King Abdullah City on the Red Sea coast has cost Saudi Arabia £67 billion to build.
It is a stunning modern city with clean streets, tall buildings, public squares and every sort of amenity and luxury you could expect to find. It has an airport, massive commercial docks, houses, flats, shops. schools, hospitals and hotels, all built to the highest specifications. It has an advanced water filtration system than enables it to take sea water and turn it into fresh water to supply the inhabitants.
The only thing it hasn't got so far is...people.
Only about five thousand people so far live in this city, and they are the people who are employed in building it, and their families. It could accommodate millions.
Now isn't that a strange coincidence?
Here is another city that hasn't got many people in it.
It is one of several cities in Syria that is now devastated by bombing. Certainly it's true that its residents need to go somewhere.
What a pity the Saudis won't let them into their very under-populated country, where there is no income tax, no council tax, no inheritance tax, no VAT, no national debt, no budget deficit....just a lot of oil. And a lot of money.
Lenten Meditations: Saturday 25 March
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