The capitalist citadel survives defiant protests
So our city returns to normal. After two frantic days of closed roads, smashed windows, dinners, receptions, motorcades and a good deal of smiling and waving, the G20 whirlwind moves on. As I write, I can still see a sign hanging defiantly from a buildin
So our city returns to normal. After two frantic days of closed roads, smashed windows, dinners, receptions, motorcades and a good deal of smiling and waving, the G20 whirlwind moves on.
As I write, I can still see a sign hanging defiantly from a building by the river saying; 'smash capitalism'. What I can only assume is the product of bedsheets and permanent marker flutters lonely in the wind, appropriately framed in the foreground of the citadels of the City.
Capitalism remains unsmashed. Humbled, certainly. Our police did a fine job in allowing peaceful protest, whilst cracking down on violence. There are many unseen and unsung heroes. It was a real disappointment that a minority of troublemakers were able to hog the headlines and present an unfair image of our city to the world.
The image I would prefer the world to take away is of a city that is determined to prosper again. A city that is doing everything it can to help its inhabitants get through the recession.
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At the G20, there was great use of terms like 'trillion', 'stimulus' and 'tax-haven'. There were grand speeches and everyone seemed pretty pleased with themselves.
The casual observer might have left with a vague feeling that it was a success, without really knowing why.
- 1 Rabindranath Tagore's Hampstead home on the market for £2.65m
- 2 Artist who captures North London's 'special light'
- 3 Hundreds of activists descend on north London incinerator demanding end to rebuild
- 4 'It's madness': Queues block north London roads amid petrol shortage
- 5 Pure Gym to open in Crouch End
- 6 Hampstead house ravaged by early morning blaze
- 7 Haverstock Hill petrol station 'assault' arrest as motorists queue for fuel
- 8 Petrol station forecourts closed and long queues in north London
- 9 Man charged with Haringey murder and victim named
- 10 'We can't afford it': Camden foodbank prepares for spike in demand
That is because the grand communiques have little relation to what people are facing right now. What everyone really wants to know is; how does this help us?
Well, here's one thing I hope will. This week, Londoners on job seekers allowance and the new employment and support allowance were able to start benefiting from half price travel on the buses.
I introduced this policy to help people who have recently lost their jobs bounce back quickly, by being able to travel cheaply to interviews, access libraries and job centres.
Up to 150,000 Londoners will be eligible for this scheme. And unlike the policy of my predecessor, this won't be funded by Venezuelan oil.
It's part of a range of measures to help Londoners through the recession, such as paying our invoices quicker, providing advice to small businesses and (most important of all) freezing our share of the council tax.
These measures may seem minuscule compared to the billions worth agreed upon in east London. But they represent things that are happening right now. Things actually being delivered that, taken together, can make a real difference.
As the world leaders depart, the message I think all Londoners want ringing in their ears is; what really matters are not the words - but the results.
Tell me what you think about my steps to help Londoners on my Blue Blog. It would be great to hear your views.
Mayor of London