Reply Thu 21 Jun, 2007 09:23 am
i had always hoped that one day i might still sail on the QE II . i know it's not the most modern ship , but it still looked like a REAL SHIP - not just like a pre-fab floating hotel .
i guess i don't have the kind of money they have in dubay - gotta face facts !


Today one of our greatest post-war ships... tomorrow a hotel
For Dubai, it will be just another tourist attraction; for Scotland, it will be just another Clyde-built ship destined to languish abroad.

Now regarding trade and tourism, rather than oil, as its economic platform, the conspicuously affluent emirate will transform the QE2 into a floating hotel and museum.

The £50m deal comes in the wake of a multi-million pound project to save the Clyde-built Cutty Sark - while the Tees-built Carrick rots uncertain in Irvine - and raises questions over whether enough is being done to preserve the country's maritime heritage.

With her predecessor, the Queen Elizabeth, catching fire before being scrapped in Hong Kong in the seventies, and the Queen Mary now a floating hotel and museum in California, many think not. Among them is Jimmy Reid, the charismatic union leader who led the 1971 work-in at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.

"We are clearly not doing enough to pay tribute and respect maritime heritage," he said. "The QE2 was one of the great constructions of the post-war era. If it were a building, it would have been an honoured place for the nation to have been proud of."

Mr Reid believes the ship - to berth in one of Dubai's man-made islands - should have been bought by Britain and returned to the Clyde, where it could have earned its keep as a cultural, education and conference centre.

"It is one of the great liners and now here it is in a place that seems highly inappropriate," he said. "But you can't blame the people who bought it - you can really blame us for not respecting our own heritage and industrial works of art at their very best. While I'm glad it's not being scrapped, as some of great liners have been, ideally, it should have been brought to Scotland and used to show the great skills that epitomise this country."

The Dubai sale is indicative of Scotland's "lack of strategic understanding" about the impact of its maritime history and the nation's "ability to learn from it", according to Martin Docherty, chairman of Clydebank Restoration Trust.

"The Royal Yacht Britannia, built by Clydebank, is now moored in docks at Leith and used as a tourist ship, but people could still learn from its advanced engineering and technology. And the Queen Mary berthed in California is a good example of historical restoration which Scotland could learn from. It is a pity Clydebank is being let down because the ship isn't returning," he said.

Jim Bullock, 76, a fellow of the Institute of Shipbuilding and Engineering in Scotland, worked at John Brown's shipyard when Cunard's longest-serving ship was launched.

Mr Bullock, from Ayrshire, spoke of his sadness at the latest news. "My first thought was oh god, we're not going to have another Queen Elizabeth burn to death are we?' I hoped the QE2 would come back to the Clyde. That is where she belongs," he said.

Brian Whittingham, 56, an author from Glasgow who also worked at Brown's and helped build the QE2, agreed. "It would have been superb if the QE2 could have ended up back on the Clyde," he said.

"It has touched so many lives and it would have been wonderful if it could have become a maritime museum back here on the river where it was built with such skill and passion. That said, I'd rather see it as a floating hotel in Dubai than end up as scrap."

Christine Schmitt-Mackinnon, 62, a niece of the late Sir John Brown who owned the historic shipyard, said she believes her uncle would have been happy to see the life of the QE2 continuing through its new role in Dubai.

The retired lecturer said: "I think my uncle would have been realistic about it. It would have been absolutely brilliant if the QE2 had come home to the Clyde but I just don't think it's feasible. "

Veteran entertainer Sir Jimmy Savile, 80, who has travelled on the ship 35 times, called the development "great news". He said: "The QE2 is the most noble ship afloat. It was built in the most noble country and has served many millions of people with style.

"The fact that it is coming to the end of its sailing life and will finish up as a luxury hotel is great news. So many noble things go into wrack and ruin or, in the case of ships, finish up as razor blades."

Describing it as a "Scottish export", he added: "When people round the world go to stay in it as a hotel in Dubai - and see the history of the ship - that's got to be a fantastic visiting card for Scotland. A piece of Scotland in Dubai? You couldn't buy that."

Dr Chris Mason, chairman of the Clyde Maritime Trust, agreed that the Dubai move should be embraced. "It means the QE2 will carry the tale of Clyde shipbuilding to people who are unlikely to have ever heard of it," he said.

The Glasgow councillor has called for a Scottish parliamentary inquiry into the country's maritime heritage, while David Thomson, director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, admitted that the institution had "struggled with underfunding."

12:22am Tuesday 19th June 2007

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Reply Thu 21 Jun, 2007 01:10 pm
trip to Dubai?

The Prince says the skiing there is very good.
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Reply Thu 21 Jun, 2007 02:02 pm
dubai INDOOR ski centre ! (NO THANKS !)

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