PM prefers to focus on victims memorial, says Paul Routledge
What should take precedence: a memorial to the victims or a public inquiry into the pandemic?
Boris Johnson has no doubts. To avoid political embarrassment, the investigation must wait at least another year.
But his favorite architect, Thomas Heatherwick, is already speaking backstage to ministers at a memorial in St Pauls.
He designed Bojos’ pet project, the Garden Bridge over the Thames, which cost the taxpayer $ 43 million even though it was never built.
Recently released documents show Heatherwick met with Cabinet Minister Chloe Smith earlier this year to discuss the proposed monument.
In May, the PM pledged a commission on the commemoration of Covid, with a memorial in St Pauls as a suitable place of reflection in the heart of our capital.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Heatherwick is chosen to design it. His relationship with Johnson goes back a long way.
In 2013, the then mayor of London invited him to a meeting in San Francisco to secure sponsorship for the unnecessary Garden Bridge.
The 51-year-old designer of the 2012 Olympic cauldron went on to win the public competition for the bridge design, sparking criticism that his involvement before the competition was unfair.
But whoever wins this prestigious commission, it looks like he’ll be at work long before the public inquiry puts Johnson in the dock for his deceptive and botched handling of the pandemic.
Echoing Nye Bevan, Prime Minister Harold Wilson said in 1965 that Labor actions would be governed by the language of priorities.
This prime ministerial priority is clear: you can have your memorial but don’t put me on trial.
It’s just a game
The wisest commentary during the Olympics so far has come from multi-time gold medalist American gymnast Simone Biles. There’s more to life than gymnastics, she said, after retiring from events for her sanity.
And the saddest was voiced by taekwondo competitor Bradly Sinden, 22, of Doncaster, who would not celebrate winning a silver medal. Maybe I’ll get over it eventually, he said. But so far, I haven’t won any gold.
There is more to life than just making gold. Like bringing the next generation into the world, and raising them to meet their challenges.
You don’t get medals for it. Just private satisfaction and pride.
Is there absolutely nothing sacred?
A Doctor Who girl didn’t matter because I didn’t watch her.
But a woman playing my favorite TV character, Rumpole of the Bailey? Harrumph!
Horace is a crumpled old man, inspired by his creator Sir John Mortimer, and played beautifully by Leo McKern for 15 years.
Mortimers’ daughter, Emily, has written a new series for the small screen, with Rumpole as a lawyer. Shiver my wigs!
You can be sure that she won’t have an overbearing husband like Horace’s wife Hilda (named, I always thought, after Thatcher).
Old Rumpers is still on the box every Wednesday night on Talking Pictures. That is, until the new Horatia Rumpole gets a court order banning the show on the grounds of sexism.
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