Opinion: I'm serious. Bring the world's leaders to Norfolk and Suffolk
- Credit: Denise Bradley
After two decades in journalism, it's fair to say I probably consume the news differently to most people.
Some days, especially during the pandemic, it will be an almost constant companion as I try to make sure I'm on top of the ever changing landscape.
On others it can all feel a bit too much and, once the working day is over, I'll actively do what I can to avoid more news and concentrate on something a bit lighter.
Even I'd admit it's important at the moment to not overdo your news consumption, something which is hard to do when you are the editor of a newspaper.
One other thing I, and no doubt other journalists, naturally do is quickly scan stories for an angle relevant to them and their respective audience - and then quickly move on to something else if there isn't a line that can be developed locally.
So when I saw a headline on the BBC this weekend which read 'World leaders to head to seaside for UK summit' I clicked on the story more out of hope than expectation. I'm sure if this was to be tale about Great Yarmouth hosting such a world leading event - someone would have informed us as well.
What I quickly learned was that the leaders of the world's biggest economies will head, not to the glorious east, but to Cornwall this summer for the G7 summit, which will include important discussions on debt, climate change and post-Covid recovery.
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But rather than switch off and head to another story, I kept on reading. And with each line I read, it increasingly dawned on me this was actually a story of immense relevant to readers in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Cornwall the "perfect location for such a crucial summit". Visit Cornwall, meanwhile, estimated the county will make £50m, with the summit providing a boost to tourism and the area's international profile.
So what has this got to do with Norfolk and Suffolk, I hear you ask? So much, I believe.
As discussions grow over how the East best comes out of the pandemic and recovers from the devastating economic impact, this story highlights just how highly we need to strive so that Norfolk, Suffolk and its people can fully benefit from the potential we have here on our doorstep.
Is there anyone out there, nationally or locally, who would have seriously considered Norfolk and Suffolk to be the location for the G7 summit? Did we even bid for such an event to come here in the first place?
If not, then why not? I'm entirely biased, but I fail to see what Cornwall has to offer to the leaders of the world, which this region couldn't also provide.
The big difference is, we still have an inferiority complex.
I would compare Cornwall to the person we all knew at school who appeared to have it all. The looks, the knowledge, the sporting prowess and the confidence to make the most of it. We, on the other hand, are the child who potentially has it all, but was just too crippled by shyness to make the most of it.
And that has to change. I've nothing against Cornwall, but I'm fed up with them getting the attention, when we offer so much as well. Why shouldn't the world's leaders come to Norfolk and Suffolk for such an event? Why shouldn't they stay in one of our grandest hotels, visit our beaches and when the debates are over take a boat on the Broads?
Heck, I'll even treat them to a ride on the Joyland Snails.
The United Kingdom will host the G7 again in seven years. The campaign for it to come to us starts right here, right now...
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