Wings Over Scotland undertook a research trip to London yesterday – mainly to check out the Propaganda: Power And Persuasion exhibition at the British Library, which we definitely recommend should you find yourself in the vicinity. Later in the day, though, we took a stroll down Oxford Street, and found ourselves horrified by the state of it.
The UK capital’s great retail showpiece looked like the aftermath of a Luftwaffe bombing raid on a run-down part of Burnley. Much of the south side of the street had been ripped to pieces by ongoing and seemingly endless work for the Crossrail project (sound familiar, Edinburgh residents?), but even where buildings were untouched by the builders there were boarded-up shops, tatty frontages and once-proud units now occupied by scores of scruffy tourist tat shifters.
And if even the great West End has now fallen into that sort of dilapidated, thoroughly depressing condition, despite three decades of all the country’s wealth being greedily sucked down to London, then what of the rest of the country?
We suppose it’s nice that at least one business is booming in austerity Britain. But how long before we just paint a giant tarpaulin and drape it over the entire country?