Tear the Housing Bill apart like once the bust of Lenin!

(c)  2015 Daniel Zylbersztajn,  All Rights Reserved

This 1954 famous council building by Berthold Lubetkin near King’s Cross in Central London used to be called “Lenin Court.”Lubetkin tried to bring “the quality housing for all” principle from the USSR to England. There was even a statue of Lenin inside the courtyard. But it was destroyed so often by anti-Communists that in the end the council (at the time Finsbury) decided to rename the building. The building was meant to give social housing council tenants the best available at the time, and the building still stands proudly 60 years on, still serving many people on “lower incomes” in London.

The contemporary residents are quiet and mostly well behaved and take care of the surroundings with wild flower gardening for example. Many are small families of working people. It is projects like these that will become full private estates, if the Tory Housing Bill remains unchallanged. A council tenant unfortunate enough to earn just over £40.000 (London rate) is supposed to rent here on “full or near market-rate” under proposals of the new Housing Bill ( https://www.gov.uk/…/fair-rents-will-ensure-higher-earning-…). A flat (one bed) costs between £2000-£3000 to rent a month in this area of Central London. Go telly up, if a small family with a combined income of about  £45.000 can afford this?

People on such incomes are instead brandished as suckers and the policy is being sold to the country as “fair.” Naturally it is to raise money towards the national debt, approx £250 million a year, we hear. That not being enough, the new five year lid on the right to live in council and housing association flats, will create uncertainty and lack of care for the neighbourhood or the building. Gone will be the wild flower community projects, or safety for pensioners in the confidence of knowing all the neighbours.

Who thought out a policy such as this? Only people with no connection to realities of people’s lives, in other words a bunch of a certain species of elected politicians. You do not need to be a Communist to understand that this does not come from a caring and sound political mind, but from ideologists prepared to sacrifice small families and lower waged people. Yes In Central London £45.000 in a small family budget is perhaps more than some but still low. But Brandon Lewis the Housing Minister calls it totally just and”fair” to take away some £25-35.000 of that.

And they tore down Lenin’s bust because his ideologies were unsound during the cold war? There can be no doubt, Lenin was an unruly ideological tyrant, but how come the Conservatives, who thought this one out, can escape political judgement of something so evidently unethical and unsound?

And if you think this is going to boost home ownership, think again. A family on even 50.000 Pounds can neither buy outright nor purchase a share, if the remainder is to be served up on market rate.

When ideology affects negatively real lives so fundamentally (as it has done with people in social care too), than the public must wake up and tear down the posters of the Neocon leaders too, just like with the Lenin bust or at least shred their Housing Bill to pieces!

Poem “Mapping Us” referred to as example of regeneration voice.

A rare English poem of mine, regarding my area of Kings Cross,  has just been mentioned in a piece on regeneration written on www.voist.co.uk by Alex Pielak, entitled “How do you solve a problem like gentrification?

Pielak writes:

“…Ross’ project Wiki Kings Cross aimed to allow locals to add their stories, … about Kings Cross to a giant paper version of the area’s Wikipedia page. ….  These stories do exists, either spoken or written on forums and blogs, such as Daniel Zylbersztajn poem Mapping Us. They offer a first hand, truly personal and local insight into an area. But do the developers and local councils see or even know of them?”







Tageszeitung (TAZ): Kapuzen unter Generalverdacht (Hoodies as general suspects)

Einige junge Menschen in London werden seit Olympia laut ihren eigenen Angaben bis zu viermal pro Tag von der Polizei durchsucht   Sie haben alle das gleiche Profil, dunkle Hautfarbe, und familiäre Migrationshintergründe.

Some young people, those of minority backgrounds and darker skin complexions, say they have been stopped and searched up to four times a day by Metropolitan Police Officers since the Olympic Games began.


Die Tageszeitung (TAZ): Die meisten Kunden sind Exzentriker (most customers are excentrics)

Bericht über die berühmten Londoner Taxifahrer zu Olympia

Profile of two of London’s cabbies… (German)



The Possibilities and Impossibilities of Being A Neighbour

Article on thinking about Jewish-Polish, Jewish-German relations and simply on the issue of being a neighbour, or not!  Leading Feature Open Democracy 4/11/2011

Special thanks to the editors of Open Democracy, above all R.B., and front page ed., for your interest as well as choosing this as your leading weekend feature-story.  Thanks also to Ben Gidley, James Renton and Agnieszka Piśkiewicz for their respective input and Kei Kulp for one of the pictures.