Veteran UK comedian John Cleese has claimed London is "not really an English city any more".
In a widely shared and highly controversial Twitter post, Cleese said "virtually all" his friends from abroad agree with his observation, "so there must be some truth in it", and tied its highly diverse population to its support for remaining in the EU — 59.9 percent of Londoners voted in favour of staying in the bloc in the June 2016 Brexit referendum.
Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 29, 2019
Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation
So there must be some truth in it…
I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU
His tweet has provoked both support and condemnation from other users.
When the whole world becomes one big, sticky, messy amalgamation of all the countries — when Italy is no longer Italian and England is no longer English — what a sad day that will be.— Gracie (@Taryn_G_M) May 29, 2019
It's far from the first time he's voiced grievances about the ethnic make-up of the UK capital — in 2011 he told an Australian TV network he was "not sure what's going on in Britain".
"London is no longer an English city and that's how they got the Olympics. They said 'we're the most cosmopolitan city on Earth' but it doesn't feel English. I had a Californian friend come over two months ago, walk down the King's Road and say to me 'well, where are all the English people?'. I love having different cultures around but when the parent culture kind of dissipates you're left thinking 'well, what's going on?'" Cleese despaired.
John Cleese is in the process of moving to Nevis, in the Caribbean. I hope there's a old Nevisian comedian ready to moan about how Charlestown won't "really be a Nevisian town any more." Goddamn immigrants. https://t.co/jp8WA3gLgn— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) May 29, 2019
In 2018 he also indicated a desire to move to the Caribbean due to his disappointment with Britain — he claimed UK media was typified by "lying and triviality" and had poorly covered the issue of Brexit. As a result, he plans to relocate to the "gorgeous" island of Nevis, which has a population of just 11,000. A year prior, speaking to Screen magazine, he said he didn't want the country to be run "by a bunch of European bureaucrats they always look after themselves first.
London is an amazing city, and it's packed-full of people from all over the world, so perhaps that amazingness is a result of that same multiculturalism? Anyway, to me London seems very English, and I only wish that more of England was as English as London — open, fun, diverse.— WG Saraband 🏴🇵🇹 (@wgsaraband) May 29, 2019
"I think the British press, almost without exception, is a disgrace. They don't do the basic job of a journalist which is to report the truth as accurately as they can. They're propaganda sheets. They've created a situation where people don't criticise them, except people like me on Twitter," he added.
Intriguingly, Cleese is unique among Monty Python luminaries in his support for leaving the EU — Eric Idle supports a second referendum, Terry Gilliam called Cleese an "idiot" over his 'leave' sympathies.