The Third Leader: Not so grim

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The Independent Online

Northernness, we note, is to be a university subject. This is splendid news. Large numbers inhabiting other parts of these islands will be able to amuse themselves by remarking that this will complement the professional qualification long available in the area (Sir B Ingham, M Parkinson, F Flintoff, Ant, and, possibly, Dec).

They will then prolong their hilarity with syllabus suggestions: "Speaking As I Find"; "Chips, Literal and Metaphorical"; "You Think You Had It Tough?"; "Avian Navigation: Circular Patterns"; "Ferret Location"; "Doff and Toff: The History and Significance of Low Profiled Peaked Headwear, with Particular Reference to Precipitation and Grievance"; "How Much?".

Northerners, being a sophisticated people incapable of bearing grudges, and never happier than when providing entertainment, will enjoy it all as usual. As usual, they will be far too good-natured to point out some of the region's facets and contributions that don't conform to its conventional image: that's why the course is needed.

So I do hope the following are included: 1. There are more convertibles sold in Manchester annually than in all Spain. 2. Bill Haley's mum was from Ulverston. 3. Bognor Regis was founded by a Yorkshire hatter. 4. Jane Austen had a cousin from Wigan. 5. Mystic Meg is from Accrington. 6. Freud visited Blackpool. Twice. 7. The world's first man-powered flight took off near Scarborough in 1853. 8. The British Lawnmower Museum in Southport has one that was owned by Nicholas Parsons. 9. The Teasmade, the Jelly Baby, the crossword and the white line in the road are all Northern inventions. 10. Fosters Bakery of Barnsley delivers baguettes to Paris.

Thank you.