Ruth Porter is Communications Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs
The sense of history, of chaos and disorder, in some ways is what brought me to live and work here in London. Whether I loved London as a conservative or whether loving London and Britain’s other great cities made me a conservative, I’m not sure. Around each corner is something unexpected, roads rarely run straight and grand design is nowhere to be seen, replaced instead by layer upon layer of adaptation.
Each day that passes London looks different. It is moulded by the people who live in it and what they do. Talk to fruit farmers of the route to market in Covent Garden a few decades ago - hauling produce from the country into thick pollution - and you will wonder at the difference even relatively short timeframes can make.
But not everywhere has fared so well. Being from Yorkshire I can share something of the pain when people lament the decline of cutlery manufacture in Sheffield, or the dormancy of other areas where intense industrial activity previously thrived. The images of communities with their hearts ripped out - replaced by terminal unemployment and public sector dependency, set amidst depressing council estates - are terrible.