The Northern Question explores how successive British governments of different political persuasions have consistently ignored the needs of the North of England in favour of London and the South.
It is a well-researched book with a distinct left-wing bias: Hazeldine has little good to say for any political leader except saintly Jeremy Corbyn.
The Northern Question is particularly good on how, once the North of England came into the ascendant during the Industrial Revolution, northern businessmen gradually relocated south to gain the political influence and amenities they lacked in the North. So, even though industries arose in the North, their headquarters tended to end up in the South. When recessions hit, these southern headquarters looked after themselves by reining in their northern ‘offshoots’.
In more recent years, post empire, British politicians have consistently given priority to maintaining London’s high profile in the international financial markets, courting investment from abroad as a sop to the industrial North. But these foreign investors also tend to withdraw their investments in times of financial difficulty.
In other words, over the years, the North of England has become something akin to an overflow car-park, receiving business when there is plenty to go around, but left derelict when demand falls.
An interesting, but depressing book.