Over at Deutsche in London, an expatriate forum for -you guessed it- German expatriates in London, the forums are being inundated by requests from bright eyed and bushy tailed Germans (and, surprisingly, Austrians) who want to flee this mortal coil (or whatever you call life in Germany these days) and move to London, of all places. The requests are of refreshingly naive (‘hello, I am jobless here in Berlin, can I come to London and get a flat and be put on benefits?’ or ‘How long do my 500 pounds last on the housing market’) and wary locals often have to dampen the enthusiasm of the wannabe immgrants by introducing them the realities of inner city London life:
- If you earn less than 2000 pounds per month and you want to live in the city, re-acquaint yourself with the lovely life of a flat sharer. Live with housemates who pinch your food, make love at 4 am in the morning before your important meeting and insist on drinking 40+ units on a Friday and Saturday night and vomit loudly on their way back to bed.
- Forget about owning a car: you won’t be able to affort congestion charge and the insurance
- Embrace public transport: sweat like the rest of your 3 million commuters in the Tube and get coughed on in the bus
- Enjoy the lively drug dealer in your local park who will eye suspiciously for some time and get assualted by one of their clients.
And don’t forget: these were the good times: oodles of public money pushed into the economy, a banking sector that was spending like heck, quangos and NGOs in the thousands, companies actually hiring. That’s already changing. Councils are preparing themselves for 30% less funds to play with, the NHS is starting to reduce costs and the rest of the public sector is bracing itself for George Osborne’s cuts. Beneficiaries will be hit hard, and the dole queues are likely to achieve the length of the seventies. The mollycuddled continental Europeans moving to London won’t know what hit them.
So, if you’re sitting pretty (but bored stiff) in Duesseldorf and you’re thinking about coming over:
Don’t. Enjoy your clean streets and your drug dealer free parks. Coming over here might not be the best thing for your quality of life.