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Thursday, February 13, 2014

The North isn't a place and Manchester certainly isn't its capital city

Amused by this story of the Yorkshireman who broke out of his prison near Preston because it was full of Lancashire and Liverpool people. It came not long after there had been suggestions that the country should counter the magnetic effect of London by moving the seat of government to Manchester.

As a Yorkshireman who has lived in London far longer than I ever lived in Yorkshire I feel I'm allowed to ask "WTF?"

Why is it always Manchester? Why do metro-centrics in the media-government complex always say Manchester when what they really mean is not London? Why not Peterborough or Norwich or Middlesbrough or Leeds? Or a million other places they never mention because they've never been there?

(You can always tell when letters are made up in magazines because they pretend to come from somebody in a large industrial city in the north. People who live in those places always identify precisely which town, village or suburb they're in. They never mention the metropolis.)

It's always Manchester. Let me tell you, when I was living in Yorkshire Manchester seemed like the dark side of the moon. We hardly ever went to Manchester. We were much more likely to go to London or Scotland.

I may be wrong but I don't get the feeling that people in the north-east felt much better about the BBC on learning it had ostentatiously moved everyone (well, everyone but its senior management and star presenters) from London to Salford. If you're in Barnsley or Derby it seems just as far away. This comes as a shock to metro-centric planners. They think the North is a place and Manchester is its capital city.  Wrong.