Shipping in current views on politics

Mr Sayer’s comments on the article Has design found an ally in Labour? (Letters, DW 23 February) show a complete misunderstanding of the issues, and are both contradictory and ill-informed.

He says that “any political party that allies itself with design must be good”. You only have to reflect on the extensive use of design employed by the National Socialist Party in Germany during the Third Reich to acknowledge that his statement is thoughtless and misguided.

Designers and those who value our services readily agree that design is an important tool in improving the quality of life and adding value to many elements of our national GDP. However, to suggest that design, given political support, is the only thing to “get this country out of the appalling recession we have been through”, is naive and grossly exaggerates the size, strength, and potential of the design industry. I suspect that those involved in farming, technology and raw materials, to name only a few industries, may also feel they have a part to play.

Nevertheless, the design industry needs to do more in promoting itself to Government as well as to industry, commerce, and education if design is to be employed as extensively as we would 1ike.

Bodies such as the Chartered Society of Designers are already working in these areas, but more designers need to support the CSD in its efforts by taking an active role. Mr Sayer should join the CSD and support its principles instead of whining and leaving it to others.

His remarks concerning the Cunard 1994 refit of the QE2 are ill-advised, untrue and irrelevant to the issues in the article. However, for the record, I will clarify the matter. The project management of the refit was not within the remit of McNeece, which provided professional services on time, in budget, and to Cunard’s approval. The management and performance of the refit contractors was a matter for others engaged on the project. Indeed, if one refers to “QE2 delays not due to the designers” (DW 6 January 1995), a Cunard spokesman said the designers did a “brilliant job,” and made it clear the contract or’s failure to complete on time was not the fault of the designers.

Cunard tells us that our work on the QE2 attracts much praise from passengers and we have a letter on file from the chairman confirming this and expressing the company’s appreciation for the contribution made by Mc- Neece during the refit.

Having misinterpreted the DW article in question and publicly exposed the shortcomings of his political philosophy, one can only hope that Mr Sayer has now got it out of his system and can get back to his drawing board – or is CAD more appropriate?

John McNeece



London EC1

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