IF BORIS Johnson wants to appreciate why he is so mistrusted in the North, he should study the reaction to his promise – made within 72 hours of becoming Prime Minister – to build a new high-speed railway line between Leeds and Manchester.
An opinion poll – carried out by Survation on behalf of The Yorkshire Post – revealed that fewer than three out of 10 people in Yorkshire have faith in his plans to improve transport links. It’s a damning indictment after his predecessor Theresa May sidelined the Northern Powerhouse.
This was before the IPPR think-tank’s analysis which reveals that planned transport spending in London is set to be £3,636 per person, compared to £1,247 on the North. In Yorkshire, this figure is just £511 per person. And, to put this in context, the North would have received an extra £66bn – a figure which correlates with the cost of HS2 – over the past decade if this region had enjoyed ‘‘the same per person investment’ as London.
Further vindication of the Power Up The North campaign by The Yorkshire Post, and more than 30 newspapers, it shows the scale of the political, and electoral, task facing Mr Johnson outside the Home Counties where his support appears to be at its strongest.
Put simply, the PM – and his party – is simply not trusted to deliver the necessary transport investment after commuters were totally misled by David Cameron in the 2015 election, and then Theresa May (and Chris Grayling) two years later.
Indeed, such scepticism will only intensify on every occasion when a train is cancelled, passengers receive shoddy service and Crossrail – whether it be London’s much-delayed east-west line or the second scheme being considered by Ministers – is in the headlines.
And it will only change if the Government passes legislation committing to per person transport spending rising faster in the North, than other regions, for the next decade and beyond – HS2 and high-speed rail in the North needs to be developed in tandem with improvements to local services like those at Woodlesford on the outskirts of Leeds where the new station sign has been spelt as ‘‘Woddlesford’’.
Only then will more people living and working here believe that the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse is genuine – and won’t be cancelled, like so many past projects, immediately after polling day. Over to you, Prime Minister.
I’VE repeatedly urged all political parties to be far more specific about their funding commitments so taxpayers know precisely where the money is coming from. After reports that Boris Johnson’s £1.8bn boost for the NHS amounts to hospital trusts reverting back to original spending plans before they were put on hold, such ruses need to be stopped. The first major party to do so will reap electoral rewards.
STILL no word from Boris Johnson after I challenged him to set out how he intends to build a cross-party consensus on social care – and the timetable.
It’s all the more disappointing after leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents on preparations for no-deal Brexit also exposed the vulnerability of care homes to rapidly rising costs.
This was dismissed as “rubbish” by Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, with breathtaking arrogance, but Mr Johnson can forget about winning the next election if he waits for helpless OAPs to be turfed out on the street before he acts. He has been warned – again.
TALKING of David Davis, he dismissed civil servants this week as “mostly Remainers”. How does he know? Did he monitor how they voted – or is this another sweeping generalisation because he is piqued that they have simply been doing their job by questioning Brexiteer ministers?
THE intolerance within Labour was self-evident when journalists were heckled for asking Jeremy Corbyn challenging questions about Brexit. Given these self-same activists are the first to complain if their ‘‘dear leader’’ is misrepresented, it is even more important that he submits himself to such scrutiny – especially as Mr Corbyn is the first Opposition leader in living memory to shun most major TV and radio interviews.
AT least Jeremy Corbyn has pledged – after visiting a farm in Keswick – to do “everything necessary” to stop “no-deal carnage” amid fears a no-deal Brexit could lead to the slaughter of millions of lambs.
British farmers could face an EU tariff of 46 per cent on lamb leading to fears that, if the lamb meat cannot be sold, there will be culls of millions of sheep to prevent them dying of starvation.
Has anyone seen – or heard from – Theresa Villiers? I’m already beginning to fear that the new Environment Secretary is already totally unqualified for her new role, but will be happy to be proved wrong.
FROM Boris Johnson denouncing Remainers as ‘‘collaborators’’ to Brexiteers labelling the EU as the ‘‘Fourth Reich’’ and the increasing tendency for people to use the word ‘‘Nazi’’ to condemn those who hold opposing views, the misuse of such provocative war-like language will make it harder to unite the country if and when Brexit is resolved. We’re not at war...
UNLIKE those politicians who are powerless to halt social media abuse, Sheffield-born Harry Maguire came up with a no-nonsense suggestion after his Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba was subjected to vile racism by online trolls. “Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence,” tweeted Maguire. I agree. Do you?