Sir Nicholas Kenyon, leader of the Simon Rattle campaign for a new concert hall in the City of London, has returned to the fray after a period of quiet contemplation. He argues in the Telegraph today that, after the Brexit vote, ‘London and the UK will need standout projects: the sort of infrastructure that will help fuel our economy, and attract both visitors and artists who want to come or continue to work here because of our thrilling cultural scene.’
Which is exactly what he argued before Britain voted to leave the EU.
The case for a new hall on the site of the Museum of London has some merits in a sunny economic climate, which is a thing of the past. In present conditions it will (a) cost half a billion pounds, (b) be furiously resented by the rest of the UK, specifically those parts that voted for Brexit and (c) lack any kind of political backing now that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, its chief nodder and winker, has been sacked from the Theresa May government.
To make the case now for a new hall displays woeful timing and an astonishing lack of emotional intelligence. Mrs May is unlikely to be amused.