Islington is a bellwether, and also a joke: the most unequal borough in London, where social housing leans against £4 million terraces (for now, loyal Conservative voters, only for now), and also the holy font of Blairism as it appears in ‘It’s Grim Up North London’. Here, it is said, they sang the Blairite version of the Red Flag: ‘The People’s flag is deepest pink/ It’s not as red as people think/ So raise the scarlet banner high/ The college song, the old school tie.’ No more; the jokes are dust, and Blair, it is rumoured, is living on a jet full time, flying away from himself or, as I think more probable, under a spray-tan machine, staining himself that peculiar shade of orange that interior decorators call Atomic Tangerine, a fine mirror for his madness.
Its MP, as you know, is Jeremy Corbyn. He had nothing to do with Blairism, but you might see him on the streets of its cemetery angrily riding a bicycle. I can hardly bear to discuss Corbyn just now; because I, the sort of (Jewish) Labour voter who would vote for a cow if it were on the ballot paper, have been made by this leader to pity Lord Levy as he dares to fret publicly about the anti-Semitism of the left; and that is grievous, for Corbyn calls himself insulted, an emotion Jews well understand.
There is more news in Islington, better news for the critic herself spiritually resident of ‘It’s Grim Up North London’: Chris Corbin (note the ‘i’) and Jeremy King have opened a new restaurant called Bellanger, which rears, like a Cinema Paradiso, from Islington Green. Corbin and King run some of the best restaurants in London — the Delaunay, the Wolseley and Fischer’s.