Who fancies explaining to me the North South divide?

(83 Posts)
Dogsandbabies Sun 20-Dec-20 07:04:32

Foreigner here. Increasingly, (amplified by this government's hideous local response to the covid pandemic) I see people joining in at bashing southerners a northerners.

Why is that? Why is there such a divide? And what drives it? Reading here it seems to be mainly directed at southerners so I was wondering what you think drives it.

OP’s posts: |
inquietant Sun 20-Dec-20 07:18:17


Lots of info about this online. Threads about this often descend into arguments sad

Don't most nations have a capital vs. provinces debate?

FippertyGibbett Sun 20-Dec-20 07:23:35

It’s not really a North/South divide, it’s whether you like gravy on your chips or not.
And why wouldn’t you 🙄

Dogsandbabies Sun 20-Dec-20 07:29:49

Thanks @inquietant this answers some of my question. I do understand the differences just not the overt anger. I have lived in Greece and France and although I am sure it exists in other countries it isn't as profound.

I guess you are right on the argument front. As this isn't my intention I may ask HQ to remove the thread.

OP’s posts: |
giletrouge Sun 20-Dec-20 07:35:04

But if you keep the thread going and people argue on it, this will give you an illustration of and therefore insight into the anger, which is what you want, right?

Myothercarisalsoshit Sun 20-Dec-20 07:37:45

What drives it? Economics - investment / jobs concentrated in the South East and the North left to rot. More prevalent in the Thatcher era, when traditional working class industry was dismantled (steel, mining) and whole communities were effectively killed off. Massive inequality in council budgets where traditional Labour councils have been cut to the absolute bone. The perception that if you're from 'oop North' you're somehow a bit thick with a flat cap and a whippet.

Myothercarisalsoshit Sun 20-Dec-20 07:39:31

Look at the North / South divide in Italy. It's more profound but reversed.


BigGreen Sun 20-Dec-20 07:41:20

At the crux of it, is the fact that London gets so much more investment (eg in infrastructure) than other regions. Since London generates a larger chunk of tax revenue (or did, idk what's happening now w COVID) it's been an easy choice for governments to invest. Arguably this then creates a feedback loop where a better equipped London generates more because it's better equipped.

This and Cameron's Tory government made promises to "level up" the "Northern Powerhouse" but this didn't happen. There's a huge legacy of deindustrialisation from the Tory Thatcher years where towns and cities were just wasted. There's a whole historical backstory about how the London based government governs and for whom.

The government is also made up of an extremely rich elite which most of the U.K. can't relate to. So when some people bash Londoners they mean the London-centric government.

And there's also the fact that London has always considered itself a "world city" and ultra cool. So we may come off as twats who think we are better than others.

Myothercarisalsoshit Sun 20-Dec-20 07:43:23

Not you @BigGreen. You sound great.

BigGreen Sun 20-Dec-20 07:46:16


GanninDoonDoon Sun 20-Dec-20 07:50:37

There are culturally a lot of differences between the north and the south, but the anger comes from the way London and the southeast is treated compared to the rest of the country (the north but also the Midlands and the south west). There is a perception that London is prioritised over the rest of the country.

The politicians let London and the southeast stay in tier 2 when cases where rising and the situation got so bad that they had to invent a whole new tier in the space of five days. This wouldn't have been allowed elsewhere. And everyone knows a lot of people living in London leave the city for Christmas, so although London might be able to cope with higher infection levels (because it has better funded hospitals than other places) at Christmas there was always going to be Londoners coming back to "the provinces" hmm as they call us. And this was seen as ok.

AuntieMarys Sun 20-Dec-20 07:51:27

I am Northern but lived in the south for nearly 40 years.
I now live among Northern folk who have never been to London but slag it off continually.

KaptainKaveman Sun 20-Dec-20 07:55:04

The South is London centric; people see themselves as cultured, well spoken and cosmopolitan. They view Northerners as uncultured Bresxit voting philistines who can't speak properly and work down the pits except there aren't any pits now thanks to the Tories.

Northerners see themselves as the salt of the earth, hard working, long suffering, the heart of industry. They perceive Southerners to be effete, pretentious virtue signalling lentil eating over paid lefties who all live in million pound houses and vote labour because they can afford to.

There, that pretty much crystallises the stereotypes for you. HTH.

ChristmasTreeFairy5000 Sun 20-Dec-20 07:58:16

Money. Money. Money.

There is also the small matter of Wales, Scotland and Ireland who just hate the English. HTH.

Myothercarisalsoshit Sun 20-Dec-20 07:58:37

AuntieMarys as opposed to the soft Southerners who bang on about speaking 'the Queen's English' and think us Northern folks are a bunch of rampaging, wode painted, pie eating unsophisticates?

inquietant Sun 20-Dec-20 08:01:10

I don't think you have to pull the thread because of arguments, just brace yourself grin

I think this pandemic is going to both reveal and worsen existing inequalities - so the strength of feeling will increase.

GanninDoonDoon Sun 20-Dec-20 08:01:33

"rampaging, wode painted, pie eating unsophisticates"

@Myothercarisalsoshit you should pitch this slogan to a northern tourist board, it's perfect

Myothercarisalsoshit Sun 20-Dec-20 08:03:27

Thanks Gannin I am quite proud of it!

TokyoSushi Sun 20-Dec-20 08:05:01

What @BigGreen and @KaptainKaveman said.

It's the fact that so much investment goes to London and things aren't allowed to happen there that they couldn't give a toss if they went on in the North. Its often the case that unless something bad happens in London, no action is taken. It's also the perception that London/Southerners are somewhat superior with highly paid jobs and expensive houses, and access to 'all the things.' Whereas us northerners are a bit thick, salt of the Earth and just generally not as good.

inquietant Sun 20-Dec-20 08:05:23

They view Northerners as uncultured Bresxit voting philistines when in reality there are uncultured Brexit-voting philistines in every region grin

umpteennamechanges Sun 20-Dec-20 08:05:33

The real anger compared to other countries stems from the Thatcher era IMO.

As a PP says the industries that Northern towns depended on were purposefully decimated in the 1980s with very little support to retrain or incentives for other types of employment.

The result was catastrophic. I really can't articulate how bad things were. Generations of the same communities all out of work at the same time with very little hope of alternative employment.

At the same time massive investment into services in London (banking, insurance, etc) were happening around London. Lots of power suited 'yuppies' as they were called then making obscene money in the City and spanking it on all sorts of shite.

Obviously this wasn't the average Southerner but the stereotyping in the media stuck.

Now most wouldn't associate their views with this period but IMO it's where the anger came from and has passed down a generation or so particularly due to the ongoing lower investment in the North, the London centric media and politicians, etc.

It doesn't help that anyone who hasn't ventured beyond their own regions clings to stereotypes as though they are actually true. There is a grain of truth in the stereotypes of both sides but equally a lot of utter bollocks.

I say this as someone who grew up in the North until 22 and then has lived in the Home Counties and worked in London since then.

OhCormoranAllYeFaithful Sun 20-Dec-20 08:06:57


Money. Money. Money.

There is also the small matter of Wales, Scotland and Ireland who just hate the English. HTH.


RandomMess Sun 20-Dec-20 08:08:43

I'm a northerner, lived in London and Home Counties for 20+ years and then came back to a different area.

They are different!

The metrics they used to measure value for money for investment has been based on house prices for years shockconfused so it's been a self fulling prophecy that SE gets more investment therefore pushing up house prices...

There is a much starker contrast in the SE between the wealthy and poor within the same town/area it can be really impossible to improve your standard of living due to rent/house prices.

inquietant Sun 20-Dec-20 08:10:38

Also inequality and relative poverty gap is wider in the UK than other European countries. Widen the gap and the anger increases. UK poverty gap is large, and is this way through political choice.

kirktonhouse Sun 20-Dec-20 08:21:42

The North provides food, makes things and provides power. The South sit in offices and talk about providing food, making things and use the power.

To be honest I think it's more of a rural/urban thing. The South/Urban is very full of people, even in the countryside there's houses everywhere. There seems to be a house in every corner of every field if you're within a couple of hours of London. There's a lot of people in a small space and most have lost touch with growing and making.

The North/rural has far more space, miles and miles of it growing and making. It's a very different feel to the sprawling towns and villages of the South.

There are bits of rural North in the Urban South, and vice versa, but that's how I see the split.

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