I AM sad to confess that every time I fly back to London from any other major Western capital, my heart sinks. This may have something to do with the squalor of Heathrow airport, a dismal but perhaps fitting introduction to the new Britain for innocents from abroad. A few months ago, having touched down at Heathrow, I found myself swaying in the aisle with the other passengers for over half an hour, waiting for the steps to be rolled up to the plane so we could get off. The cabin crew were good enough to explain that “the ground crew have not finished their tea-break.”
But the squalor stretches beyond the airport, with its chaos of ugly hoardings and perennial notices couched in Newspeak, apologizing for “temporary inconvenience” due to “improvements” that are being carried out. The more I compare Britain with the countries that it still regards as its peers, the more I succumb to the uneasy feeling that Britain is becoming a Third World country.
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