Last Chance Rodeo

What an odd hill Mark Rowley has chosen to die on. Chopping logic over “systemic” vs “institutional” prejudice is way more political than the term “institutional” itself.

Casey report: Met chief accepts review diagnosis, but will not use term ‘institutional’

I’m looking for a houseplant. Nice display in M&S at Crossrail Place - but they’d sold out of the plants I’d had my eye on. I’m passing through Stratford tomorrow on my way home, so may take a look in the shops there.

A display of houseplants in the Marks and Spencers at Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London

The area south of A13 between Silvertown Way and Freemasons Road was called Cherry Island. Here is our sakura analog.

Cherry blossom in Canning Town

Pigeons on the quasi-portico of Canary Wharf Underground Station

A view of the entrance to Canary Wharf underground station - with pigeons

I got up late so my early walk to Canary Wharf this morning was a dash to the Custom House Elizabeth Line station.

Passing through the Custom House portal to Canary Wharf lives up to its sci-fi name. Two Londons couldn’t be more divided if they were in parallel universes

Manor Road between Canning Town and West Ham, with its temporary pedestrian crossing chicanes, narrow, uneven footpaths, and poor drainage is the pedestrian’s nemesis.

Traffic at a temporary pedestrian crossing near West Ham station

“Nat has herpes” is scrawled all over East London. Should I feel sorry for Nat, or does this have another meaning?

You have got to wonder about the folks who take their dogs to shit outside the school gates.

In sum, seems like a budget to keep self-interested Tories onside. I guess it presages a ratcheting up of culture war cobblers to gin up Tory supporters who vote against their own interests.

Hmm. Seems like the Tories have given back around 2/3 of the recent corporation tax hike in tax reliefs. Corporations already don’t know what to do productively with the money. Share buybacks FTW!

Imagine if the Tories had given wealthy savers the same pension tax breaks, but required the money be invested in net zero and social housing.

You need a lot of patience to drive down Morning Lane in the, uh, morning. I walk - and there isn’t much patience on show.

Traffic queued on Morning lane in Hackney in the morning.

Fiscal rules

Your budget day reminder that outside of political discourse there’s no such thing as fiscal rules. The term was introduced into the UK by Gordon Brown to counter the (mistaken) premise that Labour is bad at economic management. As political tools, fiscal rules are designed to support political outcomes. If a politician tells you a fiscal rule leaves them no option but to shaft their citizens, rest assured that citizen-shafting is their political objective.

The unimaginative build-it-by-numbers regeneration strategy is to throw up high-rises around public transport hubs, which leaves tracts of East London without a horizon, little sunlight, and very windy streets.

A view along Tant Avenue, Canning Town, to the Hallsville Quarter development that obscures the horizon

This is Canary Wharf Station on the Elizabeth Line. It has no direct connection with Canary Wharf Station on the DLR, and neither of those stations have a connection with Canary Wharf Station on the Jubilee Line. One location: three stations.

A view of Crossrail Place and Canary Wharf station on the Elizabeth Line

Against the grey afternoon sky the silver leaves sprouting from the tree growing out of the taxi aren’t so shiny.

Taxi on the roof of a diner with a silver-leafed tree growing out of it

Flying Tiger - this is the Crossrail Place branch - gimcrack ground zero.

A view of Flying Tiger at Crossrail Place.

I can be a bit slow on the uptake. The people who get het up about “declinism” are the same people as “classical liberals” who rail against the “woke” and decry “cancel culture”.

The Tapping of the Purple Reader is the essential ritual of East London travelling people.

Public address speakers paired together on the lampposts at Hackney Central station.

Paired cylindrical public address speakers on a lampost in the rain

Passenger on the train has a “specially selected” mozzarella and sun dried cherry tomato wood fired sourdough pizza - cook at home - on her lap. The most prominent aspect of the packaging is the Union Jack.

Hackney is gridlocked this morning. The average British car is the size of a small bus these days. Nevertheless most have just the driver.

The immigration “debate” in the UK is always radioactive. With their small boats stunting the Tories have gone the full Chernobyl. How do they shut it down when it explodes?

Saw this on my walk to the Hackney office today through sleet and snow. It explains why so many exterior light-fittings in England are round.

Rain bouncing off an exterior luminary