Many Hongkongers who fantasise about life in the West will now get a real taste of it in Britain this winter. Perhaps by early next year, more will come to their senses – at least those who are not fugitives fleeing justice. Maybe it’s not too late to come home. Dry pumps at gas stations; agricultural produce rotting in fields with no hands to collect them; idle trucks without drivers; empty supermarket shelves; the threat of food shortages … These are not the conditions of developing countries that holders of BN(O) passports expect to see when they take advantage of their status to move to Britain. Perhaps this is what some mean by breathing “the air of freedom”. As a sign of desperation, British food companies are pleading with their government to let them use prisoners to ease labour shortages. If this were done in China, you could expect worldwide headlines about plans for forced prison labour. Think twice before leaving Hong Kong for Britain Fuel prices are expensive in Britain even in the best of times; now they are unaffordable. If Hongkongers think the British government will take care of them, they should realise Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ending welfare measures originally introduced to help tide over families facing hardships during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of families are projected to slip into poverty as a result. If the Tories are doing it to British voters, I doubt they would care much about people from Hong Kong. The Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) regulator will raise prices by about £150 (US$203) a year for 15 million homes this month, because gas prices have hit 16-year highs. Without relief measures, an estimated 500,000 homes will join the more than 3 million already living in fuel poverty, that is, having to choose between heating and eating, this winter. But you may say, these are exceptional circumstances. Well, yes, they are, created by Brexit to a great extent and therefore self-inflicted. But there are the usual high crime rates, including racially motivated hate crimes, high unemployment, poor-quality state schools, and the difficulty of integrating into a foreign society. When it comes to the basic conveniences and necessities of life, many Hong Kong locals take what they have for granted and demand what they think they deserve without consideration of the actual circumstances. For all its flaws, this city works most of the time, unlike contemporary Britain.