London “Refugee” capital of Europe

London is rapidly becoming the refugee capital in Europe for wealthy Mediterraneans. The Italians are leading the way in fleeing the crisis in their country. They are buying properties at a faster rate than any other nationality. They’re focusing on areas such as South Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Mayfair, areas in London already known for their cosmopolitan nature. There are plenty of Italian, French, Spanish and Greek retailers, schools and restaurants in those areas in order to feel at home from home.

Russians used to be the number one nation buying properties in London, but the Italians have taken over that position recently. They’re driven by a fear that their country will be very negatively affected by the financial crisis and the fact that the UK pound is a very hard currency (and expected to remain so for the next few years). On top of that the UK has a strong rule of law, is not reliant on the Euro and the tax system is relatively simple. A big draw for citizens of countries with endemic corruption, and Byzantine legal and tax systems.

What many people don’t realise is that the UK is rapidly becoming a big brother state (Or at least is trying to become one). The UK government has proposed a law that will give them powers to scan everything on letters, postcards and parcels going through the postal system. And they will also want access to the contents of every email, tweet, Facebook post and any other internet communication.

Putin might be using brute force to force Russians to live by his rule of ‘law’, Whitehall is planning much more subtle, technology driven repression. In future you might get a knock on the door if you say something that raises alarm bells in Whitehall. No chance of escaping the wrath of power in future….

George Orwell didn’t get it that wrong after all. The only thing he didn’t get right in his bleak vision of the future was that it isn’t a socialist state, but good old Blighty that will create his “1984” vision of a totalitarian state. Technology is a force for good, it’s the powers that be that abuse it.

The proposed law puts settling in the UK in a rather different light. Rather than escaping an inefficient, incapable state, people will end up in an overly efficient, controlling state. It might put a quick end to London’s property boom…..


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