Fixing the North-South Divide: A Bridge too far?

North south divide
Image by pic fix via Flickr

As more details are known about government austerity measures, information is finally emerging about where the cuts are being made. Unsurprisingly, local authorities in the NE are bumping their gums about the unfair national distribution, and the actual size of grants and differentials in their forthcoming budget deficits.

I can fully understand why so many people, influenced by media reporting methods, jump on the class war band wagon and adopt the have/have not or the us & them social deprivation thought process. Throughout political history there has nearly always been a north-south divide in some form or another. The prevailing economic and social issues have also created the traditional political divide to accompany them.

The north is renowned for possessing the traditional politics of the honest, hard talking, hard-working family man. The social, economic and political governance within in the region is based upon the less than academically sound electorate’s thought process… “Ah voted labour, me Da’ voted labour, arll alus vote labour man”…

Cuts aren’t hitting the North East too hard – JournalLive (Jan 15): THE Prime Minister sparked outrage yesterday by claiming the North East has not been as hard hit as the South by the Government’s cuts… (Read more)

The figures and budget sheets issued (so far), along with announced proposed cuts in public sector jobs by local authorities, would seem to support the vociferous claims that; the NE is being shafted and hung out to dry by government. I would ask, how much of this is down to political rhetoric and/or statistical manipulation? Once we sort the wheat from the chaff of political self-interest, how much of what is being spouted is factual?

In many ways the actual colour of any particular political stance is often pointless and unfounded today. Most politicians, at both ends of the political divide, tend to piss in the same pot of self-important nepotism. This trait is prevalent at both regional and national levels. Our national industrial heritage which spawned the political divide (in reality) no longer exists.

The economic sustainability of the North was once based within heavy industries like coal mining, steel making, ship building and other manufacturing. The only other source of income and economic wealth for the region was farming and agriculture. Today as a nation we manufacture very little, we don’t fix or repair much and we only produce a small proportion of our own food.

In short; with little or nothing to support or sustain any national/regional economic growth, save for money laundering the financial sector and false or contrived plastic business organisations, the divide is set to increase. A factor even more pronounced when you consider, some areas in the north have little or nothing except the public sector as an employer. To have any chance of turning things around, we need to move away from the prevailing us & them mentality, at least if we have a genuine desire to climb out of our pile of social crap and progress.

Perhaps closing the north-south social and economic divide is actually a bridge too far? However, to adopt a somewhat crass but often fairly indicative analogy; can we really expect to make silk purses out of sow’s ears? Time for another trip to the psychology institute me thinks…

Anyone for a Brown Ale with a Southern Comfort chaser?

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