I left London recently for New York after a five-year stay in the British capital. It would be wrong to say that the place where I grew up after spending my infancy in South Africa has become unrecognizable. Just because there’s a “Pret” on every corner, and a camera on every other corner, and Hoxton is hot, and sleek towers for the world’s financiers dot the City’s skyline does not mean that London is changed utterly. In fact it is familiar, but often in a troubling way, as if the city were one of those buildings transformed within but left with a preserved facade.
The streets look the same — if spruced for the new gentry from drab and dreary to spick and span — but London’s animating spirit is another. Money, and I mean the world’s money not Britain’s, now determines how London looks, sets it apart from the rest of the country, and defines what it is. Belgravia is still Belgravia. On closer inspection, however, it resembles a mausoleum reserved for the occasional use of the globe’s peripatetic rich and their ample staffs.
He is right of course. The issue is that the middle class Joe subsdises the oligarch as he follows the rule of law, pays taxes and is an integral part of a society that in effect makes it one of the best places to live. The oligarch having followed the exact opposite course comes here as he knows what he has done to someone wont happen to him. It’s like a bank robber ensuring all his stolen loot is always put in a bank safety deposit box!
But we must remember that:
1 you can’t buck the market
2 they are wealth creators
3 all the money they bring in and people they employ
4 well, they are our sort of people, aren’t they!
What we are doing is making membership of one of the worlds most exclusive clubs more or less free to the very people who should be paying. That’s just bad marketing!!