NORTH EAST BUSINESS BEWARE, LONDON SUCKS…TALENT
It does so from across the UK and overseas with brutal efficiency. Andrew Marr commented that it’s this suction combined with a bashing together of said talent that has resulted in the British capital stepping away from its global peers in the race to become supreme mega-city of the world.
Which is awesome of course, if you’re one of the individuals benefitting, but what does it mean for rest of the UK? What will the effect be for outsider towns and cities that live in its gigantic shadow?
To comment on the North East, 250 miles away and about three hours on the train. It’s stereotypical pride in being proper northern should be its biggest cause for woe; it is isolated in a country that seems so locked into only ever creating a society for the grateful, or more accurately, contented few.
One interesting development is Manchester.
The definition of a powerhouse, Manchester has received massive investment in its streets and skyline, roads and most famously, high-speed railway, for years. If you’ve visited recently, it has the feel of London; a grand scale and shine to it that’s great if you’re anti-capital powers and love the north.
But if you’re ‘proper northern’ such a transformation being concentrated in one place is worrying. Because you could argue the UK now has two talent vacuums, one for those who want the cheaper option and the original for those who just can’t resist the mega-city of the world label.
Back in the North East, Newcastle has long been the prized asset of the region. It has all of the infrastructure, architecture and culture that make it an outstanding city in Europe. It’s neighbours however, the Sunderlands, Middlesbroughs and Darlingtons, have long been the butt of bad jokes.
This attitude does no good for anyone.
The North East is a fractured region, confirmed by the recent rejection of an elected mayor by Local Authorities because of what sound like insecure reasons. In not pulling together, the region has passed up on autonomy over its NHS, an extra £30 million in funding every year, and most significantly a united vision and voice to hold the government to account.
If the North East is going to become an alternative to the likes of London, London’s prosperous overspills (Bristol etc.), and Manchester, it must heal and work together — ‘the whole is greater than the strength of its parts’.
Only this way will it support the multitude of talented and passionate people who are learning and working here right now, and who are always susceptible to being sucked away.