Ken Livingstone's mayoral term ended by [what? widespread stupidity + the Evening Standard ]

You did a lot of fine things in your 8 years, including

transforming transport from a downward spiral to an upward one,

good anti-war and foreign policy,

good on equalities, the living wage and so on.

But your Faustian pact with big business alienated a lot of your support, made many people grit their teeth while they voted for you, and has actually caused a lot of damage and intensified exploitation.

,In particular the damage is caused by the chain of argument which starts with welcoming all the population growth that’s going and all the financial and business services GDP growth; accepting the tale that the FBS growth MUST be in the centre of London and sustained by Crossrail or we shall loose business to our competitor cities.

And you have set the high housing targets necessary to fit all the new people (plus some of the backlog of need) inside the green belt.

All of this fuelled speculative rises in land prices, powered especially by the promise of much higher densities.

Thus you have sponsored a surge of creative destruction. Developers and speculators find it worth their while to demolish, replace and densify buildings almost anywhere in London, displacing households and enterprises, green space and former industries, schools and markets. It’s not just big business either: individual small firms and owner-occupiers find these pressures irresistable too.

The pressures have been overwhelming in and all round the centre of London (Middlesex Hospital and othet sites in Fitzrovia, St Giles, King’s Cross, Spitalfields, Arsenal, Elephant and Castle, Ward’s Crorner, Queen’s Market and Broadway market…….

(NB this is only a start: there are lots of other things to add in, like critique of transport, suburbs….. )

I haven’t a clue yet what one might say to Boris Johnson.

This was provoked by a correspondence with someone else and I’m trying to get her agreement to put the rest of it up here. Michael

Author: Editors


2 thoughts on “Ken Livingstone's mayoral term ended by [what? widespread stupidity + the Evening Standard ]”

  1. On the whole, I think that Ken Livingstone gas been, by far, the most succesful of those left/ soc.dem. politicians who made a ‘Faustian pact’ with the devil of corporate capitalism. That does not make the pact good or even enviable (hence ‘Faustian’), but it is better than anything we have witnessed in the realm of ‘making cities competitive’, ‘adapting to the global economic realities’, únlashing the creative potential’ etc etc. It is really sad that, after noticing all the lapses (and you detail only a selection) we still have to agree that Livingstone will be remembered as, by far again, the lesse evil.
    No cheers to boris from ‘IAmsterdam’ (our version of ‘LondON’)
    patrizio & Diiiinooos!


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