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Imagine the scene. In mid-Yorkshire, a city called Elizabetha has risen out of the soggy fields, looking like Milton Keynes. For 40 years this has been the capital of the United Kingdom. But it has taken ages to complete. Contentious new contracts under the private finance initiative have only just been signed. The promise is that a new Retro-shorthand for Rural Metro-will link Elizabetha to Newcastle, Leeds, York and even Scarborough (making it easier to get to the town’s Stephen Joseph theatre for one of Alan Ayckbourn’s amusing plays about London suburbia).

The Queen still spends most of her time…

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