One of the first things that attracted me to the Blue Sky job advertisement was that it was a PR job outside of London, an unknown entity on most job boards. The vast majority of graduate positions in PR and in most other professions seem to be based in the capital and having experience of commuting in from Hertfordshire in the past, I decided this wasn’t for me.
Don’t get me wrong, my feelings for the city haven’t quite reached Alan Partridge levels yet; London is an incredible place with amazing opportunities and diversity. But so are many other British cities and they don’t receive anywhere near the attention that London does. Nick Clegg has even suggested that the capital is becoming a city state, and that this London-centricity is costing us £41bn a year.
This focus on the capital at the expense of the rest of the country could be attributed to the fact that the national media is predominantly city based and even more London focused. The Guardian, for example, has a blog called ‘The Northerner’ as if to show how out of place the region is in a national newspaper.
Or it could be down to the fact that London provides the home for British politics. I’m not suggesting that parliament should be moved to Doncaster, but that the rest of the country should be appreciated in the same way that London is. In the media, politically and culturally London is focused on to the detriment of the rest of the UK. The Independent has claimed that spending on arts in the capital is £62.50 per head compared to the rest of the country which gets £3.60 each.
Businesses relocating to other parts of the UK could only be beneficial to the country and could give a much-needed economic boost to a number of regions. The BBC move to Salford has proved that large organisations can operate just as well outside of London and for a cheaper rate, so why don’t more do it?
England and the UK as a whole has so much to celebrate. The North West has set the benchmark in terms of football, while Yorkshire alone would have finished 12th in the 2012 Olympics medal table. The Beatles are from Liverpool, Oasis from Manchester and Black Sabbath from Birmingham and that’s only music and sport. Some of the greatest inventions and innovations to have left these shores have come from cities and towns scattered across Britain and it seems unfair that they’re given less attention than London politically and in the mainstream media.
It looks like David Cameron agrees, and said earlier this month he hopes the £42bn HS2 will bring the country together and breach the north-south divide and in turn the London-centricity of England. I certainly hope so, BlueSky is living proof that not all good things are in London.