Sunday, 30 August 2009
Michael Heseltine deserves acknowledgements and thanks for his role in promoting regionalism. The regional offices of Government are his legacy, and he also had a revitalising effect on Liverpool and Merseyside at their lowest ebb. He behaved with much more conviction than the supposed archetype of conviction politics, Margaret Thatcher, who did not offer him the support she could have done, in spite of coming from Lincolnshire, one of the most forgotten sub-regions of all. Like Tarzan himself, the book, Michael Heseltine, Life in the Jungle, is a bit of a beast, 560 pages long and weighing a ton, but it's a good read (and has plenty of other material about his enthusiastic life). Hodder & Stoughton 2000.
Another lively book which I've pillaged over the years is The Fight for Yorkshire by Michael Bradford, Hutton Press 1988, which is very good on Yorkshire's ambitions to conquer the world (or at least capture the final eight miles between the North Riding and the Irish Sea). Closer to the ground, Whose Town Is It Anyway? by Stuart Wilks-Heeg and Steve Clayton, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust 2006, is a very thorough analysis of voting and governance in Burnley and Harrogate which comes to a welcome, anti-centrist conclusion. The New Governance of the English Regions by Mark Sandford (Palgrave Macmillan 2005) is very thorough and brings things up to date.