the cultural heritage of the country, and destroyed it. Blair went off to make millions, Prescott is comforted in ermine, and all the cronies, (for that's what they were), have disappeared to feather their nests, long before the scandals of the Parliamentary expenses fiasco, when they were to leave others to carry the can. Although Prescott did get noticed for charging the tax payer for a new toilet seat (allegedly) which seems typical for someone who was keen to have a throne of his own.

It was too late in 2010 (when a new government came to power) to stop the building of the Shard, it was already laying foundations then, and to cancel it would have been a significant breach of contract. Guess who would have picked up the tab in a time of austerity? That's right – the taxpayer.

There is a litany of bad and suspect policy which that disgusting previous government made, and yet they have the audicity in opposition to complain.

Another Labour government in my lifetime, in my children's lifetime and my grandchildren's lifetime would be too soon. They abandoned the core values of socialism and became pseudo tories. Well, if you're going to have a Conservative Government in power, then at least make sure it is the genuine article.

I hope the one time maritime shop steward, the bruiser of the Labour Party, the working class man who sits in the House of Lords with all it's attendant privileges, will raise his head at the Shard and receive a significant pain. He was a pain in the neck as a politician, and it's time he knew what the pain he inflicted on the British people really feels like.

Enjoy your Shard Baron Prescott, and be grateful it wasn't shoved up where the sun doesn't shine.


May 4, 2012 - Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, London, Science, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Great post sire, as per usual.


    Comment by Spook Moor | May 4, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks Spook. Your comments are welcome as always, although I had to edit them on this occasion as some may misconstrue them. I’ll be happy to include them again if you remove certain references. Cheers.


    Comment by Bar De Ness | May 4, 2012 | Reply

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