Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s suggestion of moving the Bank of England to Birmingham reminds me of an idea I had a while back:
… to take advantage of the Palace of Westminster’s imminent overhaul to evacuate it and move Parliament around, like the Cup Final while Wembley was being rebuilt. Peripatetic parliaments or king’s councils are not unprecedented. We had them in the early Middle Ages. Other countries still do. That way MPs could re-engage directly with the parts of Britain that feel distanced from Westminster today.
Meeting one year in Manchester, the next in Glasgow (not Edinburgh, given the local competition), another in Swansea, then in Newcastle or even Hull (UK City of Culture in 2017), they would see the shuttered-up shops, the desolation caused by deindustrialisation, as well as the many positive and promising aspects of provincial life. And national journalists would follow them, and report. I’m sure they could find enough big rooms to meet and debate in – even some that might remind them of their old home, such as Manchester Town Hall (a much better building than the Palace of Westminster). Getting away from London for a while could do Britain’s crumbling democracy a power of good. What’s to lose?
That was in https://bernardjporter.com/2015/01/09/peripatetic-parliaments/ – in connexion with the popular alienation from the ‘Westminster bubble’ which I felt (as an adopted Northerner) was partly responsible for the Brexit vote. I still think it’s a good idea. I see my original post has been taken up and quoted by others recently: for example, https://leftfootforward.org/2017/12/john-mcdonnell-said-parliament-could-move-out-of-london-and-why-not/.