Pining for the green, green Greggs of home

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The maddest person I ever met was a man from Devon – as crazy as clotted cream on toast but I have also come across quite a few dullards from Cornwall.

Some of the friendliest folk I have encountered were born within striking distance of the Bow Bells but I have had the misfortune of having dealings with a po-faced so and so from Putney.

Huge characters from Manchester, shy lasses from Stockport, egotists from Cardiff and wallflowers from Wrexham – I have met the lot and the one thing I can tell you is that you cannot define anybody’s character simply by where they come from.

Most sensible people, not those who would still like Jeremy Clarkson to be Prime Minister, understand nobody can seriously blame their idiosyncrasies on where they were born or brought up.

That was until the latest ‘most comprehensive’ social study yet which was billed as irrefutable proof that geography is one of the key influences of our personalities.

It was even deemed worthy enough of a prime spot on BBC Radio 4’s agenda setting Today programme, giving it an instant veneer of intellectual credibility

We were told the findings were compiled after 400,000 people took part in an online quiz when they were asked to answer questions which covered whether or not they were extroverts, if they were agreeable, conscientious, neurotic and open.

Asking people to answer questions about themselves as they stumble home from the pub, in between sending a drunken message to an old flame and checking to see if anybody has liked their Facebook status, is hardly a rigorous study but it is probably the only way researchers will be able to reach a potential audience of millions on the cheap. Even if respondents were not half cut at the time of taking part, how many people truly know themselves or are self aware enough to have recorded useful answers?

Far brighter people than I who have pored over the results insist people with similar personality traits are attracted to certain places. One of the three key reasons for this is that some people are drawn to certain places because it satisfies their psychological needs.

This is clearly nonsense because if this were the case I would be living in Disneyland next door to the world’s largest Greggs.