Is the new mayor of São Paulo Latin America’s answer to Donald Trump?

This article was published on CityMetric on 20 February 2017.

If you’re late to a meeting with him, you’re fined £50 for every 15 minutes you hold him up. In a city where traffic jams snake for miles and miles along fume-choked highways, it’s a formidable threat. “Everyone laughed at me, but they are all obeying now,” he once explained.

The new mayor of Brazil’s biggest city and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, doesn’t do things conventionally. And since he took office in January, the city’s collective eyebrows have certainly been raised.

A multi-millionaire mogul who used to host O Aprendiz – Brazil’s own version of The Apprentice  – João Doria Jr. has obviously drawn hasty comparisons to Donald J. Trump, erstwhile mogul and Apprentice host, latterly – for some unholy reason – president of the United States of America.

While he personally prefers his likeness to Michael Bloomberg, the stonkingly loaded former mayor of New York City, the Trump comparison is a convenient one. Critics paint him as a reckless irresponsible political outsider, who doesn’t know the ropes of the system and is now burning the sensible policies accumulated by his predecessors with the delicacy and expediency befitting of a media tycoon who used to be the publisher of a glossy magazine called Caviar Lifestyle.

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What can Britain learn from Europe’s trains – and vice versa?

This article was published on CityMetric on 13 February 2017.

Ok, confession straight out of the gates: this is mostly a chance for me to brag at length about the fact that I just spent two weeks frolicking around Europe on trains whilst the world started turning out the lights and giving up in the face of the first fortnight of Trump’s presidency.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Armed with a large rucksack, an extended overdraft, and an Interrail pass, I set off across eight countries: Britain (definitely counts), France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and the Vatican City (definitely counts).

I hopped on trundling clapped-out regional chuggers, gleaming high-speed wonders, pitifully grimy and disorganised city underground networks (here’s looking at you, Rome), and also one erroneous €70 taxi after I got cocky about how late German trains would run.

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Can free train tickets stop the EU from eating itself alive?

This article was published on CityMetric on 16 January 2017.

It’s that feeling. When you’ve broken up with someone, and it was all a bit messy and unpleasant, and then two weeks later they post an absolutely killer Instagram and you’re left thinking: “Why on earth did I do that?”

That’s what the EU’s trying to do to us now, the saucy minx.

In October last year, a wiry and slightly balding Member of the European Parliament put forward a rather daring proposal. Manfred Weber, a Bavarian MEP for the CSU party, thought all European 18-year-olds should get a free Interrail pass for their birthday.

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The city that doesn’t exist, and when Angela Merkel made a joke – the story of Bielefeld

This article was published in CityMetric on 9 January 2017.

Do you know anybody from Bielefeld? Have you ever been to Bielefeld? Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld?

If the answers to those three questions were all “no” – as is extraordinarily likely – I’ll spare you a Google.

Bielefeld is a city in north-western Germany, with a population of about 323,000. It’s in the state of North-Rhine-Westphalia, and is the 18th largest city in Germany, with a large university and hospital, a historic castle, and a fairly typically Germanic-looking church.

Or at least that’s what they want you to think. The evil, conniving, manipulating, Machiavellian elites of the Illuminati.

Because the truth – the shocking truth, the red-pill MSM-defying truth – is that Bielefeld doesn’t exist.

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How can city car parks help solve the housing crisis?

This article was published on CityMetric on 21 December 2016.

There’s an SNL skit I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It’s called Target Commercial, and part of it is about a woman who drives to a large supermarket car park to sit there in her car and just have a bit of a… moment.

It’s obviously part of SNL’s post-election content – the litany of oh-dear-he’s-actually-going-to-be-president-what-do-we-joke-about-now sketches – but it says something more profound about car parks as spaces. They’re wastelands – barren places functioning as empty hollows into which you can offload worries, emotions, tantrums, rages, or…


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