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Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson…
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Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson

by Douglas Murphy

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Boris is never boring

Boris Johnson brings a lot of images to mind, but architecture is not usually one of them, unless you’re Douglas Murphy , a London architect. In that case, Johnson is a horror of bad taste, pointless edifices and unneeded construction. It seems eight years of Johnson as Mayor was a fine form of torture for an architect or designer.

The chapters of Nincompoopolis divide Johnson’s unfortunate record in architecture and design into categories like housing and transport. There’s a redundant new cable car system joining two points that don’t need it, an insane tower turned into an expensive slide that loses as much money as it is hideous, and a new line of bus that is so badly designed it is called the Roastmaster. All at the behest of Boris Johnson, influenced by him, and of course promoted by him.

More than that, Nincompoopolis is a tour of what’s wrong with London today, and how it got that way. It is a terrific insight by a local who has lived through it. Murphy is great on context.

He says Johnson was easy to understand. He needed action and he needed achievements. Didn’t matter if they were appropriate or not, needed or not, or well designed. As long as there was activity, he was in the spotlight and that’s all that mattered. It’s all about Boris and his appointment with destiny – the prime ministership.

Possibly the most searing criticism is Johnson’s total abandonment of the lower classes. He personally attended to 130 building projects that favored developers and the wealthy at the expense of the lower classes. He totally ignored decades of policy on council houses – subsidized housing that kept some sort of balance in London. Under Johnson, it was all about the rich. Absentee billionaire owners mattered far more than workers for Johnson’s London. In his last speech he took credit for none of the bottom 20 poorest areas being part of London. He broke them up and dispersed them all. Another job well done.

David Wineberg ( )
  DavidWineberg | Jul 5, 2017 |
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