The Guardian recently published an article in which the majority of respondents to a “survey” claimed they would leave the midlands if widespread broadband Internet access enabled them to work from home. Here is the letter I sent in reponse. A link to the original article can be found beneath.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I write in relation to your front-page article of 26/08/09 headed – Home is where the heart is – unless it’s in the Midlands
A few years ago my wife and I considered moving our family to the South West of England as my internet-based job would allow this. We subscribed to a local newspaper in our preferred area. Looked at houses. Jobs for my wife. Schools for the kids. However, after much deliberation we decided against the move.
Property prices made an idyllic country cottage or house overlooking the harbour impossible. Transport infrastructure, journey times and the pressures of everyday life would likely make evening strolls on the beach the exception rather than the rule.
In Birmingham we have front-door to city centre in 20 minutes by local rail service. The city has a considerable cultural heritage, with art galleries, libraries, theatres, and a thriving local music scene, and there are a huge range of activities and attractions elseshwere in the region.
While it may not initially seem the most desirable of locations, as our children grow up Birmingham – and the midlands in general – offers a wealth of opportunities, and in truth no less exposure to drugs and crime than their counterparts in the South West.
The dream of a better life enabled by the internet is undoubtedly an appealing one, but the reality is unlikely to result in a genuine change of lifestyle for all but the most affluent.