Tag Archives: london

As Homelessness Soars Number Of Empty Homes In London Hits Seven Year High

camden-anti-gentrification-protest-1

London doesn’t have a housing problem it has a rich people problem.  Despite soaring homelessness in the capital, figures recently released by the government show that the number of homes left empty in the city has risen for the first time since 2009.

There are currently 59,881 empty homes in London.  That is enough to house everybody currently living in emergency temporary accommodation in the city  – and everyone sleeping on the streets.  20,000 of these properties have been empty over two years.  These are not second homes, properties which are rented out or homes used for holidays.  They are empty, abandoned in some cases, or more often deliberately left vacant as investment opportunities.

It is this that is likely to be the reason the number of empty homes is rising in the capital but falling everywhere else in the UK.  Luxury penthouses built not for living in, just for making money out of.  These cunts are so rich they can’t even be bothered to rent out the properties they own – they just sit back and profit as house prices soar.  Or at least they did.  The party may soon be over with central London house prices now starting to fall.

This is the legacy of Boris Johnson.  A capital city remade as a grotesque monument to capital.  The real people of London forced out, or condemned to a life on the margins whilst billionaires built their own corporate Disneyland.  A sterile landscape of glass and steel now dominates the city whilst once beautifully chaotic streets are overrun with chain stores and wacky trust fund businesses selling bowls of cereal for a fucking fiver.  There is no place for human life in this city at all.  It is just a place that money lives now.

An army of security guards stalk the privatised city streets handing out fines to kids playing football or folk enjoying a quiet beer in the park.  Racist cops ruthlessly shut down working class culture wherever they find it, even banning clubs from playing music they don’t like.  Uniformed filth carrying machine guns glare at people on the public transport system.  Occassionally they shoot someone.  The message is stark and clear.  This is not our city anymore, this is a giant bank where the crooks of the world can store their wealth.  And so we must be constantly policed, always watched in case we present a threat to the pampered lifestyles of the wealthy minority.

According to charities the number of people who slept rough on the streets of London this winter rose by 15% in just one year to 2,561.  Beneath the glitzy facade poverty stalks the city. Bodies huddle in shop doorways whilst champagne glasses clink in restaurants where a meal costs more than a week’s wages.  Children go hungry in grotty hostels beneath empty shyscrapers where the flats cost millions of pounds yet no-one lives there.  This is what Boris has created.  A ghost-town in sky that has shut out the city’s light.

Quietly though, everywhere, people are organising.  Thousands of people whose homes are under threat grow more militant everyday.  Students are on rent strike across the capital.  Towards the end of the 2011 riots a mob headed towards Notting Hill and Sloane Square, smashing up designer shops and attacking restaurants.  Unlicenced and boisterous street parties are shaking the newly gentrified enclaves that once belonged to the working class.  Tenants facing eviction are barricading themselves in their homes.

Direct action, disruption and outright defiance are the weapons of choice, not petitions, or voting, or boring marches.  Everyone knows now who is too blame and where they live.  A reckoning is surely coming.  Be ready.

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The Rich Will Destroy London Like They Destroy Everything Else

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One Hyde Park, where flats cost £100 million and no-one lives in them.

It is difficult to imagine a more grotesque situation than entire streets full of mansions lying empty in Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Kensington whilst just down the road the number of people sleeping in shop doorways soars. But this is the sad reality of a reckless free-market economy which turns our homes into just one more commodity to be gambled with by the rich.

It is impossible to guess just how big the London housing bubble will get, and how far outside of the capital the impact will stretch.  The news that house prices have risen by 18% in just one year should chill everyone who hopes to continue actually living in the city.

London’s housing market is being turned into a billionaire’s casino, and as more money pours in those returns will keep getting bigger.  Or at least they will until someone blinks.  And then the whole sorry scam will come crashing down, leaving the not quite so obscenely rich – who thought they were the players – discovering that they have been well and truly fucking played.

The end result could be a disaster as London is split between a minority of buy to let landlords, who have several homes, and tenants with none who can no longer afford the rents demanded to compensate for mass negative equity.

The real fucking tragedy though is that the only thing worse than the bubble bursting is prices continuing to soar.  Already most of the capital is unaffordable for those on low incomes.  With housing benefits now capped far below rents in many areas, the vast majority of London’s private tenants are only a P45, an illness, or an accident away from being socially exported from the capital.

As prices soar the creative heart of London will be ripped apart.  The days when young people could come to the capital, live in a squat, or a cheap if grotty shared house in somewhere like Hackney or Brixton are already long gone.  It is no surprise that beyond over-hyped internet start ups and hipster twats, London’s cultural life is decaying from the bottom up – those at the top just can’t see it yet.  Artists, actors and musicians will be forced to join the exodus out of the city along with street cleaners and care workers.

Social housing is now being re-structured as a stepping stone for young middle class professionals, with laughably called affordable rents set at 80% of soaring local rental markets.  Many of those who already have a council flat are being bedroom taxed out of the capital.  When these tenancies end, these homes too will convert to ‘affordable housing’ in many boroughs – which means they will be unaffordable for most people.

The problems do not end there.  Hundreds of thousands of children are currently growing up in social housing in London who will never be able to afford to live here when they have families of their own.  Meanwhile as the so-called ‘generation rent’ approaches old age, few will have pensions which cover London rents.  The housing crisis in London is only just beginning.

Yet to hear the debate about London’s housing problems you would think the problem only affects ‘young professionals’ hoping to get on the housing ladder.  It is as if the rest of us – millions of us – do not exist.  The people who built this city, clean it, drive the buses and look after its children are being quietly abandoned with no thought at all to our lives, housing needs or futures.

Across London, from Deptford to Tottenham, luxury flats are springing up like a virus – the first warning to the poor that this is no longer our town.  There was a time when gentrification took a couple of decades, areas like Notting Hill did not become the playgrounds of the rich overnight.  Now as soon as a Foxtons opens next to the launderette you know you’re fucked.

When this onslaught is finally complete London will die.  No-one wants to live in a city full of braying chinless wankers jabbering into smart phones about house prices all day.  A global city of the super rich may sound like a utopia to the likes of Boris Johnson or the toffs in government.  But they will destroy London like they destroy everything else.  The end result will be a city that may have lots of places to buy fucking artisan cupcakes or quaff Champagne, but it will be a place with no soul.  Their money will not be able to fix that.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Space Hijackers at Mayday!

Well it was fun and there’s nothing wrong with having fun even if the only political element of the day was the fact it was surrounded by cops until the early evening. That said the hardy Fitwatchers did a fine job of seeing off three FIT teams throughout the afternoon.

Here’s some pics.

http://www.spacehijackers.co.uk/

The Blitz is Back

This year’s Street Blitz will take place in the first two weeks of May with their website saying:

“We propose a 2 week blitz of street art in London between 1-15 May 2008. Whether you make murals, stencils, stickers, posters, sculptures, street projections, sign modification/removal/additions, billboard subverting/defacing/destruction etc; whether creative or destructive; whether to convey a message, brighten up a dull spot, rewire some corporate brainwashing tactics; whether to leave your mark, remove a stain, express yourself or simply to show your disgust – it’s all valid and all adds to The Blitz!”

So get creative and post your pics up at: http://www.streetblitz.org/

Torch Went Out in London Too!

The French weren’t likely to be caught napping when it comes to kicking off so it’s good to see that the Olympic Torch protest was abandoned in Paris today.

Before the Gallic pride gets too much however we’d like to point out that the Olympic Torch was extinguished in London first.

Our man on the ground fills us in:

“On Waterloo Bridge several hundred people began to chase the turch through the city and down Fleet Street. Many more people headed to St Paul’s to cut them off.

Nearing the Cathedral people streamed in front of the torch, which along with the people chasing behind effectively surrounded it. Looking over the torch was being carried by one of the Chinese officials (who looked like they were shitting themselves) and didn’t appear to be lit.

The old bill held the procession for a while which you can see in the pic below. Whilst this shot was taken the official was actually carrying the torch pointing downwards by his legs. The police then retreated suddenly and the Chinese officials were bundled onto a bus along with the distinctly unlit torch.

This reasons why the flame went out are unclear, however it seems obvious that they wouldn’t allow such a large naked flame on the bus.

This was not an open topped bus like those which has been used earlier, but a converted double-decker. It seems likely the flame was put out on health & safety grounds”


Olympic Torch Chased off London Streets

Thousands of people decended on the Olympic Torch Procession today leaving bungling coppers forced to bundle the torch (which had gone out) onto a bus.

An angry but peaceful crowd forced the police to retreat on Fleet Street and the flame made the journey to Tower Bridge by bus.

Meanwhile heated debate, if not scuffles, almost broke out at Canary Whalf between Free Tibet protesters and Chinese students.

Round ups of the day can be find at indymedia, we joined in the fun on Waterloo Bridge.

Here’s some pics.

On Waterloo Bridge

The chase through the city

The eternal flame has gone out!

Best take the bus instead

Differences in opinion at Canary Wharf

This Alex fergusen wannabe claimed to be the owner of Canary Wharf
(later admitting he was actually duty security manager, bless)