Saturday, 26 March 2016

welcome to Bling-On-Thames

The oligarchic class in the UK are a sparky
bunch of people. They have a lot of life in
The Tory government gives the oligarchs
tax breaks, funds the things that oligarchs
like, and life is just wonderful.

But they're not happy. Wouldn't you know
it. The Entitlement Class wants to have
even more, and they want the poor plebs
to pay for it.

They want something public,
something austentatious
something everyone will see
so that they'll say
"what oligarchs you have"
£60 million of public money ought to do it.

It's a bridge too far.
A bridge over the River. Why?

In honour of Sacha Baron Cohen,
I re-christen London as
In song. All together now:

Don't take my bridge,
my argy-bargy bridge.
Goddamn plebs don't understand
but if you take my bridge
my argy bargy bridge
Bo Jo might blow up and stop this span

The Thames has other bling, but it's quite dated.
[It's so 19th century]

You see, rich people grew up with this bling even in
their nursery rhymes, and feel driven to bling it up,
now that they're in power.

Garden Bridge is failing now
failing now
failing now
Garden Bridge is failing now
my fair Joanna Lumley
more later

checkit: Guardian

Will Self joins London ‘mass trespass’ over privatisation of public space
Author warns of ‘threat to national psyche’ as campaigners rally outside City Hall to protest at corporate takeover of streets and squares

Mark Townsend

Saturday 13 February 2016 16.52 GMT
Last modified on Monday 15 February 2016 11.34 GMT

The spiritual wellbeing of our cities is being eroded by the creeping corporatisation and privatisation of its public spaces, the author Will Self has warned.

Addressing the first “public space intervention” to protest against the fact that sizeable chunks of London are falling into corporate hands, Self said the trend was having a deleterious impact on the capital’s residents.
Public spaces in Britain's cities fall into private hands

“What people don’t understand is that it does affect you psychically. It constrains you in how you think about what you can do in a space, and it constrains your imagination. It’s like a condensing of time and money and space – it needs to be resisted.”

Self added: “The kind of ludic, playful potential of living in a city is being significantly impoverished by this kind of stuff.”

The author was one of the speakers at a growing campaign to preserve UK cities for their residents. Protesters on Saturday cited London’s Canary Wharf, Olympic Park and the Broadgate development in the City as public places now governed by the rules of the corporations that own them.

Privatised public zones are appearing throughout Britain and include Birmingham’s Brindleyplace, a significant canalside development. In Exeter, there is Princesshay, described as a “shopping destination featuring over 60 shops set in a series of interconnecting open streets and squares”. The spaces there are owned and run by property group Land Securities along with the monarch’s property portfolio, the Crown Estate. In addition, Land Securities owns a large waterside complex of shops, bars and restaurants in Portsmouth.
Comedian Mark Thomas talking at the same event.

Writer Anna Minton said that in London the proposed Garden Bridge was symbolic of the trend, pointing to the fact that despite using £60m of public money it would be plagued by corporate restrictions: cyclists would have to dismount to cross while social gatherings, playing musical instruments, making a speech, releasing balloons and many other pursuits would be banned.

Asked what he thought of the Garden Bridge, Self replied: “It could be great – it will be shit.”

Described as both a “public space intervention” and a “mass trespass”, the protest included a series of speakers defending the rights of urban residents as free-roaming citizens. Among them was comedian Mark Thomas, who attacked the coalition government’s introduction of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which allows councils to make illegal activities such as sleeping rough in an attempt to drive homeless people from town or city centres.
Analysis London's garden bridge: the end of the road?
It has seemed impervious to a barrage of criticism to date, but is the flawed fairytale plan to build a forest across the Thames finally beginning to wither?
Read more

Campaigners gathered on a patch of grass near City Hall on the banks of the Thames, chosen because it gives visitors the illusion of being a public space but is in fact controlled by private security, with its own set of regulations. Tourists can be admonished just for taking a photo, as Assembly Member Jenny Jones discovered while taking a picture of her place of work.

Gesturing to the surrounds, Self said: “How anybody can think this is one of the nicest parts of London. It can only be because they have been deprived of the capacity to make free choices of their own: you’re told what to do in a space like this, the very architecture tells us.”

Self added: “This is part of a gathering campaign to resist what I call ‘piss-pots’, Public Space Protection Orders which are a kind of extension of the law into the very psyche of the urban stroller. This is non-trivial.”

Other speakers at the event included comedian Mark Thomas and Sian Berry, Green party candidate for mayor of London, who pledged to introduce rules to ensure that new publicly accessible spaces in the capital were governed by the law of the land. Her modification of the London Plan would prevent controversial projects such as the Garden Bridge excluding the public at the request of its owners.