I live there and it’s very nice! It’s surprisingly quiet for central London - mainly because the roads are all further away, and because so few people are around. It’s a lot like living on a university campus during the holidays - lots of facilities and buildings but not many people around.
11 January 2008.
The freeholder is still the City of London, but it’s selling off the remainder of the leases as the old tenants move out (or die). It is expensive, but then so is everywhere round here, and at least the buildings are more solid than a lot of the “loft conversion” type properties on the market these days.
Originally I think they hoped it would be city workers living here - eg, a secretary would live in a small flat and maybe upgrade to a larger flat as their career progressed. I think a lot of the flats are now pied a terres as many look empty a lot of the time. Others are actually occupied by city workers (although few secretaries I expect!), young people who bought places before prices skyrocketed, and retired people. Apparently there are also more families living here than there used to be.
And yes, I recently read that Benazir Bhutto had a flat here, in the 1980s I think.
13 January 2008.
These blocks aren’t really “council”… well, the landlord is the City of London, but all the flats (or very nearly all now) are privately owned.
24 January 2008.
Re the principles vs power issue… I haven’t read or seen Kinnock’s speech, but I’m guessing he was quoting or referencing Aneurin Bevan’s speech of 29 November 1959, after Labour’s election defeat, in which he said:
“What is the lesson for us? It is that we must enlarge and expand those personalities, so that they can become again conscious of limitation and constriction. The problem is one of education, not of surrender! This so-called affluent society is an ugly society still. It is a vulgar society. It is a meretricious society. It is a society in which priorities have gone all wrong. I once said — and I do not want to quote myself too frequently — that the language of priorities was the religion of Socialism, and there is nothing wrong with that statement either, but you can only get your priorities right if you have the power to put them right, and the argument, comrades, is about power in society. If we managed to get a majority in Great Britain by the clever exploitation of contemporary psychology, and we did not get the commanding heights of the economy in our power, then we did not get the priorities right. The argument is about power and only about power, because only by the possession of power can you get the priorities correct…”
27 January 2008.
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