‘Politics, media, police,’ said the young man with the jagged haircut. ‘Is this the first institutional failure of post-devolution Scotland?’ The panellists, squeezed round the desks of Committee Room One in the Scottish Parliament, wriggled a bit and looked pained. It’s too soon, one said, to know what’s going to happen in the long run. This story has a lot further still to go. But there must have been what he called ‘a failing of institutional Scotland’ when the Trump Organisation started building ‘the world’s greatest golf course’ on the dunes and marram grass of Menie, just up the coast from Aberdeen.
David Cameron has been playing fast and loose with the term ‘Garden City’, almost as if he didn’t know that its origins lie in Victorian utopian socialism. The First Garden City (that is, Letchworth) was the realisation of ideas that Ebenezer Howard had set out in a small book in 1898, Tomorrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform, reissued in 1902 as Garden Cities of Tomorrow. The following year Letchworth Garden City began to take shape, about thirty miles north of London. Every citizen who came to First Garden City Ltd was a shareholder; everyone in town was to be a part-owner of a large and valuable estate. One of the first investors was George Bernard Shaw.
When the Swedish furniture giant IKEA decided to build one of its cavernous stores in Dublin, Ireland’s property boom was at its extravagant peak. By the time of the grand opening at Ballymun on 27 July – there was a log-cutting ceremony – thousands of unsold apartments stood empty within a few miles of the place. Yet the slump hasn’t put a stop to IKEA’s gallop. On the first morning of business, a few hundred people turned up before it opened, hoping to be the first to get their hands on the self-assembly bookshelves. So far, on average, 15,000 people have crossed its threshold every day. The canteen served 137,000 Scandinavian meatballs in one week.