Coffee House The Spectator Podcasts

The View from 22 — Broken Britain, Osborne on the up and Spectator says no to a state-licensed press

29 November 2012

1:05 PM

29 November 2012

1:05 PM

Has national politics in Britain given up on the North of England? In this week’s cover feature, director of Policy Exchange Neil O’Brien argues that very little is being currently done to effectively close the growing North-South divide. In the latest View from 22 podcast, Neil examines the historical attempts to close the gap and why they have failed:

‘There have been endless rounds of discussion about structural reforms. Lord Heseltine on his piece ‘No stone unturned’ proposes this huge reorganization of local government and the massive transfer of powers and money to City regions. I don’t think that’s going to happen whoever is in government. I think the thing I would try and do differently —and the reason why we’ve failed since the war to close the growing gap between North and South — is that a lot of what we tried to do has been going against the grain of the market than trying to work with it.

‘In the 1960s, we were doing extreme things to try and drive business to the North. Very crude things, like getting permission to expand in low unemployment areas. About 20 per cent of applications to expand in the South were being turned down by central government, which is a mad thing. It didn’t work, as it didn’t drive businesses elsewhere. It either stops things from happening or drives them into Europe. It didn’t work, the gap got bigger and people kept on flowing from North to South.’

Fraser Nelson also discusses our magazine leader on why the Spectator would say no to joining any state-backed press regulator that may be recommended in today’s Leveson report:

‘This is something all of us in the magazine feel quite strongly about. We’re sitting here recording the podcast in the archive of the Spectator, the walls lined with old Spectators. Our magazine, since its inception in 1828, has been vigorously in favour of press freedom and every time this has been suggested by the politicians — which is one every 25/30 years — we have knocked it on the head firmly and effectively.

‘The technology changes but the arguments effectively don’t. People misbehave and at the end of the day, do you respond by robbing them of their freedom or do you regard this as an ancient liberty to be cherished? As The Spectator has argued through the decades, press freedom is not there for the benfit of the press, it’s for the benefit of the public.’


And what is our guest’s verdict on the new Bank of England Governor Mark Carney? Listen with the embedded player below to why they believe his appointment might be the best decision George Osborne has made as Chancellor. You can also have the latest podcast delivered straight to your machine by subscribing through iTunes. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.

The View from 22 – 29 November 2012. Length 27:20
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Show comments
  • Conservativedoc

    @frasernelson you mentioned the BMA as a statutory body in the podcast.
    You seem to have confused the GMC (General Medical Council) which is the regulator for doctors with the BMA (British Medical Association) which is the doctors’ trade union.

    I agree that Cameron has done a good job of defending the press… so far

  • tomdaylight

    I’d like to flag up that I can’t get this to download on iTunes.

  • dalai guevara

    I have not had a chance to listen into the media feed, but is it time to discuss the advantages of federation states as a means to ease the pressures of centralisation? It is quite obvious that our nation is suffering from a bit of an off-balance, to put it mildly.

  • TomTom

    The North had Industry and Grammar Schools both of which were destroyed. There is no prospect of Northern England ever recovering it is more akin to the Harrowing of The North under the Normans. There is simply no longer the educational infrastructure for mass-education nor the transport infrastructure. The growth in manufacturing will be in Asia and Eastern Europe……..there is simply no solution other than splitting England into two separate nations because they have so little in common.

    • HooksLaw

      The North East will soon be producing more cars than the whole of Italy. Its not the Conservatives fault that they cannot produce a decent football team.

      • TomTom

        What does a Renault-Nissan factory in Sunderland have to do with matters ? NMUK employs 4500 out of a population of 284,000 and falling rapidly. The population of Northern England is c. 15 million. As for NMUK producing more cars than Italy so does Belgium and Czech Republic produces almost as many cars as UK. Meanwhile the North-South Divide…..

  • Wilhelm

    The ” free ” press never covered Jimmy Savile, it was ITV. The free press never investigated the Cyril Smith allegations or the Welsh children homes sex abuse, another Establishment cover up.

    Neathergate or MPs fiddling their expenses, it was internet bloggers and the taxpayers alliance.

    So quit squealing.

    • HooksLaw

      The free press never uncovered the Great Train Robbery plot.

  • Coffeehousewall

    You are in favour of a free press? Then why shut down the Coffee House Wall? Why ban long-term and faithful conservative commenters? Why fail to post something serious on Neather? Why fail to constantly challenge Government at every step?

    You don’t look or smell like a free press publication I am afraid. You look and smell like the Tory party tame newsletter. I can’t recall when anything deserving of the title of ‘free press’ has been published here in the last years.

    It is difficult not to imagine that you are speaking in favour of the free press because you have been told to do so by your very close friends in No. 10.