Monday 9 July 2012

London's Sticking Point

On Saturday, there was another trip up to London, but it will be three months with nothing in the book for any more.  Whether there is a sense of relief at not having to make the journey or that something is being lost is not clear.  But it does mean avoiding any of the implications of the events in the coming weeks.

In the media generally there has been a kind of Cavalier versus Roundhead debate about London and The City.  Some mourn the progressive loss of the distinctive London skyline and visual character. 

Meanwhile Boris Johnson and others proclaim the Shard building as the marking the rise of the new Imperial London, albeit one largely owned by foreigners of foreigners and for foreigners. 

The Cavaliers claim that the “new” London is far better than the old ones and confers prosperity on all who live there and for that matter the whole of the Atlantic Isles.  So making London bigger has to be good and therefore huge public monies should be directed into huge projects that will confer added rents to all who benefit.

Whether they entirely agree with that in Dublin at present, or in Wales where the weather is inflicting damage on tourism, or in Edinburgh when all they have to offer against all the major infrastructure projects in London is a tramline that is going nowhere in particular at vast cost.

There was a proud statement that of the expected 12,000 plus persons that would be employed at The Shard a whole 150 plus jobs would be reserved for the locals of Bermondsey, largely in cleaning and maintenance work.

One major reason for the surge of money coming into London is “capital flight” whereby wealthy persons living in other jurisdictions in financial trouble try to move their money to somewhere, anywhere, where the value might be retained during the upheavals.

What the Roundheads argue is that large scale inflows of money can be disruptive and damaging in very many ways.  If the receiving country has a finite amount of land or assets they will inflate in value.  If it does not produce the consumables that the extra money requires then the balances of trade will be affected.

Then when or if the dust settles this money moves on, action breeds reaction; thesis, antithesis and synthesis and all that; or just straightforward chaos.  These days it can go out as fast as it came in, notably if there are plenty of rival financial centres to choose from.

Also, the Roundheads point to the impact on the businesses and other key services that are useful, profitable to both the UK and world trade.  This is where there is real and valuable work done in the City, substantially disregarded by the financial game players and their political fan clubs. 

All I know at the moment is that my “investment” in London is sharply down on the past and will not revive.  It is the same for many other people.


  1. The end of an era for us, the beginning of even greater wealth for the chosen few.

  2. "These days it can go out as fast as it came in"

    It certainly can!

  3. I thought the roundheads would have been the progressive radicals of their day? At least compared to the cavaliers.