A panoramic photograph of Malham Cove in North Yorkshire.

Mostly Right but Badly Wrong.

The Economist got it wrong on the North of England but we all share the blame. A response to this article & this leader.

London journalists writing about the North of England are a bit like Ken Clarke talking about different types of rape; however well-intentioned, their opinions are tarnished by the prejudices of their predecessors. I imagine that this is as frustrating for the journalists in question as it is to me. It is sadly true.

The article made accurate observations and sensible suggestions. The accompanying headline and leader did not. Sure enough, Northerners queued up to be uselessly offended. Meanwhile powerful voices in the London media lept to the defence of their colleagues.

Nothing was debated and nothing was learned in the exchanges that followed. It didn't have to be like this.

The North of England is increasingly vibrant and intellectual. It is decreasingly paralysed by the memory of a now-buried Prime Minister. We can learn from London's newspapers where they are right, and call them out when they are wrong.

Where The Economist was right.

Where The Economist was wrong.

How to stop the outrage and start making progress.


The two Britons who've most understood modern media best did so away from the old media in London. Pete Cashmore founded mashable in Aberdeen. Mike Little co-founded WordPress in Stockport. The Economist would be trusted more on Britain if part of it was written by people living in the Britain it covers. It's great up here and The Economist should join the party. The North needs to get ready to welcome them when they do.