Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Solutions from the Past Won't Save Our Economy This Time; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Solutions from the Past Won't Save Our Economy This Time; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: David Byrne

IWAS listening on Monday morning to BBC Radio 4's Start The Week, and a bunch of commentators - not one of whom by the way was a figure from beyond the metropolis - were discussing "Britishness".

I should really avoid this sort of stuff since those who pontificate combine ignorance and arrogance to an extent which raises my usually good blood pressure to dangerous levels.

We had a reformed Islamist telling us Britain was a deeply conservative country, a Tory MP deploring our lack of innovative ability, and the egregious former diplomat Christopher Meyer, who has been swanning around the world talking to power elites in "global cities" informing us yet again that London has to be understood as a vibrant city state separate from the rest of this post-industrial dump we call Britain. Yeah, the City - that will solve our problems Well, we have some years that speculators basically been won't it? Larry Elliott of the Guardian famously said that governments for the last 30 years bet this country's economic future on our speculators being better than their speculators. Well, we have known for some years that all speculators globally have basically been rubbish but, in the light of recent revelations, we find not only that they were useless but that they were crooked with it.

If the riggers of the Libor rate are not prosecuted for conspiracy to defraud then the criminal justice system of this country is broken beyond repair. We certainly do not have a national future on the back of financial services.

What about locally? Here, local planners and politicians seem to see building houses for people who won't be here anyhow (and couldn't afford them even if they were) as the solution to all our problems.

We have had a "One Core Strategy" put forward for Newcastle and Gateshead based, as a Freedom of Information request has demonstrated, on a careful selection of the most optimistic population projections.

This was then used to project housing demand without any of the qualifications which the Office of National Statistics attach to such projections. …

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