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Thread: This little island, so London centric...

  1. #1
    Dude84

    Default This little island, so London centric...

    I've been thinking recently about how London-centric this (the UK, um, if you haven't worked it out) country is; most of the main rail routes go to London, most of the motorways do (and they're even numbered based on radial sectors from London), parliament sits, in London, and "naturally" London was awarded the Olympics above other possible options.

    I accept that with London being the capital, that alot will be focused there. I don't expect the government to relocate to Bristol, Newcastle or Plymouth anytime soon. I also accept that, alot of the media and press, etc will be based there, for similar reasons.

    However, does anyone living outside of London ever feel like, they're second to everything and anything in London? And that we're somehow portrayed just as "Northern" because we're beyond the Watford Gap (a motorway service station, in case anyone doesn't know)?

    I find it a little, patronising and stereotyped to be honest; I get the impression that the rest of the country is still seen, in many peoples eyes as "the Regions" or "the Provinces" or something similar.

    There is life outside of London, there is architecture, some stunning natural scenery, historical sites and great entertainment values. Perhaps we need to make ourselves heard a little more?

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default

    It's so true, it's a TV Trope: Britain Is Only London - Television Tropes & Idioms

    “ You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. ”
    —Samuel Johnson, 1777
    I think that's the attitude a lot of people, consciously or unconsciously do have - London is as good as it gets, why go anywhere else? (In the UK anyway.)

    I don't live North of Watford Gap, but I do live north of Watford Junction, which some days feels like it's enough to count.
    The trouble is that the UK, and before that England, have been centralised so much other countries and for such a long time, that strong "regions" don't exist: London was the Roman capital in England from the year 100; the Normans built strong central government based in London; the south-east and London were the main focus for trade with Europe in the middle-ages when the edge of the world was somewhere just past Ireland; the United Kingdom is a Union not a federation like the US, Germany or Australia, so when Scotland joined the last centre of independent power in Britain died; the wealth of the Industrial Revolution was created in the northern ports and manufacturing cities, but all the wealth and power was still managed from London; the rust years of the 60s, 70s and 80s ended a lot of the independent strength that northern cities did have...

    There is always a fight back against London-ism, and maybe moving so much of the BBC to Manchester will give us a better representation of the "North" in the TV that we see. It's been going on for so long though, I wouldn't expect to see much change in it soon.

  3. #3
    Dude84

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by riddle View Post
    It's so true, it's a TV Trope: Britain Is Only London - Television Tropes & Idioms

    “ You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. ”
    —Samuel Johnson, 1777
    I think that's the attitude a lot of people, consciously or unconsciously do have - London is as good as it gets, why go anywhere else? (In the UK anyway.)
    Indeed; why go anywhere, cheaper, cleaner, more spacious... ;-)



    Quote Originally Posted by riddle View Post
    I don't live North of Watford Gap, but I do live north of Watford Junction, which some days feels like it's enough to count.
    The trouble is that the UK, and before that England, have been centralised so much other countries and for such a long time, that strong "regions" don't exist: London was the Roman capital in England from the year 100; the Normans built strong central government based in London; the south-east and London were the main focus for trade with Europe in the middle-ages when the edge of the world was somewhere just past Ireland; the United Kingdom is a Union not a federation like the US, Germany or Australia, so when Scotland joined the last centre of independent power in Britain died; the wealth of the Industrial Revolution was created in the northern ports and manufacturing cities, but all the wealth and power was still managed from London; the rust years of the 60s, 70s and 80s ended a lot of the independent strength that northern cities did have...
    This is true; centralised government does suit, well the government lol.. "divide and rule" and all that. Afterall, weaker opposition equates to stronger power. I feel that the North was pretty much left to rot by the government of the day; particuarly with Thatcherism and the new "financial age" of the 80's - the North wasn't seen to have any financial stregnth of significance, and wasn't seen as important. And within the last 20 years, and the importing of everything from China, manufacturing is hardly strong anymore either...



    Quote Originally Posted by riddle View Post
    There is always a fight back against London-ism, and maybe moving so much of the BBC to Manchester will give us a better representation of the "North" in the TV that we see. It's been going on for so long though, I wouldn't expect to see much change in it soon.
    I hope so, I just hope it isn't a political ploy, or merely to save costs. London is expensive, afterall.

    Note: Don't want to sound life some stuffy old person bringing up this thread... was just curious about what you all think

  4. #4

    Default

    I feel very disconnected from London, though I guess the war for independence caused that. I'm sorry I even signed that damned Declaration of Independence. Things have never been the same.

  5. #5
    Peachy

    Default

    The UK - just like France - is a centralized country. In France, everything's focused on Paris, and in the UK, everything's focused on London. However, evidence suggests that London is the biggest and most densely populated area, earns about 1/3 of the country's GDP, is seat of the government, hosts many important events etc. Problem is: The biggest the place is, the more money will have to be invested into it to make things work. The more money London gets, the more people want to move there, and then there has to be even more investments, and more stuff is centered in London It's like a vicious circle.

    But i guess some of it is "man made" by a bit of arrogance or people's attitudes. I mean the Scottish people would just love to re-erect Hadrian's Wall, and people in south England just put "The North" on their road signs (probably referring to anywhere north of the Watford Gap - is there a sign saying "Last gas station before the North - fill up now before you leave the civlized world"? )

    Peachy

  6. #6
    Dude84

    Default

    I don't think we're quite as centrallised as France; there's an expression i've heard relating to France "...well you could live in France where one has to ask Paris for planning permission"; I don't think it's quite that bad here!

    And yes, London may be responsible for a large chunk of GDP - but I think that in itself indicates a problem; one relatively small geographic area responsible for so much? Especially as, it's predominantly finance - and well, most of us are still reeling from or seeing the very real effect of a dependence on finance, both globally and nationally, and locally. People are unemployed, it's high right now - and especially outside of London from what I can see.

    I can't help thinking that if Newcastle, Leicester, Nottingham, Stoke.. I could name various places received anywhere near as much investment per resident as London, that things could be very different indeed. I have decided to enter a profession [law] which is trying to maintan a mantra along the lines of "It isn't where you come from, it's where you're going..." and I don't think that's quite true yet unfortunately, it's still a very white middle-class male dominated profession, but this leads me to think that the same could be said of your chances in terms of where you live - why should somebody living up North expect a lesser income, a lesser standard of life than someone living in London?

    As for the Scottish - maybe they would, but there are historical reasons for that... I don't think they liked Thatcher for instance! And there are road signs with "The North" lol:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	thenorth_1687164c.jpg 
Views:	121 
Size:	26.3 KB 
ID:	6624

    Woah, it's in capital letters - is that to make us feel good, or to scare them? :-O

  7. #7
    Peachy

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Dude84 View Post
    [FONT=trebuchet ms]why should somebody living up North expect a lesser income, a lesser standard of life than someone living in London?
    A "lesser income" can be justified simply because living costs are less in "The North". House prices in London are probably somewhere in the 7-figure range (unless you prefer East London), and a former member from here whose house you've lived in for a while recently told me what he pays for his yearly TravelCard for 6 zones. Let's say he pays more for 6 London zones than I pay for a year's train pass for the entire country. So I'm sure it's justifyable to pay people in London more money just so they can have the same standard of living as someone elsewhere in the country with something like 30% less income.

    Peachy

  8. #8

    Default

    More or less the same thing hapens in Canada. The entire country is run from the Quebec City - Windsor coridor, a 1000km stretch of land (relatively small for Canada) that contains over 50% of the population and where the vast majority of the country's political power, economy, prestigious universities and media are centered.

    The phenomenum also happens to an even bigger extend in Quebec, to the comical extend that the Quebec media only ever talks about two areas of Quebec: Montreal and not Montreal, a.k.a. "les régions".

    All that to say that it's not a purely Brotih thing (also, I know the whole living in a has-not area thing >.>)


    Sent from my iPhone

  9. #9
    Dude84

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Peachy View Post
    A "lesser income" can be justified simply because living costs are less in "The North". House prices in London are probably somewhere in the 7-figure range (unless you prefer East London), and a former member from here whose house you've lived in for a while recently told me what he pays for his yearly TravelCard for 6 zones. Let's say he pays more for 6 London zones than I pay for a year's train pass for the entire country. So I'm sure it's justifyable to pay people in London more money just so they can have the same standard of living as someone elsewhere in the country with something like 30% less income.

    Peachy
    Perhaps I could have worded that better; my main point wasn't that people were/are paid more in London, with higher living costs that's somewhat inevitable. I just feel that there is an unbalanced availability of opportunities to those outside of London.

    And yeah, I know who you're referring to Travel by train etc in this country is expensive, we all know that.



    Quote Originally Posted by Near View Post
    More or less the same thing hapens in Canada. The entire country is run from the Quebec City - Windsor coridor, a 1000km stretch of land (relatively small for Canada) that contains over 50% of the population and where the vast majority of the country's political power, economy, prestigious universities and media are centered.

    The phenomenum also happens to an even bigger extend in Quebec, to the comical extend that the Quebec media only ever talks about two areas of Quebec: Montreal and not Montreal, a.k.a. "les régions".

    All that to say that it's not a purely Brotih thing (also, I know the whole living in a has-not area thing >.>)

    ...
    More of divide and rule do you think? And... er, Brotih?

  10. #10

    Default

    Ah, the classic north/south/London divide - it's been done to death on another forum that I'm a member of

    It does annoy me a little bit when you see television shows making it look like London=UK (the Simpsons is particularly guilty of this). There is also a lot of a class/wealth/employment/housing divide between the North and the South and a lot of that doesn't seem particularly justified.

    I like the "The NORTH" signs on the motorway. It's reassuring to know that you're going the in right direction to meet friendly people

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