Hit the north

Posted by Ian
Yesterday’s lead homepage article on the new north-south divide set a cat among the Trafalgar Square pigeons.
"Just out of curiosity," asked reader Richard Gavey, "I wonder where our MSN homepage editor is from?" Actually all four homepage editors (myself, Dom, Laura and Paul) were born, brought up and educated outside the south east of England, spending most of our lives in far-flung parts of the country and – in my and Dom’s case – only coming to London to, yup, work for MSN. We’ve all got, I would argue, a strong regional sensibility and a healthy non-metropolitan attitude. We haven’t forgotten where we’ve come from. Not yet, anyway.
When writing the article I tried to imagine myself back in Liverpool, where I lived for 12 years before moving to London. I wanted to incorporate some of the spirit of the place, for good or ill, into my argument, along with my more recent first hand experiences of life in the capital. Whether I succeeded or not, and to what effect, is entirely up to you. But to try and imagine what someone who lives outside of the south east, indeed who lives hundreds of miles away from our office in London, makes of what they see when they visit the MSN site is an exercise of, I would argue, profound importance. 
"Surely," said nocturnal owl, "the focus should be on media control and indoctrination rather than the so called north south divide? It’s quite ironic that it’s the media that has to criticise the media for any change to happen in it." "Politicians are well aware that all of the influence in this country lies in the home counties so what else do you expect?" added lurcher. "Catch a flood or two in Surrey and watch the emergency cash fly."

"Living in Kent, to be precise the Medway Towns, I would say it’s not so much a north-south divide as a London versus the rest of Britain Divide," wrote barmybella. "Last year when Kent had barely enough water to drown a sparrow did the rest of the country care? No, why? Because the country only knew that London was short of water. The Tour de France came through my town and I didn’t recognise half of it when I saw it on TV because I haven’t seen it on TV since the 80s when Thatcher closed Chatham Dockyard." 

"Ian Jones must be from Yorkshire," countered ‘e bar gum’. "We have been saying for years that it’s London against the rest and seeing as they have the monopoly board, we always dip out. Ian definitely should stay out of politics – he’s too truthful!"A few dozen miles south of Yorkshire, actually, but I’ll accept the compliment!
"It’s not often you can say this about an MSN opinion piece," declared Astrophel, "but it hit the nail on the head. Particularly with regards to the south east and London and its attendant attitudes." By contrast Matt-K raged: "That was probably one of the worst articles I have had the misfortune of reading on this site. Jesus Christ, you’re a reporter, don’t complain certain things aren’t getting the right news coverage." Which is fair enough, and if I controlled every single media outlet in the land I would be able to do something about it.
You can join the debate here. Meantime MonkeyPants07 wagered: "Seems Ian Jones the writer of the article has a touch of bitterness." There may be an element of truth in that. After all, wasn’t London supposed to be the place where the streets are paved with gold? That’s what I was told when I was younger anyway.
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