A Wheel steeped in symbolism

Michael Bywater ("Bigger than the Dome or Mr Tony", 10 January) is dismissive of the idea that a cultural artefact such as the Wheel ("slowly spinning, empty as a new Labour 'initiative'") could serve as a suitable commemoration of our starting point, 2,000 years ago. That American dealer in dystopia, H L Mencken, thought otherwise: "The cosmos is a gigantic flywheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride." This proposition is conditional on the Wheel passing all safety tests and being fully functional at the required times.

John O'Byrne

This article first appeared in the 17 January 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The plot to keep us puffing