And there you have it. I've written before of my distaste for folk that are prepared to do-unto poor people, whilst not being prepared to live in the very "homes" that they are promoting for these self same people. And only last week, at a panel discussion at an industry event, several esteemed leaders of the property industry were asked if they would be prepared to live in the new Stratford that will come about as a result of the Olympics legacy. I won't name names (sorry!) but, with one very noble exception (a chief executive of a global company who genuinely does live in Hackney) the other panellists, clearly experienced in this, managed to skilfully duck the question. Responses ranged from "of course my grandmother had a pub in Stratford" and "I was born in the Roman Road" and "why wouldn't you choose to live near Kelly's Pie 'n' Mash shop?" to "my son/daughter lives in a flat in the Bow Quarter". Nobody answered the question directly, or 'fessed up as to where it was they actually did live. And I'm afraid you just couldn't escape the feeling that the East End is not all THAT compelling then.
All of this served as a powerful reminder to me of my early days at the London Docklands Development Corporation where the few genuine East Enders who worked in the corporation stood out a mile. And I am sorry to say that the professionals who flocked to this magnet of consultancy-gravy really wanted to have it both ways (in the true tradition of the middle class snob): they wished to be both totally dissociative AND to claim some sort of veneer of east end credentials. They'd once been in a pub with the Krays, or they'd had a drink with Jack Dash, whilst secretly sneering at the East Enders in the organisation behind their hands and then going home at night to the leafy Home Counties. (I excuse Reg Ward from this, of course, and a few others who emulated his culture: he had impeccable manners and he always behaved exactly the same, whoever he was talking to).
Will we ever learn I wonder? If you care at all, then don't develop or promote anything unless you yourself would be prepared to live there.
Going off to be sad and grumpy somewhere else now.