The FT on Brockley and the East London Line

The FT today features a piece about the impact of the East London Line. It's essentially the same sort of thing we've seen before in the Standard.

For years, the far south-eastern reaches of London have been the last hope for young families looking for somewhere safe and pleasant to bring up children. Here, leafy streets, good schools and, most importantly, relatively low property prices have acted as a magnet for couples in their 20s and 30s looking to move from a flat into their first house. The main factor dissuading many has been poor public transport for those working in central London.

But the... East London Line... will transform working life for commuters from these predominantly residential areas and do wonders for property values.

Dr Steve Gibbons, of the London School of Economics, said: "Prices increase by about nine percentage points for each kilometre move towards a London Underground station or Docklands Light Railway station."

Here's what they say about Brockley specifically...

Brockley will be the first new stop travelling south on the line, which is due for completion in 2011 [sic]. With a collection of shops at its centre, it already caters largely to commuters with families. Its railway station has fast links to London Bridge station in the city centre. It has a large "conservation area" of 4,000 fine stucco houses protected from demolition or substantial redevelopment, making for an aesthetically pleasing environment. Its reasonable transport links mean it probably won't show the price growth of areas further south that will in effect come on to the London network for the first time, but it has good quality homes so should be a safe bet. Jonathan Keegan from the Rocodells estate agency in Brockley says: "The East London Line has had a good impact already. There was a real frenzy at the start of the year when the full details came out and prices have increased dramatically."

Average price for a three-bedroom house: £365,000.

The full article can be found here.

92 comments:

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I thought forest hill would have a higher average house price. Didn't realise it was so high in brockley nowadays.

Hugh said...

Ching ching.

brockley mutha said...

A propos brockley house prices. Just thought you may wish to see some recent property sales (public domain info). Some extraordinary prices - upper brockley road and geoffrey road.

54, Merritt Road, SE4 1DX - Sold for £246,329 on 20-12-2007
• Top Floor Flat, 4, Wickham Road, SE4 1PB - Sold for £190,000 on 11-12-2007
• 69, Foxborough Gardens, SE4 1HU - Sold for £260,000 on 30-11-2007
• Flat C, 180 Morgan House, Chudleigh Road, SE4 1EE - Sold for £200,000 on 30-11-2007
• 3, Merritt Road, SE4 1DU - Sold for £360,000 on 27-11-2007
• 73, Upper Brockley Road, SE4 1TF - Sold for £750,000 on 23-11-2007
• Flat 8, 213 Leigh Court, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UY - Sold for £150,000 on 21-11-2007
• 11, Greatfield Close, SE4 1LA - Sold for £169,000 on 16-11-2007
• Flat 3, 91, Manor Avenue, SE4 1TD - Sold for £232,495 on 16-11-2007
• 58, Geoffrey Road, SE4 1NT - Sold for £625,000 on 15-11-2007

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if we had this sort of updated property sales information put on a google map of Brockley, it would generate considerable interest.

Anonymous said...

. . . but who wants such interest ? ?

I wish they would leave us alone ;-((

JPM said...

I think there is a hell of a lot more mileage to be had in Brockley. Compare the sales figures to any other zone 2 section of London and note the huge disparity in prices. That will close over the next three years, quite rapidly I think. Ignore the small percentage drops seen over winter. Look out this summer and see it defy the downturn.

nicola name said...

agree with jpm (jpmorgan?!)

as someone who had never been to se london till summer 07, I think it is totally underrated (and therefore underpriced)...but for me, rather than pricing considerations, the key things are (1)living in such a pretty area (2) walking down the hill to increasingly good shops and (3)having absolutely wonderful neighbours and good schools nearby in Dulwich.

all of the above mean more to my daily quality of life than the price rises that will probably come.

spincat said...

What puzzles me in the whole 'we're going on the tube network at last' thing, is that the East London Line is effectively going to form part of the Overground network: it is being seen as the first line that will actually secede from the Underground network. So nothing is really changing is it?

Chap said...

You're splitting hairs old boy. The frequency will be up their with the tube network and it interchanges at underground stations. your ticket will work seemlesly across the system. Remember that the 'Underground' was not designed from the ground up as an integrated system origionally - they were different private railways that were brought together. Painting out the sign and calling the 'Overground' the 'Underground' will not suddenly change the service.

Anonymous said...

also the Overground is used here and there all over the network so it won't be seen as the south eastern illegitimate version of the tube (in the way some people view the DLR - wrongly)

chap said...

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it's a duck.

The overground looks like the underground and will move you around with the speed of the underground....it's the underground (in all but name)

Tamsin said...

There's a huge inconsistency in the tenor of the FT piece as quoted. It says SE London is the last refuge of people with young families looking for somewhere to bring up their children and then refers to the property price increase following the transport development as if it were a good thing! Bang. Last refuge gone.

I know I am sounding terribly reactionary, blinkered and blimpish but we got on quite well enough before. OK, the trains were crowded and infrequent but there were alternatives in the buses, and now the DLR. I don't want the place to become another Clapham with prices to match and gated communities.

Brockley Nick said...

Chap's right and surely the proof of that is articles like these? They aren't drawing a distinction. I think the main reason why it's called Overground is because it will not be managed by the same people as the Underground. It will be under TfL control. So it's nothing but a technical distinction.

Monkeyboy said...

Tasmin, I see your point. There is no right answer though, all you can do is try and please most of the people most of the time. I'm sure if you we're to do a quick poll more would say yes than no. Can I also turn the question around, would you prefer FEWER transport links so we're even more isolated? I'm guessing not.

Personally I like the idea of being plugged into the rest of London. That's why I live in london and not surrey.

spincat said...

I'm not splitting hairs, just curious.

I don't ever travel by underground as I get claustrophobia in the tube; the only times I have used them in the past gave me a poor impression of their reliability, so I don't know why they (tubes) are supposed to be better.

I don't understand why some of my friends won't contemplate living somewhere in London unless it near one of these hellish underground stations.
I don't understand why property prices rise at the merest sniff of one coming to an area - even if it is actually a train train train that is coming whistling down the line. Ie. same as we have right now.

To me it just seems strange and baffling, in an amusing sort of way.

Graeme said...

Not to put too much of a dampener on our virtual wealth, but I was under the impression that price increases had already been factored in to property valuations (around 1999/2000 when the ELL extension was announced). Though hopefully, that has been forgotten, and I'm sure I'm with most of you in hoping there's still some 'upside' (as the financial types say)

nicola name said...

Tamsin! fanatsic, someone who uses the word "reactionary" correctly nowadays. (ok I'm horribly pedantic...)

re house prices rises, unless you are trading DOWN these don't help you and are actually counterproductive. (ie your next bigger house costs relatively more if house prices rise.)

However, it is definitely the case that there is a huge pot of city money that would be more likely to come to Brockley if people actually knew it existed. Brockley si much nicer than Clapham/similar South of the river lcoations and prices currently reflect the opposite. It will take a few years and not jsut a tube or two but it will happen. in some ways a shame, in others a benefit...

patrick1971 said...

Spincat, I think the main benefit people see from being near a tube is that you don't have to plan your journey; it really is just turn up and go. Whereas when you're on the mainline, you have to know when your train's going, especially in the evening when it's often a half hourly service. Still, more power to those of us that can do such planning!

I really must get my act together and put my house on the market this week so I can start my move to Brockley. I've seen the house I want so I need to get a quick sale! Anyone know anyone who's interested in a two bedroom house in Deptford? :-)

Tamsin said...

But for the sake of being a real community with real people you don't want "a huge pot of city money" coming to the area. Those that have it and that will be the only ones able to afford the prices if they take off as anticipated spend all the week working "earning" that money and the weekends with their parents in the home counties or the Cotswolds. For a community you want a bedrock of middle income varied professionals (the teachers and artists)with families and with no commitment elsewhere who will fight for their neighbours and local amenities and local schools etc.

jon s said...

@tamsin

The "huge pot of city money" will spend and engage locally. They work from home at time and due to hectic work schedules often nip out in the evening (and during the day when at home) buying bits and bobs locally. Also, when friends come around, approx 1/2 of them will buy a bottle of wine, chocolates, etc. in Brockers when they get here and stroll around spending money at the local shops, bars and restaurants.

Can you please define what a "real community" is - vacant shops on the High St?

It's all a bit moot really, as nothing can be done to prevent the influx of money after the ELL is developed. This is regardless if one is for or against it.

Brockley Nick said...

JonS said: "Can you please define what a "real community" is - vacant shops on the High St?"

Very succinctly put.

Anyway, let's not overestimate the impact of the ELL - Brockley will not become Chelsea. It might become East Dulwich.

andy pandy pudding &pie said...

I think alot of people who work in the city nowadays do not typically fit what people think. For me, its the fact that there is alot of 'arty' and 'cultural' things to do around here which attracted me to it in the first place.

I work in the city and I have a policy of buying local unless I cant get it. I have spent alot of money doing up my house for which the majority of it when to local builders and Sids.

As for Dandelion Blue, I tend to use it once a week and the broca everytime I miss my train to get a decent cuppa.

If the supply of commercial retail outlets was lower than the number of businesses wanting to trade here than Tasmin may have a point, as rents would be pushed up. But so far there is a clear surplus, and many new retail outlets being created around the station so there is no upwards pressure.

I cant actually see any real risk at the moment in things turning out the way described above.

Monkeyboy said...

Jon's right It'll find it's own level..

Tasmin, you seem to be saying "there are just enough people like 'me' in the area, certainly don't want any more of 'them' moving in"

There are plenty of people in Brockley that probaly think there are far too many of 'us'. There's probably a blog out there that says..."I mean who NEEDS 10 varieties of olive oil? we need more betting shops if you ask me...."

personally, I want a bit more chi chi but I'm moving as soon as I see a rugby shirt with the collar turned up.

jon s said...

@nick I see brockers as more of a future Islington - and lets be honest, Islington still has its fair share of erm...... "real community" locations.

Islington has the arts angle and proximity to central london.

ElijahBailey said...

I see Brockley as developing a real fusion of cultural influences; the sophisticated cafe culture of Paris, the art's culture of Barcelona, the slight edgy buzz of New York and the night life of Munich.

Eventually we shall be hoping on and off the mag-lev train at Brockley station to pop over to Vienna to view the latest opera or north on the Brockley-Edinburgh line, opened to innaugerate the first joint Art's festival between the two gleaming capitals of culture.

Yes Brockley is certainly going places. Which exactly what I shall be doing once the price of my flat has increased by that magic 1000% mark.

Hugh said...

I see Brockley as a melding of downtown Manhattan, uptown Tokyo, the Pacific Palisades of LA, a sprinkling of South Ken and a dash of funky Kingston, sweetened with a drop of Camden and chilled with a slice of Hampstead.

I have never seen so much balls written on one thread.

Monkeyboy said...

Oh I don't know, you should have seen some of the beauties amongst the 246 postings on the 'Chattering Classes' thread. Most of them by me.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

lol, that thread was quite an epic...!

nicola name said...

Tamsin, I agree that living in a community matters more than house prices in the long run and that our lives are improved vastly by the villagey atmosphere. if we can keep that and enjoy better transport and more spending in local shops, all the better though. :-)

Anonymous said...

Brockley has always lacked venues that provide much of a social focus. Its pubs are generally places for fat blokes to sit around talking about football.

The majority of residents socialise with work colleagues in other areas, for them Brockley is a place to sleep. This is the case for many of the residents who stream from Brockley station each day.

Aside from a couple of notable exceptions, there are few places to socialise or even get a meal in the evening, despite the high population density.

This could change if the local government encouraged the development of businesses that provide some social focus and encourage community development.

Instead we get commercial landlords that undermine small businesses and we are left with a rag tag of fast food and other franchises that come and go, bookies and estate agents. Brockley used to have butchers, bakers, fishmongers and greengrocers.

While the businesses that have started in the past few years are encouraging, I get the impression that they have started despite local government and commercial landlords.

I wonder if the Council has any sort of plan for development or are we to see our parades of shops deteriorate and all but disappear like in Upper Brockley Road? Is the policy one of neglect? Because it certainly seems that way.

Tamsin said...

You are quite right about the empty shops. (I must confess to straying over from the Telegraph Hill side of the track - where we have no shops at all! - and speaking from my experience there where several parents of young children want to move up from flat to house but find they can't do so and stay in the area because of alread inflated prices.)

I think the Council is concerned with the issues of purely commercial retail interests not providing what is needed for a community and has identified Brockley as a local centre - I forget the actual term they use. This is something that the Brockley Society would be more actively working on in conjunction with the Council - through FOCAS planning meetings and consultation, etc. - if they had an influx of new enthusiasm mentioned on another thread.

Hugh said...

Monkeyboy, I'll set time aside to review your recent work.

Headhunter said...

Ruby shirt with an upturned collar, Monkeyboy? That was what I was going to wear to the Jam Circus drinkies event...

Anonymous said...

Just don't wear the mustard coloured slacks and brogues...

JPM said...

Nicola name said, you got that right! How...?

JPM said...

Sorry, that post should have read "Nicala Name" you got the right guy, how?

ross said...

"I see brockers as more of a future Islington"

the 8th most deprived borough (out of 354) in the whole of the UK?

and

Ranks second worst after Nottingham for percentage of population likely to be a victim of crime.

Only 44.1% of 15 year olds achieve five or more GCSE results between A* to C*.

Islington is in the bottom 10% for education and economic activity.

Life expectancy here is lower than average, with men living on average 73.9 years and women 79.3 years.

All 16 of Islington’s wards are amongst the most deprived in England.

Islington has high alcohol related hospital stays and many people in drug misuse treatment services.

nicola name said...

jp,
pure chance, I was thinking of the bank!

jon s said...

@Ross - There are lies, damn lies and statistics........

For Islington, you have quoted the whole borough, including places like Finsbury Park. Try comparing brockers to parts of N1 around Upper St instead, unless you are looking for a borough wide comparison to Lewisham.

ElijahBailey said...

"most deprived borough" statistics mean very little in London due to the density levels.

ElijahBailey said...

Here's a list of target local authorities:

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Database/deprived.html

ross said...

"there are lies, damn lies and statistics....."

apologies jon s, you've misunderstood the point i was making, which was the impact & effects of gentrification on the wider & surrounding areas, the displacement (not reduction) in crime, the social & economic exclusion and its consequences, the creation of 'the other', the accumulation by dispossession (as marx would have put it), the spiralling commodification of leisure, culture, nature & history, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

We have had a couple of fancy food shops open and there is the possibilty of a pub being tarted up. Hardly grounds for agonizing about displacement and social exclusion just yet. Sounds like academic 'blue sky thinking', or more likely 'dark, overcast and threatening to rain thinking'. But nonetheless it could form the basis of some study. 'the gentrification of Brockley by bougeiose immigrants from Dulwich and the consequent displacement of the untermench to Deptford.' Academic chins are being scratched and college pencils are being sharpened. And there will be a degree or two to had on the back of this one.

ross said...

if you'd followed the exchange of posts you'd have realised that the whole conversation was in relation to what's already been experienced in islington, now that can be talked about in the lived experiences of those impacted by it or it can be looked at from 'without' by crusty academics pontificating on it, either way there's no 'ifs' about it, it's happened and it's there for all to see, and furthermore it bears all the hallmarks of what happens when areas get gentrified, i do realise that it's a losing battle pointing these things out on websites such as this, due the mixture of ostrich like head in the sand ignoral of issues like this and indeed the personal self interest at stake, but hey ho

(and your reference to academic perspectives are a bit out i'm afraid, having left school at 16 and not had the luxury of receiving a university education, o (like i bet most people on here have had), i'm hardly in the category that one would judge as 'academic')

Brockley peoples Army said...

Keep chewing on your smelly cheese and guzzling your single estate olive oil while you can, bourgeois scum. We demand:

1) The right to cholesterol rich diet.

2) Cheap intensively farmed chicken for all(the organising committee has decided on behalf of the people that it’s a bit weird that chickens are allowed to live a happy and fulfilling life when the people have to work at Iceland)

3) The Barge be Grade 1 listed with immediate affect.

4) Anyone seen wearing a trilby in an ironic manner be killed on sight

5) No poncey art – a four year old could do that.

6) That’ll do for now, were still thinking….

The Brockley Peoples Army is massing on the Peckham borders ready to sweep you into the Thames – or failing that, Croydon.

You have been warned…..

jon s said...

@ ross

Gentrification and the growth of an underclass are effects from economic conditions and social policy not causes. Unfortunately it can be too easy for us all to blame one effect for another.

Brockers gentrifying is based on more wealth flooding into London, pushing wealthy people to new areas, in combination with the ELL and other developments.

Reduction in crime and poverty (tactfully called the underclass) is a problem in many western societies (not just brockers), and leaving them in sink estates or moving them to new sink estates is a moot point, what is needed is better social development policy.

Reducing crime and poverty must be a balaced process providing both a carrot - opportunities, education (vocation and academic) and microfinance (small loans)
and a stick - measured performance, law and order, etc (generally everything people describe as "big brother") or it will fail. However the stick cannot be applied until sub level carrots have been successfully implemented, building alternatives to the kleptocratic structures that bind societies together. i.e. if you want to hit the criminals or youth gangs hard, you need something else in place to provide a sense of identify that can fall back on (or be gently guided towards) before taking the ringleaders (and structures) down.

If you want to look up the academic argument behind this (Proven many times, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan), tt's Hamza Alavi's overdeveloped state - far superior to Marx. Erm the only positive thing I can say about him is that he used class as a tool of analysis. Essentially he writes blame literature......

Anonymous said...

As I contemplate the dearth of places of to engage in jocular badinage with the over educated of Brockley. Do I worry about it turning into another Islington? Not at all. So Brockley will climb tenuously onto the fag end of the tube map. Is it suddenly going to turn into Upper St?

Nada

This sort of handwringing is what happens when people talk up an area too much and lose all sense of reality.

Seen it all before.

Intellectual Masturbation said...

wot a load pseudo intellectual cobblers. Remind me to leap out of the nearest window if I'm cornered by any of you at a party.

ross said...

"Gentrification and the growth of an underclass are effects from economic conditions and social policy not causes. Unfortunately it can be too easy for us all to blame one effect for another."

well indeed, it is however a circuit, rather than a simple cause & effect, where one feeds of the other, regardless of where gentrification comes from, it does go on to influence economic conditions and social policy, and as such is a good enough thing in itself to speak out, and try to organise, against. symptons as well as root causes, are sources of problems in themselves.

"Brockers gentrifying is based on more wealth flooding into London, pushing wealthy people to new areas, in combination with the ELL and other developments."

i agree, however that cause is no different to the cause of any other area gentrification, and as such is likely to produce the same side effects that has been observed, and experienced, in countless other areas


"Reduction in crime and poverty (tactfully called the underclass) is a problem in many western societies (not just brockers), and leaving them in sink estates or moving them to new sink estates is a moot point, what is needed is better social development policy.

Reducing crime and poverty must be a balaced process providing both a carrot - opportunities, education (vocation and academic) and microfinance (small loans)
and a stick - measured performance, law and order, etc (generally everything people describe as "big brother") or it will fail. However the stick cannot be applied until sub level carrots have been successfully implemented, building alternatives to the kleptocratic structures that bind societies together. i.e. if you want to hit the criminals or youth gangs hard, you need something else in place to provide a sense of identify that can fall back on (or be gently guided towards) before taking the ringleaders (and structures) down."

i kind of agree with most of what you wrote there, however i'd add the slightly more utopian and wishful thinking argument that as modern capitalist society breeds people in it's own image and that society reproduces in each generation all the negative aspects of of that social/economic system that feed into crime, poverty, inequality in the first place, then like you above i'd say more focus should go on the core problems rather than the symptoms that stem from it

"If you want to look up the academic argument behind this (Proven many times, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan), tt's Hamza Alavi's overdeveloped state - far superior to Marx. Erm the only positive thing I can say about him is that he used class as a tool of analysis. Essentially he writes blame literature......"

i doubt this is the place to get into discussion on the usefulness or otherwise of marxist analysis. however, it depends on your outlook, if you see class relations as key then your obviously going to see marx as more useful than someone who doesn't. as for blame literature you say that as though it's a bad thing, if you accept the starting point of class analysis, then a thorough and useful account of what is to 'blame' has to be your starting point before you can even think about doing something about it, and for all it's historical bagagge and undefendable bastardisation, it still remains, in part, a useful tool for analysis of our current society. i even see it's prompted you to have a wee rant about it on your blog, however i've got to say i'm surprised you don't see the argument to which you dismiss (that gentrification extends the bourgeoisie estate) in terms of things like primitive accumulation or the more modern friendly accumulation by disposession). don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

ross said...

@ 'brockley peoples' army'

you have an odd idea as to what progressive politics are about, you seem to think that the main priority is to maintain in bondage the position of the bulk of society, this couldn't be further from the truth, the point is to abolish that sorry state. what it is against however is the colonisation of certain things for a select few (usually through exclusion using economic and social methods), access to healthy food, culture and leisure pursuits being a few that you've touched upon

ross said...

"Remind me to leap out of the nearest window if I'm cornered by any of you at a party."

i'm sure we could go one better than that

Anonymous said...

am I allowed to use the word 'Pricks'?

Anonymous said...

The word 'prick' is simply a crude phalocentric insult - you should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

How about tosser?

Anonymous said...

I see those quaint political social clubs so popular before 1989 still persist. The world has changed, deal with it.

Brockly Peoples Army said...

The commitee has met to decide the 6th demand...

6) Psudointelectuals should also be killed on site and their chords and pipes displayed at The Barge as a warning.

.... said...

OK...you can have tosser, but don't you DARE use the word c**t!

Anonymous said...

Mmm. in this case I think it's appropriate.

jon s said...

@ Ross,

Yup, gentrification does influence social and economic policy, it shifts the allocation of resources and demographics. You hit the nail on the head, we come from different starting positions.

Gentrification extending the borgeoisie estate - it's often a truism (unless gentrification is matched by the decline of another area), as a new area gets and overflow of additional middle class people.

My view is class produces rigid boxes of behavior (culture) that ignore shift and creation in structures (including wealth). Looking at the pending (and slow) gentrification of Brockers it can create a society of blame - us and them.

We should agree to disagree about Marx and class methinks - and as such, if gentrification is responsible for the dislocation of crime and poverty.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Guys, come on... dont be soo boring! I mean, this is meant to be a fun blog, to celebrate brockley, If I wanted a lesson in social sciences I would of spent more time at school.....

I second the arguement to delete ALL psudointelectuals comments or at least somehow restrict them posting to what was - a rather good site. Don't these guys debate thigs at uni? GET A LIFE.

Anonymous said...

Just goes to prove how bereft this area is of places to debate such fundamentals.

They only find their freedom here in cyberspace.

Sadly, on this crowded blog, they still take up too much room.

Blog hoggers.

Now, any more news about trains?

ross said...

@ jon s

happy to agree to disagree with you on this one

(especially in light of a shining example of the supposed increased 'tolerance' that follows gentrification, that has been displayed on this thread in the last few posts - or is it perhaps a conversation that gets a bit too close to the bone for comfort for the deli munchers - out of sight out of mind again - let's get back to talking about house prices )

ross said...

"I see those quaint political social clubs so popular before 1989 still persist. The world has changed, deal with it"

indeed, i'm glad someone here recognises that the world has changed, take the uk for example, where huge transfers of wealth are being made from the public to private hands, where social & economic inequality has massively expanded over the last 3 decades, where social mobility has been frozen, where 1 in 5 of all people in the uk live in relative poverty, where 1 in every 3 children in the uk live in relative poverty, where any kind of social solidarity has been covertly or violently dismantled, where we have speeches from the likes of gordon brown the other day saying that the role of the private sector in public services will go much wider & deeper than ever before, much more than what the tories could have ever dreamed of doing(despite the abject failure of such initiatives and the obscene waste of public money that is ploughed into them), where things like the cost of housing, energy and food are rocketing at present but instead of tightening monetary policy and the supply of money which one would normally expect to happen when inflation kicks in, we have the exact opposite happening, a lowering of interest rates and a easing of money supply, all to bail out the financial institutions who were happily making billions out of schemes which have now bit them on their arse

yes, the world has changed

Brockley Peoples Army said...

Jon/Ross,

Are you REALLY that humourless, pompous and self important that you cannot recognise a couple of average jokes at your expense?

jon s said...

Hmm - "average jokes"

There is an old print journalism saying, never rise to someone who buys ink by the barrel................

Anonymous said...

Well one thing hasn't changed is that merchants of doom persist in predicting the end of civilisation unless the world wakes up to their inspired vision of how the world should be.

The world bumbles along and many good things happen as well as not so good. One lesson has been learnt: it is better to bake a big cake than spend an eternity arguing over how a small one should be divided.

If the consequences of people becoming prosperous are the social exclusion of the poorest, then it means there are the resources available to put this right. That is a far better prospect than everyone arguing over a slice of the same impoverished dung heap.

Brockley suffered many years of decay in past years, it was once dominated by tumbledown squats and people winging about the government of the day. If the trains bring money to the area it will bring with it improvements for the lives of many, directly or indirectly. This is a good thing.

ross said...

"If the consequences of people becoming prosperous are the social exclusion of the poorest, then it means there are the resources available to put this right. That is a far better prospect than everyone arguing over a slice of the same impoverished dung heap."

I agree with your first sentence, however your second sentence makes a huge leap which assumes that just because the resources are there then they will be applied in a progressive & equitable way, and that is the crux of the issue and argument here, in that this is not happening and in fact the reverse is a more accurate portrayal of what's happening. Look at the global scale as an example, over a billion people live on a dollar a day, 2.7 billion (nearly half of the world) live on 2 dollars a day. The resource of the world however are at an all time high, yet the distribution of those resources are becoming more and more skewed & regressive, this is being played out both on a global and a local level. and i don't buy the argument about having a smaller percentage of a bigger cake means we are all better off, largely because it's false. Look at a historical example, in the 70's an average semi-skilled worker (typically male)could reasonbly comfortably support a family of 4 through his employment. Nowadays the average family needs both parents working full time to even stand a chance of getting by. If your thesis is correct that the average persons smaller slice of a bigger cake leads to a better situation, why are we seeing the kind of thing that i just pointed out. (cue howls about the fact that we have ipods and the like now and hence prove positive that society's progressed - don't get me wrong though i'm not all misty eyed about the past and wanting to return to it, id like to move on and progress, but in the right direction)

(pointing this out however leads to accusuations of being pompous apparently)

Tom said...

Ross, a fair analysis of relative wealth would also include today's expanded leisure time, disposable income, material expectations and the shift from an export-led industrial economy (where semi-skilled workers were kings) to a post-industrial economy.

Without these factors included, your argument that we are actually poorer than previously makes you seem to be trying very hard to see the grey lining of a silver cloud.

And while I reckon it's a bit mean to have a go at people wanting to have a discussion, a few line breaks here and there do make things easier to read!

ross said...

"Ross, a fair analysis of relative wealth would also include today's expanded leisure time, disposable income, material expectations and the shift from an export-led industrial economy (where semi-skilled workers were kings) to a post-industrial economy.

Without these factors included, your argument that we are actually poorer than previously makes you seem to be trying very hard to see the grey lining of a silver cloud.

And while I reckon it's a bit mean to have a go at people wanting to have a discussion, a few line breaks here and there do make things easier to read!"

re the stuff that you propose should be included in the overall analysis:-

- expanded leisure time:- on average for the uk at the start of the 20th century the average working week was about 54 hours, this dropped to about 44 hours per week in the 1950's. The latest census in 2001 shows on average working week of about 42 hours a week, and most data shows the period between the 1950's and now at around 40-45 hours a week. Now as my comparison in the previous post was in relation to the changes experienced in the second half of the century (i.e. our 1970's worker, the rise in inequality over the last few decades etc..), the point about expanded leisure time/reduced working time doesn't seem to hold true, as both then and now average hours were pretty much the same, so i don't think this can be brought in as an argument to balance out the negatives that i pointed out in my example. (and i won't even attempt to start a discussion as to how any spare leisure time that we do actually have is increasingly being subject to commodification at a rate never before seen, or on how more and more 'leisure' time is actually spent recupurating from, or preparing for, work) (some evidence to back up my stats on working hours here http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,987105,00.html)

- disposable income: if true disposable income is higher now than was previously, why was our example of 1970's man able to reasonably comfortablty support a family of four on his earnings when now even with both parents working full time a family of four often struggle to make ends meet? fair enough we have a far greater level of consumption, but how much of this is actually discretionary that could be cut back on if required? not a great deal to be honest for the average family.

- material expectations: not sure how you can count this as a positive when set against the two points above, expectations is one thing, satisfaction of those expectations is another. the ecomomic system constantly plays upon our desires without ever bestowing any kind of real satisfaction, arguably leaving us worse off not better off

however if your keen to look at other factors that should be taken into account in comparing life now with a few decades or so ago, we also need to look at some other areas :-

declining access to free health & education - that was in the post war decades almost univeral , now it's either not available explicitly or the level of the provision so poor or difficult to access that people are forced to pay for it.

retirement provisions, a few decades ago most people could comfortably rely upon a state pension or a company final salary pension to live on, that prospect looks a lot more bleaker these days. huge swathes of people with an ever increasing life expectancy are going to be faced with this problem in the coming decades.

all manner of social safety nets (or the social wage in academic w*nk) that were once in place for people have been turned into commodities whereby you can only access them if you have the money in your pocket to transform the desire for them to an actual effective demand for them in the market place

if you insist on looking at the wider picture when doing a comparison you have to consider areas like these as well you know

mind you as none of the negatives usually apply to the people who end up living in gentrified areas i don't suppose it's an issue for most of them. out of sight, out of mind

p.s. i hope you like my new approach to a more equitable distribution of paragraphs (how do you get on when you pick up a book out of curioristy though)

Bea said...

Ross: thanks for the breaks - it makes reading and (more importantly) understanding your arguments easier. Now if you were just to capitalise and punctuate...

Re books: the ones I read tend not to be as heavy going as the debate here ... (I like a bit of mental escapism during my crushed commute or after a hard day at the office).

ross said...

10-4 bea!

(my comment about books was in relation to their lack of paragraphs though)

JPM said...

Does this mean that Ross won't be coming to the little 'drinkies'? If so, count me in. (Subject to future economic advantages of course.)

ross said...

i'd rather gnaw my right arm off

JPM said...

Could you make that both...?

Brockley Peoples Army said...

The committee has met and have reconsidered their position. Henceforth Brother Ross will act as chief political officer. The BPA will need his kind of clear, concise political strategising if we are to move from a direct action revolutionary group to party of Government.

Welcome Brother Ross....Now what was your point again?

ross said...

"Could you make that both"

input joke about 'armless [here], etc..

Tom said...

'Brother' Ross, I think I'm going to sit this one out, point-by-point 'I'm right and you're wrong' arguments don't really grab me. Also you need to be clearer about what is a fact and what is an assertion – you mix them up quite disturbingly, which would make a response a rather long and tedious affair.

(Though I did laugh to see you found a way to frame longer life expectancy as a negative!)

I am sure however there are people over on the Guardian site who'd love to go for your argument hammer and tongs, and no-one takes the p*ss over there ... more's the pity.

ross said...

"The committee has....zzz"

good satire usually involves a mixture of humour, relevant parody, and an ironic parallel of events

bear that in mind for your next post obergruppenfuhrer

ross said...

"'Brother' Ross, I think I'm going to sit this one out, point-by-point 'I'm right and you're wrong' arguments don't really grab me. Also you need to be clearer about what is a fact and what is an assertion – you mix them up quite disturbingly, which would make a response a rather long and tedious affair."

fair do's

(although a quick review of our respective posts on the matter show more fact based points/less vague assertions in my post compared to yours, and i noticed you didn't qualify your points with a FACT or ASSERTION tag either -but don't fear, often pointing out the weak points in others provides a useful mirror to see similar ones in ourselves)

Monkeyboy said...

....even managed to analyse a joke into submission - what a star

Ross, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.

Tom said...

Indeed MB!

I like the way he still tries to "win" the argument with me when there was none. (I haven't participated in the debate so I have no idea what he's talking about.)

I join MB in his salute to ideological purity! (And two fingers raised to the Judean Peoples' Front!)

ross said...

tom, what utter cr*p, you pulled me up on a point i was making and i rebutted it, don't try and pretend now there wasn't an argument or debate being had, especially given your opening phrase of

"Ross, a fair analysis of relative wealth would....."

Tom said...

You are absolutely spoiling for an argument aren't you?!

Am not rising to it!

Pete said...

Can I suggest you two go and register with Guardian Unlimited Talk where this sort of tedious debate is de rigeur. You can even join in with the pathological debates on the Israel/Palestine issue...

lb said...

So what happened to all these "teachers and artists" then? All I saw on St Johns station platform this morning was harassed-looking middle-management types, and I include myself in that.

Pete said...

Teachers and artists don't have to commute into central london for a 9am start.

ross said...

"You are absolutely spoiling for an argument aren't you?!

Am not rising to it!"

fair enough

lb said...

"Teachers and artists don't have to commute into central london for a 9am start"

That's it, I'm retraining.

JPM said...

Come on, chaps! A bit of ribbing is acceptable, but it looks to me as if you're ganging up on Ross.

I had a bit of a go, and I hope he accepted it as harmless fun. (No pun intended.)

Ross speaks a lot of sense and his input has been great, though a bit of a challenge for me, so leave the lad alone and let's get on with swapping ideas for the betterment of Brockley.

Thta said, I don't like bullies actually, and 'cyber' bullies are no better. If it continues, I'm not coming back. And I won't go for a drink with you either.

ross said...

to be fair i don't think it's ganging up or 'bullying' whatsoever, it's two seperate things,

1) a scramble around by a bunch of people to prevent a discussion being had about something that they are either i) not interested in, ii) don't understand or iii) don't want to confront (why that means they have to then demand an end to said discussion when they could in fact just ignore the thread it's happening on i'm not so sure - it's not like i'm posting on every thread that arises here, very few to be fair), and

2) a discussion where people are happy to engage with the argument but the respective positions held by either sides are light years apart that very little common ground could expect to be achieved. now given the make up of sites like this it's not surprsing that that results in the majority of people taking one side of the argument leaving me as the lone voice pushing the other side, that isn't bullying or ganging up in the slightest, it's just how things are. productive discussion can still be had with this group however as at least the cases are put forward in a pleasant manner with a reasonable application of rigorous logic to them (unlike type (1) above) - i can respect the argument and its logic (and by extension its author) without agreeing with their conclusions.

JPM said...

Chaps, forget what I said. Make sure you give him a good cyber kicking!(You can lead a stubborn mule to water, but that won't improve his manners.)

ross said...

do you want me to get you a pair of velcro gloves to see if they can help you hold onto a position for more than 5 minutes?

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