The family run enterprise of Saudi Arabia, super-wealthy patron of unscrupulous and sociopathic arms dealers, worldwide exporter of black gold and Wahhabi terrorism, has finally succumbed to the mother of all hubris. As the petrol-driven monarchy pisses on its casino chips, even the die-hard greed-driven pragmatists who simply don’t care how dirty their money is have been forced to avert their oil-filtered gaze. Like Putin’s mafia state, the House of Saud believes that the world will always turn a blind eye to its brazen deployment of diplomatically immune murder squads, on account of their enormous surplus of cash. Isn’t it about time these international gangsters were politically and economically isolated from the civilised world?

You’ve probably read in the news section about Pett Level, a coastal strip of land between Pett and Winchelsea, which is fomenting local opinion, even though there aren’t many permanent locals. Largely a stretch of seasonal second homes adjacent to the beach, it has long since ceased to be a “community” in any real sense. Yet Pett Level Parish Council seems intent on designating the sole pub, The Smuggler, closed since September 2017 due to non-viability, as a “community asset”, thus preventing its change of use, against the wishes of its current owner. The fact that over the years a long succession of tenants, even on cut price rents, have been unable to make it a going concern as a pub, does not seem to faze them. Lobbytroll asks this simple question: How can a boarded up building, long since closed for lack of customers, be forcibly designated a “community asset”? And, why?

The RIBA Sterling Prize, which was last year awarded to Hastings’ beautiful Alex de Riker-designed pier, was this year won by The Bloomberg HQ, a billion dollar office building in London, a fact which makes our little community’s achievement seem all the more remarkable. To Lobbytroll however, the 2018 winner, expensive, daring and innovative though it may be, is, compared to Hastings pier, sadly lacking in one area; entrepreneurial flair. My simple message to architects Foster + Partners is this; come out of your ivory towers, visit Hastings and have a chat with the pier’s visionary new owners. Because much as we all love the Bloomberg Building, where are the randomly-placed life-size fake animals? Where are the child-scaring alien mannequins? And more to the point, where are the cheap stone mouldings covered in gold paint?

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