The Millennium Dome Bombing Saga

 

MD News
Autumn b Wednesday 04/10/2000
GREY PANTHERS' DOME DEMO

A pensioners' day out at the Dome turned into a political nightmare for the Government yesterday afternoon. The party of up to eighty "Grey Panthers" meekly joined the queue for the Gusvion Holdings Leisure Zone, then produced signs and went into demonstration mode!
   What do they want? More money than they're getting now.
   What else do they want? A Government which is prepared to listen to the people rather than its cronies.
   When do they want them? Right after the election – or else!

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Thursday 05/10/2000
Carnell-Wyatt Changes Hats
Ms Carnell-Wyatt
Photo: Tim deLong
Reports are coming in of sightings of Ms Robyn Carnell-Wyatt, who resigned last month as an executive with Dome's management quango A New Millennium Dawn. She now seems to be working for the Dome's new owners.
   Ms Carnell-Wyatt, it is rumored, is on the development team led by Sir Tom Todhunter and she has been observed swanning around in the Dome, showing Italian billionaire Lucrio Sospettoso around his new acquisition.
   Her new car, a top-of-the-range silver Jaguar, is registered to a shell company managed by Sir Tom. She is also still on good terms with former boyfriend Amos Roche, who received contracts worth £20million from ANMD. They were observed enjoying an expense account lunch only the other day. Some people have all the luck and others don't need luck.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Friday 06/10/2000
Grey Power Rules, OK!

Demo
Police buffer zone for 'Grey Panthers' heading to an election meeting

The Government is experiencing great difficulty in getting its message across at election meetings. Gangs of pensioners are shouting Government Ministers down if the politicians are not saying what they want to hear. The police seem quite happy with the situation, however – especially those collecting extra overtime 'controlling' the generally good-natured demonstrators.
   The Prime Minister had a contingency manifesto standing by when he called his snap election, but it is now in tatters and Mr. McBlair's party is having to make policy on the hoof because the people won't listen to a Government which is perceived not to be listening to them
   One of the main battering rams being used against the Goverment is the 2 billion spent on the Millennium Dome. It is being cited as a prime example of a government's failure to consult the people before spending vast amounts of their money. Cronyism in all areas of public life, as well as the Millennium Dome, is another very effective battering ram.
   The Opposition parties are also receiving a fair amount of stick, but nothing like the battering to which the Government is being subjected – particularly by the "Grey Community". In fact, the Opposition parties are just looking on and trying not to be controversial most of the time; and feeling glad that the assaults are not directed against them!
   Public political meetings have been a fraud, as far as admitting members of the public goes, for more years than most people care to remember. They used to be open to anyone who turned up, including those likely to disagree with the party line. These days, likely dissenters are excluded on 'security' grounds, turning the meetings into a hollow sham for the benefit of the 'meeja'.
   The present Government has tried to admit only 'sound' party members to its meetings but the 'grey panthers' including long-term party members in good standing, who are becoming increasingly vocal about their discontent. As a result, the Government is expected to exclude everyone above the age of 55 from future election meetings, no matter how long and distinguished their record of service to the party. Things have got that bad.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Monday 09/10/2000
DOME CONTRACT SCANDAL?
DCI Sam Breitsch: Fraud Squad
Rumours of a scandal over contracts for the Millennium Dome are multiplying. The latest reports suggest that detectives of New Scotland Yard's Fraud Squad have been following two separate lines of inquiry for several months – one into the assignment of contracts to friends of the Dome's "great and good" and another into allegations of overcharging for materials and services.
   The Dome's managing quango is saying that just one contractor is involved in allegations of overcharging, and the potential scandal was picked up by their internal audit process, so everything is all right.
   With an election campaign in full swing, the Government is talking only about "The Important Issues" and dismissing everything to do with the Dome as a distraction from the important issue of who will run the country for the next five years.
   Unfortunately, the country's discontented – an extremely vocal lobby – are saying that this is further proof that the Government is not listening to those voters who can think for themselves. Even so, the election has proved to be a welcome distraction for those Ministers who were under siege over Dome issues. They're still under siege but the spotlight is now shining on bigger fish.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Wednesday 11/10/2000
DOME VISITOR DROP
McDour: "policy on the move"
Photo: Tim deLong
Visitor numbers at the Dome are down – it's official. People are thought to be boycotting the Dome as a protest against the extra Lottery cash going to it and the general air of corruption surrounding it.
   Winston Hardcastle, the Leader of the Opposition, now says that if elected, his party will close the Dome as soon as possible and hand it over to the Sospettoso Organization.
   The Government says that it should be judged on its entire record, not just this one issue, and Ministers are pointedly talking about something else when the subject of the Dome crops up.
   One politician who might like to talk about the Dome is the Chancellor, George McDour, who is getting badly beaten up on the issue of fuel prices – which is given as another reason for the drop in visitors to the Dome. Mr. McDour is having to make policy on the move and the Opposition parties are just standing back and watching.
   Their message is that they'll offer a fair deal on issues such as fuel prices, but they will have to see the books before they can be specific, given this Government's reputation for deviousness and evasion on the true levels of indirect or 'stealth' taxes.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Thursday 12/10/2000
Dome Election Amnesty

Two independent but confirming leaks have indicated that there will be no arrests made during the election period over corruption allegations concerning Millennium Dome contracts and contractors. The official police view is that the investigations are complex and no conclusion is in sight. The view from Government watchers is that the police have been ordered to "be thorough" [i.e. take their time] so that nothing embarrassing to the Government can be leaked before Election Day.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Friday 13/10/2000 – EVENING SPECIAL
SPECIAL DOME LEAK?
Heritage Minister Pierson McAndelsen
McAndelsen: "suppressed report"
Photo: Oliver Strange Agency
Conspiracy theorist are saying that this leak was saved for Friday the Thirteenth, but it would appear that a team of financial experts, hired by the Government using taxpayers' money, recommended demolishing the Millennium Dome.
   The report states that the Dome has a highly negative public image – it reminds people of the project's financial and political mismanagement rather than 'inspiring any national price' – and it should go. The report adds that the area would be worth more to the taxpayer as a 'mixed use' site rather than a leisure complex, which seems to be the direction planned by the Sospettoso Organization, the Dome's new owners.
   The report was suppressed by Heritage Minister Pierson McAndelsen when the Government had buyers with offers on the table. Now that it has been revealed that the bargain-basement sale was made to the Government's cronies, the truth is leaking out. The leak is particularly embarrassing for Prime Minister Angus McBlair, who famously described the Dome as 'an international landmark' which could 'last for a century'.
   Needless to day, the Downing Street spin doctor is on the case. A press release issued by Campbell McAllister points out that it is 'quite routine' for the government to consider all the options when it is selling public property. Not considering the demolition option would have been irresponsible, the release added.
   In a separate piece of Friday the Thirteenth news for the Dome, it was revealed that K.P. and V.J. Hamar, the billionaire brothers who paid for the Spiritual Zone, are facing corruption charges at home in India. They are alleged to have taken commissions worth £6.2 million from a Swedish armaments firm to seal a deal to re-equip the Indian army with artillery pieces worth £1,000 million in the 1980s. Such 'sweeteners' are illegal and conviction can lead to heavy fines and up to seven years in gaol.
   The Hamar brothers are personal friends of the Prime Minister and his wife, who were both guests of honour at the launch party for the Hamars' Millennium Pledge. The 7.3 million donation saved the Government's face when none of Britain's religious leaders offered any cash to fund a religious zone in the Dome.
   Maybe the Dome also needs a Save Us From Our Friends Zone in addition to the Grovelling Zone!

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Saturday 14/10/2000
The Dome: Who's To Blame?

NAO logoAnother day, another leak. This one originates from the National Audit Office, the parliamentary financial watchdog, and it is of a draft report which apportions blame for whole Millennium Dome shambles. The bottom line of the report is that everybody gets some, as far as blame is concerned – politicians (past and present), managers, absolutely everyone.
ANMD logo   The directors and managers of A New Millennium Dawn quickly lost control of the Dome's finances, they did not question over-optimistic visitor number projections, they failed to keep records of who owned what and their records on the 3,000+ contracts issued are 'patchy' at best.
   The politicians charged with making the Dome happen, and their 'encouragers' outside parliament, were full of enthusiasm for the project initially but 'they lacked a sense of direction'. They are assigned the blame for the quality of the Dome's content, the poor facilities for transporting large numbers of visitors to the Greenwich site and the failure to provide adequate parking space.
David Jones, Culture Secretary   One of the most serious charges in the report is laid against David Jones – currently Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and chairman of the New Millennium Commission. He has received desperate pleas for more money from Lord Hawksbane, the Cabinet Office Minister in charge of co-ordinating the Dome, on four occasions. Each time, Mr. Jones and eight Commission members rejected the opinion of senior civil servants that they were wasting public money and ordered the Lottery cash to be handed over.
   Disaster could have been averted in only one way, the report concludes – by not building the Dome in the first place. Not something that Prime Minister McBlair is eager to hear in the middle of an election campaign.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Monday 16/10/2000
DOME FRAUD ARRESTS
The Dome at night
The Dome at night. (Oliver Strange Agency)
Police forces across the England made 14 arrests over the weekend in connection with Millennium Dome-related fraud. The police have also recovered 'materials' from a number of addresses in Yorkshire, Merseyside and Humberside. The investigation is thought to be into consultancy fees paid for projects related to the Millennium Dome. Unusually, Scotland Yard's Fraud Squad, which co-ordinated the operations, is making no statements about the arrests but there is a sense that they are going after some pretty big fish.
   A spokeswoman for A New Millennium Dawn confirmed that neither its offices nor the Millennium Dome site were involved in the search operations. She added that it would be 'inappropriate' of the company to comment on the state of the on-going police investigation into irregularities over contract allocations. ANMD has always maintained that any breaches of contract regulations were purely technical in nature.
   It is understood from leaks at regional police forces that the arrests made in the Liverpool area were related to a lighting contract awarded as a result of 'an inappropriate relationship' back in 1998. Two men and a woman were questioned and then released on police bail until February of next year.
Cambell McAllister   At Downing Street, the Prime Minister's chief spin doctor and his assistants are now yelling 'foul' – but only in private and only to journalists whom they think are on-side. Campbell McAllister's argument is that there was an unspoken agreement with the Fraud Squad to postpone all arrests until after the election period in order to avoid embarrassment to the outgoing Government.
   As things stand, the McBlair administration's grasp on events appears to be non-existent, and the police are out of control and getting on with their job. Mr. McAllister's problem is that he dare not complain about over-zealous policing during a general election. As a result, the official Downing Street anti-stress punchbag is reported to be losing its stuffing.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Tuesday 17/10/2000
Grey Panther Dome Rally
Hardcastle and Grey Panthers
Winston Hardcastle & Grey Panthers
The Grey Power lobby is up in arms again. Pensioners' groups across the nation are accusing the Government of putting bouncers on the door at election meetings to keep out anyone who looks of pension age.
   Opposition parties have described the policy as 'heavy-handed and misguided'. Conservative leader Winston Hardcastle made a point of chatting to the Grey Panthers who lobbied one of his election meetings yesterday.
   A government spokesperson denied that it is official policy to exclude anyone of voting age and insisted that all age groups are welcome at New Labour's public meetings. But she added that every political party has the right to prevent disruption by known trouble-makers.
   Pensioners' groups in the South are now threatening to hold a major rally at the Millennium Dome if the Government will not listen to their views. They intend to take advantage of the recently introduced Pensioner's Pass, which allows them free access to public transport and free admission to the Dome.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Wednesday 18/10/2000
PM's WIFE PIE-EYED
Moments later ...
Photo: Oliver Strange Agency
Connie McBlair, the Prime Minister's wife, was struck by a custard pie in a car park yesterday. On her way back to work after a luncheon party for human right lawyers held in one of the Millennium Dome's peripherals, Mrs. McBlair appears to have been the victim of a remotely controlled booby trap.
   Eye-witnesses reported a bang just before a yellowish white object came flying over the rows of cars. The 'First Lady' turned towards the source of the bang in nice time to catch a faceful of pie. A companion reported that she was surprised but unharmed.
   A police spokesman revealed that a crude miniature balista and a model aircraft type remote control system were recovered after a search of the car park. The police now want to interview a grey-haired woman, who was seen in the vicinity just before the incident. Chatter on the Internet would seem to suggest that the assault was perpetrated by either a discontented farmer or a fuel-price protester rather than a 'Grey Panther'.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Thursday 19/10/2000
NEW DOME 'SPORT'

A curious new sport has come to light at the Millennium Dome. People have been climbing up it; and some have been body-skiing on its surface! The Dome's Director of External Operations has admitted that her staff has had to mount at least five rescues for teenage kids who had scaled the outer fringes of the Dome – usually for a dare or to win a drunken bet. Other invaders have evaded capture on an undisclosed number of occasions.
   No publicity was given to the rescues to avoid putting ideas into the heads of the local tearaways. But the events seen on national TV yesterday morning have blown the gaff pretty comprehensively. After all, it's not easy to hush up having four brightly coloured, sixty-foot election banners strung from the Dome's support pylons.
   The police are investigating the invasion – presumably, in the hope that simple trespass can be boosted up to causing criminal damage. But if the culprits are brought to court, informed opinion is that they will get away with it – just like the 'Save The Whale' protesters who kicked lumps out of Nelson's Column while climbing it last year.

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Friday 20/10/2000
DOME AWARD
Prof. Andrew Kennedy
Photo: Janet O'Viske
The Millennium Dome has won a prize! At the British Construction Industry Federation annual awards dinner last night, the Dome received the first prize in the major contracts category.
   The chairman of the panel of judges, Professor Andrew Kennedy, described the Dome as "A major icon of the decade and a fitting bridge from one millennium to the next." He added, "We should not allow the controversy around the Dome, most of which arises from purely political issues, to detract from the magnificent achievement of creating this magnificent national treasure."
   Obviously, somebody besides the Prime Minister and his gang of hangers-on likes it!

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Saturday 21/10/2000
ANMD Calls In The Accountants
Amos Roche – boyfriend
The Dome's management quango A New Millennium Dawn has called in a team of accountants to check design contracts awarded as long ago as the autumn of 1997. The move is part of an internal investigation into how some of the contracts were awarded, MD News has learned. One of the big issues for the accountants is the circumstances under which Robyn Carnell-Wyatt, one of the directors, awarded contracts worth £32 million to her then boyfriend Amos Roche.
   A round dozen design companies were appointed to work on the twelve zones (later expanded to fourteen) in December, 1997. Mr. Roche's company, Work Unlimited, plc, received contracts related to two of the zones. Under the rules for awarding public contracts, ANMD should have given them to companies which had been established for at least four years and which had a proven record of tackling such projects and a 'depth of resources'. Mr. Roche's company did not begin trading until the spring of 1998, some four months after the contracts were awarded.
   As the work on designing the Dome's interior progressed, ANMD rejected designs from some of the other companies and transferred their work to Work Unlimited. The contracts were not re-advertised. Mr. Roche is believed to have cleared some £3.2 million in personal fees.
   Mr. Roche has dismissed the charges against him as 'predictable fabrications' and he insists that he had the necessary experience to perform the work to the required standard. He remains confident that the investigation will show that 'all contracts were awarded on merit'.
   Ms Carnell-Wyatt, now a member of the Dome development team led by Sir Tom Todhunter, had no comment to make. Her office told MD News that she is currently out of the country 'liaising' with the staff of Italian billionaire Lucrio Sospettoso, who now owns the dome.

filed by Erik Voth [ej.voth@md.news.uk]
 

 

MDB News
Autumn b Sunday 22/10/2000
MDB SPEAKS OUT

The MDB won't be voting for this Government – and that's official. In a statement released to the news media last night – authenticated via his personal 'smart fluorescent dye' combination, the Millennium Dome Bomber gave a list of 8 reasons for not voting for this Government.
   Unfortunately, no one can print them in the national press for legal reasons, but they are freely available on the Internet at the usual sources of such material. We can't be more specific about where to find this material as the Government keeps closing down such sites and the MDB's supporters keep opening new ones.
   Doing a search for "MDB 18" is a good way of finding them.

report by Insider [In-114@mdb.news.uk]
 

 

MD News
Autumn b Monday 23/10/2000
Dome Gong-Giver Bunged

It nows seems likely that Professor Andrew Kennedy, chairman of the British Construction Industry Federation awards committee, was offered a knighthood in the coming New Year Honours List for awarding a prize to the Millennium Dome. Of course, that's not going to happen now that the secret has been leaked, but it does raise an interesting question.
   Is the disappointed professor going to blow the gaff on exactly who offered him a K on the prime minister's behalf? And is he going to do it before election day on Thursday? Watch this space!

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

 

MD News
Autumn b Tuesday 24/10/2000
Chancellor's Dome Visit
Chancellor George McDour
Photo: Tim deLong
Chancellor George McDour took part of the morning off from electioneering for a family trip to the Dome – with a borrowed family.
   Observers are now wondering what sort of signals he's trying to send and whether he's trying to be defiant and proud of his role in giving the British Public a National Treasure, or if he's just trying to confuse everyone.
   Like the Prime Minister, the Chancellor has been one of those people who have praised the Dome to the skies but never found the time actually to go there. He is now past that ordeal and we can expect to hear a great deal about his trip whenever he's asked a question on another topic, which he doesn't want to answer!

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

Dome's Dull Departure

There's an election campaign on and it's a good time to embarrass the government, which is probably why this latest leak from the Heritage Ministry sneaked out yesterday. Apparently, if it hadn't been sold, the Dome's career would have ended without ceremony at 6 p.m. on December 31st of this year.
   Once the last visitor had gone, there would have been no party for the Prime Minister and the other 'great and good' persons who gave us the Dome. Not even a party for its staff. When the last of the staff had gone, the caretaker would just have switched out the lights and gone home for his tea.
   Realizing that anything which they planned would be torn to pieces by the unkind 'meeja', the Dome's management quango decided to do nothing. Mainly because they would have had nothing to celebrate other than the end of a year of constant rows, financial crises, visitor numbers failing to meet the constantly dropping targets and police investigations into dodgy goings on.
   Back when the Dome was new and everything looked full of hope, the Prime Minister's office included a grand firework party as part of the closing ceremony for the Dome. When MD News asked about it, a junior press officer became exceedingly grumpy and told us that there had been 'no firm announcement' about what would happen when the Dome reached the end of its official life.
   Let us hope that Sir Tom Todhunter and the Dome's new owner, Italian billionaire Lucrio Sospettoso, can some up with something inspiring at the end of the year.

filed by Erik Voth [ej.voth@md.news.uk]
 

Summer b
Created for Romiley Literary Circle by HTSP Web Division, 10/12 SK6 4EG, Romiley, GB. Sole RLC, 2006