Saturday, 2 February 2013

Was Mackenzie Right?

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.

Unsurprisingly 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.

Of 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 forward.

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.

If 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.

The 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?

They're 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)

The 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 recession.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article and many thanks for the mention and link. You are of course right in what you say and the introduction of the HA would provide the impetus.

    You are also so right when you talk about the planning that should be being done now post EU.