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As a northerner living amongst southerners, I am only too aware of the concept of the apparent ‘North-South divide’. My neighbours from home, and admittedly myself, protest very loudly that we are not ‘Scousers’ and that Liverpool is across a rather large wall that takes the form of the River Mersey, and that in fact we are from the less well known Wirral (deemed ‘Posh Liverpool’ by Liverpudlians). Why is it that we do this? I certainly do not have any prejudices against my fellow northerners, or southerners for that matter, but why is it I fiercely deny having any connection with Liverpool?
In all fairness, I am not from Liverpool; Wirral is part of Merseyside which does include Liverpool, but I physically live on an insular peninsula, which is separated from Liverpool and North Wales by two expanses of water. However, having heard from the southerners I live with, one of whom is one of my best friends, as well as the views I have grown up with; Scousers carry certain stereotypes. In itself, Liverpool is one of the most notorious areas in the country; not just for its accent, but for the statistics it carries in crime rate, the amount of people on benefits, and rate of teenage pregnancy, being but a few of its most infamous legacies. Whilst for certain Liverpudlians these views may ring true, for many it does not, and whilst complaining loudly about the tag that the typical Scouser carries, I distance myself for this exact reason; I do not conform to the stereotype, so I do not want the tag that comes from the area. Despite not living in Liverpool, I am still classed as being a Liverpudlian and so gain the reputation. Is there really such a stereotype as we are made to think?
The classic image that southerners are stuck up, privately-educated, posh members of society, with more money than brains, versus the image of the northerners being poor, thick and rough, with no social mobility or aspirations for success, are very opposing images. Surely no educated person really thinks that all northerners or southerners are like this. The stereotypical views are associated with British society in the past; surely we have modernized to the extent where such labels are now null and void? London is a prime example of this; it is a melting pot of people from different backgrounds in terms of wealth, ethnicity, race, and profession, and it is the largest and most powerful city in the country. In reality, whilst people do have their presumptions on various areas of the country, most are not so single minded that they maintain these ideas once they have visited or learnt more about these areas. We students prove this; whilst many tend to apply to universities in near their home cities, many do travel far north or south in order to receive education. Surely this proves that the north-south divide is slowly being diminished?
In reality, whilst there is no doubt some prejudices will remain about the north and south by the other, it is clear that society is more open minded than it was. No-one really judges a person based on where they may come from; they may be the butt of mild teasing, but really, in the grand scheme of things, it could be a lot worse.