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Skegness is drowning The once-glamorous resort is sinking in poverty

Holidaymakers can't keep Skeggy afloat. (Credit: Barry/In Pictures via Getty)

Holidaymakers can't keep Skeggy afloat. (Credit: Barry/In Pictures via Getty)


April 19, 2023   3 mins

In the bright spring sunshine, Skegness is preparing for the season. The smell of fresh paint churns into the stench of the fish and chip fat as it sizzles. The metal shutters protecting the seafront booths from the bitter North Sea winds clatter as they are rolled up. A few early visitors are about, the resort is stirring back to life, and with that comes a sense of optimism. Four million people visit this resort every year, swelling its usual population many times over. But despite the deep affection for “Skeggy”, the town is struggling.

Visitors simply aren’t spending enough money or staying long enough to ensure a strong local economy. Most are day trippers, or stay over in the sea of caravan parks which has now spread along the coast. As a result, Skegness is sinking into destitution.

More than 80% of the residents along this part of the Lincolnshire coastline live in areas categorised as in the 20% most deprived in the UK. Around a third have no or low educational qualifications, considerably below national averages. And 42% of the population, twice the national average, is economically inactive, due to either disability, retirement, or caring responsibilities.

This issue, however, isn’t confined to east Lincolnshire. A desperate combination of low pay, low productivity, low educational achievement and poor health is trapping coastal towns in a spiral of deepening poverty. Skegness is a long way from anywhere but the sea. Connections to medical services and further education often entail a trip to Lincoln, over 40 miles away. It takes the best part of two hours to get by car to Nottingham, and the train is no quicker. To make matters worse, local coastal economies are dominated by the two employment sectors — hospitality and care — which have the lowest pay and the lowest productivity. One in five coastal jobs pays below the living wage.

Like other English seaside resorts, Skegness is haunted by its glamorous past. It was once an elegant resort attracting visitors from London to its smart hotels, making a virtue of its bracing breezes for city dwellers in need of fresh air. In its park strolled men in three-piece suits and women in high heels, hats and frilly summer dresses. Then along came cheap flights and package holidays abroad, which devastated Skegness’s hotel-based economy. Since then, little thought or attention has been given to how to reinvent the English seaside resort.

While other deindustrialised regions in the Nineties and 2000s attracted government investment, small family businesses running coastal resorts were expected to make do and mend. After austerity ripped apart local authority funding — Torbay, for example, lost ÂŁ200 million a year — coastal towns have been forced to compete for grants from pots of money such as the Town Deal. Often, outcomes are required within a three-year time-frame or even less, a short-termism which does little to enable the kind of long-term strategic reinvention of a tired seaside resort. Redoing a piazza to accommodate outdoor cafĂ©-style hospitality, for instance, doesn’t begin to address despair and poverty crouching a few streets away.

The effect of poverty is borne out in public health. Coronary disease is particularly prevalent along the coast of England. And East Lindsey district — which covers Skegness’s coastline — has one of the highest rates of antidepressant prescription in the country, coming close behind two other coastal towns, Blackpool and Sunderland. Male life expectancy here is 10.3 years shorter than in wealthier areas of Lincolnshire, and for women it is 7.2 years shorter. It is a tragic inversion of the seaside resort’s therapeutic history. And as Chris Whitty warned in his 2021 annual report, “there will be a long tail of preventable ill health which will get worse as populations age”.

That time has already come. Young people are moving away to get jobs and training, and the retired are moving in. More than 30% of GP patients in Skegness and Mablethorpe are over 65, compared with the national figure of 18%. In the next two decades, the over-65s will increase by 44% and the over-85s by a staggering 116.6%.

There is already a shortage of care workers to look after this ageing population, and levels of unpaid care in Lincolnshire are among the highest in the country. Yet despite that need, coastal towns have proportionately fewer health professionals; recruitment and retention is obviously challenging in these run-down seaside towns.

The reality is that this stretch of Lincolnshire coast is facing some of the great social challenges of our time — an ageing society and abrupt economic change — with little government support. In the wider story of regional inequality and the Levelling Up agenda, the unique characteristics of coastal deprivation are repeatedly ignored or overlooked.

Perhaps it is fitting that the most famous son of the Lincolnshire coastline, Alfred Tennyson, abandoned the county of his birth, as many young people have today. He is more commonly associated with the Isle of Wight, where he went to live as a celebrated Victorian poet. Still, in one poem, he fondly remembers the bleak coastline of his childhood: “Yet though perchance no tract of earth have more/Unlikeness to the fair Ionian plain/I love the place that I have loved before.” As with Tennyson, perhaps the English can find a way to love Skegness again — before it is caught up in a tide of irreparable decay.


Madeleine Bunting is a writer and Visiting Professor at the International Inequalities Institute at the LSE. Her book, The Seaside, England’s Love Affair, will be published by Granta in May 2023

MBunting_

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Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago

Skegness today, most of the UK tomorrow. I think the author fails to comprehend the desperate state of the UK economy. Appealing for more government support doesn’t fix a single underlying issue mentioned in the article and so isn’t any kind of solution, let alone a sustainable solution.

Since the late 1970s UK PLC has consistently sold economic assets to foreign investors to pay for domestic consumption. From a net positive inflow of returns on overseas assets, the UK’s investment position has irreversibly now flipped to a net outflow of returns on investments that can only be sustained by an even faster rate of asset sales to overseas investors or a decline in consumption enforced by the exchange rate falling. A vicious cycle, one more typical of third world client states.

For 30 years rising personal borrowing and increased financialisation of the economy kept London and the South East growing, and in turn state spending in most other places mitigated the declining earning potential of UK PLC. The limits of this debt boom were reached in 2007 and since then UK GDP per capita has stagnated and real incomes have fallen. The South East has inevitably succombed to the same economic weaknesses as the rest of UK PLC.

Like Skegness, UK PLC is exporting highly skilled workers and importing the low skilled and no skilled. Supposedly skilled work visas are granted for jobs paying far less than median earnings. High value adding jobs these are not.

Since 2007, government spending as a proportion of the economy has inexorably risen. Taxation has risen too, and yet government spending is as much in the red as the current account. Government debt is rising unsustainable and this borrowing has largely been funded by the Bank of England, the government’s own bank lending to its owner. What austerity is this? Meanwhile, despite the UK’s extra public spending – the author’s prescribed “solution” for Skegness – economic conditions have only worsened.

The current account deficit shows we are living beyond our means and have been for decades. Our legacy wealth has blinded us to this. Countries with balanced or surplus current accounts give rise to sustained increases in living standards. Countries with current account deficits eventually face declining living standards. We are poorer than we realise and that’s why Skegness is not an isolated case but replicated across both coastal and inland UK.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nell Clover
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Not convinced by your digression into economic pessimism (even fatalism).
The arguments you make apply equally – if not more so – the the USA and several other countries.
The UK does in fact import many highly skilled workers. In electronics design we have skilled engineers from all over the world coming here – and many from EU countries.
The UK is also highly competitive and successful in many high value, high wage industries like finance, law, accountancy and other professional services.
The UK will be fine.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I hadn’t realised just how many of the leading figures in the AI revolution are either British or studied at British universities (many of them imported skilled workers and students).
Look at any list of the top people in AI and you see: Andrew Ng, Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman, Shane Legg, Rana el Kaliouby, Poppy Gustafsson, Geoffrey Hinton, and more.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And they joined the 500000 a year exodus, one assumes.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And they joined the 500000 a year exodus, one assumes.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The United Kingdom recorded a Current Account deficit of 5.60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2022. source: Office for National Statistics

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I hadn’t realised just how many of the leading figures in the AI revolution are either British or studied at British universities (many of them imported skilled workers and students).
Look at any list of the top people in AI and you see: Andrew Ng, Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman, Shane Legg, Rana el Kaliouby, Poppy Gustafsson, Geoffrey Hinton, and more.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The United Kingdom recorded a Current Account deficit of 5.60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2022. source: Office for National Statistics

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Not convinced by your digression into economic pessimism (even fatalism).
The arguments you make apply equally – if not more so – the the USA and several other countries.
The UK does in fact import many highly skilled workers. In electronics design we have skilled engineers from all over the world coming here – and many from EU countries.
The UK is also highly competitive and successful in many high value, high wage industries like finance, law, accountancy and other professional services.
The UK will be fine.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago

Skegness today, most of the UK tomorrow. I think the author fails to comprehend the desperate state of the UK economy. Appealing for more government support doesn’t fix a single underlying issue mentioned in the article and so isn’t any kind of solution, let alone a sustainable solution.

Since the late 1970s UK PLC has consistently sold economic assets to foreign investors to pay for domestic consumption. From a net positive inflow of returns on overseas assets, the UK’s investment position has irreversibly now flipped to a net outflow of returns on investments that can only be sustained by an even faster rate of asset sales to overseas investors or a decline in consumption enforced by the exchange rate falling. A vicious cycle, one more typical of third world client states.

For 30 years rising personal borrowing and increased financialisation of the economy kept London and the South East growing, and in turn state spending in most other places mitigated the declining earning potential of UK PLC. The limits of this debt boom were reached in 2007 and since then UK GDP per capita has stagnated and real incomes have fallen. The South East has inevitably succombed to the same economic weaknesses as the rest of UK PLC.

Like Skegness, UK PLC is exporting highly skilled workers and importing the low skilled and no skilled. Supposedly skilled work visas are granted for jobs paying far less than median earnings. High value adding jobs these are not.

Since 2007, government spending as a proportion of the economy has inexorably risen. Taxation has risen too, and yet government spending is as much in the red as the current account. Government debt is rising unsustainable and this borrowing has largely been funded by the Bank of England, the government’s own bank lending to its owner. What austerity is this? Meanwhile, despite the UK’s extra public spending – the author’s prescribed “solution” for Skegness – economic conditions have only worsened.

The current account deficit shows we are living beyond our means and have been for decades. Our legacy wealth has blinded us to this. Countries with balanced or surplus current accounts give rise to sustained increases in living standards. Countries with current account deficits eventually face declining living standards. We are poorer than we realise and that’s why Skegness is not an isolated case but replicated across both coastal and inland UK.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nell Clover
Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

Skegness was never glamorous. What it did have, in the 50s, 60s and 70s, was coalfield money. It was where whole streets from mining villages decamped in pit fortnight; to Butlin’s, the Derbyshire Miners’ and the caravans on the way to Ingoldmells. It was where pub, social club and choir trips went, from everywhere between Doncaster and Nottingham; the men in the pubs, the women and children on the beach and the funfair. In the 70s, certainly, miners in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire earned good money and they liked to spend it. Now the last of the miners are selling up in the hell holes that their villages have become and fulfilling their dreams to move to the place of their happy childhood memories. Who can blame them?
Closing the pits didn’t just kill the coalfield communities.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Thank you for clarifying. I was puzzled by the ‘glamorous’ description

Richard Coppack
Richard Coppack
1 year ago

Yes, the miners have gone. Skegness does have a big advantage though in having cheap housing. If the town invests in state of the art broadband connection, it could attract the large number of people working from home/hybrid. This would certainly bring money into the local economy all year round.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Thank you for clarifying. I was puzzled by the ‘glamorous’ description

Richard Coppack
Richard Coppack
1 year ago

Yes, the miners have gone. Skegness does have a big advantage though in having cheap housing. If the town invests in state of the art broadband connection, it could attract the large number of people working from home/hybrid. This would certainly bring money into the local economy all year round.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

Skegness was never glamorous. What it did have, in the 50s, 60s and 70s, was coalfield money. It was where whole streets from mining villages decamped in pit fortnight; to Butlin’s, the Derbyshire Miners’ and the caravans on the way to Ingoldmells. It was where pub, social club and choir trips went, from everywhere between Doncaster and Nottingham; the men in the pubs, the women and children on the beach and the funfair. In the 70s, certainly, miners in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire earned good money and they liked to spend it. Now the last of the miners are selling up in the hell holes that their villages have become and fulfilling their dreams to move to the place of their happy childhood memories. Who can blame them?
Closing the pits didn’t just kill the coalfield communities.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Firstly what on earth is ‘The International Inequalities Institute’ at the LSE for heaven’s sake?

Secondly aren’t the hotels of ‘Skeggy’ booming, stuffed as they are with thousands of illegal immigrants, who have only recently paddled across the English Channel?

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
1 year ago

Indeed, other run-down East English towns – like Wisbech – have hundreds of North Africans and Eastern Europeans sitting on public benches and walls, smoking and listening to music on mobile phones. I’d need antidepressants and would think about moving away if my town had been over-run like that.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

They should all be rounded up and incarcerated on Detention ships/ hulks, moored in Scapa Flow.

It is the largest and safest anchorage in Europe and at 324square kilometres could accommodate perhaps 8-10 million illegal immigrants.
So perhaps we could also offer ‘accommodation’ to the unwanted immigrants from some our European friends, who are in a similar position to our good ourselves. eg France, Sweden and Italy.

The whole procedure should be called Operation MAGWITCH.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

They should all be rounded up and incarcerated on Detention ships/ hulks, moored in Scapa Flow.

It is the largest and safest anchorage in Europe and at 324square kilometres could accommodate perhaps 8-10 million illegal immigrants.
So perhaps we could also offer ‘accommodation’ to the unwanted immigrants from some our European friends, who are in a similar position to our good ourselves. eg France, Sweden and Italy.

The whole procedure should be called Operation MAGWITCH.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

She (the cat’s mother) was formerly an associate editor and columnist at The Guardian newspaper a regular broadcaster for the BBC.
ï»żNuff said

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Thanks.
“Jesus wept”. John XI.35.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Thanks.
“Jesus wept”. John XI.35.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
1 year ago

Indeed, other run-down East English towns – like Wisbech – have hundreds of North Africans and Eastern Europeans sitting on public benches and walls, smoking and listening to music on mobile phones. I’d need antidepressants and would think about moving away if my town had been over-run like that.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

She (the cat’s mother) was formerly an associate editor and columnist at The Guardian newspaper a regular broadcaster for the BBC.
ï»żNuff said

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Firstly what on earth is ‘The International Inequalities Institute’ at the LSE for heaven’s sake?

Secondly aren’t the hotels of ‘Skeggy’ booming, stuffed as they are with thousands of illegal immigrants, who have only recently paddled across the English Channel?

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

A majority of the UK pay very little tax. Virtually all Immigrants pay far less tax than the amount needed to pay for their family’s public services. (ÂŁ11,500 per annum each) . So increasing the population year after year with low tax payers guarantees reduced public services per capita and lower living standards. (Their contribution to increasing gross GDP – but not GDP per capita – does not cover this either- its a good example of ministers and civil servants being innumerate.).

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
1 year ago

Unskilled migration should never be allowed – especially not in tandem with being a state with an essentially non-contributory and open-ended welfare system

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy Iddon
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

It’s a bit late for that, it’s been going on for more than 25 years, capping it does nothing now…

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

As Milton Friedman said.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

It’s a bit late for that, it’s been going on for more than 25 years, capping it does nothing now…

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

As Milton Friedman said.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

Yes but Shareholders likes cheap labour and government is in the service of Shareholders.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
1 year ago

Unskilled migration should never be allowed – especially not in tandem with being a state with an essentially non-contributory and open-ended welfare system

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy Iddon
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

Yes but Shareholders likes cheap labour and government is in the service of Shareholders.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

A majority of the UK pay very little tax. Virtually all Immigrants pay far less tax than the amount needed to pay for their family’s public services. (ÂŁ11,500 per annum each) . So increasing the population year after year with low tax payers guarantees reduced public services per capita and lower living standards. (Their contribution to increasing gross GDP – but not GDP per capita – does not cover this either- its a good example of ministers and civil servants being innumerate.).

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

I wonder what Skegness, and all the other coastal resorts, were before the railways.

A transport revolution gave birth to mass tourism, and they thrived. Another one brought Marbella much closer, and they died. Such is life. Locals find other advantages to the area, or move.

I’m sure this lady wouldn’t consider herself a conservative but that seems to be what she wants the government to do – conserve something that has passed.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I agree.

What solutions does the Visiting Professor at the Institute of Inequalities offer? There are none, but she’s earning a pretty penny no doubt in documenting the decline.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It sounds as if she has “a white-collar email job, ideally one that carries a little prestige and can be performed remotely”, as so perfectly described by Malcolm Kyeyune Esq, elsewhere on today’s UnHerd offering.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

She (the cat’s mother) was formerly an associate editor and columnist at The Guardian newspaper a regular broadcaster for the BBC.
ï»żNuff said

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

She (the cat’s mother) was formerly an associate editor and columnist at The Guardian newspaper a regular broadcaster for the BBC.
ï»żNuff said

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It sounds as if she has “a white-collar email job, ideally one that carries a little prestige and can be performed remotely”, as so perfectly described by Malcolm Kyeyune Esq, elsewhere on today’s UnHerd offering.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

And if the cult of Net Zero spreads its teachings there will be much less air travel so local holidays could rise again.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

And fall again as the climate doctrine really takes hold and you can’t vacation anywhere you can’t walk to.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

As we’ve just witnessed, post-Brexit passport checks at Dover compounded by additional biometric checks coming in next year, will play a greater role in that.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Aren’t biometric checks quicker than passport checks?
I came through Heathrow in January and it took 10 seconds to scan my passport and go through the gates.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Aren’t biometric checks quicker than passport checks?
I came through Heathrow in January and it took 10 seconds to scan my passport and go through the gates.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

And fall again as the climate doctrine really takes hold and you can’t vacation anywhere you can’t walk to.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

As we’ve just witnessed, post-Brexit passport checks at Dover compounded by additional biometric checks coming in next year, will play a greater role in that.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

A few such as Brighton predated the Railways.
This off course would provoke some splendidly reckless ‘carriage’ driving down what what would become the A23.

I gather the record run was about two hours!

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I agree.

What solutions does the Visiting Professor at the Institute of Inequalities offer? There are none, but she’s earning a pretty penny no doubt in documenting the decline.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

And if the cult of Net Zero spreads its teachings there will be much less air travel so local holidays could rise again.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

A few such as Brighton predated the Railways.
This off course would provoke some splendidly reckless ‘carriage’ driving down what what would become the A23.

I gather the record run was about two hours!

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

I wonder what Skegness, and all the other coastal resorts, were before the railways.

A transport revolution gave birth to mass tourism, and they thrived. Another one brought Marbella much closer, and they died. Such is life. Locals find other advantages to the area, or move.

I’m sure this lady wouldn’t consider herself a conservative but that seems to be what she wants the government to do – conserve something that has passed.

Clueless mgsm1uk
Clueless mgsm1uk
1 year ago

I almost stopped reading at “stench”. But I kept going until the Chris Whitty quote , then thought I might as well read to the end
.don’t think I’ll bother with her book, tho.

Clueless mgsm1uk
Clueless mgsm1uk
1 year ago

I almost stopped reading at “stench”. But I kept going until the Chris Whitty quote , then thought I might as well read to the end
.don’t think I’ll bother with her book, tho.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago

Does any country handle this well? I ask this in all honesty. As a determined monoglot, I can’t read the press of any country but the US, Britain and Canada, and none of them seem to be able to deal with the problem of areas where the economy has ebbed away, leaving them high and dry.
In the US, for Skegness we have the West Virginia coalfields, for the Black Country we have the Rust Belt. Our conservative response is “Find your own way out.” Our liberal response is, “Here’s enough money to maintain a survival lifestyle, so you don’t have to change anything — but you can’t work.” Not surprisingly, neither works well — or at all.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Yes



Japan.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

What do they do in Japan? (I’m a determined monoglot, like Thomas).

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

If I may I shall quote STEVE JOLLY of this Parish who put it far better than I, a few days ago on UnHerd.:-

Japan is an outlier among world nations over the past two decades. They have remained committed to low immigration and social cohesion even at significant economic cost. They have among the world’s lowest crime rates and most stable governments while nevertheless remaining one of the most innovative countries in terms of technology and science. They stand as a refutation of the notion that ‘diversity’ is a driver of innovation and creativity. Other civilisations*with low crime and social harmony (like the Scandinavian nations) share many of these traits.

(* I have taken the liberty of anglicising this word.)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

If I may I shall quote STEVE JOLLY of this Parish who put it far better than I, a few days ago on UnHerd.:-

Japan is an outlier among world nations over the past two decades. They have remained committed to low immigration and social cohesion even at significant economic cost. They have among the world’s lowest crime rates and most stable governments while nevertheless remaining one of the most innovative countries in terms of technology and science. They stand as a refutation of the notion that ‘diversity’ is a driver of innovation and creativity. Other civilisations*with low crime and social harmony (like the Scandinavian nations) share many of these traits.

(* I have taken the liberty of anglicising this word.)

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

What do they do in Japan? (I’m a determined monoglot, like Thomas).

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Yes



Japan.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago

Does any country handle this well? I ask this in all honesty. As a determined monoglot, I can’t read the press of any country but the US, Britain and Canada, and none of them seem to be able to deal with the problem of areas where the economy has ebbed away, leaving them high and dry.
In the US, for Skegness we have the West Virginia coalfields, for the Black Country we have the Rust Belt. Our conservative response is “Find your own way out.” Our liberal response is, “Here’s enough money to maintain a survival lifestyle, so you don’t have to change anything — but you can’t work.” Not surprisingly, neither works well — or at all.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

The weird thing about the decline of resort towns is not that it has coincided with cheap foreign travel but that it has continued, even as the festival economy has ballooned.

All over the country and throughout the Summer, you can scarcely move for people setting up vast, temporary and not very sustainable… resorts in field and calling it a festival.

Except that festival goers put up with sleeping under canvas, pissing in unlit fiberglass boxes and getting their cars stuck in the car park afterwards.

It really wouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to move the big draws of a festival into a resort town and give a hefty boost to at least some of the coastal towns. I don’t know Skegness but Scarborough could easily host an amazing party.

And once people are used to having fun somewhere, they often decide to move there see, e.g. Brighton or Margate.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Venning
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

A very good point. “
“Hail Skeggy! Farewell Glastonbury “.
You even have the delights of the North Sea, rather than Glastonbury Tor.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Well, this kind of thing has been going on in Butlins and Pontins for decades, from the Southport Soul Weekender to Bangface. Good description of seaside bank holiday bashes in the 1980s by Chris Sullivan (currently co-editor of The Chap) in his book Peacocks, Poseurs, etc.

But it’s a good point that having a festival where the crowd use the local accommodation, bars and restaurants, rather than all-under-one-roof in Butlins could revitalise seaside towns. Barcelona does this well, although you need to watch your wallet with all the low-lifes. Might even dig out my festival boots after all these years if such a thing happened in the UK. I certainly cannot abide trudging through mud, sleeping in a damp tent and sh!tt!ng in a bucket that’s already overflowing with other people’s sh!t. Not at my age. Give me a warm bed, shower and flushing toilet to come home to after my evening of revelry and I’ll be happy as Larry.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

A very good point. “
“Hail Skeggy! Farewell Glastonbury “.
You even have the delights of the North Sea, rather than Glastonbury Tor.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Well, this kind of thing has been going on in Butlins and Pontins for decades, from the Southport Soul Weekender to Bangface. Good description of seaside bank holiday bashes in the 1980s by Chris Sullivan (currently co-editor of The Chap) in his book Peacocks, Poseurs, etc.

But it’s a good point that having a festival where the crowd use the local accommodation, bars and restaurants, rather than all-under-one-roof in Butlins could revitalise seaside towns. Barcelona does this well, although you need to watch your wallet with all the low-lifes. Might even dig out my festival boots after all these years if such a thing happened in the UK. I certainly cannot abide trudging through mud, sleeping in a damp tent and sh!tt!ng in a bucket that’s already overflowing with other people’s sh!t. Not at my age. Give me a warm bed, shower and flushing toilet to come home to after my evening of revelry and I’ll be happy as Larry.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

The weird thing about the decline of resort towns is not that it has coincided with cheap foreign travel but that it has continued, even as the festival economy has ballooned.

All over the country and throughout the Summer, you can scarcely move for people setting up vast, temporary and not very sustainable… resorts in field and calling it a festival.

Except that festival goers put up with sleeping under canvas, pissing in unlit fiberglass boxes and getting their cars stuck in the car park afterwards.

It really wouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to move the big draws of a festival into a resort town and give a hefty boost to at least some of the coastal towns. I don’t know Skegness but Scarborough could easily host an amazing party.

And once people are used to having fun somewhere, they often decide to move there see, e.g. Brighton or Margate.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Venning
Ken Bowman
Ken Bowman
1 year ago

Nell Clover’s comments immediately move the discussion from Skegness to the UK and paint a pessimistic view. Peter B’s riposte says “UK will be fine”. Which of these diametrically opposed views is likely to forecast the future correctly?
Nell Clover does it seems to me correctly describe the last 30 years where we have steadily sold “the family silver” in order to finance our comfortable life style. During the Cameron years I continuously heard that we were experiencing austerity. I repeatedly corrected the TV with the word “profligacy” but it never listened.
Peter B says that the UK is highly competitive in some areas. What proportion of the economy do these represent? Will they be big enough to carry the rest? Seems unlikely to me.
Peter B may be right but I think that in formulating national policy we would be much wiser to be cautious and assume Nell Clover judges the situation more accurately.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken Bowman

Both positions can be true. There is not a single, uniform economy – rather many distinct segments. Some are obviously struggling while others are doing quite well. What’s probably new is that these have become so decoupled – there is almost no “feedback” from Skegness to London (or vice versa). That is not only little economic interdependency, but very little awareness of each by the other.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not happy about what’s happened to places like Skegness and would like to see it thrive again. I’m not in Matthew Paris’ “let them rot – there’s nothing we can do” camp. People there deserve the same opportunities as any other place in the UK and clearly don’t get them today.
What would I actually do about all this ? Well, many companies now have corporate volunteering days reserved (my last company had 5 days of volunteering per year – fully paid time to undertake any volunteer activity you chose). We did this in our local (fairly wealthy) area. It would be better done in these left behind areas. I think they need time and attention as much, if not more than, money. Also get more fiftysomethings into teaching, even if only as part-time specialists.
I’m also highly sceptical about the “austerity narrative” under Cameron and Osborne. That wasn’t my experience at all – but perhaps I was just fortunate to be working in a thriving economic segment at the time.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken Bowman

Both positions can be true. There is not a single, uniform economy – rather many distinct segments. Some are obviously struggling while others are doing quite well. What’s probably new is that these have become so decoupled – there is almost no “feedback” from Skegness to London (or vice versa). That is not only little economic interdependency, but very little awareness of each by the other.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not happy about what’s happened to places like Skegness and would like to see it thrive again. I’m not in Matthew Paris’ “let them rot – there’s nothing we can do” camp. People there deserve the same opportunities as any other place in the UK and clearly don’t get them today.
What would I actually do about all this ? Well, many companies now have corporate volunteering days reserved (my last company had 5 days of volunteering per year – fully paid time to undertake any volunteer activity you chose). We did this in our local (fairly wealthy) area. It would be better done in these left behind areas. I think they need time and attention as much, if not more than, money. Also get more fiftysomethings into teaching, even if only as part-time specialists.
I’m also highly sceptical about the “austerity narrative” under Cameron and Osborne. That wasn’t my experience at all – but perhaps I was just fortunate to be working in a thriving economic segment at the time.

Ken Bowman
Ken Bowman
1 year ago

Nell Clover’s comments immediately move the discussion from Skegness to the UK and paint a pessimistic view. Peter B’s riposte says “UK will be fine”. Which of these diametrically opposed views is likely to forecast the future correctly?
Nell Clover does it seems to me correctly describe the last 30 years where we have steadily sold “the family silver” in order to finance our comfortable life style. During the Cameron years I continuously heard that we were experiencing austerity. I repeatedly corrected the TV with the word “profligacy” but it never listened.
Peter B says that the UK is highly competitive in some areas. What proportion of the economy do these represent? Will they be big enough to carry the rest? Seems unlikely to me.
Peter B may be right but I think that in formulating national policy we would be much wiser to be cautious and assume Nell Clover judges the situation more accurately.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago

It sounds a hopeless case. Pity there is no fishing or farming. Weird that coastal properties everywhere, in Europe, the US, in South America, fetch astronomical prices. Maybe condos should be built along the lovely coast. I wonder if development is allowed? Otherwise this article is bunk, assuming that money from government is a magic bullet. She should recommend something that attracts business and trade. Fat chance.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago

It sounds a hopeless case. Pity there is no fishing or farming. Weird that coastal properties everywhere, in Europe, the US, in South America, fetch astronomical prices. Maybe condos should be built along the lovely coast. I wonder if development is allowed? Otherwise this article is bunk, assuming that money from government is a magic bullet. She should recommend something that attracts business and trade. Fat chance.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Living in Lincolnshire most of my adult life I’ve visited Skegness off and on for 50 years. It’s always been ‘kiss me quick’, a ‘fun’ place for those who dislike or don’t need snooty sophistication. Lincolnshire is a huge county, it takes the best part of a winter day to cross it and return in daylight.
Dover and most airports are a similar drive for a Midlander. Cornwall is as far as Scotland, Wales coastline a slow plod after Shrewsbury. Lincs towns are increasingly immigrant with many eastern europeans who failed to return after the Blair years. Then there is the drugs problem. Bourne, Boston etc. The much vaunted EU investment initiatives forgot Lincs. The RAF are literally a spent force.
Skeggy will be ignored by Labour who aren’t working class any more, the ‘Tory’ businessmen will wait for the prices to drop until the gentrifying bulldozers move in and, like Norfolk, only become attractive to bird watchers and the second home brigade. Or Elon Musk builds a spaceport. The locals wouldn’t like that.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Living in Lincolnshire most of my adult life I’ve visited Skegness off and on for 50 years. It’s always been ‘kiss me quick’, a ‘fun’ place for those who dislike or don’t need snooty sophistication. Lincolnshire is a huge county, it takes the best part of a winter day to cross it and return in daylight.
Dover and most airports are a similar drive for a Midlander. Cornwall is as far as Scotland, Wales coastline a slow plod after Shrewsbury. Lincs towns are increasingly immigrant with many eastern europeans who failed to return after the Blair years. Then there is the drugs problem. Bourne, Boston etc. The much vaunted EU investment initiatives forgot Lincs. The RAF are literally a spent force.
Skeggy will be ignored by Labour who aren’t working class any more, the ‘Tory’ businessmen will wait for the prices to drop until the gentrifying bulldozers move in and, like Norfolk, only become attractive to bird watchers and the second home brigade. Or Elon Musk builds a spaceport. The locals wouldn’t like that.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Cheer up! More seaweed in St Tropez this last week, where I have just returned from … thank God.. has similar style and class to Skeggy…