Susie Rushton: A clean sweep that's pretty sinister

Urban Notebook

Share
Related Topics

It is deportation by any other name. The New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come up with a scheme to reduce the number of homeless families in shelters by buying them one-way tickets back to (er, hopefully) charitable relatives that might live as far away as Orlando, Paris or even Johannesburg.

It is a policy surely designed not only to save cash but to primp the surface image of a city that relies on tourism. What it doesn't appear to be is a programme that addresses with any compassion the complicated causes of homelessness.

A handful of those homeless families removed from New York are reportedly grateful for their free ride from Bloomberg. But I find the idea of a broom that temporarily sweeps the destitute out of sight pretty sinister. Here's hoping that London's Mayor Boris Johnson doesn't borrow this bold and headline-grabbing scheme ahead of the Olympics.

Charles's presence is no help

Nigella Lawson's purchase of 12 identical dresses in a Notting Hill boutique this week ahead of a holiday in the Hamptons might look ludicrous. Nigella is a multi-millionaire, after all, and could buy whatever wondrous variety of clothing she fancied. Whether bulk-buying is sensible or horrendously boring is open to debate, but of one thing I am convinced. These were the actions of a woman under pressure to make her decisions quickly. And why? Outside, pacing the pavement and smoking, was her husband Charles Saatchi. Shopaholic he may be, but like 99 per cent of straight men, his presence on any clothes-buying mission is inauspicious.

Summer of the cockroach

I hope to God that estate agents don't hear about the tiny improvement in property prices. They need no encouragement. Last week, I dipped my toe into the sludgy waters of the capital's housing market when I picked up a sales list at a local estate agent.

I must have staggered visibly at what I read because the sales rep jumped out of his seat to offer words of advice. The more affordable flats on his own list were dismissed as "rubbish, awful, it looks terrible inside", or "not really a two-bed. Yes, that's what it says, but the second bedroom is about two metres square". One block of average-sized apartments, which I knew from cursory internet research to be selling for (relative) bargain prices at present, "are more like £500,000 now. Maybe back in January they would've been less".

In which alternate reality have property values been soaring for the past six months? Maybe it's a trifle ungenerous to compare estate agents to cockroaches but, truly, even the fallout from a global credit crisis can't squish the unsavoury ways of these critters.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: architecture, suitcases and ‘pathetic figures’

John Rentoul
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading

Robert Fisk
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape