London has a special place in global geography and recently, the Economist Newspaper (itself based in London) recently investigated what it means for London and coins a new phrase: Londonism.
From the article:
ONCE the world’s largest port, London’s docklands had become so desolate by the 1980s that Stanley Kubrick used them as a backdrop for his Vietnam war film “Full Metal Jacket”. Thanks to government investment and private enterprise, the area is now a shimmering success story. Canary Wharf, a skyscraper cluster, hosts bankers from around the world. City Airport, opened in 1987, is the easy option for business travel to the continent. The Docklands Light Railway and an extension of the Tube have connected the area to the heart of the capital. The once-derided Millennium Dome is now the busiest music venue in the world.
The docklands are a monument to what could be called Londonism. Since the creation of the capital’s mayoralty in 2000, a distinct ideology has congealed around that office. Some of it is recognisably right-wing: it embraces high finance, even during the banker-bashing furore. Some of it is conventionally left-wing: Londonism calls for state spending on infrastructure and a liberal line on immigration. Essentially, it is a commitment to relentless growth and openness. The city long ago made the transition from mere capital to global hub. Now it has a political philosophy to match.
I really think the article is pretty bang on.