Sir: As Neil O’Brien (‘Planet London’, 14 April) rightly says, London is New York, Washington and LA rolled into one, which is unhealthy for our national politics. So I have a serious suggestion. If the House of Lords is going to be reformed in the next year, part of the reform should be to move it out of London to a city in the Midlands or the North, perhaps next to the relocated BBC in MediaCity in Salford Quays. Half our national politicians would then assemble well away from ‘Planet London.’ The public purse would make a net saving by selling the vast and expensive property portfolio the Lords has been acquiring to house its 850 members along Millbank and the surrounding streets. And yes, yours truly — a Londoner and proud of it — would be happy to lead the way.
House of Lords, London SW1
Sir: London hasn’t ‘left Britain behind’, any more than it had over a century ago when Disraeli called it a ‘nation not a city’. Neil O’Brien refers to Britain’s ‘governing class’ living in the capital — but almost all were born somewhere else. These are the ones who appreciate London the most (‘Maybe it’s because I’m not a Londoner that I love London so’). They retain strong family links in their home towns. London will stay tied to the rest of the country, as it always has been, a bond sometimes reflected in its architecture. The spaces between the iron columns in the Eurostar departure lounge at St Pancras are the width of three Bass beer barrels — the station was designed so the Midlands brewery could store its produce there before distribution around the capital.
Sir: I am responding to Anne Wareham’s attack (‘Please shut the gates’, 14 April) on the National Gardens Scheme, the charity I run.