I had a good chuckle at this story in the Guardian this morning on the new slogan of the North West Regional Development Agency — It’s Grim Down South!.

(Having moaned about not getting the jokes on American sites, I should point out to the Stateside visitors that the phrase “It’s Grim Up North” has long been used by southerners as a derogatory way to describe the industrial regions of Lancashire and Yorkshire. So this new slogan is irony, OK?! )

Being a good-humoured bunch, Northerners have long since ‘reclaimed’ the phrase Its Grim Up North of course – take a look at what the strange pop group The Justified Ancients of Mumu did a few years ago – and the reaction of a Northern politician.

Apart from the rather dodgy “selling point” of lower labour costs in the North-West, the list of benefits to businesses in relocating to the region, pointed out by the NWRDA to the Confederation of British Industry conference in Manchester, is pretty impressive – cheaper rent, cheaper child care, less transport hassle etc – and I can think of another that might make more of a real impact on the decision-makers – better beer.

Just an idea for Tony – if he is so keen on cutting, sorry modernising, public services why not move the government up North?

Fat chance though, as apparently the PM, who pretends to be a Northerner occassionaly, recently described our great tourist resort Blackpool, venue for Labour Party conferences for decades, as “not very New Labour” – and people wonder why it is still so popular?