Well, yes, there’s a point here

However, the extent of McDonnell’s ignorance about the economy can be judged from his background. He was first elected to office in Ken Livingstone’s old Greater London Council (GLC) in 1981, and quickly became Livingstone’s deputy, and the GLC’s chairman of finance. If you happen to be having a very dull day, you can read the 1981 manifesto online. Apparently, London’s economy was threatened with terrible decline from the downsizing of its old manufacturing industries, and the “public sector will have to take an active role” to reverse that. The council wanted a “London Industrial Strategy”, that would include “democratic control over industrial decisions” and “control by work-people in the workplace”. A more completely inaccurate analysis of what was to become arguably the wealthiest city in the world over the next three decades would be very hard to find.

Anyone think London would be better off now if that plan had been followed?

24 thoughts on “Well, yes, there’s a point here”

  1. But it does depend on what you mean by “better off”. Financially, certainly. As a city. As a place to live? Most Londoners have been forced out of London in those 3 1/2 decades. It’s gone from being a great & exciting place to live to a ruinously expensive, dangerous, multi-culti, shithole..
    So, possibly not.

  2. Obviously, I meant possibly.

    And to underline what I mean. There was a tourism website I was looking at a while back. Medellin in Colombia was rated half as dangerous for an evening out as Central London.
    I can well believe it.

  3. If extortionate property prices and a reliance on the soulless financial services is a good thing then yep, it’s better off.

    Who cares about anyone else?

  4. As Livingstone et al were trying to maintain an industrial presence, employing people, in London and all the fabby modernisers wanted to boost casino financial services and inflate the value of ratty houses leading to bubbles and crashes, there’s no argument is there?

  5. “GlenDorran

    “Soulless” ?

    I’m trying to think of industries that have a soul….”

    The soul music industry?

  6. “And to underline what I mean. There was a tourism website I was looking at a while back. Medellin in Colombia was rated half as dangerous for an evening out as Central London”

    Really? I’d like to know how this was measured. Did the same people go out in both places and assess each? Or did they compare people’s impressions of Medellin and others’ impressions of London? Because the latter would be ludicrous without some sort of baseline to compare against.

    In my experience central London is probably the place you are least likely to get into a pub fight in the British Isles.

  7. Why would the centre of a capital city need an industrial presence? Does Rome or Paris have one? I can’t see a filthy tannery next door to Notre Dame bringing the tourists in, to be honest.

  8. Manufacturing still exists in the UK, quite a bit of it. Even in London.
    Just not to the same scale. Rent for a building £x in London. Same size place with much better transport links in Coventry, Stoke, Warrington etc a fraction of the rent.

  9. I’ve no idea Rob. I’m not even sure how it’d be weighted. The sort of people do tourism in London probably aren’t the sort of people do tourism in Medellin. But, as it’s on the cards I’m likely to be moving south-west & Medellin’s my partner’s home town, I’ve been doing some checking about. If they have problems, it’s out in the barrios & gang stuff. Looks like pussycat-ville to me. But then I’m a Londoner. Prospective victim of 3 unsuccessful muggings (got a gold chain & a half decent watch off one of the hopeful muggers. I am a Londoner. It’s an equal opportunity sport as far as I’m concerned 🙂 ) And at least two serious assaults. One forgets the trivial ones. And my neighbour was stabbed to death on her front doorstep at 8 am in the morning, leaving for work.

  10. “Why would the centre of a capital city need an industrial presence?”
    To cater to its own needs?
    Good example’s the area they put the Olympic complex. Used to be an industrial estate. There were a whole load of businesses there supplied the people who provide the services London needs to function. I used several of them. It’s where I used to get all my specialised glass cut. All gone now. Either moved outside the M25 or just gone. What’s there now apart from a f****ng track for tosspots? A business conference center or something? Some high priced yuppy-flats? And the city becomes a marginally worse place to operate in. A bit more expensive due to overheads. Less chance of being innovative because the stuff innovation needs isn’t avilable any more.

  11. AndrewC: The soul music industry?

    I can’t help feeling somehow that neosoul would not qualify, being as how it is the choice of sophists.

  12. “In my experience central London is probably the place you are least likely to get into a pub fight in the British Isles.”

    Because:
    – What pubs?
    – The cameras, cameras everywhere…
    – The prices will sober you up instantly.
    – There’s no locals, only commuters and tourists. And a good pub fight is all about what Auntie Jane said about our Sean on great-aunt Betsie’s funeral 10 years ago. You got to *belong*..
    – etc.

    really… not that hard..

  13. I think you’re right, monoi. I seem to remember a vague hope the Baffoon Boris would abandon the idea. And then off he went with Jug Ears & the runner pratt & felched his way around the usual suspects scattering our money around. I can only remember one actual Londoner who wanted it.
    You can put it on that very long list of reasons why I left. At least I’m not paying for it.

  14. Re the Olympic area.
    The were still grazing horses there. There’s a very good reason why such a prime piece of real estate, a short stroll from the City, remained undeveloped for 2 centuries. I’ve seen the Lea flowing higher than the goal crossbars on the Hackney Marsh pitches. Happens once in a while. Next time, there’ll be water all through East London, now they’ve buggered about with it.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Rob – “Why would the centre of a capital city need an industrial presence? Does Rome or Paris have one? I can’t see a filthy tannery next door to Notre Dame bringing the tourists in, to be honest,”

    Paris has a lot of Metro stations named after former industries. Some of them long gone. Glacière is no longer involved in storing ice. Les Gobelins no longer produces whatever it was they used to produce. Les Sablons is no longer a quarry. I would be surprised if they still make watches near Bréguet – Sabin.

    I hope they still sell fish at Poissonnière but I doubt it.

    But some of them were industrial more recently. Javel – André Citroën is named after a chemical works and, obviously, a car factory. Not sure if it still produces cars though. Car factories are often put in capital cities. It is London’s Green Belt what does it for the UK. That and its formerly decentralized system of government. China builds a lot of cars in Beijing or Shanghai. On the other hand Toyota is headquartered in Toyota City. Not sure which is named for the other though.

    Mind you, the French names don’t always mean what you might think. As in Filles du Calvaire.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Diogenes – “so the convent closed because of the French Revolution, or was that your point?”

    No. I just thought they were Donizetti fans.

  17. Smfs, since you are very literal, I wonder why girls of calvary, which equates to nuns in my book, might have another meaning. Was this a place of prostitution? I would be glad to know.

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