Swinging London was the approving term coined by Time Magazine in 1966 to describe the process of social, moral and cultural degradation affecting Western society in the 1960s, epitomized in the fashionable life of the British capital. Ostensibly concerned with Fashion Industry Values, popular music and film and photography (photographers such as David Bailey became major celebrities), Swinging London also had a sinister side which has cast its poisonous shadow over the succeeding decades. Reckless promiscuity and the deadly values of a rampaging drugs 'scene' were two of its most virulent aspects; the widespread acceptance of contraception, abortion, pornography and legalised homosexuality also accompanied a leftward political shift which saw a socialist Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, dismantle many of the institutional safeguards against moral collapse.
Values of decency and modesty, and fame achieved through effort, were ridiculed alike by the contemporary chroniclers of the city. In a grotesque form of inverted snobbery, the catterwaulings of long-haired 'pop stars' gained precedence over trained musicians; infantile daubs were preferred (as 'cool') to the work of old masters, and models became superstars - for no other reason than their looks. Swinging London saw the birth of the so-called celebrity culture, which has done so much to demoralise our youth.