IMAGINE being in a job interview and being asked in detail about your sexual orientation, any past mental health issues, or whether you intend to have children in the near future. This does happen sometimes, but it is unlawful, discriminatory and very much frowned-upon.

Sexism, racism, homophobia and disability discrimination have no place in the workplace – or anywhere else, for that matter – and the laws of the land are designed to prevent prejudice in these fields.

But there is a different kind of discrimination which goes unchecked, unnoticed, and it is reinforced subconsciously as well as overtly every single day.

Someone I know decided to go for a job in London. She secured an interview, but found that she was grilled extensively about whether she had actually worked in London before. It didn’t matter a jot – she was more than qualified for the job – but there was an unwritten policy at the employer that they really only approved of people who had worked in the big smoke.

Provincial discrimination goes completely unchecked.

There is a snobbery towards people who, for one reason or another, have decided not to move to London or the South East to work. There is a superior view among some that provinces house only poverty-stricken, ignorant chavs.

The media doesn’t help. The BBC moving some of its operations to Salford was huge, provoked a sea change in coverage, and has boosted the area beyond recognition.

But Channel 4 is currently being pushed by the government, reluctantly and with many grumblings from staff, to move some of its operations out of London. One wonders how they will survive. Where will they buy kale and quinoa smoothies outside of Westminster?

The print media, too, is guilty of having a token ‘northern correspondent’ per newspaper, someone who covers from the Scottish Borders pretty much down to Bedfordshire and presumably is run ragged. Occasionally a reporter will be dispatched northwards, almost with a handkerchief over their nose, to spend three hours in a provincial town and make a quick judgement of a situation by speaking to a market trader or two, before hopping back on the train and getting back to London in time for Prosecco in Pimlico.

The north-south divide is getting ever wider, something that only devolution, spreading the wealth and the enterprise, if you like, will solve. Move some government departments out of Whitehall. Move the charities, paying sky-high rents, out of central London. We’re about to get high speed rail links. You’re almost as close, time-wise, to central London from Grantham than Grinstead.

If something isn’t done about London-centricity it will eventually eat the country up, divide it in two. Politicians in a Westminster bubble, and the national media in theirs, seem unconcerned with how stark the contrast is between the South-East and everywhere else. The South East has a housing crisis? Build homes all over the UK.

But we need the jobs too. We need more company headquarters outside London. We need awareness of the difficulties, not just disdain, snobbery and superiority.