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20 September 2014


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'How would England be divided into regions?'

In general, the answer is: with great difficulty, in that it is not exactly easy to split England up into 'regions' which share any sense of common identity. Does anyone seriously think that Manchester and Liverpool share some common 'north western' regional identity? And how far do great cities like these share an identity with the countryside surrounding them?

A moot point, I think.

There is moreover, an obvious problem, relating to the position of London.

The fact that nearly a third of the population of greater London were born outside Britain is, clearly, a reflection of dotty immigration policies pursued in particular by recent Labour governments.

(On the figures, see http://www.standard.co.uk/news/onethird-of-londoners-born-outside-britain-7185769.html .)

However, there is a distinct London identity. And one of the things that brings inhabitants of the capital together is clearly a growing sense that their part of the country subsidises the rest, and that this ought to stop.

Moreover, while the attempt to make London 'multi-cultural' has clearly been pushed too far, the cosmopolitanism does have real roots. This is, emphatically, not a matter of 'English' versus others.

One can, very easily, be an Irish Londoner, or an Indian Londoner – and London has, for generations, been a place where Jewish immigrants, who felt no reason to feel nostalgic for the ghettos of Eastern Europe, thankfully surrendered the burdens of their heritage.

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