I was reading just the other day about how Central London property prices are soaring as homes in the capital's richest areas are increasingly seen as a 'safe haven' for capital.
Now the financial centres and the central luxury belt are full of rich people who can buy their way out of a lot of London's nastinesses - the schools, public transport. But as the safer areas become fewer, they'll start to feel increasingly like islands of wealth marooned in a resentful and lawless sea.
Gangs of homeless Romanian beggars sleeping rough are turning one of London's most expensive streets into a 'disgusting health and safety hazard', it was claimed today. The group of around 50 beggars set up camp on the grassy central reservation of Park Lane after being moved on from nearby Marble Arch several days ago.
Local workers say the group, aged between 30 and 60, spend the afternoons gambling and drinking at the edge of Mayfair. One end of the central reservation, opposite an exclusive Aston Martin dealership, has been turned into a rubbish dump. Empty beer bottles, cigarette packets, half eaten food and clothes littered the grassy area, just a stone's throw from London's most exclusive homes and hotels.
A Westminster City Council spokesperson added: "Groups of homeless people have been moving around the area. They have slightly dispersed from Marble Arch. There is continued dialogue going on with outreach teams to try and get them to move on. They try to suggest that they return home and ask them what they are doing and how they are earning money. It is an ongoing issue and one which we think will require various strategies to tackle, including talking with the groups directly and monitoring chartered coaches arriving in London from Romania."
Now a protected group making the lives of ordinary Brits an utter misery over years is one thing for our rulers. Who cares about people who choose to live in Essex, for God's sake ?
But inconvenience and unpleasant vistas for the very rich (and very rich tourists) is something quite different. After all, it might affect the image of London as a financial centre and a welcoming haven for the world's wealthiest people. So I imagine the authorities will find ways and means - where there's a will, and all that. Nonetheless, it's a straw that shows the way the wind blows.