Monday, 29 September 2008
Distribution (?) of Wealth
I'm on the way back from another trip to London, which included a very enjoyable visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum. John and I were impressed with its vastness, the elegance of the building and the sheer number of curios and treasures there. What makes London so fascinating to visit is the richness (in more senses than one) of the culture there.
When you consider that the V&A is just one of London's museums and that there's also the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery - to name just a few - then it starts to dawn on you how many hundreds of millions of pounds of public money have been (and continue to be) lavished on London, to the detriment of other parts of the country. I know that London has its grim Council Estates and higher property prices, but the arguably greater social problems and higher gun and knife crime than the North must, if anything, be evidence that money spent on a region doesn't automatically "trickle down" to the poorest people and bring a higher quality of life.
In these circumstances, you have to ask if the billions spent on London (again) for the 2012 Olympics wouldn't be better spent somewhere like Bristol, Manchester or even Newcastle. Never mind the utter tripe of the recent "Abandon the North" proposal by "Policy Exchange" and the complete non-sequitur that seemed to be its basis - isn't it time that taxpayers up north got a fair share of the country's wealth, in a genuine attempt by politicians to decentralise wealth and power from London?