Thanks, Maggie!

February 1, 2016

The Bernie Sanders campaign posted the following graph on Twitter (I wish I could give better credit).


Great graph


It is an extraordinarily vivid image of what happened to our economies under Thatcherism which, internationalized, morphed first into trickle-down theory, then neo-liberalism (including “globalization” and the Blairite Third Way) and finally into “austerity”.

Under Eisenhower and MacMillan in the 1950s, and under Harold Wilson’s White Hot Technological Revolution and Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s, the economic structure — indeed the very ethos of the system — ensured that workers became middle class and felt they were an integral part of the general rising prosperity.

During the early part of the 1970s, it was bourgeois intransigence from both left and right that brought about the collapse of the system first in the UK. It was Margaret Thatcher who seized the opportunity of a dysfunctional economy to strip down the system and rebuild it in her own image: she brought the unions to their knees with utter ruthlessness, began a remorseless privatization of government services, greatly strengthened the financial powers of the City of London, and restored pride in a jingoistic militarism.

Thatcher sold her opinions and systems to those backing Ronald Reagan in the United States and from him to the Tea Party. They were also adopted wholesale by Blair and Sarkozy, albeit with a smiling face stuck on the front to make it more acceptable (at least for a while). David Cameron, Canada’s own Stephen Harper, and Angela Merkel’s pan-European austerity are all derived from Thatcherism.

And Bernie’s chart above is the result.


Image: Ship’s Bow

February 1, 2016


Poem: Care

February 1, 2016


To enter into

the castle of her mind


— a private place adorned

with the illuminated thought

of past centuries —


was an adventure

she allowed to few.


The gate into

that world of reminiscence


— a veil ornamented

with the beauty and vacancy

of a divine smile —


was kept firmly shut

to all but the hardy.


The key to

that locked-up voice


— a brittle stained glass window

etched and impacted

by the meteors of time —


was inspiration

affection and love.


Changes On The Drive #54

February 1, 2016

The rain was a given, but it was much chillier than I had anticipated as I walked the Drive at lunchtime yesterday. A toque and gloves would have been useful.

Down at the south end, the storefronts at 2240 (after 6 months) and 2245 (15 months) Commercial are still vacant. Not much else has changed.

At 1859 the Bua Thai Restaurant reno is undergoing a month-long renovation.  They are scheduled to reopen on 16th February.

2015_Feb Bua Thai


In the renovated Brandon Block, Flight Centre has now completed its renovation and is open for business in the storefront once again.

2016 Feb Flight


At 1728 Commercial, Federico’s Supper Club has just been named one of the top one-hundred restaurants in Canada, and one of only 11 such in Vancouver. I don’t know much about the award and its value, but bravo to Federico and his crew!

North of First, the Il Mercato mall has quite a few vacancies right now: The Strawberry Bakery space is still empty (13 months) and Lombardo2Go in a prime spot at the main entrance is said to be “closed until further notice.” Jenny Kwan’s former constituency office seems vacant, with furniture piled together inside, and there are still lease opportunities available on the second floor.

In the 1500-block, the Kalena shoe store which takes up four storefronts on the east side seems to be closing at least the southern two stores. There are Closing Out signs on the windows, along with a For Lease sign.

2016 Fen Kalena

Kalena was opened by the D’Onofrio family in July 1968 down in the 1800-block. They moved into 1526 in 1973, I believe, and expanded into 1530 soon after.

The on-going story about Angelo’s Tailoring at 1501 making way for a fully licensed marijuana dispensary is covered elsewhere. Other than the permit application sign on the side of the building, there is no sign of what is to come, and Angelo’s continues in business.

The apartment and retail building at the corner of Commercial & Kitchener damaged by fire last month, is being put back in order: my friend has been able to move back into her apartment after three weeks couch-surfing. All of the retail outlets on Commercial are now open, with the exception of the People’s Co-op Book Store. The insurance assessors have found some issue with their space and more renovations will be needed.  They hope to be back in business on 1st March but where is up in the air.

1303 Commercial has been used by the NDP as their campaign office for the Provincial by-election. After Tuesday I guess it will be vacant once again.

Across the street, the former waffle joint at 1340 Commercial is finally cleared out and for lease. It has been vacant for 11 months now.

2016 Feb Waffles


There are further vacancies at 1268 (32 months), 1108 (22 months).  I’m beginning to wonder if they will ever reopen.

The former Peg store and building at the corner of Parker is still behind boards, but no further work has been seen this month.  The storefront at 902 Commercial is also still vacant (9 months).

Finally, I noted in Changes #52 that Andy’s Bakery at 935 Commercial has changed hands. It is now run by a chap called Sven and, having been given a tip by a friend, I tried their dark rye bread.  Fantastic!


Previous Changes on the Drive editions.