EVEN though the Power Up The North campaign is aimed at all political parties, it is particularly pertinent to the Tories as 10 candidates contest the party leadership following the closure of nominations.
Yet, while the main protagonists say this is about renewal after Theresa May’s troubled premiership ended in failure over Brexit, it is already abundantly clear that the outcome risks resulting in more of the same.
Why? Not one candidate, as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt’s respective campaigns continue to grow in support, has emerged with the statesmanship, and gravitas, that is needed to unite a deeply-divided party and country.
By rehashing past Brexit battles, they’re also failing to reach out to the wider electorate who want clarity – and commitment – on a range of policy issues, like social care, which have been neglected for too long.
And while it is right that candidates are subjected to robust scrutiny, the fact that so many hustings are taking place in private – and that a new Prime Minister may not be in place until the end of July – risks alienating voters still further at a time when every vote counts.
After all, the Tories lost ground in Yorkshire in the 2017 election, despite launching their campaign in Halifax, and their disunity since then has done little to inspire confidence in the supposed party of government.