Sunday, August 17, 2008

North and South

This week the political classes united to denounce a report from the Policy Exchange, said to be David Cameron's favourite think tank. The document, entitled 'Cities Unlimited' described northern cities as essentially washed up, claimed regeneration efforts had failed and suggested everyone put their belongings into carts and move to Oxford, Cambridge and an expanded London.

On the face of it this is, let's say, unhelpful on a number of levels and the Conservatives went out of their way to disassociate themselves from it. But the report was simply stating what I had to face up to in my own industry back in 1995; there was no future for me in Manchester and I had to bite the bullet, sell up and go to London to make things work. It hurt like hell to leave the North, but I wasn't on my own. London is full of people who've moved here from somewhere else and jobs are almost always at the bottom of their decision. Some of the people denouncing the report are my fellow travellers. In modern Britain people move about. They generally move from the North to the South. I wish it were not so, but that's the way it is.

Now the BBC is single handedly leading a regional revival with big (well advanced) plans for Salford which will restore serious production capability to the Northwest, which used to belong emotionally to Granada TV. But it has largely moved south, like me.

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