London: Rip-off Capital?

When German economist Marc Hartwich labelled London a ‘rip-off capital’ last week in The Observer, he had a point. London is expensive, Oxford Street is unruly and the weather’s about as bright as Victoria Beckham’s singing career. But while moaning about the transport system is a favourite past time for Londoners, most would agree that our city has a lot more going for it than Hartwich gives it credit for.

Firstly, comparing edgy London to sparkly, sun-drenched Sydney is like weighing Amy Winehouse up against Kylie Minogue. Who cares about looking nice when you’re just, well, dull? Eight million of us don’t live in London because we want to be buff Home and Away-cloned beach bums. We reside here to soak up the character, creativity, history and diversity of Europe’s multi-cultural capital.

I’m a native of New Zealand; a country that, some might argue, is the most beautiful in the world. People are continually baffled as to why I choose to live in London when I could be frolicking about in endless fields of green. And that, quite simply, is my answer: the grass is always greener. London offers me everything my homeland can’t: a wider social scene and more career opportunities.

Much of Hartwich’s original rant came from someone who doesn’t seem to know London well at all. He compares movie prices in one costly Leicester Square: a tacky tourist-magnet most Londoners with any taste would sooner avoid. He is soon about to jet off to a better life in Sydney, the city he so adores. Perhaps he’ll finally appreciate London’s vibrancy when he’s on the other side of the world?

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