What’s in a name? Nick Ames comments on recent Meraas dispute

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It’s fair to say that the English county of Kent – where I grew up and where I worked on various news publications prior to coming here – does not have that many similarities with Dubai.

It would be hard to confuse the two – hop fields and palm trees, rolling downs and sandy deserts, Tudor cottages and designer villas, So why should anyone in the “Garden of England” think that a giant ferris wheel and a shopping mall should not both be called Bluewater.

In Kent Bluewater is a retail centre which by Dubai’s standards is not exceptional. It’s one of Europe’s largest though, set in a disused quarry and its major claim to fame is that it once attempted to ban people from its doors if they wore scarves or hoods.

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So it really cannot be confused with a man-made island in the Arabian Gulf. Yet Bluewater in the UK is objecting to the use of the name for one of Dubai’s latest mega-projects.

It seems pointless, especially as Bluewater is also the name for a water purification product, an IT business, a publishing company, a real estate firm, a video production unit etc etc.

And on purely appropriate grounds – Dubai’s development in set in the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf while for Kent the nearest body of water is the River Medway. Last time I looked – come to think of it every time I’ve looked – that has been a shade of brownish-grey.

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