Anorak News | A Fitting Monument

A Fitting Monument

by | 8th, September 2004

‘THE new Feltz wing at Anorak Towers has been hailed by some as a ‘marvel that speaks for the age’ and damned by others as a ‘dumpy, overblown, shameless carbuncle’.

Made in Scotland

Whatever the critics think, we who use the soaring edifice of granite, steel and oak think it’s just great.

And the best thing is that it didn’t cost a thing, it being constructed entirely from off-cuts and seconds from the new Scottish Parliament’s headquarters.

Even if anyone notices, none of the politicos who took their well-upholstered seats yesterday for the first time in the spacious Debating Chamber will say anything.

They don’t want to draw attention to a building that exceeded its original budget by more than £400m, which, by the Times’s calculation, is 1,000% more than the estimate for the job.

So what does £431m buy you these days?

What with property prices as they are, the 129 MSPs could have found themselves all shoehorned into a studio flat in Westminster – in an area known as South Scotland.

Or they could do what they have done and stayed in Edinburgh and bought something with a few ensuite toilets and a self-contained kitchen.

But, to go with the mod cons, the new Parliament boasts a few new cons of its own.

The Times notices the walls festooned with works of art by contemporary Scottish artists; the vaulted ceilings of the committee rooms; the massive arched roof that seems to defy gravity; and the MSPs’ desks, each carved from sycamore and ‘shaped like serpents’.

‘This is,’ said Jack McConnell, Scotland’s First Minster, ‘a stunning building’, the ideal place from which to run a parliament that ‘inspires people across Scotland and wins the respect by the quality of work we do’.

After all, what you need before you can even think about getting down to business is a symbol of your country’s greatness, something to reinforce the tremendous importance of a regional assembly that to date has spent a fortune on a building in its own honour and, er…well, we’re sure much else besides.

So what do the locals think of it? The Independent is partial to a bit of journalism on the cheap, and went out to ask a few passers-by for their opinions.

Alan Dickie says: ‘It’s a bit flashy and not worth the money.’

And Dundee’s very own Yvonne Stewart says that it ‘looks too much like a council tower block with fancy bits of wood stuck on the side’.

But the Times’ editorial has no truck with such parochial lack of vision and says that the new edifice is ‘an icon of Scottish nationhood’, worthy of standing alongside the Old Man of Hoy (free), Edinburgh Castle and the Forth Bridge.

‘Who is still denouncing the extravagance of the Sydney Opera House or berating the British Library,’ it asks.

Well, not Scotland’s MSPs, that’s for sure…’

Posted: 8th, September 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink