Come over to the UK quick, please, Bill de Blasio, new mayor of New York, and give Boris a tutorial. The rich down here are getting out of hand, and he needs to get them under control.
They’re building great, big ugly palaces and then intimidating the locals. What can we do to reclaim our city?
Come over to the UK quick, please, Bill de Blasio, new mayor of New York, and give Boris a tutorial. The rich down here are getting out of hand, and he needs to get them under control. They’re clustering in the swankiest neighbourhoods, buying homes, flattening them, building frightful replacement palaces, taking over the land, the landscape and surroundings, and ordering the rest of us about.
My friend John tried to park his crappy old car outside a Hampstead palace last week. Its windows were stuffed with orchids, and its vast drive packed with Range Rovers, Rollers, tinted-window BMWs, dog-unit estate car and worryingly large chaps with budgerigar necks, in suits. One of these Oligoons approached John, wagging his finger bossily, to indicate no parking. Why? This was a public highway, with no restrictions. John defied him and parked.
“Cars can get damaged here,” said the Oligoon ominously, who wished to park there himself. John bravely asked him to repeat his threat, the fellow backed away, and John set off for his dog walk, but then came back and weedily moved his heap elsewhere. “I am a coward,” he admitted. He’d put up a bit of a fight, but who needs a flat tyre?
Rosemary is fighting back in her own way – a tiny revolution. She has some new bogeymen – shareholders – and is so determined they won’t get a groat of her money, that she’s sitting snuffling and shivering in her kitchen, by the hob, on the cusp of pneumonia, refusing to turn on her heating. She feels supported by Alan Bennett, since she read that he refuses to pay his energy bills until at least the third red demand.
I’m dog-walking past another Hampstead palace, and out of a swizzy car steps the Owner, in her chic black coat and pink hard hat. So I have a shout. “What an ugly house! Overbearing, ostentatious, and incongruous, don’t you think?”
“It won’t look so big when it’s finished,” says she meekly. Was that a tiny victory? Was she ashamed? Probably not. We’re trying, but they’re winning hands down. Must try harder.