2. Lots of things I've wanted to link to from Slate's political gabfest lately. There was a great discussion in this one about whether ultra-wealth is screwing up cities, which is the sort of thing you can't not wonder about if you live in London (see Zoopla). What I've been thinking lately is that it's not nurses who can't afford to buy houses in perfectly normal bits of London like Kilburn, it's doctors. For clarity, I think that in a healthy society nurses, teachers, policemen and firemen should be able to buy somewhere to live in Kilburn, but the fact that they can't has been repeated so often over the years that people have stopped listening. The fact that doctors and barristers can't do so is only worth raising on rhetorical grounds because (I hope) it re-enlivens the debate. If people who are rich by any rational standard can't afford to buy a house in Kilburn, it is not 'worse' but it makes the fact that there is a problem even clearer. It's not easy to solve, especially if you want to get reelected, but it's definitely unhealthy. When I moved to London fifteen years ago I was incredibly proud of it. I thought it was the best of the great cities and a huge reason was the mixed housing stock which meant no one area became a slum and no other area became a gated enclave.
3. Gabfest links include crazy ants, which get in your electrics and there's nothing you can do, it's the end of the world, Linda Taylor the welfare queen (real, but amazing rather than typical) and there was something else but I forget it.