If you want an accurate picture of the rich bits of
Londontoday, look at the poverty maps drawn up by the social reformer Charles Booth in 1899 as part of his Inquiry into Life and Labour in . Using a colour-coding scheme, Booth shaded different parts of London according to wealth. London
He painted the lowest class - "vicious and semi-criminal" - in black. The very poor - "casual or chronic want" - were in dark blue. And the "upper-middle and upper classes - wealthy" were in yellow.
With uncanny symmetry, the same colour scheme would apply to modern
. The city still looks some great big bruise, gradually healing the further west you go: black and blue in the East End; red or middle-class in the fashionable old bohemian villages of London and Islington. Camden
And the bruise turns yellow in
Belgravia, along the fringes of Regent's Park and south-eastern Notting Hill.
The big difference now is the nationality of the people making up the yellow bits. In 1899, those richer classes would have been almost entirely British, with the odd European noble emigré among them.
There are quite a few rich British people still there. The big change is that they have been joined by a mass influx of international rich - the biggest in
's 2,000-year history. London
Now you have a new phenomenon: the international rich choosing to leave their native countries, and all heading for our yellow bits.
The other thing that has changed is the extent of the wealth: the fortunes held by hedge fund managers and Russian minerals and utilities oligarchs are so great that Booth would have to invent a new, richer shade of yellow to describe them.
A lot of the new billionaires are leaving perfectly functioning countries to come here. The American voices you hear in
Mayfairare more likely to belong to residents than tourists these days.
Some of the regimes the new billionaires are leaving are still inhospitable, though. It's striking that most of the great billionaire Russian oligarchs are Jewish: Boris Berezovsky and
owner Roman Abramovich are only too aware that President Putin has appealed to voters through tacit anti-Semitism. Chelsea
Londonhas become Gotham, with great tides of wealth sluicing through the streets, and international men of crime riding the crest of the wave behind.
A decade or two ago, the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko wouldn't have been murdered in
and there would have been no attempt on Boris Berezovsky's life. That's just for the simple reason that the billionaires and the dissidents wouldn't then be seen dead - or alive - in London . London New York, Parisor would have been their natural destination of choice. Monaco
How gripping, by the way, that Litvinenko had his sushi garnished with polonium-210 in Itsu, a smart Japanese restaurant in Piccadilly, and Berezovsky's would-be assassin was arrested at the Hilton on
If Charles Booth were around today, he'd have to elide the yellow and the black areas into a bee-striped category where international riches meet international skulduggery - "upper-middle and upper classes, wealthy, vicious and semi-criminal".
???? Yes, London has drastically changed in recent years; out of a total population of 7.17 million (2001 Census), 28.8 per cent are people from ethnic minorities.
???? The demographic change is such that 47 per cent of the children of London's schools are from ethnic minorities.
????? Census figures indicated: 8.5 per cent? (607,000) of Londoners describe themselves as Muslim, 4 per cent as Hindu, 2.1 per cent as Jewish and 1.5 per cent as Sikh.
????? 'White flight' from London continues apace; all sorts of reasons are given for this.
????? The scale of immigration into London in the past decade or so, can be accurately decribed as 'mass immigration'; and the differential birth-rates indicate that the percentage of non-Whites will continue to increase.
???? Mayor Livingstone's 'politically correct' propaganda extols the wonders of ethnic 'diversity'. Lawrence Auster describes an equivalent immigration policy in the U.S. as 'national suicide' in his important essay, 'The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism' (1990) - available, free, in full here.