Me and my camera in my home town, my capital city, my london
I might have possibly mentioned in a previous post that I wasn’t going to bang on about gentrification anymore as there was no more to say, but then there was a riot in Shoreditch at the weekend (article here) and I realised that maybe this thing is just beginning. As they say in the action movies..we have a situation on our hands.
A lot of the media attention and commentary regarding the riot has been about The Cereal Killer Cafe and whether they were a valid target or not. Truth is not really. They are very much a symptom of the problem rather than the cause. However, my theory as to why they were the object of the protester’s rage, is that cereal is what you eat when you are broke and here they are charging a fortune for a basic bowl so its a big slap in the face to people who might eat it because they can’t afford anything else . And as hipsters are the only minority demographic who you can legitimately despise without accusations of a hate crime they were kinda fair game. I can’t really see #saveourhipsters trending.
The real problem though, as demonstrated in the photo above is a chronic and desperate lack of affordable housing in the city and its reduction has been systematic and deliberate. Council homes are being depleted at such a vast rate it is being described as inner city social cleansing. Between the right to buy scheme and councils selling off estates to property developers it seems like they won’t stop till London just contains the affluent and nothing else. Who wants poor people around..they’re just depressing right? And they’ll probably steal your shit too so let’s just get rid.
Landlords have doubled rents overnight forcing out the ‘middle’ which currently leaves just the really rich and the really poor. And they wonder why there is growing unrest. The book the Spirit Level demonstrated with a ton of evidence how inequality is the source of most of societies’ ills and how the disparity in wealth fuels resentment and anger so is it any wonder this is happening? And is there not just more to come? Will the rich end up barricading themselves in to keep out the remaining riff raff? Maybe we should do the same to them…here is a relevant and amusing film I made a while back to illustrate…
So here are my questions…
Why are London residents, the workers and the lifeblood of the city, not being protected from the blatant greed of people who already have too much?
Why are landlords allowed to increase their rents so dramatically without any concern for the people living there?
Why can’t they put rent caps in place which reflected wages and living costs rather than how much these pariahs can squeeze out of their investment?
Why are property developers allowed to reduce half of London to rubble and re-build luxury flats that no-one except for the extremely wealthy can afford to buy or live in?
Why don’t we do something about it?
Violence is not the answer but this is my message to Londoners and something we can do…we can vote out a bumbling oaf who seems harmless but in reality is doing a lot of evil shit to the detriment of the majority of Londoners (see here for just one example) in favour of excessively wealthy people just like him. He is an assassin masquerading as a clown. Yes Boris I am talking about you. Why don’t you get on one of your bikes and fuck off!