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Friday, August 15, 2008

The North / South divide

Occasionally I do something rash and as there was a copy of the sun in the office I glanced through it.

The Sun likes to employ columnists who have an "opinion" and one such is Kelvin MacKenzie. Mackenzie's lastest jolly whizz wheez relates to the fact that the Northern League did well in recent elections.

Now for those of you who aren't aware there is a North / South split in Italy and the Northern League want to split the rich North away from the poor South.

Given a recent Conservative think tank suggesting that we should abandon certain Northern cities and encourage people to move south, Mackenzie thinks us rich Southeners should abandon the North to its own devices.

Quite rightly, northerners don’t want to come south but there is growing resentment in the South that the money they create — and if you couple London with the south-east it generates about 60 per cent of the nation’s economy — isn’t being spent in their backyard but in places they’ve never visited nor want to.

I’m a southerner. I was raised in London and live in leafy Weybridge. Life doesn’t get any better than that. Sorry, I’m not claiming off the state. What can I tell you?

There are beautiful parts of the North. Thirsk, for instance. But that’s not the whole story and I feel disinclined to put my hand in my pocket for people who might not like me but like my money.

Mackenzie goes on to say:

If it were up to me I’d get those Israeli builders to make a wall from The Wash to Bristol. They’d have it up in a jiffy.

Now this is a pretty broad generalisation if I may say so. As someone who can be pretty easily identified as southern as soon as he hopes his mouth I have to say I disagree with Mackenzie. Firstly the people tend to be fairly friendly, they talk to you (warning for anyone heading South do not under any circumstances talk to someone on a train we will think you a total lunatic and very rude), the North has some stunning scenery and it has some lovely small towns (Nantwich for instance). And probably lots of other things.

I would agree it has some right sh!t heaps but I can find rather a number of those down here.

I also think we should be wary of short term views. When Britian was an industrial power the North generated huge wealth and is its fault that politicians did not act soon enough? And of course things change.

For instance when Margaret Thatcher was destroying Mining communities I didn't see Farming and rural communities backing the miners, and yet today it is those self same Farming and rural communities who complain about the destruction of their way of life. If the mines weren't economic they were closed, should we care that rural communities are facing similar problems? I think we should but if we haven't stood together in the past we are unlikely to do so for others.


Liz said...

Funny how he doesn't appear to have mentioned the fact that the poorest parts of the country are actually in London too, I believe the top 4 out of the top 5 are in London. (perhaps he did, I haven't seen the article and will not read the sun for such idiotic reasons)

Anyway I shall go no further because it's only going to stress me out.

Cherrypie said...

Nantwich? Surely Chester, or York, Lincoln, Richmond, Durham, but Nantwich?

Anyway, cut us off and die of thirst.

I always talk to people on trains, and in queues, during theatre intervals and gallery visits. I do get some funny looks.

Pete said...

i was at nantwich recently..

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was on the local news the other night and, predictably, caused a bit of a furore among the chavs and inbreeds, who vowed that they wouldn't leave their northern ghettos for all the tea in china.


Mo said...

I caught a radio 2 programme discussing this when we were on holiday and was amazed at the bad feeling expressed by the listeners (from North and South). No need for xenophobia when you have comments like those ones. I'm quite glad Scotland was left out of the equation :-)
Goodness knows what MacKenzie would have said about us.
BTW we have lovely people and lovely scenery - and we speak to people on trains :-)