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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had an idea for the regions and local areas of England and Wales, outside London and the South East.

Whichever way you look at it, generally speaking, London and the South East continue to have a hugely dominant influence on the rest of the country, particularly in terms of the economy. Sure there are hotspots and prosperous areas in the North, and areas of deprivation and decline in the South East, but in general the pattern of imbalance is entrenched. South and East do best, North and West do worst.

Decades of active regional and other policies may have made the changes less dramatic than they may otherwise have been, but we cannot know what would have been, we only know the situation we are currently in and see that other countries have not developed in such a monocentric fashion.

I think a major problem in tackling this excessive dominance by London (and its huge region) has been a “divide and rule” approach. Artificial regions were set up to compete with each other; core cities represented themselves but not the smaller cities; urban areas and rural areas lobbied separately, as do coastal towns, market towns etc. Government-backed regional initiatives, such as the Midlands Way and Northern Way, were essentially that: Government backed, and ultimately controlled from Whitehall, so lacked vigour, authenticity or the capacity to lead or challenge.

I believe there is a gap in the market for a new movement, which I won’t give a name to, but would basically be a movement bringing together the various interests who believe it is in the interests of the country to rebalance the economy fundamentally so that London and its region does not dominate in the way it currently does. I don’t care where London/Greater South East boundary is drawn, that is for pedants.

Such a movement could bring together academic and research interests; local authority based policy interests; business interests……..a coalition of institutions and individuals who care about the same thing. The evidence base about regional imbalance in this country is weak, mainly because it’s been funded by Government or by local/regional organisations who are just trying to big-up ther own area at the expense of others. More of the "divide and rule" thing.

I’m not talking about London-bashing either – rather about developing a completely different view of the country that will help us develop in a more balanced way, in which London could and would also prosper without dominating.

Anyone have a view? Is there something in this worth talking about?
 

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A starting point would be to analyse / discuss exactly why London dominates to the extent that it does. It's inevitable that London is and will be the single most important region in Britain, but it is clear that Britain is extremely imbalanced in terms of economic activity.

Few thoughts:

World city on a relatively small (albeit densly populated) island (France is twice the size).
Decline in manufacturing reducing the economic importance of the north.
Destruction of British fuel and raw materials industry.
Lack of support for ship building.
Flawed vision of Britain as a service sector economy.
Failure to invest in high speed rail.
Centralised system of government.
Culture of regional stereotyping.
Ugly, nasty tabloid journalism.
Influence of right wing, short sighted 'free market' ideology on British politics and culture.
Lack of national ambition.
 

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10th February 2008
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What a stupid, non-constructive post. The opening piece is considered and is clearly an attempt to initiate a discussion. You offer a shitty little jibe, followed by a call to lock the thread. Do you not think that was a bit pathetic?
 

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Fugly
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And you can replace Everton with Citeh in that rhyme you mangy scrote. At least Everton know what trophies look like. :rant:
 

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London naturally takes top spot econimcally, but it needs to be acknowledged that for centuries, it's the taxes of people outside London that have propped up the place.

Of course, it's cyclical. wealth generated in London is spread all over the UK, and vice versa, but whether it's Crossrail or the London weighting, it's being subsidised by the UK taxpayer first, to create wealth in London, that in turn is distributed back amongst the UK.

I'd favour far more decentralisation in this country-I don't think the economic dominance of London is the best scenario.
 

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10th February 2008
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What a stupid, non-constructive post. The opening piece is considered and is clearly an attempt to initiate a discussion. You offer a shitty little jibe, followed by a call to lock the thread. Do you not think that was a bit pathetic?
Oh calm down Richard.

I answered the question for you and Poli in my post.

A starting point would be to analyse / discuss exactly why London dominates to the extent that it does.
Here.

It's the seat of political and financial power.
End of. What more do you need to know and why?

BTW. It's already happening and it's already started to an extent. If I told you where, I would be accused of boasting.(again)

Let's get to the point. Nothing or very little is going to change where London is concerned. For obvious reasons. You can debate it on here until you die and a slump over your keyboard.

At the end of the day London willl be a thorn in all our sides until our dieing days. There's currently (£)10 billion reasons and more. Believe me.

PS. You need to lighten up as well Scarecrow.
 

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jrb,

What a pathetic loser you are.

"because it's the centre of financial/political power".. well yeah, we know that you fucking tit. That is what the discussion is about - how to redress that issue. Other advanced countries are much less centralised, so there are real life alternatives that work (e.g. Germany.) This country was much less centralised in the past (i.e. pre- 1939). This thread gives an opportunity for people to discuss ideas.

What makes you want to wreck a decent thread? Why bother posting "lock it!" ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What a stupid, non-constructive post. The opening piece is considered and is clearly an attempt to initiate a discussion. You offer a shitty little jibe, followed by a call to lock the thread. Do you not think that was a bit pathetic?
Richard, sorry you had to experience that – and I'm sure it won’t have been a response to your excellent post.

JRB, who in over 17,000 posts has made only a small contribution here, was really having a go at me. Except, he probably didn't feel able to do so in direct response to my opening post - he has recently announced that I’m so atrocious that he he won’t respond directly to my posts (part of a pathetic campaign to “freeze” free speech off SSC…). Now, the irony of someone of his calibre taking this stand is obviously lost on him, but that is part of the problem with jrb...a certain lack of insight.

So he pounced on your posting, because he’d obviously been itching to make a “contribution” to the thread, even if it was of the quality that the local mongrels deposit on the pavement. And of course he wants this discussion closed down and will try to incite trouble, because a discussion like this threatens his twisted and delusional world view of “my city above all others”. He isn’t going to get the bigger picture, or understand where self-interest coincides, so isn't going to be able to add anything of interest or worth.

Hopefully then, since he has nothing to add, he will elect to stay away and allow those who want to discuss this most important topic to share their ideas in peace.

I agree with everything you say, and it’s a knotted old argument, with a lot of chicken and egg discussions. And it’s important to frame the discussion properly: it’s not about London knocking, its about achieving a sustainable balance in the economy so the gaps between London/SE and the rest of the country are reduced.

I think Northern Way funding is under threat, given the RDA run-down, and that has been one of the few organisations with at least the basic ability to articulate a case for the north. Even then, it's been highly constrained by Whitehall control, and RDA rivalries, so they have been of limited use.

One thing alone gives me - perhaps naively - a basic sort of hope, and it's Vince Cable and his idea about rebalancing the economy from services to manufacturing. That to me implies that at last there is someone in Government who understands that we can't actually sustain a population of - whatever it is now - purely by working in shopping centres and call centres. And that it makes no sense to have so many towns and cities performing below their capability to generate wealth.
 

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10th February 2008
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jrb,

What a pathetic loser you are.

"because it's the centre of financial/political power".. well yeah, we know that you fucking tit. That is what the discussion is about - how to redress that issue. Other advanced countries are much less centralised, so there are real life alternatives that work (e.g. Germany.) This country was much less centralised in the past (i.e. pre- 1939). This thread gives an opportunity for people to discuss ideas.

What makes you want to wreck a decent thread? Why bother posting "lock it!" ?
Wow! Abuse.

If debating this topic was so important to you, why didn't you ignore my initial post and get straight into the action? You just couldn't help yourself could you. I wonder why? (strokes chin and looks at........)

As for wrecking the thread. One post! Please.

Go on then discuss.(not much input so far) I'll tell you one thing for sure. Regrdless of my initial negative, but thruthful input, the likes of Monkey will be all over this thread like a rash. And as per usual, the rest will be history.

TBH we've been down this road(paved with gold) before during my 8 year stint on SSC. I know from experience what the eventual outcome will be. Feel free though.
 

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10th February 2008
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Richard, sorry you had to experience that – and I'm sure it won’t have been a response to your excellent post.

JRB, who in over 17,000 posts has made only a small contribution here, was really having a go at me. Except, he probably didn't feel able to do so in direct response to my opening post - he has recently announced that I’m so atrocious that he he won’t respond directly to my posts (part of a pathetic campaign to “freeze” free speech off SSC…). Now, the irony of someone of his calibre taking this stand is obviously lost on him, but that is part of the problem with jrb...a certain lack of insight.

So he pounced on your posting, because he’d obviously been itching to make a “contribution” to the thread, even if it was of the quality that the local mongrels deposit on the pavement. And of course he wants this discussion closed down and will try to incite trouble, because a discussion like this threatens his twisted and delusional world view of “my city above all others”. He isn’t going to get the bigger picture, or understand where self-interest coincides, so isn't going to be able to add anything of interest or worth.

Hopefully then, since he has nothing to add, he will elect to stay away and allow those who want to discuss this most important topic to share their ideas in peace.

I agree with everything you say, and it’s a knotted old argument, with a lot of chicken and egg discussions. And it’s important to frame the discussion properly: it’s not about London knocking, its about achieving a sustainable balance in the economy so the gaps between London/SE and the rest of the country are reduced.

I think Northern Way funding is under threat, given the RDA run-down, and that has been one of the few organisations with at least the basic ability to articulate a case for the north. Even then, it's been highly constrained by Whitehall control, and RDA rivalries, so they have been of limited use.

One thing alone gives me - perhaps naively - a basic sort of hope, and it's Vince Cable and his idea about rebalancing the economy from services to manufacturing. That to me implies that at last there is someone in Government who understands that we can't actually sustain a population of - whatever it is now - purely by working in shopping centres and call centres. And that it makes no sense to have so many towns and cities performing below their capability to generate wealth.
That's not bad. At least half your post was on topic. The rest being about me is besides the point really. Or is it?

As you can tell by the overwhelming response to your first post, nobody seems that interested in this thread. I wonder why? TBH I would contribute in a positive way, but you have history, and one mention of the word beginning with the letter M, and what it has achieved regarding this topic and thread, would send you into a terminal decline.

Let's put it this way. The fact that the BBC have moved 5 departments to Salford/Mediacity from London has had you screaming from the rooftops since the day it was announced. Why? Rather than embracing the move as something positive, and a victory for the provincial cities, all you have ever done is derided the move as a 'biased political stunt'.(apparently beacuse Liverpool was over looked, according to you) Not once have you posted anything positive about the move. Ask anyone on SSC.

If and when you start being sensible and rational about moves like the BBC to Salford, I might, just might, start taking you and your posts seriously. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks that on SSC.

So Liverpolitan, do you think the relocation of 5 BBC departments from Central London to Salford/Mediacity is a positive sign of a less London centric run Government?(amongst other positive changes)

A yes or no will do. There's no need to expand any further.

BTW. Would you like to write my obituary when the time comes? I'm sure you would do a wonderful job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
As you can tell by the overwhelming response to your first post, nobody seems that interested in this thread.
Won't bother dealing with the rest (boring, repetitive, contentious and inacccurate) but this is quite a telling comment. Whilst the "my city versus your city" threads buzz away, the gap between London and the rest of the country is growing. That is divide and rule. There is something more powerful and important at work that is leading to London and the South East pulling ahead of most of the rest, and why large parts of England and Wales remain relatively under-developed.

The answers don't lie in inter-town rivalries, in "my town can be a bit like London and yours can't", or in disagreements and rivalries between regions - they lie in a better understanding of systemic problems in our country. You know, it's no fun for Londoners having to work long hours, to pay more for housing, and to commute in the worst conditions of the country - only to read their taxes have to constantly go to areas where life is easier, if a bit poorer. So there are gains to London from a better balanced national economy, not just for the places that are currently under-performing.

jrb, you seem more comfortable in the "my city against your city", "my city is best", etc type threads you habituate - I hardly ever read them because they are futile and boring to my mind, but I hope you've had a bit of fun there in the 17,000 postings you have made (because if you haven't had fun, just what was the point...........?). But if that is where you are most comfortable, maybe you are right to leave this conversation to others with an interest?

If it's a slow-burner, then fine. If it fizzles out, then fine. A conversation is what it is. But already this thread has more sense on it that some very very long ones. And one quality post is worth so much more than 17,000 poor ones. So please don't worry your head about the underwhelming response - let's respect the silences and hope people don't feel obliged to prattle just to make some noise here. Maybe you can use the silence to reflect. Imagine that! jrb reflecting, in silence, rather than immediately clicking on "submit reply".
 

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10th February 2008
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Won't bother dealing with the rest (boring, repetitive, contentious and inacccurate) but this is quite a telling comment. Whilst the "my city versus your city" threads buzz away, the gap between London and the rest of the country is growing. That is divide and rule. There is something more powerful and important at work that is leading to London and the South East pulling ahead of most of the rest, and why large parts of England and Wales remain relatively under-developed.

The answers don't lie in inter-town rivalries, in "my town can be a bit like London and yours can't", or in disagreements and rivalries between regions - they lie in a better understanding of systemic problems in our country. You know, it's no fun for Londoners having to work long hours, to pay more for housing, and to commute in the worst conditions of the country - only to read their taxes have to constantly go to areas where life is easier, if a bit poorer. So there are gains to London from a better balanced national economy, not just for the places that are currently under-performing.

jrb, you seem more comfortable in the "my city against your city", "my city is best", etc type threads you habituate - I hardly ever read them because they are futile and boring to my mind, but I hope you've had a bit of fun there in the 17,000 postings you have made (because if you haven't had fun, just what was the point...........?). But if that is where you are most comfortable, maybe you are right to leave this conversation to others with an interest?

If it's a slow-burner, then fine. If it fizzles out, then fine. A conversation is what it is. But already this thread has more sense on it that some very very long ones. And one quality post is worth 17,000 poor ones. So please don't worry your head about the underwhelming response - let's respect the silence and hope people don't feel obliged to prattle just to make some noise. Maybe you can use the silence to reflect. Imagine that! jrb reflecting, in silence, rather than immediately clicking on "submit reply".
So Liverpolitan, do you think the relocation of 5 BBC departments from Central London to Salford/Mediacity is a positive sign of a less London centric run Government?(amongst other positive changes)
So you couldn't do it after all. Enjoy the solitude.
 

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Has anyone ever read the book 'Lord of the Flies' .... all the kids start off friends, get isolated from adults, and then end up bashing each others brains out with rocks ..... SSC is degenerating in to this state .... why don't we save the 'mud slinging' for the relevant threads?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Further thoughts.....

A "rest of the UK" movement could make some immediate and practical contributions to policy development, by:

- insisting on a break-up of big nationalised banks into local banks, so we can see boardrooms and bank lenders in our big cities again instead of them all being in London

- developing a better view on the macro-economy so we can truly understand the costs as well as benefits of the free-trade obsession that London's financial services industry require.

The entire national debate is rooted in a London-centric view of the world, and an evidence base that is essentially nationalised. As can be seen in earlier posts, there are token "balancing" interventions to selected provincial centres but these are only ever just enough to keep the "divide and rule" regime alive and well. I think it's time to overthrow that paradigm - the majority of people do not live in the Greater South East, so why should they be permanently consigned to lower levels of wealth and health? And why should London workers be permanently consigned to absurdly high tax levels to subsidise enforced idleness in the North and West?

The "city versus city" thing is so depressing, and so wrong, and so telling in terms of how a whole generation have been inculcated into believing that the regional centres must compete for the crumbs.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11919248 And this is the proof. It serves one part of our national economy to have so open an approach to trade, but its hugely destructive to our non-capital cities. There is a huge price to pay for London's pre-eminence in financial services.
 
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