In uncertain times, it’s good to know that some things will always be the same – like Londoners complaining about their neighbours. Up in Hampstead, there’s a revolutionary movement afoot. Its goal: independence from the hated elites of the London Borough of Camden. But it’s not sovereignty the NW3 separatists are after – it’s more rubbish pick-ups and a ban on big basements and lorries.
A Hamsptead resident, lawyer Jessica Learmond-Criqui, is hoping to attract 2,000 local supporters for her cause. She’s petitioning Camden Council to declare Hampstead a separate ‘parish’, with its own powers to sort bin collections, ban HGVs and stop any more megabasements getting planning permission.
She’s even got a celebrity backer: the actor Tom Conti. ‘Camden doesn’t represent Hampstead at all,’ he told the local newspaper Ham&High. ‘Permission is given to build the most outrageous structures.’ And that includes basements: ‘That’s another thing people really hate, apart from the ones that are building them.’ Stirring stuff.
A new front for local democracy or a bad case of the Nimbys? Either way, it’s a nice distraction from the General Election fallout. Long live the glorious People’s Republic of Hampstead!
Meanwhile in Brixton, Charlie Chaplin is getting a blue plaque.