John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for February, 2017

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Twitter parodies won’t worry Corbyn. But his supporters deserting him should | John Harris

Friday, February 10th, 2017

The Labour leader was mocked for saying ‘the real fight starts now’ over Brexit terms. Where is his party’s competence, vision and strategic nous?

Oh, Labour – 118 characters, 23 words, and the awfulness of the party’s current position has been revealed in full. “Real fight starts now,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, or whoever does these things for him, in the aftermath of the House of Commons’ second vote on article 50. “Over next two years Labour will use every opportunity to ensure Brexit protects jobs, living standards & the economy.”

Related: We can’t stop Brexit now, but we can plan for a better Britain | Wes Streeting

@jeremycorbyn *Puts baby in lion’s mouth* “The real fight starts now. Over the next 2 yrs Labour will use every opportuni oh it’s eaten it”

Related: Theresa May’s vision of Brexit is extreme. That’s why I couldn’t vote for it | Rachael Maskell

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Housing association agrees to buy back homes on ’substandard’ development

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Orchard Village in east London, which was built with £31m of public money, plagued by issues of poor building quality

Britain’s largest housing association has agreed to buy back some of the properties on a new London housing development so plagued with issues relating to building quality that it is facing calls for its demolition.

Orchard Village, in the east London borough of Havering, was built with the aid of £31m of public money, and is the responsibility of the Clarion Housing Group, which owns and runs more than 125,000 homes and intends to build tens of thousands more over the next decade.

Related: Leaking sewage and rotten floorboards: life on a ‘flagship’ housing estate

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Leaking sewage and rotten floorboards: life on a ‘flagship’ housing estate

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Orchard Village in east London was built in 2014 as a bold replacement for the notorious Mardyke estate, which provided the setting for the gritty film Fish Tank. But conditions are so bad that some residents think it should be demolished

‘Substandard’ housing association scheme faces hundreds of complaints

Colin Nickless and his family moved into their newly built home on the Orchard Village estate in September 2014. They had come to the outer edge of east London to be near a special school for their daughter Ellie, who is autistic and also has cystic fibrosis.

On the face of it, their three-bedroom house – acquired under a shared ownership scheme – was more than satisfactory. Indeed, a year before, the then Tory communities and local government minister Nick Boles had visited Orchard Village, which is in the borough of Havering, and put it in the top five new housing developments in the UK, praising it as “uplifting, fine, bold and human”.

Related: ‘Substandard’ housing association scheme facing hundreds of complaints

Related: Once the biggest housing associations own 90% of social homes, tenants will lose out

Residents’ lives have been blighted by the sub-standard building work that has taken place

Related: The response to dire housing should not be studied callousness | Dawn Foster

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Leavers complain, but they’ve shared the benefits of cheap EU labour | John Harris

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Our consumerist way of life depends on a flow of workers who’ll do the jobs we won’t. If they go, Brexiters will feel the pain too

The idea that Peterborough feels like the future may seem unlikely. But it’s true: this bustling city with a population of 190,000 really does feel as if it’s on the social and economic cutting edge.

Brand new housing developments extend into the distance, as does rush-hour traffic. On its southern edgelands is Kingston Park, a surreal clump of vast warehouses and distribution sheds that includes an unbelievably large Amazon “fulfilment centre”, and one empty newly built structure, seemingly waiting for another multinational to fill it. Throughout the day, walkways and roads nearby are smattered with people in hi-vis jackets, living the zero-hours life, and trying to make the best of it.

Try coming up with a model of consumerism that avoids huge seasonal fluctuations

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If eastern Europeans leave Britain after Brexit, what happens? – video

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

John Harris visits the flatlands of East Anglia, where support for Brexit runs high, and where a huge number of people from central and Eastern Europe keep a vital part of the UK economy ticking over. From cheap vegetables to Amazon parcels, what goes on here affects all of us. But those who have settled here are increasingly worried about the immediate future, while businesses fear ‘falling off a precipice’.

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