During the Thatcher era, wealthy British people leaving the National Theatre skirted British homeless people in the cardboard cities of the South Bank subway. Today, wealthy Arabs, Russians and Europeans, leaving the Princess Diana memorial playground, skirt Romanian homeless people in the Marble Arch underpass. Can there be any better proof of the astonishing progress London has made in three decades to become the truly global city it is in 2014?
Even as a professional comedian of 25 years’ standing, I nevertheless find it difficult to know what angle to take on this week’s much anticipated mass influx of Romanians. I am filing this column, in English, on the morning of Thursday 2 January, but by the time you read it, on Sunday the 5th, it may already be appearing only in Romanian, in an attempt to court some of the 29 million potential new Observer readers the soft right predict will arrive this week. From a business point of view, should I be pro-Romanian or anti-Romanian? While I won’t be down at Luton airport handing out Costa coffees any time soon, I do nonetheless wonder which market should I work.