And those 50 million people and 2.5 million people don't have any shared interests at all. Because it is impossible to govern the City of London and the city of Sunderland by the same rule set. What is good for one is bad for the other, regardless of which one you prefer.
What is unfair about England as it stands is that there is only one city that is governed by a rule set that allows it to benefit from the dynamism, innovation and creativity that cities generate, and that is London.*
The other cities of England are ruled by a nation state that is just a dead weight. It's an extra layer of middle management that nobody needs.
So why don't we just admit that to ourselves and call it quits?
If we've got a once-in-a-generation opportunity to think about what the state is for, as the middle manager in charge of the accounts department said the other day, why not just scrap it?
What is so difficult or terrible about saying that England has outlived its usefulness?
Get rid of the "England" layer of bureaucracy and everyone benefits.
The City of London can stop having to subsidise the rest of the country out of its profits.
And the other cities can stop paying the price of being the nation-state ballast that allows the government of London to borrow money by claiming to be the government of Britain, in order to bail out the banker-princes when they get so greedy they manage to blow a gasket on their money-printing machine.
Even the unbankers of London are better off, because they get chance to decide for themselves whether all that money swilling around from bonuses is worth the price.
And at a stroke, the relationship between the city of London and other cities becomes that of trading partners.
As soon as you reframe it like that, how much healthier does it sound for everybody?
London simply becomes the biggest potential trading partner of Sunderland, along with all the other cities of the world.
Of course Sunderland may not be able to produce anything that London or any other city wants to buy.
And it may not be able to survive any longer without the subsidy of taxes skimmed from the profits of the banker-princes (leaving to one side as ancient history the reason that Sunderland ended up in that state in the first place, which was to clear the way for the banker-princes to set up their money-printing machine).
But so what if Sunderland can't survive on its own resources?
Let it die.
The world owes absolutely no one and nowhere a living.
But at least untie their hands and let the people who care about that city - and those people will exist, and they will really care - let them step forward and fight with all the resources, energy and initiative that they can muster for the place that matters to them.
Because that's what cities are. Places that are meaningful, graspable, changeable, and with self-organising structures that generate resources, energy and initiative without middle managers giving the orders.
Unlike nation states, which have to be glued together with crap like national anthems, patron Saints and Saturday evening TV.
And football teams.
So bollocks to England. I'm going to watch as many world cup matches as I can, because football is a beautiful human endeavor to play and to watch. And I say that as a lifelong pub-league centre half so I've seen football at its fattest, muddiest and most hung-over.
But there is no Manchester United, no Inter Milan, no Barcelona and definitely no Huddersfield Town in this year's tournament.
So why should anybody give a toss who wins?
Some light reading for the post nation state century:
Charter Cities idea of economist Paul Romer, independent city-states within failing nation states with their own rule sets to encourage enterprise. He describes Charter Cities in the developing world, but I can't see why we shouldn't have them here, and it's a catchy name.
Seasteading bonkers Americans who want to live in cities under the sea. The reason being, they can organise their new cities by any rules they want to try out, and why shouldn't the rules of government (different from the laws that governments pass) be open to innovation?
Cities as labs for government - great essay about ancient Greece as a lab for government. Athens wins because it has the best mechanisms for knowledge exchange, bridging social capital, collaboration and participation.[square brackets and asterisks]
* There is a lot of spurious, self-serving bollocks talked about "the city", not least by the trendier end of ubicomp and people who make experimental stuff for mobile phones (such as me), but even so, the world has just about come to the point where half of humanity lives in cities and that number will probably keep rising so there must something about them.
* by city I mean a city-state, a city and its surrounding region, like ancient Athens. So Huddersfield, for example, would be the most dissident and innovative part of the city-state of Leeds ;-)
* I think England have got half a chance of winning this world cup, so it's the perfect time for the nation state go out on a high.