THE extent to which the 15 million people who live, and work, in the North feel let down by the political establishment is illustrated by the phenomenal response to the Power Up The North campaign.
A new partnership between The Yorkshire Post and more than 30 other newspapers, political, business, civic and religious leaders gave their endorsement to the joint call for a new era of investment.
As Transport for the North chief executive Barry White said: “This powerful call cements the strength of feeling from the North’s communities – that our time is now. After decades of under-investment, it’s clear investment in infrastructure is fundamental to closing the productivity gap and rebalancing the UK economy.”
Now it requires each and every MP to answer this very simple question: what are they going to do to narrow the North-South divide and how do they intend to judge success?
Blaming others – the default response for so long – will not suffice. People want answers. They want leadership. And families want progress on those issues, like skills, transport, digital connectivity and housing, which are fundamental to their standard of living.
They’ve also had enough of slogans, soundbites and scraps – like the outdated Pacer trains that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s team want to recycle as community centres in a new insult.
And, to re-enforce this point, readers of the North’s newspapers, and all those committed to maximising this region’s future potential, now need to lobby their local, regional and national representatives at every opportunity.
With the Tory party in a state of paralysis as it begins to select a successor to Theresa May, and the strong likelihood of another general election given that Parliament is stuck in limbo, it has never been more opportune – or important – for the public to begin to change the dynamics of the political debate in this country. The North has put up with second best for too long – and now is the time to take a stand on behalf of present and future generations.