Whenever out-of-towners are staying and we’re heading out for a meal, a safe bet is Brick Lane, for two reasons. A) it’s cheap but (usually) decent food, and B) I can haggle with the touts who lurk in the street like hustlers outside a strip club.

Haggling’s a game both the tout and I enjoy playing. I tell him some guy up the road just offered us a far better deal and that I’m going to try to beat it at the next joint and he protests his food is far superior and cheaper.

After a bit more toing and froing, I manage to ‘wangle’ a bottle of wine and a couple of naan breads, and we’re in. The tout would have given provided the sweeteners anyway but my blissfully ignorant guests always give me admiring glances; to them I am a conqueror, an explorer who’s led them through the mean jungle and prevented them being taken advantage of by the wily locals.

All that could change, though, as Tower Hamlets Council again decides to crack down on the touts in the lead-up to the Olympics. It’s a further attempt to sanitise this city as it prepares to show its ‘best’ side for the Games.

First it was east London’s vibrant street art under threat; now it’s the simple call of the food hawker that’s facing the chop. Soon the City’s Ultra-Neat-and-Tidy Society (CUNTS) will be targeting the old fruit and veg seller. And you can bet they ship all the homeless out (there’s a warning for all you scruffy hipsters in your vintage clothes – don’t fall asleep drunk in the street, you’ll be carted off to the country).

Seriously, do we really want to live in a sterile city where actions, sights and sounds that some consider “unsavoury” are banished from view? I want to walk down streets where the calls of the locals bounce of the buildings, where some wit has composed a love letter/ suicide note on a wall, where a beggar reminds us all of how lucky we are.

Tower Hamlets says the hustlers are guilty of harassment, but I’ve had more harassment from a Big Issue seller. Keep the touts. How else will I display my streetsmarts to my guests? I’ll probably be forced to stick up for someone on public transport and get stabbed as a result.

How will that the sound of that compare to a few guys trying to flog a bit of curry?

» Agree or disagree? Should the touts stay? Is it cool to have children cagefighting? letters@tntmagazine.com