But one issue is the honest use of language. If a space is private, it should not be called public, and planners should send back any application that makes this false claim. This matters because, if we are kidded into thinking that there is a civic realm that is not actually there, we will suddenly find that there is less space than we had thought for such essential public actions as protest. This is what the Occupy movement found when it looked for a location to make its point in the City of London. It turned out that the Square Mile is cunningly designed so as to have almost nowhere for such groups to gather, so the protesters ended up by the skirts of St Paul's. Oddly, the Occupy movement looks like the sort of colourful cultural event that local authorities and even businesses pay good money to subsidise, so as to jolly up their town centres: it is only when they are trying to say something that they officially become a problem. … [Read more...] about The London River Park: place for the people or a private playground?
Boris johnson mayoral
Chris Bryant, the shadow leader of the house, said he “fully understood why Britain wants to engage with Russia – it is a key player in Syria and Iran. But the one thing we know about the murderous kleptomaniac regime in Russia is that it walks all over the weak. Putin has no respect for those that let him do what he wants. … [Read more...] about Litvinenko murder ‘unacceptable breach of international law’
To assess the scale of the potential profits earned by owning empty homes, the Guardian compared the purchase price of the list of empty properties accidentally released by Kensington and Chelsea council with Zoopla estimates for what those properties are currently worth. The estimates are based on recent sales from other properties in the local area. Both data points were available for 89 of the properties on the list. … [Read more...] about Buy to leave: profits dwarf ‘meaningless’ fines for London investors
“Our members are frustrated that they can’t build genuinely affordable homes as part of the government’s programme,” said Kathleen Kelly, assistant director of policy and research at the NHF. “Housing associations are now having to fund up to 85% of the cost of developing new homes from their own resources. They are not driving up rents because they want to, but are being forced to respond to the pressure on public spending.” … [Read more...] about Tenants hit by £50m rent rise as social housing converted to ‘affordable’ homes
That discussion is part of a much larger debate across the globe about the nature and direction of societies. Fears or hopes about change, hostility or openness to immigrants, confidence in the future or a longing for a simpler past, these are not unique to Britain. We have seen this before in history, when rapid change destroys people’s livelihoods dislocates communities and leaves a widespread sense of unease and, often, resentment. The debate over the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s was not just about tariffs and meeting the demands for cheaper food, it was a struggle between the landed interests and the new industrialists over the future shape of British society. Before the first world war rapid industrialisation and the growth of international trade created great opportunities and great inequalities. The new working classes pushed peacefully where they could and violently where they could not for fairer conditions and a political voice. Small shopkeepers and artisans or … [Read more...] about Paths from the past: historians make sense of Brexit and our current political turmoil