The BBC is today reporting that the London Eye is no longer under imminent danger. However, this may prove to be weasel words if we look at the detail of what has transpired.
In short, the South Bank Centre has said that it is not proposing the absurd and extortionate increase in rent it was reported to have wanted - up from £65,000 to £1 million. It adds that it will be seeking a "fair" rent and that there is "no likelihood" of the Eye facing eviction.
Likelihood. Hmm. Good choice of word. It's interesting that this "likelihood" doesn't entirely lift the threat of the axe, isn't it?
Anyway, if the Scalping Bastards Centre - sorry, SBC - is to be believed, this is all a fuss over nothing and will be sorted out to everyone's satisfaction shortly.
Bollocks. If this is all a misunderstanding, something is seriously amiss. You don't marshal figures from all the main political parties and spark ministerial intervention in condemnation over nothing. There was a threat, wasn't there SBC?
Perhaps they've realised their little attempt at gouging has been the least popular initiative since the Poll Tax, and are suitably chagrined. It would be nice to see a bit of public repentance - I'm thinking the stocks, here - but we have to make do with what we're given.
We'll keep an Eye on future developments.
EYE "LIES" screams the Evening Standard, and they have a bloody good story to back up the splash. You find yourself warming to the fascist rag when they indulge in top-quality journalism like this.
They have a letter from the Swindling Bastards Centre's solicitor's not only showing determination to rack up the rent, but also specifically threatening to tear down the wheel by 1 July 2005. It's a frankly chilling indictment of naked profiteering. The rest of the piece is condemnatory.
This represents a first for Londonist, but we join the Evening Standard in saying Lord Hollick should resign over this appalling mess. His organisation has conspired to swindle or kill an asset to the nation, and he has ill-used a publicly funded institution. This is damning proof that these important cultural jobs should never be handed out willy-nilly to whatever businessman is in favour with the present government.