Today's columnist, Fraser Wilson: Why south needs to be dutiful

A spate of recent stories in the Star has only confirmed my realisation that, here in the (almost) north, we spend more time than ever before being ignored, patronised, taken advantage of, and lied to by besuited people who live a long way off and who wouldn't know a northern powerhouse if it slapped them in the face, or even if it '“ heaven forbid '“ reignited their country's economy with its huge labour, fourth-sector, and cultural resources.

Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 9:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 10:38 am
Fraser Wilson, musical director of Albion choir, who is organising a music event to celebrate the Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire

Quite apart from last week’s decision to close Sheffield’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills office, and move some 250 jobs to a minor outpost of civilisation in the south called – London, is it? – there just seems to be a lack of commitment towards real people leading normal lives in a good-intentioned and reasonable way.

Not that we in the lowly provinces should pay attention to what happens in a real city, but elements of the London mayoral election campaign were truly barrel-scraping and, I just hope, a low-water mark from which everyone will want to row back towards civilisation.

The Brexit/Bremain nightmare is a case in point. I can only hope that you feel more reliably and impartially informed about this actually-quite-significant decision than I do.

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I feel muddied, misled, and repelled by the ongoing circus of outlandish claim and counter-claim, Hitler-Third-World-War-Martian-invasion scaremongering, and ridiculous macho posturing by all and sundry.

At the moment my choice seems to be a protest vote against either Cameron’s oleaginous complacency or Boris Johnson’s calculatedly chaotic circus act.

Can’t we find a way, with just over three weeks to go, of discussing this as a positive decision – whichever way we as a country choose to step – towards taking more control of our own destiny?

Our leading politicians, with their vested interests and nasty soundbites, are unlikely to help us.

You might have seen our local MP valiantly raising the BIS business in the House of Commons last week, to a predictably empty response from the decisionmakers.

The braying and brinkmanship in our national parliament is intended to distract us from one sad point: that big politics in our time is rarely about getting things done for the common good.

It has become an irresistible chance to amass and demonstrate power, and to decide in favour of the few against the many.

I believe we can and will change this, whether we’re in or out in a month’s time.