"While steelworkers in Port Talbot stare into the abyss, a Saudi playboy swans around London in a fleet of golden supercars." It's an apt snapshot of modern Britain, says Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail. Never has the gulf between the ultra-wealthy and "the common herd" been greater. At least in the old days the moneyed classes exercised restraint. "No self-respecting aristocrat or self-made beer baron would have been seen dead in a gaudy, gold-plated Lamborghini Aventador."
Yet in the past few days, Saudi playboy Turki bin Abdullah has been cruising round London, visiting smart hotels in his golden fleet and sending his Instagram followers videos of his specially imported £350,000 Aventador, six-wheeler Mercedes AMG off-roader, £350,000 Rolls Phantom Coup, £220,000 Bentley Flying Spur and £180,000 Lamborghini Huracn.
He's also collected more than £300-worth of parking tickets. Like most Saudi princes, he seems to reside in London for at least part of the year, says Littlejohn, along with the Gulf state "gazillionaires" who are hoovering up homes worth billions; if you find a belted earl in Mayfair these days, he'll probably be working as a concierge. Imagine how Londoners, priced out of the housing market, feel when they see "casually abandoned gold Lamborghinis" with Arabic licence plates and "festooned with contemptuously ignored parking tickets. Why haven't they been towed away?"
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But then nowadays London is the "go-to venue" for displays of conspicuous consumption. Take the wedding celebrations of Said, the son of Russia's "King of Bling", Mikhail Gutseriev, which moved to London last weekend after a money-no-object ceremony in Moscow. Little is known about the bride in this dizzyingly expensive marriage, says Bryony Gordon in The Daily Telegraph: reportedly she's the result of a tireless four-year search to find the perfect woman for Said "beautiful, a virgin, shy and not public".
The super rich "live by different rules" than the rest of us, says Gordon, who describes a recent date a friend of hers had with a hedge-fund manager. Arriving at the restaurant, she was led to a private room, where she found her "date" with two other couples, a stash of cocaine and "an invitation for her to join an orgy with them later at his Mayfair home".
In our desperate effort to attract foreign cash, says Littlejohn, "we as a nation have abandoned all vestige of decency and principle. Our policy is to prostrate ourselves before anyone with a big enough bank balance, no questions asked". Through sheer luck, Saudi princes and other Middle East moguls found themselves sitting on vast reserves of oil. Now they "ruthlessly protect their wealth and power with militarily enforced suppression of individual liberty and free speech", while we overlook their "humanitarian transgressions" in exchange for "a few scraps from their groaning tables".
We've sold off to foreigners our manufacturing industries, public utilities, airports and railways "just about anything which wasn't nailed down" and are now even letting the Chinese build our nuclear power stations. "We must be stark, staring mad."
Tabloid money "Globalisation is exciting at the top scarier if it steals your livelihood"
Wendi Deng has been seen "frolicking in the tropical waves of St Barts amid claims that she is in a serious' relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin", says the Mail. "The 47-year-old showed off her figure in a skimpy red bikini as she splashed about on the Caribbean coast with friends." Deng has been holidaying on St Barts aboard a $400m yacht belonging to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, a friend of Putin. "Deng and Putin, 63, have never been spotted together and neither has commented on their rumoured relationship."
George Osborne has been busy kowtowing to the Chinese, whose cheap steel has led to the collapse of British plants, says Isabel Hardman in The Sun. "Even if the chancellor is right to suck up to Beijing, his actions suggest he doesn't realise how hard it is for the people who work in these industrieswhen their jobs melt away. Globalisation is exciting if you are at the top. It's a little scarier if it steals your livelihood. This crisis highlights once again the Tories' greatest weakness. They know how to look good on the world stage But give them an issue affecting people on low incomes, in areas with few other jobs, and you can bet they will muck it up spectacularly."
"My local swimming pool, run by trendy, left-wing Islington council, is screened off every week for Ladies Day' so Muslim women in burkinis can avoid prying eyes," says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. "However you look at this, it is a capitulation to the male-dominated, misogynistic and primitive Islamic community in a country which prides itself on women's rights. Now Marks & Spencer is joining Dolce & Gabbana and Uniqlo by entering a £200bn global market in oppression, with top-to-toe swimsuits at £49.50, including hood. Money talks. But even our most grasping capitalists must recognise this is a step back to the Dark Ages when women were burnt as witches as they still are in Saudi Arabia."
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