Here are five definitely not ridiculous places in London we could put MPs while Parliament is renovated

Falling down. Image: Getty.

Between the fallout from the snap election, the hung parliament, Brexit and the brewing civil wars in both main parties, Parliament won't have a lot of time to discuss the fact it needs to relocate in 2022 while repairs are made to the building.

But we are experiencing a brief lull in news at the moment – which is why it is the perfect time to explore some of the best options in London.

1) Frank’s Cafe

The rooftop bar on top of the car park in Peckham is already a brilliant place ruined by the terrible people who enjoy going there, so we might as well take that to its logical conclusion. There’s enough space for both chambers to get a floor each, they then can meet at the top.

Pros: There’s something about David Davis that feels like he really enjoys drinking cocktails with tiny umbrellas in them, and maybe putting him in a place with an endless supply of cocktails with tiny umbrellas in them might distract him enough that he doesn’t fuck up Brexit, by virtue of forgetting it’s happening.

Cons: Really can’t rule out a UK House of Cards “Daddyyy-y-y-y” type scenario if you move Parliament to a rooftop.

2) A selection of boats going up and down the Thames

Some architects argued last year that a Parliament-on-Thames structure could be built next to the real thing – but why not go one step further?

Give a big boat each to the two main parties, some smaller boats for the others, get a big floating Chamber for the members to jump onto during sitting hours, encourage tourists to throw things at them from the shore.

Pros: John Bercow could threaten to throw anyone making never-ending speeches overboard.

Cons: You just know that Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof would turn up again and circle around like dickhead sharks, don’t you. You just know.


3) Northcliffe House

If George Osborne can leave Parliament to go edit a newspaper in Kensington, they might as well all follow and be done with it. Making MPs and Lords share a building with the Mail, Metro, Independent and Evening Standard would absolutely be hilarious and definitely not worrying and bad for democracy.

Pros: No-one in their right mind would ever go to High Street Kensington anyway, so they wouldn’t be disturbing the locals, whoever they are.

Cons: The bleak gossip of parliamentarians and hacks hooking up because there’s nothing else to do in High Street Kensington. God, the bleak gossip.

4) That massive grim Wetherspoons in North London, you know the one

They wanted Brexit Britain, they’ll get Brexit Britain. Watch as Liam Fox has to stand on a chair to explain why the future of trade will be great while the Remainers gloomily dip their breaded brie (Christmas special) in their tiny little pots of cranberry sauce.

Pros: The drinks will be so cheap they won’t even need to get them subsidised.

Cons: The lack of daylight might make some of them somehow look unhealthier, like pasty ghosts in cheap suits. No-one wants that.

5) That weird London Dungeon tourist attraction

The public hates politicians and it’s time for them to start feeling that: stick them in that weird haunted place, leave them to screw up this country even more in a complex network of dark tunnels full of fake spider webs and dodgy fake blood.

Pros: On the Jubilee line, so close to Westminster if they want to get a drink in a familiar place after a day of hard work in the shadows. Also: imagine Amber Rudd, boarding a creepy mini train to give a ministerial statement, and announcing “this government is clear that it is a vitaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaah oh GOD” while the other MPs watch silently as she goes up and down on the creaking rails.

Cons: There are absolutely no cons to this scenario whatsoever.

Marie Le Conte tweets as @youngvulgarian.

 
 
 
 

Where actually is South London?

TFW Stephen Bush tells you that Chelsea is a South London team. Image: Getty.

To the casual observer, this may not seem like a particularly contentious question: isn’t it just everything ‘under’ the Thames when you look at the map? But despite this, some people will insist that places like Fulham, clearly north of the river, are in South London. Why?

Here are nine ways of defining South London.

The Thames

Image: Google Maps/CityMetric.

It’s a curvy river, the Thames. Hampton Court Palace, which is on the north bank of the river, is miles south of the London Eye, on the south bank. If the river forms a hard border between North and South Londons, then logically sometimes North London is going to be south of South London, which is, to be fair, confusing. But how else could we do it?

Latitude

You could just draw a horizontal line across a central point (say, Charing Cross, where the road distances are measured from). While this solves the London Eye/Hampton Court problem, this puts Thamesmead in North London, and Shepherd’s Bush in South London, which doesn’t seem right either.

Image: Google Maps/CityMetric.

And if you tried to use longitude to define West and East London on top of this, nothing would ever make sense ever again.

The Post Office

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Some people give the Post Office the deciding vote, arguing that North and South London are defined by their postcodes. This does have some advantages, such as removing many contentious areas from the debate because they’re either in the West, East or Central postcode divisions, or ignoring Croydon.

But six of the SW postcodes are north of the river Thames, so we’re back to saying places like Fulham and Chelsea are in south London. Which is apparently fine with some people, but are we also going to concede that Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are South London landmarks?

Taken to the extreme this argument denies that South London exists at all. The South postcode region was abolished in 1868, to be merged into the SE and SW regions. The S postcode area is now Sheffield. So is Sheffield in South London, postcode truthers? Is that what you want?

Transport for London

Image: TfL.

At first glance TfL might not appear to have anything to add to the debate. The transport zones are about distance from the centre rather than compass point. And the Northern Line runs all the way through both North and South London, so maybe they’re just confused about the entire concept of directions.

 

Image: TfL.

But their website does provide bus maps that divide the city into 5 regions: North East, South East, South West, North West and the Centre. Although this unusual approach is roughly speaking achieved by drawing lines across and down the middle, then a box around the central London, there are some inconsistencies. Parts of Fulham are called for the South West region, yet the whole of the Isle of Dogs is now in North East London? Sick. It’s sick.

The Boundary Commission

One group of people who ought to know a thing or two about boundaries is the Boundary Commission for England. When coming up with proposals for reforming parliamentary constituencies in 2011, it first had to define ‘sub-regions’ for London.

Initially it suggested three – South, North East, and a combined North, West and Central region, which included Richmond (controversial!) – before merging the latter two into ‘North’ and shifting Richmond back to the South.

In the most recent proposal the regions have reverted to North Thames and South Thames (splitting Richmond), landing us right back where we started. Thanks a bunch, boundary commission.

The London Plan

Image: Greater London Authority.

What does the Mayor of London have to say? His office issues a London Plan, which divides London into five parts. Currently ‘South’ includes only Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Sutton, and Wandsworth, while the ‘North’ consists of just Barnet, Enfield, and Haringey. Everywhere else is divvied into East, South or Central.

While this minimalist approach does have the appeal of satisfying no-one, given the scheme has been completely revised twice since 2004 it does carry the risk of seismic upheaval. What if Sadiq gets drunk on power and declares that Islington is in East London? What then?

Wikipedia

 

Image: Wikimedia Commons/CityMetric.

The coordinates listed on the South London article lead to Brockwell Park near Herne Hill, while the coordinates on the North London article lead to a garden centre near Redbridge. I don’t know what this means, so I tried to ring the garden centre to see if they had any advice on the matter. It was closed.

Pevsner Guides

Image: Wikimedia Commons/CityMetric.

Art historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner might seem an unlikely source of help at this juncture, but we’ve tried everything else. And the series of architectural guides that he edited, The Buildings of England, originally included 2 volumes for London: “The Cities of London and Westminster”, and “everything else”. Which is useless.

But as his successors have revised his work, London has expanded to fill 6 volumes: North, North West, East, The City, Westminster, and South. South, quite sensibly, includes every borough south of the Thames, and any borough that is partly south of the Thames (i.e. Richmond). And as a bonus: West London no longer exists.

McDonald’s

I rang a McDonald’s in Fulham and asked if they were in South London. They said no.

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