Regional strength


I hate to be negative about the region in which I live yet sometimes a bit of reflection is good for all of us. It helps to address the problems we face even though the one I am about to talk about is well entrenched and long standing. I have mentioned it on several occasions and that is the issue of inter city and town rivalry.

The North East is a small region. As my friend Bob Paton used to say, you can put your arms around it. There are somewhere between two and three million people depending upon whether you include the seven local authorities or twelve.

We need to work together to compete on a global or even just a national stage, we are just too small to be divided, yet we spend a lot of our time bickering amongst our neighbours. I say we but this is mostly at a political level. It gets so bad at times that Newcastle should change its motto from ‘Fortifer Defendit Triumphans (Triumph through brave defence), to ‘Non enim Sunderland’ (we are not Sunderland) and vice versa.

We need to recognise that whatever happens in Gateshead, or Wallsend or Ashington, or Bishop Auckland is good for the region. Jobs going to Sunderland is not a loss for Newcastle as many of the people who work there may indeed live north of the Tyne. We should celebrate success in whatever authority it lands and we should collaborate to bring jobs to the region rather than compete against each other.

By all means talk about Darlington or Gateshead or Durham but please can you do so in the context of the North East. After all, the North East Chamber of Trade says there are 50 great reasons to do business in the region, grouped into 7 themes; connectivity, value, innovation & diversity, great people, lifestyle, export and sustainability. There is plenty enough competition elsewhere to worry about competing against each other. Let’s celebrate them all together.

4 thoughts on “Regional strength

  1. Wholeheartedly agree- would have preferred picture of Bamburgh or some other local landmark other than the USA keeping in with the regional theme. Vital to represent a united front to encourage economic regeneration against current competition

  2. I’d consider myself an economic regionalist like you. ( good article btw)
    My Grandafs obituary recorded in the Chronicle rererrenced his love for Newcastle and Sunderland FC.
    County Durham is a big county. I disagree with the arms around it idea. Get actoss the vast empty hills of weardale or up to Lordenshore in Northumberland National park, we have vast land spaces, a dispersed population. Spread wide. Two big rivers; two big rivals. River, rival: same language root.
    So, embrace the obvious rivalry I say. Banter is good, the odd flake takes it too seriously. Or gets overwhelmingly sad for a one northern united nation via a sensitive disposition.

    1. Thanks for reading and your comments. I love the one about river and rival! I’m happy with rivalry at a football etc level but not when it comes to the economy. We should consider other regions as competition at that level.

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