London would recover; the north would be transformedby Polly Mackenzie / January 8, 2019 / Leave a comment
Britain needs a major reset, Brexit or no Brexit. The howl of rage from half the country that was expressed as a vote to leave the EU must be answered. But Brexit—even if its champions were telling the truth—offers little in the way of hope or change for those people and those communities who voted for it. Nothing would better symbolise a national reset than moving our parliament away from London to Manchester.
Our current parliamentary estate has become a potent symbol of political decay, propped up by scaffolding, beset by leaking roofs and draughty doors, even the clockwork of the nation’s favourite bell falling to bits. Billions are being spent shoring up these crumbling edifices, as we misguidedly try to preserve the old order in the old stonework.
Those of us who love London have to accept that this city is toxic to millions of people. It is a byword for distance, disengagement and disconnection from the rest of England. Government from London cannot offer the transformative moment the country needs: a recognition that the rage has been heard and that change will really come.
Moving parliament offers the chance to fundamentally rebalance our economy, as well as our politics. For 30 years or more, governments have promised to regenerate the north, rebalance growth away from the overheated south east. Billions of pounds have been invested; entire civil service careers have been spent mapping and planning and designing initiatives with all the goodwill and ambition in the world. Some achievements have been wrung from this sustained effort. Labou…