Posts Tagged ‘mild socialism’

#52 The best things in life are free, or courtesy of the French tax payer

In Free, Kids, Travel on August 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm

This week we have been holidaying sur les Plages of Paris at the expense of the French tax payer.

The Paris Plages , now in their 9th year, have been much envied by London, though just to correct a misconception – they aren’t actually a whole stretch of fake beach (though there are a couple of areas set aside for sand and sun loungers), but a series of activities, kiosks, and entertainments along what would usually be a busy road along the Seine’s right bank, and around the Bassin de la Villette. All laid on by the Mairie de Paris.

We enjoyed badminton, pedaloing, outdoor swimming, pétanque, trampolining, rolling around on the Bassin inside inflatable floating spheres, and – my personal favourite – the forests of very fine spray that is just enough to cool you down without actually getting you wet, while surrounding you with rainbows. But we could also have done table football, kayaking, waterbikes, bmx-ing, fencing… And all for free. Read the rest of this entry »

#50 Why buildings matter, especially school buildings

In schools on July 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm

So no more Building Schools for the Future, then. We all knew it was coming, but my first reaction last week was: ‘Phew! Thank goodness the 1950s comp my daughter starts at in September has already been rebuilt,’ closely followed by: ‘There goes that gig I had doing architecture workshops with schoolkids in Ealing getting them to design their dream school.’

But for once it isn’t all me, me, me.  A quick look through the revised, revised, (revised?) list shows that just about every school in Ealing that was scheduled for a rebuild has been scrapped. Some with the pens poised over the contract and the wrecking balls ready to swing after the end of term in a fortnight. In a borough that already has to find several thousand more  school places from somewhere. All those kids who’ve been promised something better, just dumped. And the ones I met were really great kids too. Not to mention all those building firms that thought they had work this year and who will now probably just go bust.

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