If you’re not from the UK then the North-South divide here in England is a difficult thing to explain.
On paper it makes no sense, our country is smaller than some US states, we’re bonded by a common language and we live in a modern nation where travel between regions is quick and easy.
And yet, as anyone from these literal polar opposites will tell you, there are massive differences between the top and bottom of England.
Where does the north start? Tune in to #r4today tomorrow for a full discussion from @getnorth2018 where @MishalHusainBBC will be presenting from. Here's what @profmarktj thinks… "My map is a northern area defined as being ‘not London’, outside London’s sphere of influence" pic.twitter.com/cMQovStN7Q
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) June 22, 2018
As a proud Northerner, I can tell you that the South is a desolate place where they don’t put gravy on chips, talk in funny accents and everything’s too expensive.
Meanwhile, my Southern colleagues reliably inform me that the North is a desolate place where we drown everything in gravy, talk in weird accents an everything’s worryingly cheap.
And yet, according to one controversial professor, the lines between North and South are more blurred than anyone realised.
Mark Tewdwr-Jones, a professor of town planning at Newcastle University, has redrawn the traditional border of the South to include a number of major northern cities including Sheffield, Leeds and the capital of the North, Manchester.
Jones claimed on Radio 4’s Today programme that these cities shouldn’t be classed as northern because they’re influenced so much by the capital.
There are several ways you could define a northern region – but perhaps the most pertinent question is where does London end?
My map is a northern area defined as ‘not London,’ where London’s sphere of influence extends over most of the country – determined by two-hour commuting patterns which is becoming the norm.
Jone’s admitted that his map was meant to be provocative but he claims we need to rethink what constitutes the North and adopt a more ‘nuanced’ view of the divide.
As you’d expect from a nation divided by gravy preference and a commute that can be completed in less than a day people weren’t happy with this new North-South divide and took to Twitter to voice their concerns and /or mock the new map.
North/South divide if you come from London (and are feeling generous) pic.twitter.com/nsq0zCKFGY
— Grundy. (@GrundyOxford) June 22, 2018
All this north south divide stuff is trash
— Dan (@DpDormouse) June 22, 2018
This is the exact location of the north/south divide. The midlands are a myth pic.twitter.com/bdUSyiyqVU
— Adam (@AdamJones1995) June 22, 2018
The new map’s a controversial theory but there’s another far more outlandish one that’s bound to upset anyone from south of Crewe so if you’re of a sensitive disposition you may want to look away now.
According to writer and journalist Stuart Maconie, there is no South of England.
Now before you start hammering angry messages about how it definitely does because you’re there now Stuart’s not being literal.
What he means is that the South doesn’t exist in the same way the North exists, because it doesn’t have a defined character that everyone agrees with.
There is no south of England… There’s a bottom half of England… but there isn’t a south in the same way that there’s a north. There’s no conception of the south comparable to the north.
Good or bad, ‘the north’ means something to all English people wherever they hail from… to southerners it means desolation, arctic temperatures, mushy peas, a cultural wasteland with limited shopping opportunities and populated by aggressive trolls.
To northerners it means home, truth, beauty, valour, romance, warm and characterful people, real beer and decent chip shops.
It’s a controversial notion but do you agree with Stuart Maconie?
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