A SUPER SALESMAN FOR CURVED CONCRETE WALLS

by Colin Campbell

DREW Hendry marked his rise to the chairmanship of the “Inverness Futures” group by celebrating it with a long screed of complete verbiage.

“Inverness has been a city for 21 years, yet unlike other cities has never had a defined vision. No formal debate has taken place, no document has been drawn up to pull together the hope, ambition and identity we want to emerge in the decades to come,” he says.

Drew Hendry…wall to wall.

And so on and so forth, la, la la.

Yes, that’s what we’ve missed out on, ‘having a formal debate, a defined vision, and a document’. And why on earth hasn’t it occurred to anyone to pull together “the hope, ambition and identity we want to emerge in the decades to come”.

We slipped up there. Damn, if we’d just thought of that, our problems would have been solved.

What puzzles me is how those who peddle this kind of utterly meaningless drivel do so well for themselves these days. We are in Gathering Place territory here. “Connecting with the river, framing the castle, providing a sense of place” and so on. And we end up with 50 yards of concrete crap that cost £300,000 and now needs security cameras and floodlights to avoid being covered with graffiti from end to end.

But Drew Hendry, while all those visions are filling his head, does manage to shake them off for a moment and does deign to refer to the riverside.

Inverness, he says “is a place where public artworks are launched, then scrapped, and redone through a bun fight, with most involved left unhappy”.

So according to Hendry, the three year clash over the Gathering Place amounted to “a bun fight”. That’s what he thinks the vehement opposition of thousands of people to this riverside debacle without end added up to, “a bun fight”.

This patronising, condescending tone will not be appreciated from the local MP. As he swans about Westminster living the high life and enjoying every minute of it he may think a “bun fight” over the future of the Inverness riverside is beneath him. Well it certainly shouldn’t be. It’s not so long ago that he was circling the Glenurquhart Road car park trying to find a council parking space.

Alternately, he’s shied away from any involvement in a real-life issue that many people feel very strongly about in case he got burned by it. As in, something that’s happening right here and right now. Maybe Hendry  didn’t want to risk that, not when the chance arises to talk a lot of gibberish about 2035.

Why get involved in the grit and grime of something that means a lot to very many people with passionately expressed views about it.

Far safer for him to remain in his floating world of “visions”.

It occurs to me if those Gathering Place “artists” are ever needing a salesman who can flog another lump of concrete “offering a sense of place” to those stupid enough to fall for it, they know where to find him.

Drew Hendry, ambitious visionary and curved wall chancer, that job is for you.

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