Leading article: It's the Wheel thing

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The Independent Culture
STEADY! IT seems as if, unusually and unexpectedly, we may have a Great British Success on our hands. For, against all the odds and aesthetic anguishing about outrages of scale and gimmickry, the millennium wheel looks like being on a bit of a roll. Already, almost half a million tickets have been sold for the 30-minute ride, which will take its passengers 450 feet above London and back down again.

There were, we remember, those who affected knowing smiles when that cable snapped and the mighty wheel lay forlorn on its side, but we knew better; we knew that this project had the support of Miss Joanna Lumley. But even that crucial factor cannot be all of it.

What, exactly, is the Secret of the Wheel? And why hasn't the Dome got it? Not everyone can be taken by the fine irony of its sponsorship by British Airways. And can it really be a primal existential urge to demonstrate the pointlessness of life, and our affinity with the hamster, by taking a trip that goes nowhere?

One thing, though, is certain: if John Prescott can work it out, his troubles with transport are over.