Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quote London

"But London has cause to feel particularly proud of the thrusting generation of moderates whom the capital shaped in various well-endowed institutions and at soirees held in their honour at the highest level of metropolitan society, before sending them off into the Middle East to work their magic. Think of Saif Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad and his wife – perhaps Vanity Fair, which last insisted London was swinging in 1997, could return to do a sarcastic "Class of" feature on the capital's most eye-catching governance alumni.

It took root under Thatcher but it was Blairism that presided over the capital's transition into full-blown creep haven – inevitable, given Tony's pathological admiration for the super-rich. The result is that it is now standard to note that there are two Londons: the one where all but a few thousand of the city's millions live, and the one where, when yet another Mayfair restaurant opens selling £70 steaks, the black Range Rovered clientele cannot get a table for weeks on end.

From the outside, the one increasingly eclipses the other. And thus, if I might make a pitch for inclusion in Pseuds' Corner, London is contracting as an idea. Where previously outsiders could get a sense of the richness of the city's culture, it is now increasingly difficult to get a sense of much else than London's richness – while for insiders, the sense of exclusion from that richness becomes more pronounced. The greatest city in the world does not care to accommodate its key workers within a one-hour, overpriced commute of their jobs, but plays enduringly attentive host to some of the most grotesque horrors of the age."

- Marina Hyde in the Guardian

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