I’ve just got back to London after a six week summer break and I love it. As much as I enjoy the sunshine and easy pace of Tenerife (and I really do) London sizzles with purpose and energy. The first thing that struck me was the multiculturalism. So many people of colour, different garb and foreign languages. For me this is a huge part of what makes London so attractive. And yet, for others this is precisely why they don’t enjoy London.
John Cleese, for example, doesn’t think London is really English anymore. Too many foreigners, John? Responding to critics who accused him of racism he later said: “I suspect I should apologise for my affection for the Englishness of my upbringing, but in some ways I found it calmer, more polite, more humorous, less tabloid, and less money-oriented than the one that is replacing it.” I’m with him on all of that but the trouble is that too many people here think politeness and decency are exclusively English traits and blame multiculturalism for their demise. Not so. I’ve enjoyed remarkable hospitality from strangers in Munich as well as Manchester.
There are good and bad people everywhere. I’m happy living in a city with good people, wherever they come from, whatever language they speak and whatever they choose to wear. The weather, on the other hand, is another matter.