Almost Half of Qatar’s Traditional Investor Base Has Cut Ties With the Country

Banks in the world’s wealthiest nation per capita will need to offer more yield if they tap the market as almost half of their traditional investor base has cut ties with the country.

Qatar National Bank QPSC, Commercial Bank QSC and Doha Bank QSC are considering funding options that include loans, private placements or dollar bonds, people familiar with the plans said. But investors and analysts say the lenders will have to pay more to compensate for the region’s political risk to drum up interest.

Read More: QNB Is Said Among Qatari Lenders Seeking Funding Amid Spat

Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations severed relations with Qatar two months ago accusing it of supporting extremist groups, a charge it denies. That led to a drop in foreign deposits in June, the steepest in almost two years, and a record jump in the three-month Qatar Interbank Offer Rate.

Here’s what analysts and investors had to say about borrowing costs for Qatari banks planning to tap the market:

  • While borrowing costs will rise, “the assumption of government support means yields won’t rise that much,” said Max Wolman, a London-based senior investment manager who helps oversee $11 billion in emerging-market debt at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc.
    • There could be interest from some Asian investors, given they were involved in some of the recent Middle East sovereign deals.
    • “If they look attractive from a yield perspective we could buy them. Currently we are very underweight Qatar” because the yields weren’t attractive
    • Looking at QNB’s dollar-denominated bonds due September 2021, the yields peaked at 3.8 percent and are currently around 3.1 percent, “so I would say a five-year at 3.5 to 3.75 percent would be attractive.”
  • Even if they offer “200 basis points over midswaps, I would not lend to them at this rate, as it will not cover for the risk of further deterioration,” said Marina Davies, a London-based senior credit analyst at Pioneer Investment Management Ltd., a company of Amundi Group that oversees over $1 trillion globally.
    • “Basically, we are talking not only about the price, but about the availability of such funding, as so far the banking system seems to be having capital outflows.”
    • “For now, if they don’t manage to raise money, the authorities will provide it as they have been doing until now. The short-term debt of the banks is significant, and it does not seem to be renewed. The sovereign is plugging it for now, but providing just enough foreign currency to compensate for the outflows.”
    • “However, we don’t know how liquid the sovereign funds are, and we can expect that the asset quality of the banks may deteriorate. Therefore, I believe the current levels don’t reflect the credit risk of this system.”
  • The risk premium demanded by the market has already gone up, after Moody’s Investors Service lowered their outlook on Qatari Banks, said Rami Jamal, a money manager at Amwal LLC in Doha, which oversees around one billion riyals ($270 million) in assets.
    • “Pricing thus becomes dependent primarily on the currency and the tenor of the debt. If QNB is looking to raise debt for five years in U.S. dollars, for example, the market will not accept anything below 3.50-3.75 percent range.”
    • “QNB has plenty of short-term funding maturing in the next two years.”
  • Asian investors could help Qatari banks keep yields on offerings relatively low, according to Zurich-based Philipp Good, who helps manage about 9 billion Swiss francs ($9.4 billion) at Fisch Asset Management AG.
    • “My best guess is that they find partners who give them money at a very low premium to current market prices.”
    • “Asian investors are still keen to put money into the Middle East and I do not doubt that they will get the money at similar spreads” as previous sales.
    • “I would expect no additional premium from where the market is today. Repricing has taken place already.”
  • Deterioration in the economy and possible further downgrades of Qatar’s long-term debt will drive local institutions to pay higher spreads as a result of the risk premium, said Tariq Qaqish, the managing director of the asset management division at Mena Corp. Financial Services in Dubai.
    • “In the short term, psychology will pay a big role in pricing new debt issues as investors are uncertain of the magnitude of the problem and, most importantly, the length.”
    • “As deposits decline and the average loan-to-deposit ratio rise, I expect most banks to tap the market and to pay a risk premium of 15-20 basis points.”

Qatari bank bonds maturing this year:

Issuer

Bonds

Maturity

Amount due (in $ million)

QNB 13 Aug. 26 – Dec. 27 382
QIB 1 Oct. 10 750
QIIB

Source:-bloomberg

1 Oct. 18 700

 

Videos: Traditional Skills With a Modern Twist

Videos: Traditional Skills With a Modern Twist

Food summit attendees learn traditional skills; how to make bootagan using some modern conveniences

The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit was about more than food sovereignty; it was also a way to share traditional skills, like making Anishinabe corn and flour mortars, or bootagan, which as Kevin Finny, director of the Jijak Foundation for the Gun Lake Pottawatomi in Michigan said are “useful for everything.”

Buddy Raphael, of the Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa, demonstrated his grandmother’s bootagan and said the tool was early the “earliest food processor.”

“The age and the history of how many people were fed with this; that amazes me yet today,” Raphael says as he talks about his family bootagan from 1938. It belonged to his grandmother, who was born in 1856.

His family bootagan is made out of a black birch tree, and the hammer is made from the heart of a black birch tree. Now they’re using wood like sugar maple, yellow birch and American elm.

Finny explains how the growth rings are tighter on the yellow birch and it has a different texture than the sugar maple, and the American elm is strong.

“The wood is almost like fiberglass, the fibers all crisscross,” Kevin Finny says in the video about the American elm. “If you make a basket out of elm bark or you make a lodge and you cover it with that elm bark, if you kicked it or you threw something at it, it wouldn’t break because the fibers are crisscrossed.”

Raphael says in the video that he remembers hearing his grandmother sitting there grinding. The bootagan can be used to grind rice meal, buckwheat, corn; really anything that needs to be ground up.

They were used during the food summit for many of the meals made for attendees. In the video, they were making rice flour, they were also used for making meal, corn mush, processing tree nuts, teas and herbs during the summit.

Finny explains in the video how they also came up with a way to cut down the time it takes to make a bootagan from five days to one day. The new way may not be quite as traditional, but it certainly takes those traditional skills to a modern level.

“Original method and the way we started on this was by blowing into a tube… lot of huffing and puffing, goes pretty slow, so the first few of them were done that way,” Finny says in the video. “Then got smart and I got a fireplace bellows… then somebody said to us ‘why not use an air compressor?’ We’re adaptable, and we can find really good ways to do things.”

[Source”indianexpress”]

Pakistan’s traditional third gender isn’t happy with the trans movement

For centuries, South Asia has had its own Khawaja Sira or third gender culture. The community, identifying as neither male nor female are believed, by many, to be ‘God’s chosen people,’ with special powers to bless and curse anyone they choose.

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The acceptance of Khawaja Sira people in Pakistan has been held up internationally as a symbol of tolerance, established long before Europe and America had even the slightest semblance of a transgender rights movement.

But the acceptance of people defining their own gender in Pakistan is much more complicated. The term transgender refers to someone whose gender identify differs from their birth sex. This notion is yet to take root in Pakistan and the transgender rights movement is only beginning to assert itself formally. Now, some third gender people in Pakistan say the modern transgender identity is threatening their ancient third gender culture.

Kami Choudary has made international headlines and has been billed as ‘Pakistan’s first transgender supermodel.’ This year Choudary delivered her first TEDx talk and she makes regular speaking appearances, telling her story and debating transgender rights in university auditoriums. She asserts herself, not as a Khawaja Sira but as a transgender woman. She acknowledges that her experience, as a rising transgender celebrity in Pakistan, is not the norm.

“My mother supports me. My boyfriend supports me and my mentors and friends support me,” says Kami, who wants transgender people in Pakistani’s to be more vocal. “We have to do something. I am very public so people are always talking about Kami.”

Choudary benefits from the privilege of familial support and being able to identify as she chooses. She is educated, English speaking and from a fairly affluent family. In contrast, many Khawaja Siras are disowned by their biological families. The community is discriminated against heavily, with most Khawaja Siras making a living from performance, sex work or begging. They are simultaneously celebrated as ‘gifted’ by God and ridiculed for not conforming to the male/female gender roles that society prescribes.

Bindiya Rana is the grand matriarch of the third gender community in Karachi. She doesn’t prescribe to the transgender identity. She is a Khawaja Sira, so revered that she is a guru (teacher) to more than 50 chelahs or apprentices.

This relationship has a parental element and is a cornerstone of Khawaja Sira culture. Each chelah pledges allegiance to their guru, as they did to their guru before them. These family trees provide acceptance, social support and financial backing. Most chelahs give a percentage of their income to their gurus. It’s a lifetime commitment that allows the establishment of families that often replaces biological lineage.

But those who identify as transgender, like Choudary, don’t prescribe to the guru-chelah system. As a result, Rana and her chelahs view the transgender identity as alien and even immoral.

“If you don’t have a guru, we don’t recognize you. These people who say they are transgender; that concept is just wrong,” says Rana. “They can never be women. They cannot give birth. Even if they change their bodies they can’t change who they are. We are not women. We are what Allah has made.”

Such sentiment detracts from the idea that Pakistan has a liberal take on transgender rights. It’s more accurate to assert that Pakistan has an established acceptance of third gender culture. These are two different things.

[Source”timesofindia”]

Remek focuses on nurturing traditional arts, provides artisans with market access and visibility

Mumbai-based Remek is bringing unique and authentic handcrafted pieces from traditional artisans to young and urban Indians. It’s been six months, and the startup clocks 300 website visitors each day with a monthly run rate of Rs 50,000.

An old saying goes that India has a new culture every 30 kilometres. Almost every region has its own traditional form of arts and crafts, including paintings, embroideries, carvings, sarees and others. The craftsmen in these villages hold aloft the flag of culture, but sadly neglect is eating away at many of these arts and crafts.

So when three people who were passionate about travel and culture met, they decided to set up a company that would save traditional crafts by giving artisans access to a larger market.



The Remek founders.

Satya Dwivedi, Mandawi Verma and Madhavi Verma met through common friends at work. Satya had graduated from IIM-A, Mandawi was from IIM-C while Madhavi had a degree from IMT Ghaziabad. All three were working in the corporate sector before they decided to start Remek in July 2016.

“These age-old crafts, and the stories associated with them, are dying with time. With artisans facing economic hardship, these art forms are on the verge of extinction,” Mandawi says. She says these traditional artists have very little access to the market, and there are no visible platforms to tell the background stories associated with art.

Testing and adapting to the market

The trip quit their jobs by the end of 2015 and travelled extensively to many villages of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and north-eastern states to meet these artists. They lived among them, listened to their stories and jotted down local tales that the artisans depicted in their paintings. They procured some of the paintings and decided to test the market.

“Very quickly we realised that the market is very niche and most people do not appreciate the value of these paintings unless they know about the craft,” Satya says.

To provide continuous revenue to the artist, the company expanded beyond paintings, to include things that could be understood and bought by more customers.

“We expanded into home decor. Now we are expanding into clothing and jewellery,” Madhavi says.

After deep market research and the setup of a procurement cycle, the company launched its ecommerce brand Remek in July 2016.

Remek means “masterwork/masterpiece” and it is an effort to bring unique and authentic handcrafted pieces from traditional artisans in the hinterlands of India to young and urban Indians.

“We want to celebrate the diversity of our culture by depicting myths, legends and folklore of a tribe as interpreted by local traditional artisans,” Mandawi says. She says that by doing this they strive towards providing a sustainable life to artisans.

The company follows a collaborative business model, so that craftsmen are also important stakeholders. Ninety-five percent of their product development results from collaboration, where they provide the craftsmen with raw material. The creative team supplies contemporary design inputs and the artisans then finish and present their final products.

Remek initially used the inventory model where they procured products from artisans and stored as inventory.

“This was done to gain their trust,” Satya says. He adds that Remek is now slowly moving towards a consignment basis of sourcing, where they share the risk with artisans.

“We believe that unless the artisan is made a key stakeholder in the business model and is invested in the venture, the company will not be able to provide unique products,” Madhavi says.

What does the future hold?

Remek recently launched their B2B arm, catering to customers in segments like hotel chains, tourism departments, corporate gifting and interior decoration. In this segment, they are focusing on domestic and international markets. For this, they obtain orders from customers and provide products in agreed time spans.

The company is also looking to expand in the services sector. In this model, as a service, the artisans will paint walls or other items as required by end customers. The customers will be charged on an daily/hourly basis.

“We are also in the process of developing a mobile app to provide our ecommerce and service platform through smart phones,” Mandawi says.

In 6 months, the company is clocking 300 daily website visitors and a monthly run rate of Rs 50,000.

Based on their learnings over the year, Remek has a three-pronged strategy for scaling up in the next few months. The company is going to focus on:

  • Targeted marketing campaigns focused on specific target consumers
  • Increase the reach of Remek through larger platforms like Flipkart and Amazon
  • New category development with high demand focused categories

The results to their B2B arm have also been “pretty encouraging”.

“We already have one Maharashtra government department, one 5-star hotel and two renowned interior decorators in Mumbai as our customers,” Satya says.

Going forward, the company’s business development team will be specifically focused on B2B lead generation and initiatives.

According to IBEF, the Indian handicraft industry is potentially a $100-billion industry worldwide. The industry’s current sales are pegged at around $5.8 billion annually.

Remek’s two major competitors are Gaatha and Jaypore. Both of them focus extensively on clothing and jewellery while Remek has a broader focus on home décor, including lamps, lights, artifacts and kitchen ware.

Businesses that support Indian craft are big these days.

Titan has also jumped on to the bandwagon and aims to revive handloom weaving, one of the oldest occupations in India, and the saree, the oldest garment in the country, through its newest venture Taneira.

But Mohandas Pai, Managing Director of Aarin Capital, believes that any startup “must generate money fast and figure out a business model that can scale up”.

If the Tata Group can bet on 20 clusters of Indian saree making, why can’t a startup bet on traditional artifacts? Remek has the right mindset, for sure, but needs to start generating cash soon.

[Source”cnbc”]

Actress Cara Santana Dishes on Combining Decor Styles With Fiancée Jesse Metcalfe

The star of TV show Chesapeake Shores and the cofounder of The Glam App reveal the secrets to a happy home. See their beautiful home here »

How to meld two styles: “I decorated the entire house, and Jesse told me, ‘I’ll love it as long as it’s not all white and beige with gold and mirrored accents’ — which is exactly what it was!” says Cara. “But he finessed it.” Jesse says, “I’m used to dark wood and antique furnishings, so I added that where it was appropriate.”

The secret to keeping things cozy: “The most important thing to me was comfort,” says Jesse. “We don’t want a home that feels like a museum. We let our two dogs do their thing. The reason our house feels like a home is because we live in it and enjoy it.”

Cara’s fashion rules: “Dress for yourself; don’t just follow trends. I always feel great in a white tee, broken-in jeans and a leather jacket. Sometimes wearing the easiest outfit can feel the best.”

Their best relationship advice: “Make a conscious effort to put the phone down and connect with your partner,” says Jesse. “Our relationship has changed so much over 10 years,” adds Cara. “But we continue to listen to each other’s needs and make each other feel important.”

This story originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Good Housekeeping.

[“Source-goodhousekeeping”]

Actress Cara Santana Dishes on Combining Decor Styles With Fiancée Jesse Metcalfe

The star of TV show Chesapeake Shores and the cofounder of The Glam App reveal the secrets to a happy home. See their beautiful home here »

How to meld two styles: “I decorated the entire house, and Jesse told me, ‘I’ll love it as long as it’s not all white and beige with gold and mirrored accents’ — which is exactly what it was!” says Cara. “But he finessed it.” Jesse says, “I’m used to dark wood and antique furnishings, so I added that where it was appropriate.”

The secret to keeping things cozy: “The most important thing to me was comfort,” says Jesse. “We don’t want a home that feels like a museum. We let our two dogs do their thing. The reason our house feels like a home is because we live in it and enjoy it.”

Cara’s fashion rules: “Dress for yourself; don’t just follow trends. I always feel great in a white tee, broken-in jeans and a leather jacket. Sometimes wearing the easiest outfit can feel the best.”

Their best relationship advice: “Make a conscious effort to put the phone down and connect with your partner,” says Jesse. “Our relationship has changed so much over 10 years,” adds Cara. “But we continue to listen to each other’s needs and make each other feel important.”

This story originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Good Housekeeping.

[Source:-.goodhousekeeping]

Sharp trips to the future with a quartet of smart appliances

 

 

Sharp smart appliances

Sharp has entered the world of connected appliances with a new smart oven, fridge-freezer, washing machine and dishwasher. But the aim here is much more than just app control.

At its impressive Vestel City factory complex in Turkey, Sharp unveiled four smart appliances that it hopes will bring your home into the 21st century.

Related: Best kitchen gadgets

 

Sharp smart appliances 1The real headliner of the new range is the Love2Cook Smart Oven (£699), which has 150 recipes built in, ranging from Peking duck to paella, each with their own cooking programmes. Instructions are can be found within the companion app, then the oven sets the temperature and time – it even tells you the correct shelf to use. According to Sharp, these recipes have been compiled by top-class professional chefs using this exact oven, so they should be fairly idiot-proof.

Of course, the oven can also be controlled remotely via the app, so you can get it preheated before you’ve even got home from work. Maybe remotely start up the RoastPro Turnspit and use the app to check the temperature of your meat thanks to the RoastPro Digital MeatProbe. This isn’t the dark ages, after all.

The Love2Cook oven is available in stainless steel or black – no old-school white option for this modern smartie.

 

Sharp smart appliances 2Next up is the Smart Double French Door Fridge-Freezer (£2012), which enables in-app adjustment of the temperature within its fridge and freezer compartments. One or both of the freezer compartments can even be set as extra refrigeration space. You can also remotely set the fridge-freezer to holiday mode via the app, even if you’ve only already left for the airport.

 

Sharp smart appliances 3The Sharp Smart Washing Machine (£875) enables you to set a time delay or programme through the app, and has an 8kg capacity. It also has a super-speedy 12-minute cycle for emergency cleaning of up to 2kg of clothing for a night out or weekend away. Never find us being that disorganised, though. Ahem.

Other functions of the washing machine include 22 stain-fighting functions and an Allergy UK-approved AllergySmart programme for combating allergies caused by pollen, mould, pet hair, fungus and household dust mites as well as four different types of bacteria.

 

Sharp smart appliancesLast but not least is the Sharp Smart Dishwasher (£875), which has space for 14 place settings and is A+++ energy rated. As with the washing machine, it has a particularly fast wash option, with 18 minutes being its quickest – the fastest you’ll find for a four-place-setting cycle.

To boost drying time, the dishwasher’s AutoDoor function automatically opens the door – you probably guessed from the name, right? – to let out any excess steam after the cycle’s finished.

In addition to all this remote smart control, there’s a much more practical purpose for the net-connection of these appliances: servicing and maintenance. Hold up, it’s not as dull as it sounds. The moment these Sharp models sense anything not working the way it should, they ping an error code automatically to aftersales. That means you could be contacted by Sharp before knowing anything’s even wrong.

If the fault is customer-fixable, however – such as the fridge door being left open – a notification will just be sent to you through the app. Now that really is smart.

image: http://static.trustedreviews.com/94/00003f070/8ebc_orh616w616/sharp-smart-appliances-5.jpg

Sharp smart appliancesWhat’s more is that, having tried the app control for all of these appliances, we found it all very slick. All four are controllable through the same app, too.

Sharp is apparently working on integration for control from at least one of the most popular digital AIs. We wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon Alexa support wasn’t far off.

[Source”indianexpress”]

Jules Sebastian spills on sex life with Guy

Jules Sebastian is a woman of many talents. She’s a mother to two beautiful boys, a blogger, a stylist and a TV presenter.

Now the busy mother-of-two has shared how life between the sheets has changed since her hubby Guy Sebastian’s shredded transformation.

mother being yourself stylist be yourself

“Being myself, trying to not be somebody that you’re not and just being yourself is key,” she told Be. Source: Instagram

Speaking exclusively to Be she admits, “Look we are always great in the bedroom, it’s definitely enhanced,”, before adding, “he’s looking amazing, I’m so proud of him”.

Jules called Guy her ‘super hot hubby’. Source: Instagram

But the journey to those rock hard abs on Guy came at a price! Jules admits that the pair worked hard for a grueling two months to get in shape and she went along for the ride in support of her husband.

health fitness food habits eating prioritise health

” I use to eat whatever I wanted wherever I wanted but now I realize that what you put into your body is what you get out of your body,” she admitted. Source: Instagram

“Yeah we decided to do it together, so about eight weeks ago we really just started focusing on, well exactly what I said before about prioritising.”

She later added, “We just started to prioritise our health and fitness and we really did, it was cold turkey like one day we just did it, no carbs no sugars, eating really cleanly, having almond milk and training six days a week,” she tells Be.

mother mum fitness food eating habits busy prioritise

“I thought I’m a mum I’m busy I don’t have time for exercise but once I made it a priority it actually all unfolded and was amazing.” Source: Insatgram

And a day on a plate in the Sebastian household would typically be very clean, with Jules admitting, “Last night I whipped up an amazing chicken salad with everything under the sun, avocado tomato, mixed lettuce, egg.”

However she admits her two boys Hudson, five, and Archer, three, eat slightly different and not as strict, but says she has food swaps for them such as giving them whole meal pasta instead of white.

[Source”cnbc”]

RIGHT AT HOME: Traditional wing chairs with modern twist

RIGHT AT HOME: Traditional wing chairs with modern twist

No matter how old you are, you might have grown up in a home with a wing chair.

This classic chair dates back a lot farther than any of us, according to Bronia Suszczenia, co-founder of the Yorkshire, England-based interior design firm Art from the Start. “The first wing chair appeared in the late 1600s, but it was not until after 1720 that its popularity became widespread,” she says.

Why the wings? A clue may be in the chair’s alternate name, fireside chair. The idea was that the wings protected you from drafts, while the roomy, upholstered seat was a cozy spot from which to enjoy a cheery blaze.

The wing chair’s enduring appeal is its comfortable, convivial nature, and its usefulness, says New York designer Charlotte Moss.

“It’s the quintessential easy chair. It invites curling up and kicking back,” she says. “And they’re wonderfully versatile. I like to use them at the heads of dining tables, or in a cozy corner with an ottoman, or two facing each other with a fireplace in between.”

Today’s designers are having some fun with this classic style, tweaking its curvy silhouette, going wild or woolly with upholstery, and updating the legs in different colors or materials.

Pottery Barn’s Hayes wing chair, for example, has a barrel-curved back and low-profile arms, so you can tuck your feet up. Leather hues include caramel, forest green, midnight and berry red. The smaller-scaled Manning chair, in a cream-hued fabric, sports chic contemporary button tufting; it’d be a nice choice for a master bedroom. (www.potterybarn.com )

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams’ Emmet chair hybridizes a wing and club chair. In buttery, aniline leather, it’s a welcoming spot to settle. (www.mgbwhome.com )

At Rove Concepts, Danish modern designer Hans Wegner’s classic Wing chair is offered in leathers and cashmere, tweed and boucle wool. (www.roveconcepts.com )

An exaggerated wingback and arms characterize Wegner’s 1951 Papa chair. He named it for its distinctive sculptural arms, which resemble a big bear’s paws. France and Son offers it in fun midcentury modern hues like orange, teal blue and olive. (www.franceandson.com )

Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg chair for Fritz Hansen (available at Design Within Reach) is a biomorphic take on the wing chair; its fluid curves and swivel base have kept it a favorite of modernist aficionados for almost 60 years. (www.dwr.com )

Tom Dixon’s Wingback collection is the British designer’s update on the wing chair and its 18th century cousin, the balloon back. The chairs and sofas have a sexy swagger, in luscious Kvadrat fabric upholstery and ebony or blond oak legs. (www.tomdixon.net )

The angles of Italian midcentury design inspire West Elm’s new Marcelle wing chair, with dramatically scaled aniline leather wings and arms. The Hemming swivel chair nods to classic Danish design, with a low-slung and roomy seat, enveloping high back and wings. Two new colors: rich caramel-toned saddle, and an inky Aegean blue. (www.westelm.com )

Toronto firm Powell & Bonnell’s Chatsworth reading chair takes a different approach. The chair is armless, and sleek planes form the wings, giving the piece an urbane sophistication. (www.powellandbonnell.com )

[Source”indianexpress”]

How power operates in modern Britain: with absolute contempt

Illustration, of great big brogue shoe stamping down on little person, by Jasper Rietman

Newspaper columns usually talk politics or policy, but not this one. Today I want to discuss an emotion: contempt. “The action of scorning or despising” is the dictionary definition. “The condition of being held worthless.”

Contempt is the thread that runs through much of the worst barbarism in today’s Britain. When Grenfell Tower burned down, killing at least 80 men, women and children, one campaigner told the Financial Times: “It was not that we stayed silent, but that they never responded. It was not just that they ignored us, but that they viewed us with contempt.”

Contempt is the Tenant Management Association being warned again and againby residents that their homes are a deathtrap, but not lifting a finger. It is a local authority watching its tenants burn to death, then mounting a response so pitiful its leader is forced to resign. It is elected councillors holding the first meeting after the Grenfell tragedy to which they could have invited the survivors, but instead locking them out, citing “the risk of disruption”.

When one group of people is deemed unworthy of the place in which they live, the product is inevitably contempt. That applies to the security guards and nursery workers dying in Kensington just as much as it does to disabled people impoverished by the benefit cuts of austerity Britain.

Contempt doesn’t belong solely to one neighbourhood or political party. Ask Sam Leggatt, who lives on the other side of London from Grenfell, in the north-eastern borough of Haringey. Tonight the Labour-run council, for which she has always voted, is likely to approve plans to privatise her entire housing estate. If that happens, her home will probably be demolished. Yet neither she nor any of her neighbours have been told this by officials. When I put these and other allegations to Haringey council, it said that “no decision has been made on the future” of Leggatt’s estate – but that it is among the first earmarked for privatisation, with “regeneration” to follow. A friend told her last night, and now she keeps having “little wobbles”. “We’re not worth anything, are we?” she says. “We’ve been treated with utter contempt.”

Except Sam is worth a lot. She’s lived on Tottenham’s Northumberland Park estate for over 30 years, and does the finance and admin for the local childcare centre. She helped clear up the mess after the Tottenham riots of 2011 and went to all the residents’ meetings. She’s raised two kids in her council maisonette, always pays the rent on time and turns everything, even the prospect of being turfed out of her home, into a husky “What you gonna do?” laugh. Her only crime is that she doesn’t fit her council’s ideas for her own neighbourhood.

In what must be one of the biggest gambles ever to be made by local government, Haringey plans to stuff family homes, school buildings, its biggest library and much more into a giant private fund worth £2bn. It’s the largest scheme of its kind – “unprecedented”, in the words of backbench councillors. Together with a property developer, it will tear down whole streets of publicly owned buildings and replace them with a shiny town centre and 6,400 homes.

As someone who grew up nearby, I can see that it needs investment – but this is something else entirely: it is privatisation, even if the council holds on to a 50% share and claims otherwise. Those houses will almost certainly not be for the likes of Sam. When I last wrote about the HDV – the Haringey Development Vehicle – the council told me that the private entity had no targets for building social housing.

Its chosen partner in the HDV is Lendlease. Haringey will entrust the developer with a major plank of its housing strategy for decades, even though when Lendlease partnered with Southwark council on its “regeneration” of the Heygate estate it bulldozed nearly 1,200 social homes and built just 82 replacements.

The Heygate estate in Southwark
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 The Heygate estate in Southwark: ‘nearly 1,200 social homes bulldozed, just 82 replacements built’. Photograph: London SE1 Community Website

However easy it is for pundits to conflate today’s Labour party with Jeremy Corbyn, to do so ignores the daily experience of people under many Labour councils that are his ideological opposite. Such as the zombie Blairites who run Haringey, and who bear as much resemblance to Corbyn’s Labour as Jive Bunny does to death metal. This shower recently sold an art deco town hall to Hong Kong investors to turn into a boutique hotel and expensive flats – with just four affordable homes.

They spent more than £40,000 of taxpayers’ money this year to swan off to a property fair in Cannes and sell their land to multinational developers. Alongside nuggets about how easy local transport connections make it to leave the borough, their investor brochure bursts with computer images of a FutureHaringey full of shiny towers, a bit like Blade Runner for buy-to-let landlords. Strangely, for an area in which around one in four residents is black, it features not a single black face. The council’s own 2015 assessment of its housing strategy says: “Black residents may not benefit from the plans to build more homes in the borough.” It goes on: “The ability of local people to afford the new homes being built, is dependent on them … increasing their incomes to a sufficient level to afford the new homes.”

Sam Leggatt gets the point: “They want to turn our home into Kensington, without Grenfell.” She quotes an assertion from a senior cabinet member that the estate on which she lives is worth “minus £15m”. The council says this is the net cost of improving the 1,300 homes, but Leggatt has her interpretation: “They think we’re what makes it worth minus £15m. Us, the plebs, the people who’ve lived here, raised our families here, worked here, got our memories here. We’re just a commodity to them.”

Unlike its Conservative equivalent, Blairite contempt pretends it is no such thing. Haringey boasts of being transparent, then releases 1,500 pages of legal and financial documents on the HDV just a week before tonight’s cabinet meeting. The council leader, Claire Kober, promises in this newspaper and everywhere else “to rehouse all existing tenants in the same area, if that’s what they want, on the same rent and the same terms”. Then, among the appendices and redactions of last week’s paper mountain, she buries this: “The HDV Business Plans prioritise a single move for residents rather than Right of Return.”

This means that, whatever the public promises, when Sam is moved out of her home, her coming back isn’t a priority for the council. The 63-year-old can see how she’ll live out her days: “A one-bed on the top floor of a tower block. I won’t be able to get another job, or see my friends.” Council press officers told me the papers were only “a provisional set of proposals”, yet they are what the cabinet is being asked to agree to on Monday. If they are approved, one of the biggest privatisations ever known to local government will begin – not provisionally, but for real.

Contempt, Haringey-style, is publishing a text longer than War and Peace and expecting the public to digest it in just five working days. It is showing foreign investors one thing, and telling local residents another. Employing a director of regeneration who openly describes part of the area she’s regenerating as a “warzone” – a comment the council claims was taken out of context. It is creating a future for an area in which the very people living there are erased.

Tonight, as Haringey council’s cabinet hands over public assets to an unaccountable private giant, protesters will march peacefully on the civic centre. If you care about our capital remaining a home for all, rather than a chewtoy for international speculators, you should try to be there.

Sam and her neighbours have done nothing to deserve this official contempt. But the politicians and officials forcing through this reckless, arrogant gamble – now, they really are contemptible.

 [Source”indianexpress”]