Northern Cities "Doomed", Says Unthinking Think Tank

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 119 months ago
Northern Cities "Doomed", Says Unthinking Think Tank

The BBC is often accused of being London-biased and besmirching the country's northern climes, but Auntie has nothing on a report which reckons that cities such as Liverpool, Sunderland and Bradford are 'beyond revival'.

Policy Exchange, a favoured think tank of David Cameron, believes that the decline of shipping and manufacturing means former coastal strongholds are doomed, and that costly regeneration across the cities should be abandoned. Moreover, they've advocated a mass migration southward (a policy favoured by such patriarchal plutocrats as Stalin and Saddam Hussein) with residents upping sticks to London and the south-east, and planned investment in their former homes ploughed into an additional 3 million houses down this way. Liverpool's current status as European Capital of Culture hasn't stopped them from sticking a fork in the North and declaring it done.

The entire scheme is risible, and a sound advertisement for the utter pointlessness of think tanks. David Cameron will no doubt be cursing Policy Exchange, founded by fellow Tory MP and current Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families Michael Gove, as he heads today for the north-west to campaign in marginal seats.

The Tories have scorned the findings, as has with the government and local authorities. Boris Johnson, meanwhile, is likely to be particularly incensed by a plan that advocates people he is not too fond of moving here en masse.

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Last Updated 13 August 2008

Amanda Farah

Thus it is rather interesting that the current director of Policy Exchange, Anthony Browne, is leaving said think tank to join Boris' team as Policy Director:

Tom Williams

I would dispute that Policy Exchange are 'unthinking' or that think tanks are 'pointless'. Sometimes you need people or organisations to pitch ideas which no politician would let slip for fear of being savaged by voters, knee-jerk headlines, and the party whip.

The main idea pitched here is that the public money spent on regeneration of post-industrial cities is largely wasted when the economic fundamentals which led to the development of these cities no longer exist. Their argument runs that we are better off putting our development cash into places that are equipped to succeed in a knowledge/service driven economy: backing future winners, rather than propping up losers.

Now this isn't an argument I'd 100% agree with, but it is interesting to hear it articulated and there are some issues worth thinking about in-amongst the howls of Northern protest.