Editorial: London’s ability to roll with the punches has served it in good stead
“Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls.” So snarled Joe Strummer on The Clash’s London Calling – an iconic rallying cry that we have borrowed for today’s front page. West London’s finest songwriter probably didn’t foresee the strange places in which we’d one day be making pandemic-induced Zoom calls. but he’d surely be as pleased as we are to see London finally coming out of its hibernation.
The signs are all around us; the march of commuters on London Bridge, the queues outside the sandwich shops, the unmistakable buzz of a City pub on a balmy September evening.
There were plenty of people waiting in the wings to predict the imminent demise of our great city – and The City – during these miserable months. But whilst the restaurants were shut, the pubs empty, offices deserted, something happened: London adapted.
Across every industry and every sector, we did what we had to do. Be it installing trading terminals in spare rooms, doing billion-pound deals over Zoom, or simply packing away a newspaper for eighteen months and going fully digital, each business found a way to survive.
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Even better, many of the capital’s new businesses thrived. Techy start-ups and scale-ups brought in record amounts of investment, established financial institutions embraced the new worlds of green finance and ESG, and even the most traditional of our dining establishments began take-out service. In the darkest of times, the ingenuity of the City of London and the capital at large shone bright.
We embark now on a new chapter for London, one full of potential as well as the odd pitfall. The impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union is yet to be truly known, as are the long-term effects of the pandemic on creativity and innovation. The pressing short-term issues around staffing and supply shortages, and a stratospheric increase in gas prices, need resolving.
But this paper has always been confident that London will remain a giant amongst global cities, and we have never been more sure of that than today. The sheer dogged determination, hard work and innovation that the capital’s businesses showed over the past eighteen months has been a comprehensive answer to those who ever dared question this wonderful city’s future.