I’ve been flicking through the increasingly infamous new Policy Exchange report – ‘Cities Unlimited’ – and, despite fairly extraordinary ambitions, much of it seems a little thin. The denunciations of the “beyond revival” northern cities have caused the bulk of the backlash, but with regards to London the authors fancy an urban expansion of at least a mile, and also urge councils to convert industrial land into residential land. They acknowledge that urbanisation would not be popular, but claim, somewhat speculatively, that the increased value of the land would be sufficient to allow for the abolition of council tax.

An element that I’ll focus on is social housing. The report makes the admission that “virtually no one in social housing moves for job related reasons“. To counter this problem, the authors “imagine that people from Blackpool will move to an expanding Bromley“. Yet, as the quoted CASE report demonstrates, a growing number of those claiming social housing are disabled or retired. Their incentive for upping sticks to an increasingly urbanised capital is not given.

David Cameron has hurried to tell us that the report is ‘insane‘, but what does Boris – or his Policy Director – think?

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10 Responses to That ‘Insane’ Report

  1. Tom says:

    At a guess, it’s a tossup between ‘Stalinist’ and ‘Pyong-yang’. It’s something of a Boris cliche to make highly inappropriate totalitarian analogies. Still, at least he hasn’t called anyone a Nazi yet, eh?

  2. BenSix says:

    Or the demented lovechild of Kim Jong-il and Pol Pot – that blasted airport attendant.

  3. Tom says:

    There’s a post in here – if you fancy researching the number of times he’s used North Korea analogies I’ll do the Stalin ones?

  4. Bunbury says:

    It does make Boris’s “gaffes” look less accidental.

  5. Guano says:

    These cliches fit into a mind-set where life’s inconveniences are caused by some mysterious conspiracy that links Political Correctness, Health and Safety and Stalin; Boris Johnson International will, in contrast, have Entebbe-style commando squads that spring into action and rescue lost luggage from this mysterious conspiracy.

    It deflects attention away from the fact that Boris was temporarily separated from his luggage at a privately-run airport after travelling on a privately-run airline which probably employs a separate, privately-run, handling company. They all probably enthusiastially “cut out waste” so they don’t have a spare crew or a spare tractor if something goes wrong or two planes arrive at about the same time.

  6. Tom says:

    “separate, privately-run, handling company”

    Servisair, I believe. Owned by a French metal recycling firm, apparently.

    BAA is a private monopoly set up by a Conservative Government, of course. Not surprising if it puts profits about customer service, then.

  7. BenSix says:

    “There’s a post in here – if you fancy researching the number of times he’s used North Korea analogies I’ll do the Stalin ones?”

    Heh, okeydoke (although I don’t have any of his books. Do many totalitarians appear in the indexes?)

  8. Helen says:

    “Aviation has become more important over time, for both goods transport and passenger travel, so locations near airports, particularly airports that offer a wide range of destinations, have become more attractive, again favouring the South East” – yeah, because there are no airports in the north, say Manchester or Liverpool, are there? “Urban Policy Typologies – A Poultry Attempt” – I’m convinced this “report” was written by a 14-year-old armed with a GCSE geography text book. “There was a time when the educational qualifications associated with a town did not matter that much for its income levels, but that time has past” – oh, the irony!

  9. Tom says:

    That’ll be why the last new runway at a major airport in the UK is in Manchester and the last major airport to be opened in the UK is in Doncaster and why the north-of-London Eurostar idea was killed by low-cost airlines operating from northern airports.

    I need to read this. I might get a chance today, I was cruising London’s buses yesterday looking at congestion. That Scotch Corner roadworks is seriously buggering things up, and Oxford Street is way worse than I remembered it. I also discovered another boon of bendy buses – if you’re running to catch it at the stop as it goes past you, the nearest usable door is some 15 metres from the stop, which saves you 15m of running and means the bus leaves faster.

  10. Helen says:

    I was in Gothenburg this week – two varieties of articulated bus and trams, trams, trams. I wonder why the air’s so much cleaner in Swedish cities?

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