Crash ahoy! London real-estate prices stagnate

In a world of expensive urbanization where the spiraling cost of basic shelter has forced ever-more people into debt and fuelled a speculative global bubble of criminal money-launderers who use luxury housing as empty safe-deposit boxes in the sky, London is ground zero. Read the rest

New hedge-fund HQ will have "Champagne" buttons for the traders' desks

Any time a trader at Enstar Capital's new London Soho offices fancies sushi and Champagne delivered to their desk, they can press a dedicated "Champagne" button that's being installed at each workplace, as a kind of grotesque, guillotine-inspiring homage to Amazon's Dash button, which lets mere mortals order laundry detergent. Read the rest

London van rams worshippers at mosque, authorities investigating attack as terrorism

In London, an attacker drove a van into pedestrians outside a mosque in London, killing one person and injuring ten or more others.

Read the rest

London fire: just last year, Tory landlord-MPs rejected Labour's tenant safety law

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters," only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up. Read the rest

At least 12 dead after fire guts London high-rise where residents complained about safety for years

London's Grenfell Tower, built in the 1970s, is 27 stories tall and the subject of years of desperate complaints by its residents concerning safety. Last night it was completely consumed by fire, claiming the lives of at least twelve residents and sending hundreds more to hospital. Witnesses report that they heard no alarms and saw no sprinklers, despite a recent "renovation."

Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.

Firefighters rescued "large numbers", but London Mayor Sadiq Khan said "a lot" of people were unaccounted for.

The 24-storey block, which is still on fire, looks at risk of collapsing.

During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows - some holding children.

The Grenfell residents association's blog amounts to years of postings, desperately pleading with local government and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation for their lives, in full knowledge that they would soon lose them. It's disgusting and terrifying.

A baby was caught by a member of the public after being dropped from Grenfell Tower as it was engulfed with flames, a witness said.

Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor" to waiting members of the public below.

"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming," she said.

Read the rest

Newspeak House: East London's den of civic hackers

Newspeak House (AKA NWSPK) is a co-working space (with a few bedrooms!) in East London that houses an eclectic mix of civic hackers: people working to make British (and global) democracy more responsive, more representative, and more transparent. Read the rest

Multiple attacks in London described as ‘Potential Act of Terrorism’

Multiple attacks in London tonight are being described as a coordinated 'potential act of terrorism' by British Prime Minister Theresa May. London police confirm that more than one person was killed as a van plowed into a crowd of people at the London Bridge. One man was seen leaving the van, then running toward Borough Market, carrying a large knife. Reports of stabbings followed soon after.

Read the rest

London! I'll be at Pages of Hackney tonight with Olivia Sudjic! (then Liverpool, Birmingham, Hay...) (!)

Last night's sold-out Walkaway tour event with Laurie Penny at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road was spectacular (and not just because they had some really good whisky behind the bar), and the action continues today with a conversation with Olivia Sudjic tonight at Pages of Hackney, where we'll be discussing her novel Sympathy as well as Walkaway. Read the rest

London! I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Liverpool, Birmingham, and Hay...) (!)

Last night's kick-off event for the UK Walkaway tour was brilliant, thanks to the magic combination of the excellent Tim Harford, the excellent people of Oxford, and the excellent booksellers at Blackwells. Read the rest

Burbank: I'm coming to you today on the Walkaway tour! (then Oxford, London, Liverpool...) (!)

I took great advantage of my 36 hour hiatus from the Walkaway tour, but I'm back at it today, with a 2PM appearance at Burbank's Dark Delicacies, before I go straight to the airport to fly to the UK for my British tour. Read the rest

Insider whistleblower says London police hired Indian hackers to surveil journalists, politicians and activists

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating a tip-off from a current or ex-London police officer that the London Metropolitan Police's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit asked Indian police to use their hacker contacts to break into the private communications of hundreds of British people and groups, from journalists to Greenpeace. Read the rest

Map of where London's train stations go

I lived in Britain for 20 years and am still amazed by Drunk-Scientist's map of London's commuter drainage basins. Read the rest

Man gets off London Underground train, runs to the next stop before the train gets there

London, city of slow trains and fleet foxes. [Via Pepo Jiménez] Read the rest

Britons enjoy bagel on train

In honor of America's appreciation for Britons' intellectual and cultural sophistication, I hereby present this video of some of them enjoying a bagel on a train. Posted by Dougie Stew, it has the dimensions of an epic drama, with a call to action, a threshold guardian, a journey to the cave, and a hero returning clad in the golden fleece. It has everything.

Read the rest

Gallery of London's urban foxes

Shot here by Natalie Lowe sunbathing on the roof of its convertible, a fox relaxes before evening's activities come due. Below, a fox pop takes a trip on the London Underground, as observed by Stephen Ebert. Check out the full gallery at Londonist. A common sight in London, foxes moved in after World War II and have become a symbol of the city. They're mostly harmless, but the tabloids there love to run fox-ate-my-baby stories.

Read the rest

It used to take 3 years for a British family to save for a home down-payment; now it takes 20 years

The Resolution Foundation's Living Standards 2017 is an eye-opening look at the current state of the British experiment in allowing wealth inequality to expand without any check, to use a combination of austerity, the elimination of protection for tenants, reckless lending, offshore money-laundering and public subsidies for speculators to turn the human necessity of shelter into the nation's leading asset-class. Read the rest

China's capital controls are working, and that's bursting the global real-estate bubble

More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest

More posts