Recently in London's International Reputation Category

The winning design concept for the new Embassy of the United States of America has been announced:

See The Daily Mail Revealed: The new $1billion high-security U.S. London embassy... complete with moat

The winning US architects Kieran Timberlake ISO give some more details about their "environmental" thinking behind the design on their blog: New U.S. Embassy in London


The design places the embassy building at the center of the Nine Elms site and develops the surrounding area into an urban park. The new embassy meets all the required security standards while honoring the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for many civic buildings. The new embassy, with its gardens, will establish a strong framework for the urbanization of the Nine Elms redevelopment zone.

No doubt there will be some demand for food and drink establishments in the surrounding area to serve the queues of tourists and businessmen planning to travel to the USA, who have to present themselves for intrusive visa application interviews and, fingerprinting etc.

Similarly the commercial lobbyists and the private military contractor / mercenary / security companies within walking distance of the current US Embassy in Grosvenor Square will probably also want some offices nearby.

The computer generated images and architects scale models of the winning design, and of its rivals, are all very well and good, but they bear no relation to the reality of the current run down site in Battersea, with low rise warehouses etc.

(via Microsoft Bing Maps Birds Eye Aerial View)


All of these architectural illustrations have the US Embassy surrounded on three sides by several, as yet non-existent, presumably office tower blocks

Surely it will be many years before the new US Embassy site at Nine Elms will be hemmed in by a Canary Wharf or even Croydon style collection of high rise office buildings, no matter what Wandsworth Council's vague "regeneration" plans are ?

What about all the extra road traffic congestion which such a collection of office blocks will create ?

It is all very well talking of an "Urban Park", but if this "green space" and "pedestrian piazzas" are within the official US Embassy site i.e. what will no longer be United Kingdom territory, then this will have a big effect on the policing of the sometimes large numbers of people who hold protests or demonstrations outside the current US Embassy in Mayfair.

Where exactly are peaceful protesters meant to congregate in this new US Embassy design ?


• Viewed from the north at the proposed plaza, the embassy grounds will provide the prospect of an open park, a landscape of grasses rising gracefully to the new embassy colonnade, with the required secure boundaries incised into the hillside and out of view. Instead of a perimeter-walled precinct, the site to the north and south is a welcoming urban amenity, a park for the city that fuses the new embassy to the city of London. Alternatives to perimeter walls and fences are achieved through landscape design.

• The spiraling form of the landscape is expressed through grading, walks and plantings in a way that simultaneously opens out to the city beyond and spirals inward as it envelops and then moves up into and through the embassy building. As a choice of form, the spiraling garden is meaningful as it represents connections of site to landscape to building.

• The connections to the surrounding urban context, both existing and proposed, begin in an open geometry well beyond the site at the Thames embankments and the proposed Vauxhall-to-Battersea pedestrian way.

• The walks and landscape forms begin their inward spiral at the outer boundaries of the site. They sweep past the pond to the entry court that opens to the Main Lobby for staff and their guests. At the opposite side of the Main Lobby, the Gallery spirals down to the north culminating in the large Multi-Purpose Hall that merges with the grade of the spiraling Consular Walk above.

• At the main entry, the site spiral continues beyond to the great arc of the Consular Garden, carrying the visitor up the Consular Walk and into the Consular Lobby and promenade overlooking the pond and the Thames embankment to the north.

• The visitor continues this spiral within the embassy, revolving about the core and up to the consular floor above, pausing along the way to overlook the Main Lobby, a significant moment where the necessarily separate worlds of the embassy - consular visitors and staff - visually intersect.



• Rather than employing a plinth to accommodate the large programs located at the lowest levels of the building, the colonnade sits atop a gently rising earthen mound. Within this landscape form are parking garage ramps and basement service and mechanical areas to the south, and the lower level of the Gallery and Multi-Purpose Meeting Space to the north and west.

• Instead of fragmenting the embassy into a plinth and tower, this strategy transforms the large footprints of the lower levels along with the entrance pavilions into earthen landscape form to enhance the prominence of the embassy colonnade and transparent building.


There is another cube like white building by the River Thames, built by powerful foreigners, which dominated the dingy surrounding area, which was also built on landscaped earthworks forcing visitors into a more easily surveilled defensive spiral approach, and partially surrounded by both wet and dry moats:


William the Conqueror's White Tower the central Norman castle keep of the Tower of London

The Labour Government has now published its

Statutory Instrument 2009 No. 1573 - The Olympic Route Network Designation Order 2009

Made: 23rd June 2009

Laid before Parliament: 30th June 2009

Coming into force: 22nd July 2009

This designates a huge number of London streets (with a few in Weymouth, Dorset, where some of the sailing events are to be held), for abuse by foreign Olympic Games officials and corporate sponsors.

If you are a regular vehicle user of these roads, then get to the back of the queue, because you will be snooped on with Automatic Number Plate Recognition CCTV cameras, helicopters, aerial robot drones etc. so that the Olympics apparatchiki can enjoy Communist style Zil lanes, from which ordinary Londoners and the rest of the British public will be banned.

This will cause travel chaos for ordinary London road users.

Even if you are pedestrian or bicyclist, you will be subjected to the evil Advertising Monopoly on behalf of the Official Corporate Sponsors. Woe betide you if are wearing the "wrong" tee-shirt, hat , sports shoes etc.or are drinking the "wrong" brand soft drink or alcohol - you will be harassed by the jobsworth Security enforcers, and probably be arrested as a "guerrilla marketer" or terrorist etc.

The extent of the disruption to many of the main roads affected by this Order is staggering, especially since the athletes and officials are supposedly confined to the Olympic Village, close by the main sports arena venues, so it will mostly be alleged"VIPs" and "celebrities" who use them.

Anyone who thought that it would only be a few roads in the immediate vicinity of the Olympic Games sites, is in for a big shock.

The roads affected are:

According to the BBC, it seems that a substantial number of people in Venezuela object to to the dubious scheme concocted by their autocratic President Hugo Chavez and Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, which, incredibly, is meant to subsidise Transport for London buses, at the expense of the poor people of Venezuela, through a dodgy crude oil barter deal.

Any effect on bus fares in London will be virtually zero, since the UK Treasury will still levy fuel duty and VAT, per litre of fuel, irrespective of the "cheaper" (but non-zero) price of the fuel out of the oil refinery gates via this supposed barter deal.

The effect on the people of Venezuela will be proportionately much more, due to the lost oil revenue which they could have benefited from at market rates.

International oil barter deals are notoriously corrupt, e.g. the United Nations administered "oil for medicines" deals in the period between the liberation of Kuwait and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

How many dodgy middlemen does Livingstone's oil barter deal involve ?

The signing ceremony in Caracas for the deal has been cancelled at the last minute, denying Ken Livingstone a media opportunity to pretend that he is some sort of world statesman.

Surely the London taxpayer should not be having to pick up the bill for Ken Livingstone's trip to see his communist friends in Cuba, where he seems to have decided to stop off en route. ?

The Times reports

Times Online October 05, 2006

Livingstone Nazi jibe ban overturned
By Helen Nugent

Ken Livingstone has won his court battle to overturn a four week suspension from office for comparing a Jewish journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

The Mayor of London is thought to have spent tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees challenging a decision by the Adjudication Panel for England that his comment breached the Greater London Authority’s code of conduct.


This afternoon Mr Justice Collins said that the suspension would be quashed but he reserved his decision on whether the Mayor had brought his office into disrepute over the remarks.

The judge said that he wanted time to consider his ruling because of the "ramifications"


We await the detailed judgement by Mr Justice Collins, to see what exactly it does to the Code of Conduct which Local Councillors and Mayors etc. have agreed to abide by as part of their terms of office.

The question of whether Ken Livingstone was acting in a private cpacity when he insulted the journalist (even non-Jewish people should be offended by being called a "concentration camp guard" ) was looked into by the Adjudication Panel.

Did the Judge also look at the repeated public refusals by Livingstone to apologise ? These are what bring the Office of Mayor of London into direpute, as much as the original insults.

No amount of media spin from Livingstone's propaganda machine will convince us that he is somehow defending democratic principles, rather than his own vanity and arrogance, during his history of "foot in mouth" comments to the press.

Who stands the best chance of getting rid of Livingstone at the next election ?

Ken Livingstone has no right to pretend to represent the views of Londoners abroad, especially on his pointless trip to China.

His wretched comparison of the Tiananmen Square massacre to the Poll Tax riot in Trafalgar Square as reported in The Daily Telegraph shows his sickening authoritarian communist attitude to human rights.

What did he feel about being at the site of the Tiananmen Square massacre? he was asked.

After commenting on the square's size and scale, he went on to make the comparison with Trafalgar Square.

When it was pointed out that the Metropolitan Police had not shot or killed anyone during the poll tax riot in London in March 1990, he suggested the comparison should be put into a longer context.

"If you go back to some of the early instances you will find many cases where innocent protesters were hacked to pieces with sabres - the Peterloo massacre, for example. There is no such thing as one country with a perfect record." In the Peterloo Massacre, the local militia waded into a crowd of radicals campaigning for universal suffrage on St Peter's Field, Manchester, in 1819, killing 11 and injuring 400.

On Tiananmen Square, estimates of the numbers of those killed by troops and tanks range up to 3,000, the figure given out by the Chinese Red Cross immediately afterwards.

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