Boris Johnson has inadvertently provoked a debate on a London centred brain-drain by claiming that the capital ‘made’ The Beatles, rather than their native Liverpool.
Never one to shy away from a sound-bite, Johnson is quoted as saying: “The greatest band in the world came from Liverpool, but in the end they recorded their stuff in London and it was London that helped propel them around the world.” He made the comments last night in a speech to the London School of Economics entitled ‘London, The Gateway to Britain’.
While others might argue it should be a who rather than where made The Fab Four, such as producer George Martin or manager Brian Epstein, Boris was effectively saying that if you’re from a provincial village, town or city, you can only reach a certain level before you need to move to the capital to continue your career on the same trajectory.
It’s part of Boris’ job to blow the proverbial trumpet for London, and love him or loathe him, he does blow it an awful lot. However, it’s fair to say his comments probably won’t go down well on Merseyside. Nor on the other side of the pennines, where Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell recently lamented that London is sucking the life out of Britain.
Boris has not enjoyed the greatest relationship with those of a Scouse persuasion after comments about the Hillsborough disaster in a Spectator article that also claimed Liverpudlians ‘wallow’ in a ‘victim status’ following the murder of Ken Bigley in Iraq.
Boris was editor of the magazine at the time and was later ordered to apologise by then Tory leader Michael Howard on a grovelling trip to Merseyside. We don’t think he’ll be visiting again anytime soon however.