But it is infested with the same left-wing supercilious elite as all the other great cities are, Gerard Baker tells us. New York City, eat your heart out!
For someone who has not lived in the city for more than a decade, the occasional trip to London is a reminder of how richly it deserves its new reputation as the worldâ€™s capital.
As my colleague James Harding wrote in times2 this week, thereâ€™s a vibrancy about London these days that easily eclipses New York or Paris or Tokyo. To many residents, perhaps, life in London may be a struggle against rising crime and a crowded Tube and overpriced housing, but from an international perspective, it is truly the worldâ€™s preeminent urban locale.
In fact, in anything other than the most literal, geographic expression of the term, London is really no longer an English city at all. Its great economic dynamo, the City, powers corporations from Shanghai to Seattle. Its labour force, drawn to it by the opportunities of its free markets, is much more polyglot and multinational than any other urban concentration in the world.
But thereâ€™s salt to this strawberry. Londonâ€™s political culture has been uprooted from its English heritage. It is run â€” if you can call it that â€” by a sort of postmodern communist Mayor, whose political voice â€” minus the annoying nasal whine â€” would sound right at home in Paris, Bologna or San Francisco. It hosts a metropolitan elite that loftily gazes three ways: outward, at the supposed superiority of anything not British; inward, at its own ineffable genius; and down its elegantly pampered nose, at the provincial trivialities that consume the dreary lives of the rest of the population.
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