HOW times change. A month ago, South Yorkshire communities were demanding – even begging – for action from the Prime Minister after filthy floodwater left more than 1,000 homes uninhabitable.
Now there’s a growing expectation that the Tories could win two, possibly, three seats on Thursday in a county that has not returned a Conservative MP to Westminster since 1992.
And the fact that these Tory targets include Don Valley, one of the areas worst affected by the floods, speaks volumes in an era which, until relatively recently, burned effigies of former Conservative premiers.
Evidence of the volatility of the electorate as a particularly unedifying campaign draws to a close, it is also an indictment on the Labour party’s failure to make sufficient headway under Jeremy Corbyn.
After a decade of austerity, three Tory premiers, questions of trust and political chaos over Brexit, this, in normal times, should have been Labour’s election to lose. Yet the fact that another hung parliament appears to be the party’s best hope does not augur well when Boris Johnson’s initial response to the floods left much to be desired.
Perhaps Mr Johnson can walk on water. As South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, says, the worst affected areas were those commuities with a disproportionate number of families on low incomes – making it even more important that politicians and officials are held to account. This is why The Yorkshire Post today reiterates its previous challenge to Mr Johnson to match the £500,000 that SYCF has already raised for flooding victims – it is the least that the Government should be doing.
Furthermore Mr Johnson will be expected, if he wins a mandate, to put in place a programme for social and economic renewal which benefits the whole country – he will only be able to blame Brexit for any inaction for so long.