Our county loyalty is non-existent
PUBLISHED: 12:40 09 February 2007 | UPDATED: 22:33 28 May 2010
Ask around and it s easy to find someone proud of being British. In recent years, more and more folk have been keen to fly the English flag. In this area we have a tiger-like loyalty to the Fens. But when did you last hear someone boasting they were proud
Ask around and it's easy to find someone proud of being British. In recent years, more and more folk have been keen to fly the English flag.
In this area we have a tiger-like loyalty to the Fens. But when did you last hear someone boasting they were proud to come from Cambridgeshire?
The good people of Yorkshire and Lancashire are ferociously faithful to their counties. They even went to war against each other to determine whether the white or the red rose was the better.
Closer to home, Norfolk bors and gals champion their county - none less than the readers of this paper who live in Marshland, Norfolk's wild west frontier.
Norfolk does different but what's special about Cambridgeshire?
Even though historic Cambridge is our county town, we don't seem to think much of it. Perhaps it's because, for years, we thought of ourselves as living in the Isle of Ely, which more or less functioned as a county in its own right.
We went to Cambridge last week to see an old friend. Nobody in their right mind would try to park in Cambridge but the park-and-ride buses work brilliantly.
As it happens, we went by train from March, partly for the fun of travelling across the flooded Hundred Foot Washes and the sight of Ely Cathedral on a sunny morning.
Depending on your view, Cambridge is either very expensive or very prosperous. Our friend is renting a tiny mid-terrace house. It costs him £895 a month. We went into a café for mugs of tea: £1.40 per teabag.
But there's a new free bus service round the city centre.
The impact of Cambridge became clear when we got a rush-hour train home. Because they can't afford to live in the city, hundreds of people travel in and out of Cambridge daily.
March and Downham Market stations sell scores of tickets to both Cambridge and London commuters.
Wisbech could so easily have had part of the action. If the council had had the wit to subsidise a park-and-ride station on the derelict land where the old railway crosses the A47, the town might now have a direct train service into Cambridge - and Wisbech would have been as prosperous as Ely. Or, I suppose, as expensive.