Londoner’s Diary: ‘Build new parliament and add Westminster to V&A’


The HE Houses of Parliament in Westminster should not be renovated, but instead transformed into “one of the most phenomenal tourist attractions in the world” as part of the V&A Museum, says Lord Adonis.

A new parliament should be built in either Birmingham or Manchester, he claims, as the expected price

of the restoration work for the Westminster site is estimated to be heading towards £ 14bn. It can also take 20 years to complete. “Once people understand that and these facts come out in the public domain,” Lord Adonis tells us, “I think a debate will be unstoppable as to whether it is better to build a brand new building and treat the Palace of Westminster as a very distinguished and historic museum. ”

He continued: “I do not pretend that I am currently surrounded by benevolent people”, but added that he had seen strange things happen. A bold plan.

Ding-dong! XRs right outside the door

Extinction Rebellion marches through the streets of London

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EXTINCTION REBELLION has had a difficult few years, but they are planning a “much bigger” year in 2022. And that may involve seeing them up close and personal at your front door. On their website, the group promises several of their well-known “mass participation in civil disobedience campaigns,” but also says they will return to their roots after the pandemic pushed them toward smaller events. Now they plan to roll out “a nationwide program of door-to-door work, conversations, training”. Will colander help or hinder their campaign to snatch control of coronavirus news?

Hari returns focus to critic

Johann Hari

/ Getty Images for Politicon

JOHANN Hari has struck back after author and TV station Dr. Matthew Sweet accused Hari’s new book The Chair Focus, which is about the impact of technology on attention spans, of “exaggeration” and “cherry-picking”. The author Hari, above, insists that Sweet has been “persuaded by the scientists who claim that there is no attention crisis”.

“There is a huge scientific debate about attention and focus, and I interviewed over 200 of the leading experts on this issue. I was convinced by the many prominent scientists who claim that we are currently facing a serious attention crisis.

“Just to name one reason – we sleep less than we did in the past, and there is strong scientific evidence that if you sleep less, your attention will be worse. The leading expert on this at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Charles Cziesler , told me that even if nothing else had changed, it alone would cause a serious attention crisis – and it is not the only change that has happened.

“I am deeply involved in the book with such arguments [Matthew Sweet] put forward and explain why I was not convinced by them. ”

Yesterday, Sweet wrote: “Johann wants us to be more attentive … If we were more attentive, weak and tendentious arguments with a sprinkle of plausible science would have less traction”.

Sweet also said he had hoped to challenge Hari in a Radio 4 interview before the latter withdrew.


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