Opinion · Random

POST #12: Is Britain Becoming Greater London?

The question that titles this post is an interesting one. There are a number of indicators found in maps and data around us that point to a ‘yes’ answer of the question; and in this blog post I’ll lay out a few my Dad and I discussed in the conversation that led to this post.

SIDENOTE: I’m writing this on a brand new laptop! Yayy! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.

So, in my opinion a good place to start with this would be the numbers. London has a population of well over 7 million – a lot of people! It’s followed by:

Birmingham – just over 1 million

Leeds – 730,000

Glasgow – 620,000

Sheffield – 530,000

Every single other city in Britain has a population of under 500 thousand. But it’s the 6 million person gap between our largest city, London, and our second largest, Birmingham, that I’d like to draw your attention to. Is this normal? Take the demographics of Germany’s largest cities. Although not Britain’s direct counterpart, it is fit enough for the purpose of this.

Berlin – 3.5 million

Hamburg – 1.7 million

Munich – 1.2 million

Cologne – 960,000

You see here four cities much closer in size to each other than Britain’s population; we only have one major city, while Germany has three.

Transport is another telling factor. Here is a diagram of Britain’s trains:

IMG_1940

The main rail lines come out of London like spokes of a wheel. And at this wheel’s centre? Our capital.

If you look at a map of roads you find pretty much the same effect:

IMG_1938

All roads lead to… London?

These maps need to be delved into a bit more. Transport systems are built because people need to travel somewhere. A road would be pretty useless if no one wanted to use it. So therefore the need to travel into London from all over Britain is behind the transport system. Of course, we know that roads and trains do work both ways. But anyone who’s felt the discomfort of a tightly packed commuter train at 8:00 in the morning will know that masses of people commute into and out of London each day. The south of England seems to have become just the outer suburbs of the capital.

I admit I may be exaggerating this slightly. Britain is certainly not Greater London yet, however I do have a strong feeling that it’s heading that way. You would never hear any politician say this though, as the concept has a tendency to make all those not living in London feel excluded and secondary.

So the question is still just a question; and quite a random one at that.

Any thoughts?

FURTHER READING:

http://www.citymayors.com/gratis/uk_topcities.html

http://www.geonames.org/DE/largest-cities-in-germany.html

http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/dvc193/#sty=false&flow=flow0&period=0&fix=undefined&view=-120,-360,1280,1280&tr=-570.8091175752195,-728.5407484276022&sc=2.105262309418878   –  (This one’s a particularly good infographic for the number of commuters in a given area)

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5 thoughts on “POST #12: Is Britain Becoming Greater London?

  1. A most interesting Blog which should be read by every politician. If one takes the argument further by comparing the population density of the EU countries (ours is massively the greatest) then the case is made for our exit from the EU at the first possible opportunity. There is no point in waiting for the outcome of Mr Cameron’s lacklustre negotiations or for a referendum. The government must now stand up and govern.

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    1. Mr Anonymous, please write your name in the comments section! I’m afraid I would have to disagree with you in that I intended no political leaning for this post. In no way does it constitute as even part of an argument for ‘Brexit’ – however compelling you may feel the case otherwise to be.

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