May 2005 Archives
May 24, 2005
May 23, 2005
May 22, 2005
Brown admits that UK housing market is screwed:
BBC NEWS | Politics | Brown unveils cheap mortgage plan:
More than 100,000 people could get onto the property ladder in the next five years thanks to a part-ownership plan, Chancellor Gordon Brown has said.
Buyers would have to raise as little as half the cost of homes sold on the open market, he said.
The remaining equity in the house would be shared by the government and the bank or building society.
So, you owe the bank for half your house, it owns another chunk outright, and the government owns the rest. Nice, simple solution there, Gordon.
Interesting reflection on parking within the urban context from Veritas et Venustas:
Parking in Paris and Detroit:
Another response is underground parking. Urban purists oppose this, because it caters to the car. Paris has used underground parking very well. Squares like the Place Vend�me that used to be cluttered with cars now have underground parking with formal, stone caps paving the plaza. Less formal squares like the Place Henri IV have less formal solutions, like pea gravel and trees in orderly patterns - see above. The formal and less formal solutions are another illustration of the Transect.
I'm thinking about car use in cities after experiencing the horror of Edinburgh's roads. They've become exponentially more crowded since I was last a regular visitor, 15 years ago.
I grabbed this one from a bus from Edinburgh airport to Waverley Bridge. House prices have rocketed in the Scottish capital to London-like proportions. Still, there were plenty of properties near the centre still in the process of being renovated, or in need of some attention. If the market holds up, there's some money to be made there.
May 19, 2005
WiFi in airport departure lines is the mark of civilised countries. Free WiFi is the mark of truly civilised countries. Based on my experiences in Edinburgh and Washington, the UK is civilised and the USA is truly civilised.
In other news, I was reminded again today of the fact that pretty much the first thing people do when going for a meeting with someone new is Google them. If you Google me, you get this site. More and more people I'm meeting through magazine work have read this site before I meet them. I'd better be on my best behaviour, hadn't I?
May 18, 2005
Not only is there greenery a very short distance away from the front door, as show in the picture, but just round the corner is what looks a lot like council housing - and is certainly not expensive residential development by any stretch of the imagination.
Sure, it's just off the Royal Mile, and adjacent to the old palace of Holyrood, but you get more of a feeling of diverse community around it than you ever do in Edinburgh.
Whatever you think of the design of this unusual building, you can't argue with its context. The MSPs aren't caught in a little bubble of privilege and urban life in the same way the Westminster types are. That pleases me.
I'm sat on the upper floor of a Starbuck's on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, watching people come and go in the grey drizzle, while I catch up on my e-mail. And yes, I know it's been a long time since I posted. There was a death in the family, you see, and that's the sort of event that always puts a different perspective on things. Blogging, for a while, seemed unimportant.
Anyway, life moves on, and sometimes good news follows bad. One Woman will shortly be Dr One Woman, after sailing through her PhD viva with flying colours. After six years of effort, that's good news. Last night was spent celebrating this in a Lewisham hostelry, and now I'm in Edinburgh. My, what a dynamic, cosmopolitan life I live.
I like coming to Edinburgh, and the east coast of Scotland generally. I grew up not far from here, you see, and there's something about the accents, and the landscape, and the colour of stone used in the buildings, and the temperature that says "home" to me. I can feel a little stress slipping out of me every time I leave London, but Scotland magnifies the effect, as do Suffolk and the West Country.
It's nice just chilling out with a (decaff) coffee and watching the world go by.
May 6, 2005
Quick post, as I have to head into the office and write some scintillating words for my paying readers, but does anyone else find this worrying?
MediaGuardian.co.uk | Media | Humphrys loses his vote:
Today presenter John Humphrys contemplated going to court after he was unable to vote in yesterday's general election.Humphrys revealed this morning that he went to his local polling station only to find he was barred from the booths because someone had applied for a postal vote in his name.�I didn't apply for a postal ballot. Possibly someone in my house ticked the box for the forms to be sent through, but I can't find anybody who did,� he told MediaGuardian.co.uk.
I can't help feeling that the whole electoral fraud issue is going to hot up in the coming months. It won't be significant enough to raise concerns about Labour's victory, but it will disquiet significant numbers of people that our democracy seems under threat.
I've stayed up far too late watching this general election nonsense, but the BBC's coverage is strangely persuasive. One Woman has been in bed for at least three hours and she's probably the wiser of the two of us. Some of my colleagues have bowed to the inevitable and taken tomorrow as holiday to allow them to watch this to the bitter end. Not me. I have a feature to finish in the morning.
Looks like my predictions were broadly accurate so far, but there's still a long way to go. Let's see how this all looks in the morning.
May 5, 2005
So, did you vote? And did you find it a depressing experience? �Hmm, lying bastards, cynical bastards, fluffy losers, one-issue party, another one-issue party and the racists thugs. Decisions, decisions.�
Early exit polls seem to be suggesting that the LibDems and Tories are doing better than expected. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say we'll see the disaffected Tory voters who voted for that �nice Mr Blair� in the last two election will return home in droves, and the LibDems will pick up masses of votes in traditional Labour areas where the voters won't touch the Tories with a long and well-insulated stick. The LibDem �decapitation� campaign on the Tories will probably prove a bit of an error, and they won't do as well as they would have liked, and as they would have done if they'd focused on winning votes from labour.
UKIP and Veritas will be humbled, the Greens will do much as normal and the BNP will do far better than any of us will like.
Let's see shall, we?