Where should Khan put the Queen?
Plus the Met report is out, and it's awful
Morning — here’s what we’ve spied in the capital on Thursday, March 23, 2023:
👮 The Met report is out — and it’s as damning as expected. Baroness Casey has found “institutional racism, sexism and homophobia” in London’s police force after conducting a mammoth review into its culture and standards in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens. Her conclusions are so dire she’s suggested the force might need breaking up. The dust is still settling and there’s a lot to digest across the report’s 365 pages. So stay tuned for our ultimate guide to the Casey Report and its fallout in your inboxes this Sunday.
👸 London’s politicians agree a new statue of Queen Elizabeth II should be put up in a “prominent” location in the city, but they’ve kicked the can down the road on exactly where. When the Queen died last year, you might have seen a bit of back and forth about whether a statue honouring her should be erected in Trafalgar Square. Some MPs called for a statue on the square’s Fourth Plinth, but then there were some dodgy false reports that mayor Sadiq Khan had actively blocked the idea. In actual fact the plinth was simply booked up for the next four years – it’s been used for contemporary artworks since 1999.
This week the London Assembly weighed in, unanimously agreeing that there should at least be some permanent monument somewhere in the capital, in full view to the public. But at the last minute they edited their proposal to remove a reference the Fourth Plinth put in by the Conservatives. The final wording said its location should “be decided in consultation with the Royal Family”.
Ultimately Khan gets the final call on where the Queen statue might go. He’s caught in the middle of those saying the current, often provocative displays at Trafalgar Square should be protected, and others arguing it’s become “a manifestation of Britain’s cultural self-hatred.” Yikes.
🚆 The six London overground routes are to be given names in the style of the underground’s lines, at a predicted cost of £4m. It’s not clear why it’s expected to cost so much to come up with six names, but apparently several groups need to be consulted including councils, the London TravelWatch and the Mayor’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm. No word yet on whether the public will be able to submit their own ideas.
🚨 A man from Tottenham has been accused of removing people’s penises and testicles on camera for his “eunuch maker” website. Marius Gustavson is said to have been the ringleader of a six-year plot involving up to 29 offences of “extreme body modifications”. Footage from the incidents was allegedly uploaded to Gustavson’s website, watched by paid subscribers. Eight other men were also questioned in courts yesterday over the plot, which apparently involved “trade in body parts”. The more you read, the weirder it gets.
💸 Rather than fixing mould issues in a north London estate, a council is instead considering the cheaper alternative of demolishing it entirely. Enfield council says repairing the Shires estate in Edmonton, which is plagued by damp and mould issues for tenants, might not be “best value for money”. Tenants have told the Guardian they’re still in the dark about what the council’s planning and whether they’ll be properly rehoused.
🍲 The budget version of the Michelin star awards have been announced, with four London restaurants making the cut. The ‘Bib Gourmand’ awards are also run by Michelin, but their main focus is on value for money. The four London winners are: Evernight in Nine Elms, Hām in West Hampstead, Plaza Khao Gaeng on New Oxford Street and The Pelican in Notting Hill.
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