Big cities often taken a stand against the prevailing mood in their respective countries – especially when that mood is one of populism. Many of the pressures that feed it, from increased immigration and pressures on services to a decline in faith and even shared values, are felt more acutely in major cities. Yet it’s here that you are more likely to find citizens uniting against immigration crackdowns (Los Angeles), refusing to buy into the Brexit dream (London) or, as shown with Sunday’s mayoral election in Istanbul, unwilling to side with the political party of a leader – until now – regarded as a powerful, unstoppable nationalist.
Last weekend Ekrem Imamoglu trounced the candidate of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan by running a campaign that was more inclusive and less tinged with overblown rhetoric than his rival. This is not just a Turkish issue however and, ultimately, this cleaving of city and rural life will do us no good: nations need some central beliefs. What’s most fascinating is that political leaders, whether they be Jeremy Corbyn or Mr Erdogan, are going to find it harder and harder to serve both constituencies. The separation in attitudes continues to polarise; in future, politicians may be forced to pin their allegiances more closely to townies or the country set.