This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Tories say move south

The right-wing Tory think-tank, Policy Exchange, published a report today in which it argued that northerners have no chance of a better life and should move south instead.

The report claimed that cities like Sunderland, Rochdale and Bradford could not be revived and had "little prospect of offering their residents the standard of living to which they aspire." The report said it was time to stop pretending Sunderland had a bright future.

It also argued that people in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool should move south where they would enjoy a higher standard of living.

If this report was not so funny, it would make me furious. And this is supposedly David Cameron's favourite think-tank! It tells you what the Tory leader really thinks.

It reminds me of Norman Tebbit telling everybody to get on their bikes in the 1980s.

Ill-informed, uncaring, unsympathetic, right-wing, Thatcherite, London-centric rubbish. The Tories have not changed one bit. They should be crucified for this.

If the Tories could escape, for just one second, from their London/South-East centric bubble they would see that the North is booming. Manchester has enjoyed a renaissance. Liverpool is European Capital of Culture. (See my earlier post) Hale has more millionaires than anywhere else in the UK. Our northern cities are being rejuvenated. People do enjoy a high standard of living.

But this is not the point.

The point is that the Tories are STILL offering the same old solutions to the problems we face. Instead of facing up to the fact that they ruined our northern cities and towns through eighteen years of neglect and under-investment and offering a workable solution to improve places like Sunderland, the Tories have taken a leaf out of Tebbit's book and told people to move south.

Tebbit - talk about the undead.

It has taken ten years of Labour Government to reverse the decline. Investment in our services, infrastructure and industries has transformed many areas. There is more to do but the Tories offer us no solutions. Instead they hark back to a 30-year old view of the north.

What turns my stomach the most is when the report warns that politics has been dominated by ministers representing poorer towns - as if this was a bad thing! Thank God, I say.

At least Labour has been a voice for all those communities who were counted out by the Thatcherites and their cronies. If the Tories had their way, Britain would be governed by the rich and for the rich with the south-east getting everything.

If you really want to know the difference between what Labour offers and what the Tories offer you could start by reading this report. Labour invests and helps to rejuvenate. The Tories peddle the same poison and prejudice.

Same old Tories, same old solutions. No one is falling for it.


Anonymous said...

Good on ya

\Tom said...

This is exactly the kind of issue where Labour should make headway - and interestingly, it plays to the agenda that you have mentioned before - Drew Westen and emotional intelligence. Labour should hang this around David Cameron's neck from now until election day.

Anonymous said...

I think you have been a bit lenient on the Tories. This kind of stuff shouild kill them

Andrew said...

'And this is supposedly David Cameron's favourite think-tank! It tells you what the Tory leader really thinks'.

Does it?

No mention of Cameron brandishing the report 'insane' then? Thought not. I thought you were developing a decent, quality blog written from your left wing/labour perspective, not a silly spin lets-spin-everything and bash the tories blog.

I agree that this is something that Labour ought to try and pin to the Tories. The report is a load of crap on so many levels. Whilst partisanship is one thing, you ought to leave blinkered rubbish to other people and keep above the fray.

Twangy said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Alicia said...

This is a desperate back-tracking from andrew and twangy. Like a good PR man, Cameron may have disowned the report - but half the shadow cabinet have been associated with the Policy Exchange.
It represents the Tory Party's policy wonks. So you can't just disown it like that, lads.
Its a Tory report from a Tory think tank playing to a Tory agenda.
Therefore the head of the Tories has to take just a tiny bit of responsibility for it.
Neither of you enagage in the argument - you are just panicking, because you realise the Policy Exchange have lifted the corner of the carpet on new Conservatism and what lurks beneath is ugly, nasty and stupid.
Same old Tories, same old solutions, as Alex says.
In fact, I agree with another commentator, that I think Alex has let the Tories off the hook a bit.
If Andrew cared to spend a second in Liverpool for instance - I bet he's another metrocentric - he would taste the genuine and righteous fury of ordinary people at this dangerous Tory nonsense.
Go for their jugular next time Al.

Mack the knife said...

this is good stuff too...

Andrew said...


Your comment seems a very odd reply to what I wrote.

You express annoyance that I have not engaged in the 'argument'. This is because I don't think there is an argument. As I said in my first comment - 'the report is a load of crap on so many levels'.

My comment was merely an appeal for Alex to return to the more insightful, higher-brow content and style of previous posts. I assure you this has absolutely nothing to do with any partisanship or any metrocentric leanings (you're wrong on this by the way).

Perhaps you didn't read my comment? Or perhaps you just read my last sentence - 'you ought to leave blinkered rubbish to other people and keep above the fray' - and thought - 'blinkered rubbish, hmm, other people, hmmm... let me show my credentials...'

Alicia said...

The blinkered rubbish was in the Policy Exchange report. Not in Alex's critique of it.

Anonymous said...

The Tories are very sensitive about being attacked as right wing nutters aren't they?

Doug said...

can't say I've read the thing cover to cover, but it's message is a lot more nuanced than the sun@s "let the north sink" coverage and how you've described it here.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but it specifically did not state that cities like manchester should be abandoned. Rather, it said that greater inward investment in cities like Hull andBradford - built on historic industries- will not yield significant returns and efforts to achieve growth "in the north" should be concentrated on places like Manchester where it has proven succesful in the past.

Growth in these northern "growth poles" can be encouraged by a liberalisation of planning law in the south, to lower house prices in the north and reduce the opp cost for industry moving "north".

In th real world, this theory is hard to enact in practice, but is absolutely not as your article pretends.

Whatever its strength, it adds to the debate on a critically important issue and it's a pity that the matter has been dealt with in such a hysterical manner by the press.

David Cameron's a weak leader who I can't manage stearing a firm policy course in anything controversial - hence his support for the "PE" when it saids bland innocuous things and his reaction to this thing.

Incidentally, as i'm surprised you've not mentioned Alex, the thing was apparently written by LSE academic and Liberal Democrat advisor, Tim Leunig...

Steph said...

I think the Lib Dem connection only emerged subsequently. Its still a Tory report, nevertheless, or Cameron wouldn't have tried to disown it so hurriedly.

Rachel said...

Doug, I'm afraid I don't really follow your argument? The detail of the report is perhaps less important than the overall theme which was that the North should be discounted in favour of the south-east. You don't seem to agree with this stance yet you try to discredit Alex's article at the same time. Where do you actually stand or are you just as wishy-washy about your values as the Toriesn are?