Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Northern Exposure

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Northern Exposure

Article excerpt

George Eaton's introduction to your excellent special issue on the north (29 November) misidentified 2004's failed regional assembly referendum and the recent rejection of elected mayors as "attempts at devolution". In neither case was there a proposal to devolve significant powers from London to the north; what was offered was mere reform to the way some relatively unimportant offices are filled. Voters reacted with the contempt such limp efforts deserved.

Richard Berry

Via email

I thoroughly enjoyed the north issue but was disappointed to see both Ben Chu (Reflections) and Frances Wilson (The Critics) state that Dickens's Coketown was drawn on Manchester. It was based on Preston.

Nathan Richardson

Southport, Merseyside

The north begins where people call a long-handled sweeping implement a brush rather than a broom. Try it.

Patricia Pole

Aberarth, Ceredigion

It's great to see that you have overcome my only significant criticism of your esteemed organ--its London-centred outlook--but please, don't replace it with simple Anglocentricity. For some of us, the north starts not at Watford, but when we cross the A458/A47o from Welshpool to Dolgellau.

There are many descriptions of the distinctions between the north and south that matter to me, but they are perhaps best summed up by a short tale. When a friend from Aberdare told his mother he was going to marry a girl from Caernarfon, she said, "Well, I've heard of marriages north of the Beacons working, but not many. …

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