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What a bunch of LOOsers in the park

PUBLISHED: 17:22 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:04 05 October 2010

Vandals are the 'arch' enemy

Vandals are the 'arch' enemy

IT LOOKS like an oversized, upside down urinal. Judging by its smell, it's being treated as such, too. Yet this graffitied treasure is a relic of Old London Bridge rescued from demolition in 1831 and taken to what is now Victoria Park

Ted Jeory puts East End politicians in the dock

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LIP SERVICE TO THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

ALTHOUGH the first ever citizenship ceremony to be held at the Tower of London on February 25 was largely a solemn affair, it did have its fair share of smiles.

None wider than on the shy, humble face of London Assembly member John Biggs when he spotted me spotting him having his John Redwood moment and mouthing the words to the second verse of the National Anthem.

Hardly anyone knows them, of course, but as arch-republican Biggsy muttered afterwards: "At least I sang the first verse."

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SOCIAL LANDLORDS ARE THE 21ST CENTURY BULLY BOYS

'SOCIAL Landlords'... that's the gentle, soothing, almost paternalistic term given to those who run vast quantities of ex-council housing stock.

The title's straight out of a William Morris-type socialist utopia where people are treated with respect.

So why are they rapidly gaining a reputation as the 21st century's new bully boys? They operate under a kindly 'third sector not-for-profit' veneer, but in reality they're just businesses making money (they call them 'surpluses'), paying directors handsomely and in many respects laws unto themselves.

Take the issue car clampers...

If the council, for fear of public opprobrium, declines to employ these outfits and their largely bouncer-trained workforces, then why do housing associations consider them okay?

Surely, the clamping of a hearse on Poplar Harca territory last week should be the final straw.

What on earth are the councillors designated to sit on the boards of these 'social landlords' doing to prevent a practice outlawed at the Town Hall itself? Double-standards.

And then there's Swan housing association...

It's featured prominently in two recent stories of ours. Not only did they balls up by erecting a four-storey block without planning permission next to people's homes in Rainhill Way, Bromley-by-Bow, they then compounded the error by pursuing a costly legal battle right the way through to a public inquiry.

They've just lost and it's possible their own tenants, not their well-paid directors, will ultimately have to pay.

It was also heavy-handed bosses from Swan who frightened the living daylights out of Pauline Forster, the fantastically creative landlady of the fabulous George Tavern, by smashing their way into the adjoining Stepney's Nightclub last week.

Swan wants to tear down this corner of East End cool, to erect a dull-but-worthy block of flats right next to The George.

Pauline, probably correctly, sees this as the thin end of the wedge.

Anyone eventually living next to a pub is bound to complain about noise: trust me, I grew up in one.

Pauline and the gang now want to form a community trust, buy Stepney's Nightclub from Swan and use the building for the people.

It seems a reasonable idea. I wonder if Swan see sense...

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Advertiser Chief Reporter Ted Jeory

ted.jeory@archant.co.uk


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