Beating the Bounds

18 Apr

Largely owing to a commitment with BUNAC, I went up to Manchester this weekend, marking the first time I’d been north of the Watford Gap in nearly a decade. And to be frank, it shattered all my predispositions. While I visited my family in Knutsford, the Tatton constituency of George Osborne and an apparent Conservative stronghold, it is easy to assume the North is the pro-Labour, industrialised, terraced and city-bound cousin of the perceptively affluent and white-collar Conservative South, especially to an incredibly Southern, grammar educated history student such as myself, whose only real experiences of the North stem from the categorized and stereotypical Jane Austen novels, Coronation Street and thick regional accents.

While I’m sure it works the opposite way, this stereotype was destroyed by my stay in Manchester. It’s actually a very vibrant city, dotted with stunning architecture and a plethora of interesting and easy going pubs and bars, surrounded by some pretty gorgeous countryside. A night out on the town on Saturday happened to be one of the best in a long while, sandwiched in between an electric atmosphere for the football on Saturday and Sunday. Incidentally the last ten minutes of the Arsenal and Liverpool match were some of the most frantic and incredible football I’ve ever seen.

So the hat is off to you, Northern England. Perhaps time will begin to close the North-South divide more fully, as people integrate and break down the stereotypes and social barriers.

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