Cross posted from Restoring Nottingham
Back in early December, the very outspoken Kelvin Mackenzie wrote a
piece for the Telegraph about the notion of the South "carrying the rest
of the country" from an economic perspective.
the comments section directed lots of flak MacKenzie's way, most of it
justifiable. My first reaction was probably included a few swear words
as well. Part of that was due to my recollection as a youngster that
every time something was being developed to move the country forward,
the viewpoint was that "it has to be in London / South because
everything else is here" - a logic that used to make me very angry. The
other part was his ignorance of the fact that the UK had grown to its
lofty position in the world because of its industrial and military
dominance over the preceding centuries, most of which had been sourced
from across the breadth of Britain in the lives and labours.
course the notion of MacKenzie writing in the Telegraph was one
designed to provoke uproar. That there was any surprise in that was a
surprise in itself.
I did however sit and wonder if he
had a point or if he was right. Strangely enough, to me, he is correct,
but not in the way he probably thinks. To me it's not the south that
needs special treatment and needs to go it alone, but that the rest of
the nation needs to look at itself and in many respects needs to mimic
London and the south. There needs, for me, to be a revolution in the
regions so that they develop their own economic prosperity to move
Notice the words "their own". I'm not
talking about waiting or expecting government to deign to drop one of
it's bright ideas on us for a little special pot here or a little
special business park here. It often strikes me as tokenism and it
still leaves our future in someone else's hands. What I'm talking about
is generating our own economic "revolution", here in Nottinghamshire. I
happen to think every other county should do likewise but the intention
of this blog is to move Nottingham forward.
There are a few reasons for this and they are linked to each other.
The first is that it's just good sense. If you spend any time over at the Witterings from Witney
blog, you will see its owner, talk often about Switzerland. If you
haven't, go take a read. In essence, the whole nation moves along
through the exercise of democracy at local level. Swiss Cantons are
very important components of Switzerland. As another commentator
pointed out (and I can't find the link at the moment), this gives
Switzerland a very powerful advantage. There is redundancy built into
the system. Because each region is taking care of its own affairs, a
failure in one area does not impact the whole too much.
Nottingham was its own top to bottom success story it could better
withstand a downturn not only inside a part of Nottinghamshire, but also
a downturn in an area like London. A Nottingham that was just one
success story in a nation full of them would not only reduce the risk of
a downturn in one area but would become another source of growth in an
economy floundering around for growth right now.
other reason can be found in many of those blogs I pointed you to in a
previous post. You'll see that most are talking often about the EU and
right now the referendum. A key question for them is, if we vote to get out of the EU, what is the plan for afterwards?
right - you can't just vote to leave the EU and everything be hunky
dory on day one of a free Britain. You have to have a plan to survive
and thrive in the aftermath. With Labour saying you can't have a
referendum and Dave saying he'll campaign to stay in, it seems they're
not putting together a plan for thriving if we vote to leave (presuming
of course we actually get a vote on it). There have to be plans for
both economic and democratic dimensions. If they won't plan for it, we
have to (and would probably make a better job of it)
democratic dimension is being worked on right certainly by some of the
bloggers I mentioned in my previous post with their work on what is
known as the Harrogate Agenda.
Economically both they and myself are trying to point out that our
entire economic future is not tied to staying in the EU as our
politicians and the press are trying to claim. There are emerging
economies out there and some real success stories and we could be
engaging and trading with them to power our growth out of this
Yes there's a recession on and right now
it's biting in Nottingham, but we should not wait for the so called
great and the good nor rely on other regions for our wealth and
welfare. We need a revolution for success right here in
Nottinghamshire. Don't wait for them. Get started now
That however is down to each and every single one of us to power it.