Elly Trickett: Dispatches from London

While my colleague, Hamilton Nolan, is in India, I’m in London. So we’re both eating amazing Indian food.

Until six years ago, I’d lived...

While my colleague, Hamilton Nolan, is in India, I’m in London. So we’re both eating amazing Indian food.

Until six years ago, I’d lived in London all my life, and being in my mid-thirties, I have substantial memories of five prime ministers and a reasonably clear idea of the legacies of at least two or three. But after six years out of the country, I’m being reminded of how profoundly a government affects the mood of the country, especially in the waning days of a premiership, such is the case with Tony Blair’s Labour Party leadership.

Day-to-day changes often go unnoticed – apart from major political news events and crisis, naturally – but the changes over a six-year period are staggering.

First and foremost, it seems like Londoners have just given up. A broad generalization, I realize, but there is an undeniable sense of glumness that’s evident everywhere you turn. When I last lived here, the “New” Labour government was nearing the end of its jubilant first term. Everyone was young and hungry, and the future belonged to them. Now I see posters for government schemes that don’t mean anything to an outsider without explanation – and after asking around, quite often don’t mean anything to anyone that lives here either. The Brits have always scorned quangos, and now we have more than ever.

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