North vs South is no longer the burning issue

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There are many things that play on my mind, although these burning issues normally revolve around food related topics.

But when I am not planning the following day’s lunch while in the middle of that night’s tea I can, occasionally, be troubled by thoughts that some may consider to be deep. For instance I recently had a sleepless night fretting over whether or not the SNP will cease to exist if they achieve their ultimate goal of an independent Scotland. After all what else will there be left for them to do?

Clearly my forensic grasp on all things political would be a burden on even the greatest of intellectuals so usually I worry myself with questions such as how did pale-faced teenagers make friends before the internet? Typically I ‘resolve’ an issue and move on very quickly but there is one recurring issue which has taxed me on and off for the past two decades. Who are friendliest, southerners or northerners? True, I cannot see this topic being debated in Parliament but it is a question which isn’t as easy to answer as some might think. If one was to attempt to settle the argument by comparing the north and south and its residents by watching back to back episodes of Manchester’s warm and funny Coronation Street and London’s terminally grim EastEnders then it would be a quick debate. But, fortunately, we don’t live in either Wetherfield or Walford and things are not as clear cut in the real world. I ask the question as when I moved from the north west to coastal West Sussex in my teens it was just assumed that I was leaving the milky bosom of human kindness for a harder more cynical world. I was warned that if I was to engage a complete stranger on a bus in Hampshire, like I often did on the 192 in Stockport, then I would be stabbed to death with a pearl hair pin. And I was also counselled against asking anyone Down South for the time as this would be tantamount to harassment. In truth I did find the move a tough one, but mainly because I was apart from good friends and a proper steak and kidney pudding and nothing to do with how friendly or not the locals were. True there are some regional characteristics which shine through such as the fact the vast majority of southerners I know, unlike us northern folk, would not idly strike up a conversation with strangers. But I don’t equate this reluctance as being unfriendly, in fact I have always argued that, in general, northerners are just far more nosey. Even though I have since moved ‘home’ and have spent three quarters of my life Oop North I am certainly not a professional northerner who believes anyone south of Watford is a shandy drinking softy. There are real differences between the regions and their people, which is what makes these little islands of ours so interesting, but socially, at least, I have seen the North/South divide melt away over the past 20 years.