Birmingham hosted a two-hour cabinet meeting today, the first time the British Government has met outside London or Chequers since 1921.
In fact, according to the Telegraph, the leader of the opposition was also in Birmingham today to make a Panorama programme. It has not been nearly ninety years since the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister were both in Birmingham though; this event last happened earlier this year and appears to be slightly more common than previously thought.
What is the reason for the cabinet meeting being held outside London? I think privately Labour realise just how damaging the Conservatives decision to hold their 2008 Autumn conference in the city could be to them electorally. While Labour will have held two conferences in Manchester, by the time the Conservative party conference takes place later this month, they have yet to visit Brum except for the Spring Conference earlier this year.
I do not think it is a bad thing for the government to get outside the capital. Indeed, one of my biggest complaints about the way the UK is run is the fact that our over centralized country is run by diktat by a Westminster bubble. Will a day trip, or series of day trips, from our ruling elite to the rest of the country really change that? I doubt it; what we need is more decentralization and decisions being made by people who actually live in and understand the area they are responsible for.