There is an inherent problem with print media that is not simultaneously issued as online copy: those gannets at websites like Mail Online that devour and otherwise churn over so much of it cannot get their hands on the stuff until someone has paid good money for the publication concerned. Thus it is that they are behind the curve on the latest Oop North why-oh-why-fest.
Who are you f***ing calling angry, c***?!?
What is about to make the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre yet more angry than usual is an opinion piece in this week’s Spectator magazine by Labour peer – and champion of rail travel – Andrew Adonis. He is taxed by the pull that London has on the rest of the country, and has contributed to the magazine’s “Planet London” issue, which is not yet available online.
He tells that “London is New York, Washington [DC] and LA rolled into one, which is unhealthy for our national politics ... so I have a serious suggestion. If the House of Lords is to be reformed in the next year, part of the reform should be to move it out to a city in the Midlands or the North, maybe next to the relocated BBC in MediaCity in Salford Quays [my emphasis]”.
Relocate here? But it's so ... provincial!
Much of the pleasure of reading this is not only that Andrew Adonis is not afraid to make radical suggestions, and that his enthusiasm for them comes through very clearly, but also that the sound of Paul Dacre’s jaw thudding into the deep pile carpet of his unfeasibly large office will be audible a long way from Kensington soon after one of his minions dares to show him the article.
And there’s more: “Half of our national politicians would then assemble well away from ‘Planet London’. The public purse would make a net saving by selling the vast and expensive property portfolio the Lords has been acquiring to house its 850 members along Millbank and the surrounding streets. And yes, yours truly – a Londoner and proud of it – would be happy to lead the way”.
The logic of Adonis’ thinking to an extent mirrors that of the BBC in their move from White City – where they will collect a tidy sum for selling off or maybe just leasing Television Centre – to the Quays. And it’s interesting that the Manchester Evening News is in the vanguard of the papers picking up on the story. But the nationals will doubtless be there very soon.
And when they arrive, the reaction will be far less matter-of fact: Adonis’ heresy will bring forth the kind of condemnation usually reserved for, well, anyone else considering abandoning the capital for places populated with those ghastly provincials with their strange accents and cheaper housing (lower house prices are for the Daily Mail somewhere adjacent to the end of the world itself).
I can’t wait for the ranting and frothing to begin. Get the popcorn in!