If elites are bad why doesn’t Johnson complain about Russian oligarchs buying London real estate?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

If elites are bad, what about the foreign oligarchs who buy up London real-estate, drive up rents, drive up home prices, and then leave the real estate unused? Why does the Johnson government only complain about people who write?

She thinks the idea of a liberal elite is an anachronism, partly because in the age of social media and the internet, ideas are less geographically tethered and more widely disseminated. But also due to the effects of high finance.

“It’s more like a global elite,” she says. “Half the houses round here are empty half the time. They’re second homes for anyone from a Russian oligarch to a movie star.”

If these international elites don’t fall within Patel’s crosshairs, it may be because their money is welcome and, on the whole, they’re not critical of the government. A characteristics of metropolitan liberals is that they’re outspoken about how things could or should be. Goodhart sees this as a form of narcissism. “They’re saying: be like us,” he says. “We’ve done it. We’ve gone off to good universities and become middle-class professionals, why can’t you do it? Well, actually because lots of people don’t want to do that and can’t do that.”

He may have a point, but the demonisation of the educated classes is a populist trait that is a well-trodden step on the road to demagoguery. It’s easy to mock metropolitan liberals for hypocrisy. After all, they’re often opposed to gentrification, while being the vanguard of gentrifiers. They’re the loudest proponents of multiculturalism while frequently maintaining a distinctly unicultural lifestyle. But even in this age of bovine anti-elitism, it would be the height of stupidity if people who like to visit bookshops come to be seen as the problem.

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