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Dave Beans

London Should "declare Independence"

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/10508673.stm

Ever since the days of Dick Whittington, those living outside London have often seen the capital as a city with streets paved with gold. But, asks David Stenhouse, does the city dominate British life?

It is the British city which joined the super-league, the world capital which ranks with Paris, New York and Tokyo. It is the epicentre of Britain's political, economic and cultural life, the seat of our government, hub of our media and home to one of the world's biggest financial markets. But even fans of London admit it is too expensive, too dirty and too crowded. And its critics say that it sucks talent, money and opportunities out of the rest of the country.

So how should those of us who live outside London cope with the mega city in our own back yard?

"The one thing that you cannot deny, whether you are in or outside it, is that London is a vast, dominant thing inside the United Kingdom," says Tony Travers, director of the London School of Economics Greater London Group.

Because of its enormous population - at 7.7 million, London has only slightly fewer inhabitants than Scotland and Wales combined - and its economic and political importance, the capital dominates the nightly news. It is home to national museums, galleries and theatres and the place where multinational companies have their headquarters.

It is also where the British media is based - from the BBC's Television Centre to Channel 4, Sky, ITN and the major national daily and Sunday papers. No wonder that it is also the place where ambitious people from the provinces of Britain - and further afield - flock to make their names.

'Pandora's box of dreams'

And many are convinced that they couldn't have made it by staying at home.

The Scottish fashion designer Deryck Walker first went on a pilgrimage to London after seeing an edition of the South Bank Show devoted to Vivienne Westwood.

"For me it was like a Pandora's box of dreams," he says. "Going to London was key to me becoming a designer."

But in a global context, London is the exception rather than the rule. The East Coast of the US has New York - the capital of media and commerce - and Washington DC - the capital of government.

Australia has Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra; Spain has Barcelona and Madrid. And Britain has... London, the sprawling, unrivalled capital whose gravitational force exerts a distorting effect on the rest of the country.

[London is] hugely crowded, hugely busy and full of people not really interested in each other

Lord Hattersley

Former Labour Party deputy leader

Londoners have to pay the price for the capital's status. Residents have sky-high house prices in many areas of the capital - the average house price is now over £1.25m in Kensington and Chelsea - and have high-cost travel, congestion, crime and grime.

But what cost does the rest of the country pay for London?

Talk to business people and civic leaders around the UK and it is not hard to draw up a charge sheet against the capital. Londoners are said to be rude and insular, and they look down their nose at anyone from the provinces.

"It's an unresolved issue," says Jude Kelly, director of London's Southbank Centre. "Is London a rival to other cities in its own nation, or a repository of their knowledge?"

Those trying to run businesses in the north of England or Scotland have to incur serious expense to even make it to a meeting in the capital, leaving home at four in the morning to make it to London for 9am.

But the biggest charge against London is that it sucks talent and resources out of the rest of the country

Ever since Dick Whittington left the Forest of Dean in the 14th Century in search of his fortune in London, ambitious provincials have headed to the city in search of streets paved with gold.

Did Dick Whittington need London's size and variety to find his niche? Or did his departure to the capital deprive the Forest of Dean of an outstanding Lord Mayor, maybe even one who could have arranged some golden paving for his home town?

Given the concentration of power in London it's no surprise that since the 1960s successive British governments have tried to move key government departments out of London. The BBC is the latest public body to follow suit, with the relocation of key staff and programmes to Salford Quays in Manchester. But even devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has done little to reduce London's power.

The gravitational pull of the capital is hard to resist: not least because many people who have made their career in London find it hard to imagine life outside the M25. For many people in Britain's public life, London is the only place to be.

But not so long ago the political and cultural landscape of Britain was a good deal less uneven than today. In the Victorian era, Britain's economic landscape was made up of powerful city states, with their own local governments, distinct political cultures and vibrant economies.

In the north of England, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool were the workshops of the world. Further north, Glasgow described itself as the "Second City of the Empire" and the mighty Clyde shipyards produced vessels which sailed the seven seas.

But as the manufacturing bases of these other cities declined and London's population and economy soared, London started to seem less and less like a big British city and more and more like a global city which just happened to be based in the south-east of England.

It has amplified the faults - as well as the virtues - of the capital. Now, as historian and politician Lord Hattersley puts it, London is "hugely crowded, hugely busy and full of people who are not really interested in each other".

The size of London's economy has led some to suggest that the capital should go it alone, and declare independence from the rest of the country. There are plenty in the rest of the country who might be glad to see it go.

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There are plenty in the rest of the country who might be glad to see it go.

I seriously doubt that, given the size of the subsidies which London is forced to pay out to the rest of the country.

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I seriously doubt that, given the size of the subsidies which London is forced to pay out to the rest of the country.

no, the subsidies flow the other way.

politicos, banksters, legal cr4p, big 4 auditors.....all these big earners are in state chartered cartels, if not outright state-employed.

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This rings a bell...

London also consumes those who flock there, and ironicly the worst are those who move there from the north, becoming the worst capital-centric snobs of all.

Emma, Staffs

I have seen this with people who have moved down, does make me laugh, kind of endearing in some ways. But of course those of us who are born and bred Londoners can be snobs unreservedly ;)

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It's hard to see how it could go it alone given that it's entirely dependent on the surrounding country for resources (human and physical). Just like Britain couldn't keep HK & Kowloon (on which the lease was perpetual) when it had to give back the New Territories (where all the power stations and water plants were and which only had a 100 year lease).

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Yes the "city" is so "independent" and as the article puts it going to "go it alone" with the £trillions of bail-out money from UK taxpayers.

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London is a drain on the country. look at benefits, unemployment, employment, economic inactivity & activity.

London is number one for unemployment, benefits, inactivity and general failure.

London drains from the state, and gives debt back

It has a square mile of betting shops , a dab of culture and the rest is a diseased animal trying to grab from the table but failing.

Put it down, end it's life and never mind the vet's bills it was suffering badly 10 years ago.

Stand on me.

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London is a drain on the country. look at benefits, unemployment, employment, economic inactivity & activity.

you sound like a bitter little scotchlander!

Populations:

7,753,600 London

5,194,000 Scotland

White Job Seeker Allowence Claiments

80,000 London

117,000 Scotland

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/jsa/ethnic/ccgor/a_carate_r_ethnic_c_ccgor_nov09.html

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This rings a bell...

London also consumes those who flock there, and ironicly the worst are those who move there from the north, becoming the worst capital-centric snobs of all.

Emma, Staffs

I have seen this with people who have moved down, does make me laugh, kind of endearing in some ways. But of course those of us who are born and bred Londoners can be snobs unreservedly ;)

I came here for University then was trapped by the wages and my friends I met here. I unreservedly say London is a rich man's playground and is utterly shit for everyone else when compared to the rest of the country. Violent, expensive, slow, utterly shit and dangerous drivers, mostly poor food at top prices, most work you get done is by some loadsamoney types who do 3/4 of a job and want to get running to the next mug etc.

I can't wait for when we can go back up north with the family. That's what counts. If your family is in London then you have a reason to put up with it.

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Its also about quality of leadership. In France it is the same story but the corporate, financial and government leadership in Paris is running the country like a well oiled machine. Meanwhile in the UK, the economies outside of London are a train wreck. So of course they are complaining about the centralization of leadership in London.

An example of ignorant decision making is an issue like global warming becomes popular in London. New taxes and regulations are passed into law in London that apply to the whole country. So some coal mines, coal plants and industrial plants shut down in the North of England no longer competitive with the new taxes. Causing tens of thousands of high paying jobs to be lost. London doesn't directly feel the consequences of its decisions and is too ignorant to change its decisions.

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you sound like a bitter little scotchlander!

Populations:

7,753,600 London

5,194,000 Scotland

White Job Seeker Allowence Claiments

80,000 London

117,000 Scotland

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/jsa/ethnic/ccgor/a_carate_r_ethnic_c_ccgor_nov09.html

"..........i'm a Londoner, that I love London Town"

The population density is what makes it "easier" to make money, especially if your no shakes educationally.

I was there for England Germany game £4 bottle of beer around the South bank & Henry JB's - Kings Rd.[ jug £14]

I work in the Midlands- here service industry " crying", there, no sign of a downturn .

It's obvious but the more footfall the more "dough" ceteris paribus.

And theyr'e not tight :lol::lol: , natural consumers "Scep's" dream citizens, negative savings like a mxxxxfxxxer

jobs don't rely solely on P Sector, it'll be interesting to see what happens there if the depression ignites, especially to

houseprices because during the late 80's early 90's they were obliterated. [ but we know that already]

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Nice try!

Total Job Seeker Allowence Claiments

213,000 London

129.80 Scotland

How about housing benefit?

Tried to find the figures, but couldn;t. How much money is being pissed up the London wall?

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seriously doubt that, given the size of the subsidies which London is forced to pay out to the rest of the country.
It depends what is meant by independence. It would be logical to re-establish a London-wide local government like the old GLC - in some ways that's happened with the Mayor. The GLC was abolished by the Thatcher government simply because it was dominated by the loony left at the time, the GLC wasn't a bad thing in itself, it was just going through a bad patch.

But if London were to become a devolved state within Britain, like Scotland and Wales, would it still be seen as part of England or would that lead to England being split up into other devolved states like Anglia, Mercia, Wessex etc?

Also, although London is by far the biggest conurbation in the British Isles, if it was given some sort of devolved status, there would be calls for similar devolution in other large conurbations like the West Midlands (about 2.2 million).

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How about housing benefit?

Tried to find the figures, but couldn;t. How much money is being pissed up the London wall?

Hosing benefit will be fixed ---I wonder what can be done about the scotch though.

Populations:

7,753,600 London

5,194,000 Scotland

Incapacity Benefit

265,000 London

250,000 Scotland

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/ibsda/ccgor/ccsex/a_carate_r_ccgor_c_ccsex_nov09.html

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Yes the "city" is so "independent" and as the article puts it going to "go it alone" with the £trillions of bail-out money from UK taxpayers.

To be fair, the vast majority of bank bail out money went to 2 Scottish (or mostly Scottish) banks and one from Newcastle. I'd say that the fact that these banks weren't headquartered in London (but in Labour stongholds) certainly played a role in the decision to bail them out.

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It's hard to see how it could go it alone given that it's entirely dependent on the surrounding country for resources (human and physical). Just like Britain couldn't keep HK & Kowloon (on which the lease was perpetual) when it had to give back the New Territories (where all the power stations and water plants were and which only had a 100 year lease).

HongKong is a good example - London wouldnt last long on its own. Singapore has had to spend huge amounts on securing water supply and it has been able to do this by reclaiming land - London, physically landlocked, would not be able to do this - most of Londons big reservoirs are in Surrey around Heathrow

Also the City would collapse without the people commuting in every day from Essex & Surrey in the same way NewYork cannot survive without NewJersey & Connecticut.

I doubt London pays the true cost & rent for its waste disposal, water & energy supply. Essex & Kent could extract a high cost

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Why are you comparing white against white?

Number of Scottish claimants called Jock McScotty

55,000

Number of London claimants called Jock McScotty

0

It’s totals that matter.

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How much should we charge them for drinking water?

...and oil, gas, nuclear, waste disposal and defence :rolleyes:

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To be fair, the vast majority of bank bail out money went to 2 Scottish (or mostly Scottish) banks and one from Newcastle.  I'd say that the fact that these banks weren't headquartered in London (but in Labour stongholds) certainly played a role in the decision to bail them out.

The gambling casino's are almost exclusively situated in London however so a real risk of London becoming another Iceland.

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It’s totals that matter.

Totals that matter - OK.

Populations:

7,753,600 London

5,194,000 Scotland

London a world capital.

Scotland a backwater.

Table 9.2 Total identifiable expenditure on services by country and region, per head 2009–10

£10,139 London

£10,83 Scotland

£56 extra per head London expenditure over Scotland

£56 x 7,753,600 (pop london) = £434 millions

Stamp duty land tax:

£1.4 billion London

£320 million Scotland

£1 billion credit for London or put another way £128 less expenditure per head in London after deducting just one source of revenue ... stamp duty income.

Stamp Duty Table 15.5

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/stamp_duty/table15-5-0809.pdf

Table 9.2 Total identifiable expenditure on services by country and region, per head 2009–10

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pesa_2010_complete.pdf

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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