About 15 years ago, I was delighted to witness the work of the hilariously bipolar close-hand magician and foul-mouthed comedian, Jerry Sadowitz, at the tiny Soho Theatre. One of his throwaway lines was the following;
“So anyway, I was drinking in a gay bar just round the corner last night. How did I know it was a gay bar? Well, it’s in fucking London, isn’t it?“.
That this joke is/was funny is testament to the national stereotype London has of being a centre for all manner of non-traditional non-conservative values and lifestyles.
Comedy is built on kernels of commonly-held axioms. In the recent past, London was universally thought to be the home of the freaks, the weirdos, the people on the edge of society. It was a place where one could go and be relatively safe from harm and avoid people who were harshly judgemental.
The survey suggests this is a memory now, not reality.
What might have caused this, do we think?
Two obvious explanations come immediately to mind, either;
1. The population of London has changed its opinion, or
2. The population of London has changed, i.e. there’s been a replacement.
There’s an hilarious clue in the survey’s narrative;
Or, in other words, “if we exclude everyone with a religious opinion from the data, the remaining people are just as tolerant as everyone else“.
“But apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy your evening at the theatre?”.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that, when a city’s population has a large increase of a particular demographic with conservative religious views, they bring their opinions with them largely unchanged.