Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Return to Speakers' Corner

Speakers' Corner 2017

Is it just winter, or is Speakers' Corner in terminal decline? On a recent visit – my first for over a year – religion, always a dominant presence, was the only thing on offer, mostly in the form of squabbles between Christian and Muslim preachers and hecklers. And there weren't more than three or four of those. I don't remember ever seeing such an unimpressive bunch.

It was the last, rather miserable, Sunday of 2017. Dull and damp, with occasional spots of rain, and darkness threatening by mid-afternoon. So maybe not a fair basis for judgement. I will be back to check. I hope I'm wrong.

For a record of how it used to be, my book Speakers' Corner, Debate, Democracy and Disturbing the Peace is still on sale at all good bookshops.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Lendlease: Someone Has Blundered

Elephant Park construction site, Southwark

Lendlease's controversial deal with Haringey Council may be looking precarious, but the developer is still going strong in Southwark, where it is replacing 1194 social rented flats on the once publicly owned Heygate Estate with a paltry 74.  A further 500 of a total of 2500 new homes in its Elephant Park scheme will be let at so-called 'affordable' rents, and the rest sold off. Purchase of a one-bed, shared-ownership flat requires a minimum household income of around £60K.
The now demolished Heygate Estate, 2002