I am fed up of people gloating about Dubai going belly up. Rod Liddle’s piece in the Times this weekend said nothing new and got certain facts wrong. The piece is a prime example of the Dubai baiting that’s been done to death lately.
The worst thing about the article is that it is another attack on Dubai and its people – many of whom are young British construction professionals who went over with the perfectly understandable aims of working on exciting projects and having a bit of an adventure. Yes, they went in search of sun, fun and tax free salaries too, but what, exactly, is wrong with that?Some of them drive Porsches, Liddle points out. Well, who wouldn’t get a Porsche if they had the money? There are Russian prostitutes in Dubai, he reveals insightfully. In response I would ask him if he has ever been out in Mayfair.
And he slags off the architecture, of course. “One skyscraper appears to be gilded in gold leaf, another looks like the birthday cake of a spoilt five-year-old brat — and all of them trying desperately to be taller, flashier, more grotesque than the one next door.” Tell us something we don’t know! Most of it isn’t to my taste either but no one’s asking me – or the Dubai baiters – to live in the emirate, so why lay into it?
On the Porsche issue, Liddle implies that Andy Blair, the project manager notorious for scrawling his CV details on the back of his sports car, has recently found a job after being laid off in February. Blair actually found a job within two weeks, as Building reported at the time . (So much for recession and destitution in Dubai.)
Neither did he advertise his services with a sign in the car’s back window. He wrote in marker pen directly on the Porsche – which was the whole point of the Andy Blair story – as any investigative sleuth could discover by the cunning means of typing “Andy Blair Porsche” into Google Images.
He also bangs on, predictably, about Dubai’s labour camps. Many of them – but by no means all – do house construction workers in appalling conditions. But why pick on Dubai? At least the government there has some laws in place to protect workers . Anyone wanting to make a serious point about workers’ conditions should look at other countries, including Saudi, Bahrain and Libya to present a fair picture.
I am not saying Dubai is above reproach – for one thing its issues have been written about in some excellent articles like Johann Hari’s in the Independent. But in the global recession, Dubai baiting, which has long has smacked of schadenfreude, has become the uglier sport of kicking a dog when it’s down.