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Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
10 months ago

The article just mentions the most important point and then forgets it again. Transport costs!!!

I have worked in manufacturing for over 40 years and transport has always been the killer. Our raw materials came in on deep sea vessels to Rotterdam, were transhipped and sent to Felixstowe, then trucked hundreds of miles to our factories. Our finished goods were then trucked south to the tunnel and into Europe. Felixstowe is the only efficient container port in the UK and all new industry has located to within about 100 miles of the port. This is why the A14 is always full of trucks. Being near to the tunnel is also important.

What is needed in the North is not high-speed trains as much as a good, efficient container port. This could even be used for exports to Europe.

The comparison with Eastern Germany also misses the point. The EU has spent years opening new markets in Eastern Europe and also developing new industry in the same areas. For transport reasons Eastern Germany is actually closer to markets and in a better position for investment.

If our plan in the future is to deal more with countries outside Europe, if we want to save trucking costs of food and other goods, if we want to use less petroleum products for pseudo-climate reasons, if we want to develop the North of England —- we need an efficient container port in the North West and better goods train routes to the south. Liverpool comes to mind.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It baffles me that nobody thought to regenerate Hull by turning it back into a major port.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Was going to write the same thing. Hull needs something. It’s better than it was in the 80s but still not somewhere I’d seek out voluntarily on my visits back home.
A great programme to watch to find out a bit more about the city’s history is – randomly – the episode of Restoration Home with Caroline Quentin where the house being done up is in Hull. Really interesting – if not a little sad to think of the loss of industry there.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

It should be top of the list, for didn’t it produce the sainted William Wilberforce,*the famous anti slavery campaigner.
Frankly you can’t get more PC than that.

(*1759-1833.)

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Why not the North East coast, Immingham, Grimsby, Goole etc?
They face towards “the enemy”*, and we’ve been spoiling Liverpool enough don’t you think?

(*Otherwise known as the EU.)

Last edited 10 months ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Saul D
Saul D
10 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Agreed. We’ve spent the last decades pushing product into Europe through the south east corridor, and not surprisingly we have an economy heavily biased towards the east and south east. In the deeper past, the key British ports were to the west and the south for access to the Atlantic and out into the Empire. If the economy rejigs to be less EU dependent, northern England, Wales and Scotland could be beneficiaries, but it will require investment in ports (Liverpool, Cardiff/Bristol and Southampton) and improved transport infrastructure to rise to the challenge.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
10 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Yes. In another string today I argue that Wales should be allowed to leave the UK or get in line with England. Either way, Cardiff would become more important. Perhaps the difficulty with the Bristol Channel is the range of the tides.
I would agree with Southampton. Hull does not face the west and we should be looking more in that direction.

Iris C
Iris C
10 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Fascinating and clearly true. I hope this will be noted and something done about it.
What about moving more government offices out of London – the DVLC must have been a boost for Wales. Or increasing the cost of living in London to a very high level so that businesses and government associated offices want to move north.

Alastair Herd
Alastair Herd
10 months ago

Something, somehow, overlooked in all these conversations about how Germany did it better, is national debt after the Second World War.

Yes, Germany was ruined straight after the war, but it received massive amounts of American investment (from the Marshall Plan), and had all its international loans cancelled by 1953. Britain on the other hand was still paying off it’s American WWII loans till 2006!

The major explanation for Britain underwhelming development over the past 80 years, has been our crippling debt problems. And that doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon…

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
10 months ago
Reply to  Alastair Herd

Yes. Often forgotten. British Empire was sold off to pay for it. Nonetheless mixed blessing. Germany without Empire and WW2 destruction had to focus on industry. That said, we’d developed fantastic tech in WW2 in aircraft. Threw away the lead in 1950s and 60s. Hindsight a wonderful thing though.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

We should have ‘nuked’ the Soviet Union as George Patton advised, and sub divided the Fatherland along the lines of the Morgenthau Plan.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Alastair Herd

‘We’ had the largest single tranche of Marshall Aid, and the previous Stafford-Cripps loan, and still managed to blow it!
Too much Defence spending (posturing) and the Welfare State being the main culprits.

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months ago

Pardon my asking, but WTF does the title have to do with the article? It should read something like “Why the Medicis can NOT save Britain”, then it would make sense. I kept reading expecting a big reveal, but nothing…

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

The title has now been slightly changed. At least now it is not completely divorced from the content (still, rather irrelevant, though).

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
10 months ago

Two bits of data. Sorry not referenced but in my memory. Germany spent €2 trillion over 20 years on levelling up East Germany. A miniscule number (less than 10?) Northern state school kids go to Oxbridge annually.

alan Osband
alan Osband
10 months ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

I just had a look around on the net. Two state schools up North (one in Huddersfield and one in Manchester ) each had around 35 offers from Oxbridge .
Southern state schools do seem to predominate but not anywhere near to the extent you imply .
Maybe you meant less than ten northern state schools send children to Oxbridge (rather than 10 kids in total ) but even so

Last edited 10 months ago by alan Osband
Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
10 months ago

“Under the rule of the Medici family, the city-state became the birthplace of the Renaissance.”

I hope we don’t have any Siennese readers or this could turn nasty…

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago

Oh that Basil Chamberlain was here to answer that.

Andrew D
Andrew D
10 months ago

On the point about geography not being destiny, is there any city whose eastern part is more prosperous than its western?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Vatican? Or even Londonderry.

Last edited 10 months ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Andrew D
Andrew D
10 months ago

You’ll have to do better than that. The western half of Vatican City is more or less the Pope’s back garden, and while you may be onto something with the Bogside, that’s down to the particular historical circumstances of Stroke City.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew D
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Bogside & the Creggan are well to the West in Londonderry.

Same mostly for Belfast,the Falls Rd, Andersonstown, and the Ardoyne again all well to the West.
All those ‘Proddy Dog” happy shipyard workers at Harland & Wolf,* all live(d) well to the East on the Newtonards Rd.

As to the Vatican, the Papal HQ, the Palazzo Apostolico, is again well to the East, even if the garden is, as you say, in the West.

(* In 1970, employing about 15,000, and not a single Catholic among them.)