It seems to be a bit of a sport these days to paint the North East as a bit of a difficult area, with the differing authorities at logger heads and each secretly scheming up plans at the others’ expense yet this is a picture that is far from true.
Yes, we do have our issues. Just as in a family we have disagreements but that does not mean that we don’t fundamentally get on. The region is littered with excellent examples of how the various stakeholders work well together. Take the Digital Durham programme, for example which is a consortium of two different combined authorities, two different local enterprise partnerships and ten different local authorities across two separate contracts. It is working very well and has delivered ahead of expectations.
Dynamo is another case in point, where the private, learning and public sectors have come together to build a positive united front that is reaping dividends in the way that we are perceived outside of our own immediate terrain.
Or how about the 5G consortium we are building to develop a massive test bed across the region. This could not be done if things were that broken. There are too many examples of exciting and innovative work to mention.
This isn’t going to stop the naysayers though. It is easy to feel a victim sometimes. People will always gripe and there will always be those willing to listen and willing to make mileage out of what they hear. It is up to us then, those of us who live here and are committed to the region to counteract these negative stories. We need to listen to the good in a Pollyanna sort of way. By looking for the good we will see it. Recognise the bad and project the good.
The North East is a great place to live and work, with great people and innovative ideas. We do get along and work collaboratively. We have diversity of ideas and approaches. These are the stories that we should tell.