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You can't force us to love Luton!

PUBLISHED: 11:59 31 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

THIS week we had the much-hyped launch of the attempt to develop a regional identity for the East of England.

That's a totally pointless waste of time.

THIS week we had the much-hyped launch of the attempt to develop a regional identity for the East of England.

That's a totally pointless waste of time. There is no identity for the East of

England – it's an artificial creation of London bureaucrats who have probably never been further east than Canary Wharf!

There is an East Anglian regional identity – but East Anglia is a much smaller area than this artificial creation. In Ipswich we have a relationship with Norwich, Colchester and Cambridge.

It may be good or bad – Norwich is a great city, with a wonderful castle, a tremendous cathedral, a top-rate theatre and it's only 40 miles from the best football club in the world.

Colchester clings on to its Roman heritage because little has happened there since the legions left – but it's okay these days because the by-pass means you don't have to drive through the town to reach its wonderful zoo.

And Cambridge is the region's swotty cousin that we all despise but would secretly love to emulate because it's so successful.

But we have no relationship with places like Luton, Peterborough, Basildon, Stevenage, or Hatfield that are also in the East of England.

You can't blame the East of England Development Agency, which is behind the attempt to create a regional identity, for the area it covers – that was decreed by Westminster bureaucrats.

But you can blame it for spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on trying to create a relationship that simply doesn't exist.

At its launch, we soon got into a slanging match between different towns and cities – someone from Cambridge moaned that the city didn't feature enough in the launch, others said the whole thing was too Cambridge-orientated.

Trying to create an East of England regional identity is like trying to fix up an arranged marriage in a culture which simply doesn't accept them.

Earlier this week EEDA was putting an advert in a national newspaper for a "regional cultural facilitator."

Apparently it's a joint appointment with Living East – another government quango trying to tell us we've got cultural links with strange places we've never been to.

But when I contacted someone at EEDA to ask what a "regional cultural facilitator" was, she didn't know either.

All we do know is that this appointment will eat up £26,266 of taxpayers' money a year. Isn't life great!

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