OK, OK, just today’s mistake from Willy Hutton:
Cities have always been the load-bearers of economic and social advance: agglomerations of people are the source of creativity and scientific experimentation; they also create demand and then supply that demand. Cities are ever more important, but they need to be big – at least 2 million in population by some estimates –to create the scale on which diverse economies depend. London’s advantage, above all, is its size, although it has benefited hugely from an undeclared industrial strategy favouring financial services, the creative industries, its transport and, most recently, its education system. Being the capital doesn’t hurt either, while membership of the EU has attracted hundreds of companies to locate their headquarters there.
Birmingham and Manchester, England’s next biggest cities, need to be bigger and governed as regions to capture these agglomeration effects and organise strategies better to support themselves economically and socially.
Yep, agglomeration, all entirely true. It’s people interacting with people which create economic wealth. Great.
But note the elision there. Willy says that’s about governance. That is, he’s insisting that London’s wealth generation is coming from the GLC (or whatever it’s called now), therefore Brum should have a BLC etc.
London was one of the pre-eminent economies of the globe rather before the GLC existed. The economic wealth creation isn’t therefore reliant upon this method of governance.