Thursday, 12 April 2012

A country called London ...

The Spectator has a very interesting article in which it suggests that London has become a separate country in many respects to the rest of Britain. Neil O'Brien makes the point succinctly - London is home to the nations politicians, civil servants and media, in essence, the ruling class. They recognise only London and london's issues and problems, yet it doesn't - and quite possibly never has - represented the whole of the United Kingdom. Small wonder then that the Kingdom is becoming ever more DIS-united.

As he says, this leads to a BIG problem -

Londonitis. The politicians, civil servants and journalists who make up Britain's governing class have had their world view shaped by living in the capital and its wealthy satellites. They run one country, but effectively live in another.

I have long felt that all too often a problem identified in London, is then extrapolated to the rest of Britain, often with dire results for everyone outside of the Planet London. Now the Spectator is saying the same thing. It is interesting that Opinion Polls on improving "Public Transport" held across the UK, always come up with Londoners wanting more effort to drive everyone out of their cars, while the rest of the country want the fuel duty reduced to make life, including transport, cheaper.

Londoners are, on average 66% better off than anyone anywhere else in the country and this tendency is increasing rapidly. London will soon have the largest population in its history, it has become a financial hub and everything revolves around that, but already there are signs of problems. Its airports are at capacity and any effort to expand them is going to run into very stiff opposition. The EU is increasingly becoming more hostile to London, and that could impact future popularity and growth. Why? Simply because Paris and Frankfurt have better links to "emerging markets" and are less likely to be subjected to punitive taxation once the current government loses its mandate.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next ten to fifteen years. As the Spectator put it, London has become an Aerotropolis. It's super rich are internationals, they can up stakes and be gone to another megacity tomorrow if anything happens to make London less attractive to them. Perhaps this is what the politicians fear most. The wealth of the city is at its highest point in years, yet it could be gone in the blink of an eye. Those who control the wealth now have no allegiance to anyone but themselves and to their profits. Threaten either their positions or their wealth - and they will take flight before anyone can act, leaving an empty set of skyscrapers and an even emptier Treasury.

There is probably only one solution to this problem. London should go independent and the rest of the country should be freed of the London yoke. It will be tough, but it will cure the Londonitis the rest of the UK suffers from. 


  1. Yep, politicians are out of touch with the rest of the country, but do you really think the whole of London is made up of people who earn huge salaries? What Londoners pay for transport and accommodation is probably higher than what someone outside of the Southeast pays in fuel duty - and usually on the same salary as people who do the same job elsewhere. And that's the other problem - where would the boundary of the Kingdom of London be? People commute from the coast and anywhere within about 2 hours' train journey daily to get to work. Will there be border patrols? Passports? Work permits...?

  2. No, I don't. This is always the danger with 'averages' - they are always slewed by the mega salaries. I was merely quoting the article. It is a fact though that salaries in London are generally higher than anywhere else. And yes, that does, to some extent, reflect the higher cost of living there ... However, every time they hike the cost of fuel, those outside of London are the worst hit, primarlily because they don't have the option of trains, buses or bicycles. Plus it ratchets up the cost of food and everything else that is conveyed by any transport by road, it also ratchets up a wide range of other costs - and the only winner is the Treasury, because all the tax is worked on percentages, so as the price rises, so does the tax.

    I think the M25 makes a pretty good 'border' - passports? Well, as long as they stay within the EU, you don't need one ...

  3. I have a cure for Londonitis and the lack of runways in the capital. What is required is a nuclear airburst over the Metrollops. When the dust settles, simply concrete over the rubble and voila! You can have several new runways and a reduced population. Any survivors to be used as slaves...

  4. A bit extreme, Slim Jim, I'm sure there's a less explosive solution!