LONDON

Trip Start ??? 06, 2001
1
10
Trip End ??? 07, 2001


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Thursday, July 5, 2007

The people of London are a pretty stoical,unflappable lot.
This week's terrorist acts may have made world wide headlines,but few of the citizens of this huge metropolis broke off from partying long enough to take much notice.High earning,high spending,never had it so good,opulence pervades every corner of life for the majority here.The screech of emergency vehicle sirens,and the regular sight of suspicious policemen stopping foreigners or checking suspect vehicles,are little more than the orchestra to which London goes about it's daily routine.There is definitely no panic here,and the impact of the latest developments have been far less than the effects of two years ago,when tragic loss of life did galvanise a spirit of sympathy and unity that lasted at least until the following Christmas.

An underclass of unemployable youth are to be seen begging on almost every street(notice how they are almost always white natives,not immigrants),and even for the well paid working folk,buying into the property market is for many a distant dream,as they fall back on rented apartments that only pushes the lower echelons of society more inexorably towards the pavement.
Having bitter personal experience of the inadequacies of this rented kind of accomodation,especially for anyone who values their peaceful and worthwhile home life,the prospect of unattainable housing offers little incentive to chase success.However to most people,their desire for high wages is satiated in the spending power to frequent highly priced restaurants,pubs and clubs,and to shop 'til they drop in endless miles of shopping centres,where the same national chain stores repeat over and over,but the specialist item can be as impossible to find as a needle in a haystack when someone requires a particular size,design or convenience.

Personally,I find too many people are full of hot air and little substance.
Shop and pub owners in the capital are noticeably more expectant than in other parts of the country,operating a conveyor belt of cash flooding into their tills from whosoever's pocket,and rarely giving their customers time to settle before urging them to buy some more,have another drink,"what else would you like?"...,as if to say,if you are not going to spend continuously,you might as well leave.Their greed cares little for the inadequacies of the benefit system,and the paltry 57 per week that one is expected to live on,for those who have failed to hitch a ride on the gravy train of economic success.
One meal,one tea and half a lager set me back 9-10 today.If I had spent any less I would have felt guilty about watching 1 and 1/2 hours football highlights in a pub,in the middle of a wet afternoon,especially as sport is seen here as a privelege not a right,and one must virtually beg the proprieter to put on your chosen channel,assuming nobody beats you to it,and be frowned upon for not providing ample financial gratitude as a consequence.
Therefore,the poorer people are made to feel guilty about not lining the pockets of the rich.This is the opposite of the socialist utopia that the current Labour Government once fought for,before being defeated on the picket lines of the 1980's by Mrs Thatcher's Conservative forces,later to succumb to their brand of politics themselves,in the spirit of "If you can't beat them,join them".

Almost anything goes in London.This city is undoubtedly the most liberal minded in Britain,and the dress sense,nationality,or lifestyle of one citizen are almost never an issue with another.
Only in residential areas,where neighbours rub up against each other in inadequate housing,does any great friction arise.A city that seems so pleasant to be in when frequenting the cosmopolitan world of the bright city centre lights,can disintegrate into a nightmare world of private Hell when one signs away a portion of his or her life into the wrong property.In this aspect,London is no different to any other British city,and it is an area where the Good Life concept in Britain falls down.
The country is too overcrowded and too few new houses are built.This results in landlord's overcharging for the smallest flats,and the dividing up of large old houses into smaller units,with little regard for peace or quality of life for new tenants.To me,this is the single biggest issue in this country to which the politicians should be finding a solution.In the meantime,our society descends,in the only practical response to the situation,into a more debauched,less intellectual,fantasy island where English traditional lifestyle and expectations are relentlesly shaped by the lack of provision of too many of our basic needs,despite the wealth that is in most people's hands.              
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