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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > March 2016 > Where people cling to prayer, not politics

Where people cling to prayer, not politics

Boris has made a playground for billionaires, and ignored homelessness

There are huge figures in British politics, and then there is Boris Johnson. Enormous, hilarious, stupendous—every word that comes to mind is huge. Now listen carefully. London’s mayor is the true sloganising heir to Tony Blair. Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron now sound little like New Labour. But Johnson keeps dropping Tony’s capital message—“London is the greatest city in the world.” Blair’s Olympics, became Boris’s Olympics. Blair’s Cool Britannia, became Boris’s Billionaire Chic. It’s one and the same thing—London boosterism.

Boris has made the London of Mayfair boutiques, luxury apartment sales in Asia, and organic-eating cyclists his own. But there is another London—a city of Nigerian nightcleaners, Polish scaffolders and Romanian beggars. The city where nearly one-third of Londoners live in poverty—as do nearly four-in-10 of its children. There is little discussion of politics here in this mostly migrant London. Instead, Boris cuts an enormous, eerie, absence.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s March issue: Peter Pomerantsev describes the situation in Eastern Europe as the governments of Hungary and Poland turn right. Simon Tilford, from the Centre for European Reform, questions the substance of David Cameron’s EU deal and Philip Collins argues that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit for purpose. Also in this issue: Peter Kellner shows us that we are feeling more optimistic than during the last stages of the last Labour government and Jessica Abrahams explores the sexism of Valentine’s Day. Plus Justice Malala on South Africa and the Prospect Duel asks: "Should all immigrants learn English?"
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