The Great Divide

There\’s a reason for this:

ALMOST 5m southerners have never travelled north of the Watford Gap

And the article tells us what it is:

…the north is a desolate landscape of derelict mining villages and fish and chip shops, and is dismissed by three-fifths as “bleak” and “unsophisticated”.

So why bother to go?

12 thoughts on “The Great Divide”

  1. Gang awa’.

    People like you will never understand post-Geordie modernism or even……

    Your betters have spent years and billions creating this masterpiece and now the southern peasantry cannot even appreciate it.

  2. Absolutely, bludnok. Or to put it in North Shields terms: “hadaway ‘n’ shite ye geet southern poof!!!!”

  3. “Is the Watford Gap too narrer for the poor Cockney Sparrers to squeeze fru then?”

    As a Lambeth born Londoner who has lived and worked in many places north of the Watford gap, I can testify that in parts not too much has changed oop there since George Orwell wrote this:
    http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/essays/northandsouth.htm

    “There is nevertheless a real difference between North and South, and there is at least a tinge of truth in that picture of Southern England as one enormous Brighton inhabited by lounge-lizards. For climatic reasons the parasitic divi-dend-drawing class tend to settle in the South. In a Lancashire cotton-town you could probably go for months on end without once hearing an ’educated’ accent, whereas there can hardly be a town in the South of England where you could throw a brick without hitting the niece of a bishop.”

    For me, the Lambeth Walk still resonates:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghr_KMrZyAc

    And the lyrics are still timely:

    Ev’rything’s free and easy,
    Do as you darn well pleasey,
    Why don’t you make your way there,
    Go there, stay there,

    Once you get down Lambeth way,
    Ev’ry evening, ev’ry day,
    You’ll find yourself doin’ the Lambeth walk.

  4. Bob,
    I worked in Lambeth in the late eighties and the local pubs were excellent, the people too. I was , however, disappointed by the Lambeth Walk which appeared to have been insensitively redeveloped. Not a single soul said “Wotcher, mate?” I had imagined, if not quite something out of Dickens, a Mary Poppinsesque London thoroughfare. Very disappointing, although hailing from Coventry I was used to mediocre post-war architecture. The Cut was much better than the Lambeth Walk. I expect it’s all changed now.

  5. I now live about five miles from Lambeth so I don’t get to see and feel its social textures very often.

    What really impresses me is to read high-powered studies showing how much taxpayers living in London and the South East are being continually fleeced to bankroll the rest of Britain:
    http://www.oef.com/free/pdfs/finance_report(oct07).pdf

    For a map showing the extent of regional subsidies, try:
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23416323-details/The+REAL+north-south+divide:+South-East+is+'bankrolling'+Britain/article.do

  6. You’ve also to consider intra-regional subsidies within London and the South East. Which London boroughs are net taxpayers? Somehow, I don’t think Tower Hamlets puts much gravy on northbound trains. The problem’s down to economic geography to a large extent. Despite IT, distance from the economic centre of gravity (western Germany) plays a very important role. Within the UK the centralisation of government in London is a de facto subsidy both in terms of direct civil service jobs and the incentive for media and business to have HQs in the capital. Regional development policy and aid packages to push industry and jobs into poorer areas have tended not to work terribly well as market forces exerted a stronger pull away. The Celtic Tiger model of low corporate taxation, less red tape, good communications and a flexibly skilled workforce appears to have been succesful in transforming the Irish economy.

  7. Contrary to popular mythology, only 18 per cent of the Civil Service work in London and only 12 per cent in Central London.

    London resident taxpayers are massive net contributors to the national Exchequer, nothwithstanding only 18 per cent of the Civil Service working in London, because of the huge gap between what London taxpayers pay into the Exchequer and government spending in London – to the tune of about £9bn a year at least.

  8. All that pretentious crap from the South, it`s a well known fact that the North has the best night life, culture and creative buzz, unlike the boring coldness of the Southerners, methinks someone is living in the past and has only read stuff from the Victorian era. We could blat on about jellied eels, smog, pearly kings and queens etc etc, but we understand that things have moved on.

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