|Spot the useless and unwanted thing!|
Albino Pachyderm productions proudly preesent... The Millenium Dome. The Dome is probably the most singular example of what the term 'white elephant' signifies - an unwanted and totally unnecessary thing. The dictionary reads: white elephant n. useless possession. A 'white elephant' can also be a project doomed to failure (PDTF) rather than just an end product.
A classic PDTF is the TSR2 - a capable strike aircraft that cost the British taxpayer millions in development during the 1960s. Ahead of its time, all the development in the World did not save it from... wait for it... a Labour government. Likewise, the Nimrod AEW project cost the taxpayer over a billion pounds before being canned by the Tories - but it really was not their fault, as they'd been saddled with the tar baby due to bad decision making by the previous Labour governments.
White elephants and Labour administrations fit together like a surgical glove on a well-greased hand. Billions are wasted and heads do not roll. Is this sounding familiar? Every government has to pray at the temple of the white elephant to some degree, but when it comes to pissing billions of Pound's worth of hard-earned taxpayer's beer tokens up the wall, nobody does it better than Labour - new or otherwise. And there you have it.
The current Labour (mal)administration has broken all records for the creation of white elephants. What with billions pissed away on the Typhoon, new carriers, new anti-submarine or anti-air frigates... they kinda missed out the fact that the Cold War was over and we need squaddies on the ground. But then you can't just go to BAE, hand them 50 billion and get a robot squaddie army now can you? Not yet anyway.
The best white elephants are the high profile ones. A classic example of this is the 'Diana Memorial Fountain' in London's Hyde Park. Rolled out in an obvious rush to the tune of £5 million, the 'artwork' is supposed to represent the 'spirit of the blah blah blah'. The reality is that it is little more than an unwanted, badly-designed eyesore that looks like a flooded concrete skateboard park that leaks like a Bangkok whore and costs over £250,000 per year in 'maintenance'. Fucking brill, eh and another example of YAGI at its finest?
But by far the most costly and (generally) unwanted white elephant of all will be the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games. Originally budgeted at a measly £146.99 due to lack of any foresight or common sense, this has since gone orbital and currently stands at a biblical £946 trillion - the Bisley pistol range notwithstanding.
Cynical observers have pointed out that end total will exceed this greatly, and that for such a price the whole tournament could be held on Venus - where there would be a similar amount of locals interested in the project as there are in London.