If you don’t agree that foreign investors should buy up swathes of London you are “economically illiterate”, says London Mayor Boris Johnson.
His latest musing comes at the news that a Middle Eastern business group (The Abu Dhabi Financial Group) has snapped up Scotland Yard, the iconic Metropolitan Police Headquarters in central London, for £370 million.
It has been bought, of course, to be transformed into apartments (expensive ones), office space and a hotel. Just what Londoners want!
The investment group, in a nod towards sentimental history, doesn’t want the famous rotating New Scotland Yard sign outside the building and is letting the Metropolitan Police take it when they move out. As our features on pages 10 to 16 on TTIP, the G20 and the sale of Britain show, the old signs may soon be all we have left.
Johnson’s full quote was there was no economic difference between “having an investor from Abu Dhabi or having the BP pension fund do this. Anyone who thinks otherwise is, I’m afraid, completely economically illiterate.”
In the world of free flowing capital without borders there may not be an economic difference. There is, however, a huge political difference. Selling off London public landmarks for foreign investors to make obscene profits, instead of reinvesting in them and utilising them in the interest of Londoners is wrong.
Anyone who thinks otherwise, is, we are afraid, politically illiterate!
• See companion article