After considerable delays, and at considerable cost (approximately £3.6m), the Diana Memorial Fountain was recently opened in London amid much hyperbole and razzmatazz.
Its design, we are told, is unique and “cutting edge” in the world of fountains.
However, as with all “unique” and “cutting edge” architectural designs, the fountain has had its fair share of problems.
It has had to be shut several times since its recent opening; owing to leaves blocking the water outlets, and people falling over in it.
A minister in the Labour government rushed to the fountain’s defence, and blamed the public for not using it properly. Plans are now being considered for extra park patrols and inspections, in order to prevent people and dogs from paddling in the fountain.
This “mini fiasco” bears all the hallmarks of the New Labour approach to government:
- The project was expensive and unnecessary, but it went ahead anyway.
- When problems emerged, Labour sought to blame others; in this case they blamed the public.
- The fountain design has not been well thought through, and is unsuitable for the environment in which it has been placed. There are numerous New Labour projects with that as an epitaph; the Dome, the invasion of Iraq, the PFI initiative and elected mayors readily spring to mind.
- The fountain is a memorial to an individual who was famous because of her connections and celebrity status, rather than her contribution to society. New Labour attach themselves to vacuous celebrity icons, like a barnacle to the hull of a ship.
- The solution to the fountain’s problems is to increase inspections and patrols. How very New Labour; when presented with a problem, such as education or health, their response is to smother it with inspections and statistical analysis and to regulate it to death.
I suggest that it be renamed “Tony’s Folly”, a lasting monument to the architect of New Labour.