Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Great Street Art

Love it.

I want a T shirt of it.

Would it be bad of me just to make one? I mean – they put the pic up in the street, so it’s kind of public domain, right?

I don’t get it.

What did the BBC do wrong? The people need help, what is the problem?

Evening Standard is sold to ex-KGB agent for £1

OK Londoners, scary-time. BBC news site has this story:

Russian ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev is to buy the London Evening Standard newspaper for the sum of £1.

The paper’s publisher – the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) – said it had agreed to the sale of a majority interest in the paper to Mr Lebedev.

The billionaire businessman is believed to have made an offer for approximately a 76% share of the paper.

He has previously revealed that he used the paper to find out information when he was a young spy based in London.

The Evening Standard has vied with the Daily Mail for the “most odious rag in Britain” award for some time. The fact that it is out of step with so many Londoners’ views has left the good freebies (eg Metro) with a clear run. Personally, I think Metro is a far better paper that the Standard, in every way. And now the Standard has its very own Murdoch, in the shape of an ex-KGB Russian oligarch owner. Be afraid!

Full story on BBC news here.

Who’s the Anti-Social One?

You know what really bugs me? The assumption, on the part of public servants and services, that it’s OK for them to desecrate our public spaces with their paranoid, ugly security nonsense. Take a look at this:

This is in Trafalgar Square, pretty much the centre of London, the centre of tourist London, and that place should be the jewel in our public crown. But the powers-that-be are so concerned that someone might climb up the lamp post and, you know, do criminal stuff (what? throw petrol bombs? moon at the police?) that they cover it in “anti-climb paint” and then stick on an ugly, amateurish sign about the paint.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Take a look at the lamp post itself. It’s pretty, it’s well made, it’s either Victorian, or it’s a decent replica. And they stuck their ugly, paranoid little photocopied sign on it.

The final thing I’m going to rant about is that fact that, actually, this wasn’t a lamp post. It was, (of course!), a frigging CCTV camera post.

The days we live in!

Tube Map-o-rama

SPANK ACORN!

WOBBLY EMBRYO!!

WET MASH!!!

I was talking to some peeps last night, some of who hadn’t come across the famous (as I thought) London Anagram Tube map. It was a mini net sensation back in early 2006, before – believe it or not – it had to be taken down following threats from Transport for London’s lawyers. As if a humorous map of the tube is going to harm their public image!?

Whole sad story here (harms TFL’s image much more than some silly map)

Anyway, as we know, it’s impossible to get anything much taken down off the net by bully-boy tactics, and I found a version of the map after about 30 seconds googling web searching. Plus a load of other humorous and interesting variations on Harry Beck’s iconic and beautiful London Tube map.

Hopefully this post won’t call down dismal locust-like hordes of cold-hearted legal types.

Click here for Tube map fun!

Stand up for Gaza? Is it worth it?

Jews for Justice placard

Jews for Justice placard

On the first Saturday of the year, I was down in the centre of town at the Stand Up for Gaza march. I was joining thousands of people showing their solidarity, just as Israel was gearing up for the ground invasion and the US was reiterating its position that it was up to Hamas to stop the violence. I was frustrated, to say the least.

But don't worry - I'm not intending to bore you with the rights and wrongs of the conflict. I’ve a very simple position: Israel has a right to exist and to defend its citizens, but that its military actions in Gaza (and those in Lebanon, last time round) represent a disproportionate response to a complicated threat. I also don't think the actions are in the country's long-term security interests, but that's an argument for another time... This is about the march itself.

(more…)

Angus Steakhouse

The fruitbowl

FREE THE STREETS!

Short notice, but here’s something I got via Facebook….

CLUB NIGHT – FREE THE STREETS! – 13 November 2008

In the summer, the Manifesto Club launched a campaign against booze bans, standing up against the petty bureaucracy that sucks the life out of public spaces. A whole host of activities are either banned outright or only allowed with official permission. As well as booze bans, there are now no-photo zones, no-leafleting and no-demonstrating zones; CCTV cameras watch our every move and we are searched at the entrance of many public buildings. What is behind the creeping regulation of public space? Is the freedom from official regulation trivial in the face of terrorism and antisocial behaviour? Or should free citizens demand the right to regulate public spaces for ourselves?

Speakers:

Dolan Cummings is co-founder of the Manifesto Club; research and editorial director of the Institute of Ideas, where he edits the online review Culture Wars. He has written widely on the regulation of public space, including a Manifesto Club Thinkpiece, Smoking Policies: a civilised approach (PDF).

Steve Forrest is a photographer who is interested in developing a critical perspective on the way we respond to regulation in public space. He worked extensively in the Middle East, Africa and the UK, before joining the photography collective Insight Visual in 2001, where his clients include the the New York Times, Newsweek and Guardian Weekend. His recent project is Paranoid Britain.

Event: Free the streets! Against the antisocial regulation of public space
Date: Thursday 13 November
Venue: The Evangelist (Downstairs), 33 Blackfriars Lane, London EC4V 6EP (Map)
Time: Doors open 7pm; discussion begins 8pm.
Cost: Free to Manifesto Club Members; £5 non-members.

We hope to see you all there!

Suzy Dean
co-organiser

Boris and Ken in Lego

I went to Legoland Windsor a few weeks back. Rain, queues, expense, queues… you get the picture. The kids loved it. But I was amused to see that the personnel at London City Hall have been updated. Boris, Ken: there they are…

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