RICHARD Tice writes in the Telegraph that while the rest of the country is emerging from its Covid hibernation, London remains a ghost town.
He writes: ‘But what if London has hit the buffers in top gear and someone has put the gearstick into sharp reverse? The rest of the country has effectively been out of lockdown for many weeks now, only the government and media are still obsessing with it. Regional cities, towns large and small, are noisy and active again, but not London.’
Of course there may be specific and temporary reasons why London is slow out of the blocks: the city was initially hit hard by the coronavirus and is ruled by a totally incompetent, virtue-signalling mayor. Furthermore, it employs large numbers of professionals who would ordinarily face long commutes and may see no reason to rush back into the office when they can quite happily work from home.
However, what if much longer trends are at work? What if coronavirus has acted for a catalyst for change in response to a deeper truth that has been obvious for some time: that London is simply not a very nice place to live and work?
In the 1990s London was on a roll, dubbed ‘The Coolest City on the Planet’ and even overtaking New York as the self-appointed capital of the world. Rich and vibrant, it attracted talent from everywhere. However, all that came at a high price: although it has always been to an extent an international city, Londoners themselves were once very much ‘citizens of somewhere’, fiercely loyal to their ‘manors’. Thanks to the colossal demographic shift engineered by the immigration policies of Barbara Roche during the arrogant and malign New Labour years, that culture was entirely wiped away in favour of an imported mélange of peoples, where one really could walk down a central London street and hear a multitude of languages – except English. A city that was once a collection of villages and communities became an atomised megalopolis.
‘I love the diversity of London, I just feel comfortable,’ said Roche in a Guardian interview in 2011. Well, I’ll wager Londoners are feeling considerably less comfortable today. The truth is that the city now has a diversity hangover that will take some time to shake off: mass immigration included importing some extremely nasty subcultures giving London, amongst other things, the cultural wonders of Islamic jihadism; the liberal shibboleth that ‘diversity’ in family formation was a social good led to an explosion of fatherlessness and the entirely predictable consequence that aggressive young men joined gangs; the import of feral young men from savage and brutalised cultures led to a cycle of violence that the pathetic Metropolitan Police under a series of politically correct commissioners haven’t a clue how to stop.
The horrible truth is that this matters little to the people ultimately responsible: the narcissistic and well-heeled liberal metropolitans who, rather than confronting the consequences of their actions, simply ship out of the social wastelands they have created, opting instead to settle in decidedly non-diverse communities where the much derided, largely Brexit-supporting ‘Somewheres’ have painstakingly built up social capital over the generations.
Ominously, London may be mirroring trends in the United States where the liberal elites, having reduced a once-vibrant and ultra-creative California to a quasi-socialist morass, are migrating to previously solidly ‘red’ states such as Texas.
Rather than admit the errors of their ways, they then start to turn those states blue.
In short, liberals have locust culture: good they may be at creating financial economic value in the short term, but when it comes to social capital – far more important for the long-term health of society – they are extractive, hypocritically exploiting the social strengths of the communities they spend so much time deriding as backward, before moving on again. To paraphrase what the great Mark Steyn said in a different context, liberals are capable of building a society that works for one generation only, or as the Bible says, like the man who builds his house upon the sand (Matthew 7:24-27).
In London’s decline, as in so many other areas of modern life, the instabilities and failures of ultra-liberalism are manifest. The case for rebuilding a resilient society on socially conservative lines is intellectually overwhelming, if only someone in politics would be prepared to make it. Meanwhile, the locusts continue to feast.