“An American travel website is warning travellers off our fair city on the grounds that it’s ‘dirty’ and the cuisine isn’t all it might be. While it isn’t usually my style to enter this sort of fray – I am, after all, a dual citizen – I feel I must speak out.
“I know I’m not alone in thinking that the boom years led London to have a somewhat bloated self-image: we began to think in terms of the City traders’ bunce; if we were property-owners, we fell prey to the delusion that money in bricks and mortar was also cash in the bank; we ignored the widening gulf between rich and poor.
“But while all of this may be true, we never lost our sense of integrity or civic pride. London was the first of the world cities – and it remains one of the greatest. I’ve travelled extensively in the States and while there are some cities that indisputably have a character of their own, for every San Francisco or New York there is a Dallas: a plantation of homogenous skyscrapers and shopping malls that, for sheer blandness, makes Basingstoke look like Baghdad.”
Read the rest of Self’s Evening Standard column here.