Daily Mail on Spectres of Modernism

The Daily Mail
covered Spectres of Modernism in news story entitled ‘Children need sunlight to grow’: Luxury London apartment block aimed at wealthy foreign investors ‘will plunge schools, homes and a busy park into darkness’ by Liz Dunphy. This appears to have been published online on 30 October 2017, but a link on the Mail site dates it as 29 October 2017, so possibly it appeared in print a day earlier. Further subheadings give a flavour of this long, sympathetic and well illustrated story: ‘Locals oppose the proposed development on Golden Lane, north London’; ‘They say it threatens community while providing luxury flats to foreign investors’; ‘UN investigators are examining if gentrification is breaching human rights’.

While dealing well with the issue of ghost homes and the ‘innovative’ transformation of a council flat ‘block into an artist’s canvas draped with bright banners that shout eloquent opposition to the redevelopment of Bernard Morgan House’, like an earlier piece in The Guardian, this Mail coverage also raises the issue of connections between Taylor Wimpey and those who voted to approve planning permission for The Denizen AKA The Turd.

“Residents have also questioned whether planning committee members, including chairman Christopher Hayward, should have declared commercial interests that connect them with the developer.”

‘Children need sunlight to grow’: Luxury London apartment block aimed at wealthy foreign investors ‘will plunge schools, homes and a busy park into darkness’ by Liz Dunphy, Daily Mail, 30 October 2017.

The Guardian dealt with the matter in this way:

The story follows a by-now-familiar plot. In May 2017 planning approval was given to Taylor Wimpey, despite strong opposition from local residents and businesses. During this process it emerged that the chair of the City’s planning and transportation committee, Chris Hayward, is a director of Indigo Planning, whose clients include Taylor Wimpey. Deputy chair James Thomson was formerly deputy chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Cushman and Wakefield, commercial property and real estate consultants, which marketed and sold Bernard Morgan House to Taylor Wimpey. The committee member and former lord mayor of London Sir Michael Bear was appointed chair of the planning consultancy Turley Associates – which also acts for Taylor Wimpey – a few weeks after planning approval was granted.

Developers are using culture as a Trojan horse in their planning battles by Anna Minton, The Guardian, 10 October 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/10/developers-culturehousing-luxury-homes-art-artists

“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane



Jeremy Corbyn & The City of London

You only have to cross the road from the east side of Golden Lane Estate or Bernard Morgan House (still standing but slated to be demolished to make way for Taylor Wimpey’s ghost home development The Denizen AKA The Turd) to go from the City of London into neighbouring Islington. Reading the local press from these two boroughs you’d think they were worlds apart. City A.M. has been running a series of paranoid rants about Jeremy Corbyn (the Islington North MP and Labour Party leader), whereas last week Islington Gazette featured a picture of Corbyn and City of London boss Catherine McGuinness and outgoing Lord Mayor of London Andrew Parmley all beaming together. Also in the photo are local headteacher Nicole Haynes and Islington school student Winta Yoseph. See above and also the story Jeremy Corbyn bangs drum for musical ambition at newly-opened City of London Academy Highgate Hill by James Scott (Islington Gazette, 24 October 2017).

In terms of paranoid rants and delusional thinking about Corbyn (and indeed the entire world) City A.M. offers very rich pickings. We will limit ourselves to the ‘Editor’s notes’ piece Corbyn’s Labour will come for The City of London Corporation (13 October 2017) by the paper’s rancid boss Christian May:

The radical transformation of the Labour party’s membership has delivered Jeremy Corbyn as leader and has facilitated the emergence of a front bench compromised of diehard socialists, anti-capitalists and Marxists. It has also reshaped local associations and party machinery right down to the selection of council candidates. According to veteran Labour figures from the Blair, Brown and Miliband days, this will soon result in maverick council declarations such as “no  Uber in Islington” or “no Amazon in Haringey”.

These policies won’t actually take effect, but the message itself would, over time, be deeply damaging to London’s global reputation. Alongside such examples of student politics, a more coordinated effort will emerge to strip the City of London Corporation of its historic powers. John McDonnell is already on the record supporting such a move, and was only talked out of making it official policy at the last election by Labour moderates. With the Corbyn takeover of the party totally complete, there will be no such restraint in the future.

Any official move against the Corporation by the Labour party (either nationally or spearheaded by Labour councils in the capital) would put Sadiq Khan in a sensitive position. Would he be peacemaker, or would he sense an opportunity to extend his own powers? The Corporation itself needs to wake up to the reality of the Labour threat, and not wait until the revolutionaries are at the City gates.

The Labour Party is resolutely reformist and May reveals himself to be an utterly deluded extremist when he talks about “revolutionaries… at the City gates’. This hack’s incendiary right-wing rhetoric brings to mind the absurd conspiracy theories about Harold Wilson circulated by reactionaries who wanted to overthrow British parliamentary democracy and replace it with an authoritarian regime in the 1970s. In the unlikely event that an elected Labour government set about reforming local politics in the City of London to make them democratic (this would entail abolishing the business vote among other things), many residents of the borough would welcome such long overdue changes. Sadly the cozy picture of Corbyn with City bosses above leads us to think these reforms, which are hundreds of years overdue, are unlikely to happen any time soon.

Our Flyers Are Everywhere! Pt 3


Our flyers may not have got to Alpha Centauri yet but they are in a lot of places around EC1, as these pictures show they’re even on the railings outside Bowater House – Fann Street side in this instance, but on the corner with Golden Lane, there’s another towards the west side of the block. This one has been laminated to protect it from the elements! In the background is the Wimps banner by Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller & Fraser Muggeridge; further back from that is the Listen Here banner by Liz Price, another Turner Prize winner! Spectres of Modernism: Artists Against Overdevelopment.

“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane

Save Pueblito Paisa, London’s Latino Village!


There is a lot of gentrification and overdevelopment going on in London and around the world, and while Taylor Wimpey’s ghost home development The Denizen is the focus of our concern, we know there are a lot of other campaigns that deserve support. One that’s got some attention recently because the United Nations has raised it has a human rights issue is the proposed redevelopment of Wards Corner and Seven Sisters market in north London. Despite recent TV and national press coverage this campaign could still use more signatures on their petition at: https://www.change.org/p/save-uk-s-only-latino-village-pueblito-paisa-in-seven-sisters-indoor-market-wards-corner

Here’s a bit of what those defending Pueblito Paisa have to say on the front page of their petition:

The proposal to move Pueblito Paisa & Wards Corner means it is not regarded as equally important as the other cultural facilities in Haringey. It shows that multicultural traders are being marginalised and it proves that Haringey strategy is elitist and not serving local people. Also, it raises concerns about how valued the 2nd largest UK Latin Community is to Haringey Council. Many young people gain a sense of belonging here, it is a social meeting place as well as a place for culture. It is a rare and unique business village within a increasingly atomised national landscape. Support our approved community plan to restore not demolish the historical Edwardian Wards Corner listed building & Pueblito Paisa, the authentic gateway into Tottenham’s historical corridor. Lets save it from falling victim to the clone town syndrome and preserve our diverse & historical Tottenham identity.

What this campaign shares with ours and many others across the world that stand up to overdevelopment and gentrification, is a desire to protect diverse communities against developers who want to replace truly human uses urban space with a dead monoculture based on greed.

Our Flyers Are Everywhere! Pt 2


Our flyers may not have got to Mars yet but they are in a lot of places around EC1 and neighbouring districts, as these pictures show they’re even in the Barbican Library; a four minute walk down Golden Lane from Bowater House, up the ramp by the UBS building and across the Podium, then on into the Barbican Centre! Some local councillors obviously aren’t aware this is the fastest route for us to most parts of the Barbican Centre, since they proudly announced at a Cripplegate ward meeting two days ago that they’d organised signage from Silk Street for Golden Lane Estate residents (a rather circuitous route for us to the parts of the centre housing the library and ward meetings). In the library our flyer can be found between one for Simon Rattle’s LSO concerts and another for the LGBTQ+ History Club. Headlined, of course, Spectres of Modernism: Artists Against Overdevelopment.


“A spectre is haunting the cynical overdevelopment that characterises London’s buy to leave property boom, the spectre of modernism!” #savegoldenlane