Railways and plutocrats

This is a bit off-topic i.e. isn’t an economics book, but I enjoyed Iain Sinclair’s latest, [amazon_link id=”024114695X” target=”_blank” ]London Overground: A Day’s Walk around the Ginger Line[/amazon_link]. It’s an absolutely characteristic dyspeptic take on what’s happening in the unfashionable parts of London, the places linked by the tarted-up, more-or-less linked-up overground rail lines where Londoners can afford to live, if they’re lucky, pushed ever-further out by the tide of foreign plutocrat money drowning the housing market, leaving swathes of the city deserted because of the absentee landlords.

[amazon_image id=”024114695X” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]London Overground: A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line[/amazon_image]

Sinclair’s work is an acquired taste but I love it. This is not one of his best – not up to [amazon_link id=”0141014741″ target=”_blank” ]London Orbital[/amazon_link] standard –  but it does feature one of my favourite things, a Victorian-built railway. Sinclair writes of the “functional elegance of Victorian arches” – indeed. And then there’s the anger, the anger, about the money: “Dirty money was never so bright, so blatant. So protected by the politics of no-nothing quiescence.” This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer said we should stop the banker-bashing; but I’m with the Governor of the Bank of England, saying there had been ‘ethical drift’, and the time really has come for the money people to regain their social licence to operate.

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