The Millennium Dome Bombing Saga

 

MD News
Summer a Friday 23/06/2000
CONNIE McBLAIR BABY BOOM?
Connie McBlair
Exhausted Mrs. McBlair
Photo: Oliver Strange
Q: What is the current fashionable line of speculation at dinner parties given by those who no longer think that the Millennium Dome is such a brilliant idea?
A: Wondering how many more babies the Prime Minister is going to have to produce to restore his popularity when the Dome opens and proves to be a flop.
   Most people agree that Connie McBlair, our First Lady, is in for an exhausting time, although the family tax concessions will come in handy – until the bloke at No. 11, Downing Street gets round to abolishing them completely, that is!

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Thursday 29/06/2000
BUMPY RIDE ON 1ST JUBILEE TRAIN
Henry Tudor
Transport Minister H. Tudor
Photo: Oliver Strange Agency
Just a couple of weeks later than the "positively last and final deadline", the Jubilee Line Extension opened for business. The grand opening ceremony took place in the middle of the morning - presumably to avoid placing rush-hour stresses on a new system too soon.
   If Transport Minister Henry Tudor was expecting an easy ride from his fellow travellers on the first train, he was sadly disappointed. All attempts to get into conversation with the punters - strictly for the benefit of the press photographers - led to awkward questions about why the project was six months late and how much the over-run has cost the poor old taxpayer.
   Who says politicians have an easy time of things? Still, no doubt the free celebration lunch in one of the Millennium Dome's peripherals helped to make up for the public's ingratitude. The Transport Minister certainly seemed to be in a jovial mood when he assaulted the buffet in the company of Dome Secretary Dame Alice Wrathe and Dome Minister Lord Hawksbane.

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MDB News
Summer a Saturday 08/07/2000
"J'Accuse!" – MDB

The Millennium Dome Bomber has released an authenticated press statement accusing author Alan L. Marshall of faking the attempts on his life and planting the bomb in his own car as publicity stunts. A spokesman for New Scotland Yard refused to comment on exactly how the statement was authenticated.
   In his statement, the MDB said that he has "no further explosive ambitions" following his successful assault on the Millennium Dome and it has never been his intention or desire to take a human life. He accused Mr. Marshall of seeking pre-publication publicity for one of his books.
   Mr. Marshall, author of the tongue-in-cheek novel of social speculation Bullet In The Brian, is still thought to be in hiding after an alleged bombing of his car following an alleged hit-and-run assassination attempt. A friend, author Henry T. Smith, said last night that Mr. Marshall is very close to identifying the MDB, as shown by the attempts to silence him by either the MDB himself or one of his associates.

report by Insider [In114@mdb.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Saturday 15/07/2000
THE DOME – OPEN!!!
The Dome Opens
The Dome Opens - Photo: Oliver Strange Agency

Well, they've finally been and gone and done it! At a real cost of somewhere between 1.6 billion and 2 billion (despite Government denials), the Millennium Dome unlocked its turnstiles and started taking 20 a head off the punters; except for those who got in free or at a concessionary rate and, of course, the vast army of official Government guests led by Heritage Minister Pierson McAndelsen, Dome Secretary Dame Alice Wrathe and, of course, Dome Minister Lord Hawksbane.
   So what's it like in there? Reactions varied from: "Big and awesome!" to: "You could wear your shoes out looking for something interesting in there." I suppose the most charitable summary is that it's worthy, grand, more educational in a tedious sort of way than entertaining, apart from the people whizzing about on trapezes and wires, and the toilets are clean.
   So, there is it. All we have to do now is find out if the public think they've had value for money or the politicians have given us another white elephant.

Items picked out by members of the public from a list of Things which would have given better value for the money spent on the Dome:

  • 1,000M = 100 new secondary schools
  • 700M = 10 new hospitals
  • 53M = a Eurofighter
  • 50M = 10 Challenger tanks
  • 25M = 1,000 kidney dialysis machines
  • 10M = 1,000 heart by-pass operations
  • 7M = 1,000 hip-replacement operations
  • 3M = 1,000 cataract operations

filed by Dana Howmaj [d.howmaj@md.news.uk]

The Millennium Experience consists of the 14 zones inside the Dome itself plus further events in satellite mini-domes. For what is going on in the satellite domes, check the local press or the website for A New Millennium Dawn which can be found at:
http://www.anmd.org
   The zones inside the dome are arranged in an Outer Ring and an Inner Ring, which surround the central display area where the New Millennium Show can be seen. There is an information point at the South Entrance, between the UK Image and Spiritual Zones, and 5 further information points spread equally around the Dome's Outer Ring of Zones.
   Click on the links below for information on the content of the Outer Ring Zones 1-9, and the Inner Ring Zones 10-14 and the New Millennium Show.

 | OUTER RING ZONES |     | INNER RING ZONES | 
 

 

MD News
Summer a Monday 17/07/2000
DUMP THE DOME SHOCK
Sir Willis Crane, CEO
New Millennium Commission.
Photo: Oliver Strange Agency
A weekend leak from the Heritage Ministry appears to show that the Millennium Dome might never have opened if the Government had listened to advice from the New Millennium Commission's chief executive. A New Millennium Dawn, the Dome's management quango, is said to have warned the Commission five months ago that the Dome faced bankruptcy at the end of March.
   Working on the principle that you ask a Government agency for twice as much as you need, knowing they'll cut your request in half, ANMD asked for a £205 million rescue fund. They actually received £121 million, so they did a bit better than expectations.
   The Opposition is now claiming that Angus McBlair was the one who decided to divert Lottery cash from good-cause projects in health and education for impure political motives. He was more interesting in saving face than putting taxpayers' money to good use, is the main charge.
   Opposition leader Winston Hardcastle went on to warn that a great deal more public money will disappear down this black hole before McBlair turns his attention to another costly Big Idea. Dome Minister Lord Hawksbane later called Mr. Hardcastle's remarks 'sour grapes in the face of a national triumph over adversity'.
   On a somewhat brighter note, ANMD reports that the Dome is fully booked for its first two weeks.

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Monday 24/07/2000
THE HOLEY DOME!

The Millennium Dome has got holes in it! Visitors examining its interior with binoculars have reported seeing small patches of blue sky in the expanse of white fabric. A spokeswoman for A New Millennium Dawn, the Dome's management quango, dismissed the claims as "highly unlikely" last night.
   The contractors, who built the Dome at great expense to the taxpayer, and the Heritage Ministry both agreed that the materials used are of such high quality that they will not show any wear for at least 10 years and, probably, will not require serious repair/replacement for a good 20 years.
   When re-interviewed, the members of the public who saw the blue sky objected to being branded liars. In fact, several of them were already considering an action for slander. Someone with mischief in mind has directed them to a firm of solicitors which undertakes such cases on a 'no win, no fee' basis.
   Expect to hear more on this issue.

filed by Maris O'Vishke [m.ov@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Tuesday 25/07/2000
THE HOLEY DOME II
The more visible holes (arrowed).
Photo Credit : Tim deLong
The Millennium Dome does have holes in it after all. There are eight of them and none is bigger than a foot across (allegedly). The official explanation is that they were caused by the jib of a crane, which was positioning new exhibits. The Dome's management quango denied categorically that the holes are the result of shoddy materials and/or poor workmanship, which suggests that someone has been prodding at a raw nerve. All repair work has been postponed until the installation process is complete so that the existing holes and any new ones can all be tackled at the same time.
   "It's all a matter of financial prudence," a spokesman for the Dome said yesterday.
   MD News understands that apologies have been offered to all members of the public who reported the holes and who were branded liars, if not in so many words, by spokespersons for the Government and the Dome's constructors. The threats of actions for slander have clearly got someone worried!

filed by Maris O'Vishke [m.ov@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Thursday 27/07/2000
WALL OF FIRE QUENCHED
First Wall
The Bogus Millennium Change "Wall"
Photo: Oliver Strange Agency
The Government's promised "bigger and better wall of fire on the Thames" has been ruled out on pollution grounds. Environmentalists have calculated that the discharge of chemicals from a fireworks display on the scale promised by the Government would have a devastating effect on the health of the Thames.
   A spokesman for the River Thames Protection Agency said: "Our job is to improve the quality of Thames water and ensure a future for the wildlife in and around the river. A pollution episode on the scale promised would set us back three to five years. It's just not on."

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Wednesday 02/08/2000
DOME'S FINANCES FIDDLED
Pierson McAndelsen
Accused: McAndelsen
Lord Hawksbane
Accused: Lord Hawksbane
The Commons Culture Committee has issued a scathing report, which accuses Ministers of making a 'dog's breakfast' of the Millennium Dome's contents through constant interference. Heritage Minister Pierson McAndelsen drew most of the flak but Cabinet Office Minister Lord Hawksbane ran him a close second.
   The MPs felt that those charged with administering the Dome had failed to get to grips with its financial management and they had put off hiring people with experience of running visitor attractions 'until after the last minute'. The Dome's contents are popular with children, the Committee said, but they lack cohesion and there is no major attraction with genuine 'gobsmack' potential.
   Another area of concern for the Committee was the fact that Ministers and the Dome's administrators were unable to state how much of the public money poured into the project was grants and how much was loans, which the nation would expect to be repaid when the Dome is sold in due course.
   The 'incoherence' surroundings forecasts of visitor numbers, the Committee said, had created a major area of uncertainty and the MPs had been unable to discover who had made the various forecasts and who had changed them and why. The Committee also reported 'immense difficulty' in sorting out the responsibilities of the various parties involved in running the Dome
   Speaking in defence of New Labour's Big Idea, Lord Hawksbane commented that anyone who claimed that the Dome lacks a 'wow factor' is talking rubbish. And any mistakes made in the extremely difficult task of forecasting visitor numbers, he added, were honest ones.
   A total of 305,447 people visited the Dome in its first two weeks of operation, but the attraction is still well short of the latest revised 'equivalent annual rate of visitation' (9.5 million visitors in a full year) published by the Department of Heritage.

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Friday 04/08/2000
DOME DIVE BOMBERS

There are pigeons in the Dome and they're grotting all over the pool old visitors! A spokeswoman for A New Millennium Dawn, the Dome's management quango, admitted last night that a number of visitors have made claims for dry cleaning to remove pigeon droppings acquired, allegedly, inside the Dome.
   She added, "These claims are all currently under investigation. We have examined the interior of the Dome carefully and we have detected absolutely no signs of pigeon infestation. And the idea that a pigeon would find a hole less than a foot across in the twenty-acre expanse of the Dome and choose to fly though it is plain daft."

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Tuesday 08/08/2000
DOME DENIALS
Byrom Chaikovsky: beneficiary
Photo: Tim deLong
Reliable sources have revealed that there has been an almighty row between the Treasury and the Millennium Events Committee in the past few days. Put crudely, the Government has been accused of trying to bribe the electorate on the eve of an election year with an unprecedented level of public spending. The price of the spending spree, inevitably, has been budget reductions in other areas, including support for the Millennium Dome. Baroness Wrathe, the Dome Secretary, hotly denied rumours of insolvency last night.
   "It is simply not true that we have consulted a firm of lawyers which specializes in winding up major projects," a spokesman for the Department of Heritage added. "The Dome continues to go from strength to strength now that it has been fully opened to the public."
   Usually reliable sources have indicated that all of the Dome's recent problems are due to delays at the Treasury over paying bills to private contractors.
   A spokeswoman at the Chancellor's office denied that key members of the Government are now trying to distance themselves from the Dome. "We remain committed to this important bridge to the next millennium," she said.
   The latest leak from government circles, suspected to have been made by a supporter of the MD Sabs, indicates that the beneficiary of any winding-up contract is likely to be Baroness Wrathe's close friend Bryom Chaikovsky, who became her close companion after her somewhat public split from Sir Tom Todhunter.
   The likely cost of closing down the Millennium Dome will be anything from £30-127million, depending on who is doing the calculating. Those with service contracts are unlikely to accept less than their full pound of flesh and paying off the staff will be at least as expensive as keeping them on for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Mr. Chaikovsky is expected to make at least £5million in consultancy fees. Nice work if you can get it.

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Friday 11/08/2000
DOME FINANCE - NEW INITIATIVE

A New Millennium Dawn, the Dome's managing quango, unveiling a new 'Corporate Access' policy today as a counterblast to accusations of financial incompetence and a lack of an effective marketing strategy. The Big New Idea is to hire out the Dome to businesses for a day. Exactly how much corporate access will cost was not revealed but figures around the quarter-million pounds mark were being bandied about by those who usually know.
   Hiring the Dome for a day involves buying 25,000 tickets, which is the magic average daily attendance figure which will let the Dome reach its 'annual-equivalent visitor target'. Heritage Minister Pierson McAndelsen called the new scheme, "A remarkably good deal and further proof that our people are getting on with the job behind the scenes."
Alan Evage, Shadow Heritage Minister   Alan Evage, his Conservative shadow, promptly whipped out his calculator and proved that 25,000 x £20 (the standard ticket price) = £500,000 and not £250,000. Mr. Evage added that the scheme appears to be another example of New Labour buying popularity, or offering jollies to chums, using the taxpayer's cash. He also wondered how many people would be turned away from the Dome after making a long journey because some company was enjoying The People's Dome on the cheap.
   A spokesman for ANMD said later that some discounting is to be expected in the early stages of the Corporate Access policy. He refused to confirm that a discount rate of 50% would apply. He added that the public would be given plenty of notice so that people would not end up disappointed after making a long, and fruitless, journey to Greenwich on a 'corporate access' day.

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Monday 14/08/2000
DERISORY DOSHAN DOME BID

If last week was a bad one for the Government, then this week looks like being no better. The latest leak from the Government's inner circles has revealed that the Japanese Doshan Syndicate has reduced its offer for the Millennium Dome to just 49M after yet another evaluation of its future prospects. Strangely, Heritage Minister Pierson McAndelsen is not looking as cheesed off as one might expect over this latest set-back.
   On a related front, the Government is in trouble over estimates of the benefits to the Health Service and education that could have been achieved if the money spent on the Dome had been invested in people instead of a brief flash and bang. This follows hot on the heels of the revelation that Baroness Wrathe, the Dome Secretary, has been floating a plan to buy the Dome with taxpayer's money to stop the drain on Lottery funds. Exactly how anyone will benefit from this scheme remains a closely guarded secret.
   Sources close to the Prime Minister say that Mr. McBlair is becoming increasingly irritated by constant reminders of his opinion that the Dome is: "A triumph of our ability to meet a major challenge over the cynicism of our political opponents." What this government needs is some good news - and fast!

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Tuesday 15/08/2000
DOSHAN DROPS OUT
Jiro Karo / Doshan Syndicate
Jiro Karo / Doshan Syndicate
Photo: Blackstock Agency
The Doshan Japanese investment syndicate has withdrawn its reduced offer for the Millennium Dome amid much finger-pointing and accusations of bad faith. A spokesperson for the Department of Heritage labelled the withdrawal, "A crude and disgraceful bargaining tactic designed to push down the bid price even further."
   The view from the Japanese side is radically different. Sources close to the leading syndicate member Jiro Karo have indicated that there will be no further offers. Despite repeated requests over a period of months, the syndicate has failed totally to extract a statement of the Dome's assets and liabilities from the Government.
   Indeed, Whitehall sources indicate that the Dome's finances are in a state of "complete shambles" due to a combination of bad management and deliberate obstruction at the Treasury. Chancellor George McDour is known to be dismayed by the amount of public money which has disappeared down this particular black hole. He is reluctant hand out even more, or to be associated with further Stealth Taxes to fund the state's more vital obligations, knowing that he will collect the blame rather than the Dome's most enthusiastic supporter, Prime Minister McBlair.

The Prime Minister offered uncharacteristically lukewarm support for the Dome at a Heritage Ministry dinner last night. Opinions in the ranks of Number Ten Watchers are split fairly evenly between expectations that the PM will either 'damn the torpedoes' and continue to support the venture, or bail out at the first convenient opportunity and try to pretend that building the Dome was all down to the New Millennium Commission and nothing at all to do with him.

filed by Dana Howmaj [d.howmaj@md.news.uk]
 

 

MDB News
Summer a Wednesday 16/08/2000
'SMART WATER' MDB

The Government's denials that any warnings were received from the genuine Millennium Dome Bomber have been blown out of the water by a recent leak. Documents sent to TV stations and national newspapers prove that the MDB threat was real but discounted on the grounds that the security screen around the Dome could not be penetrated.
   It is now known that the MDB sprayed the warnings, his main bomb and a dummy bomb with a combination of fluorescent agents. These minute quantities of invisible chemical markers were intended to provide a means of proving the authenticity of future communications. Subsequent statements from the MDB giving his reasons for his attack on the Dome were sprayed with the exact same combination of fluorescent agents.
   Last night, the company which holds a patent on the 'smart water' fluorescent marker system announced that it would sue the MDB for infringement of their patent rights when he is caught.

filed by Ferret [f.03@mdb.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Summer a Thursday 24/08/2000
WRATHE PIED AT DOME JUNKET
Baroness Wrathe
Photo: Tim deLong
Baroness Wrathe, the so-called Dome Secretary, suffered the ultimate indignity for a politician at a Millennium Dome Junket yesterday - she was slapped in the face with a custard pie. The pie-hurler, who escaped in the confusion, is thought to have infiltrated a visiting party of Belgian EU officials.
   Belgians are well known for having a long and honourable tradition of hurling custard pies at their politicians. Such expressions of disapproval occur less often on this side of the Channel but British politicians can take them in their stride (or pretend to). After a quick wash and brush up, the Dome Sec. bravely continued with her agenda, but it was clear that her confidence had been badly dented.
   A spokesperson for the MD Sabs - the community of Millennium Dome Saboteurs - claimed responsibility for the custard pie attack in a fax press release during the afternoon. The statement said, "We have proved once more that no politician who is wasting public money on a vast scale is immune from the people's protests. Expect more of the same."

filed by Maris O'Vishke [m.ov@md.news.uk]

MORE ARRESTS IN MDB HUNT

A spokesman for New Scotland Yard announced last night that two more arrests have been made in connection with the hunt for the Millennium Dome Bomber. The suspects, a man and a woman, both in their thirties, are being held for questioning at an undisclosed location.

filed by Jarvic Klute [j.klute@md.news.uk]

DOME MYSTERY BIDDER

The reason for the quiet smiles at the Heritage Ministry has been revealed. There is a new mystery bidder for the Millennium Dome. No details of the size of the bid or its source have been released as yet, but a leak cannot be far away. Mr. McAndelsen's fief is probably the most porous sector of the Government machine at the moment.

filed by Dana Howmaj [d.howmaj@md.news.uk]
 

Summer a
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