Sunday 22 April 2018

Mary Kenny: Home and away... In today's world, are people divided into 'somewheres' and 'anywheres'?

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

"Are oo from Cork?" "I am, are oo?" went the mocking jest: Corkonians have a great reputation for being solidly rooted in their native city, and fiercely defensive of it. Good for them. Their sense of attachment may well stand to them in the brave new world we are entering, in which, it is claimed, some people are 'citizens of somewhere' and some are 'citizens of anywhere' - or nowhere.

One group are the cosmopolitan and international, the rootless globalists who are as much at home in Berlin or in Boston, who identify with their own class in California or Singapore rather than their compatriots in Ballydehob or Burnley. These 'anywhere' folk move around effortlessly - Tuscany, Los Angeles, Sydney, Davos. Britain's former chancellor George Osborne might be an example of this cosmopolitan clan: a Westminster MP for Tatton in Cheshire, the newly appointed editor of the London Evening Standard, an adviser to an American management fund, BlackRock (annual remuneration: €750,000 for a part-time post), and an international speaker. Many politicians and ex-politicians are part of the 'anywhere' tribe, as are financiers like George Soros, or philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, or celebrities like George and Amal Clooney.

Yet, the 'anywheres' are not necessarily all rich or super-rich. They can be just highly mobile individuals.

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