The intelligent North of England places its faith in Prime Minister Boris Johnson - Bernard Ingham

Well, we now know where we stand politically. Britain’s brains are in the North of England and have been mislaid in the South, especially in the effortlessly superior London.

This means that after last week’s mauling in the local elections the Tories are still the best bet to win the next election.

Labour is without defined purpose and suspected of having jelly for a backbone on crucial issues. The so-called metropolitan elite are like Bo-Peep – they have lost it and don’t know where to find it.

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One of the greater political fantasies is Sir Ed Davey’s proclaimed Liberal Democrat come-back. They usually do well mid-term as a repository for the protest vote.

Boris Johnson. Picture: Getty.

And has there ever been a bleaker mid-term for a government than this one?

On the very day of the polls the Bank of England played the Grim Reaper himself with its unrelentingly woeful economic forecast for this year and beyond.

If, against that background, Labour could not grind the Tories into the dust, what prospects has it for the future – except, like Mr Micawber, hoping that something will turn up.

The inevitable conclusion from all this is that the often wayward Tory Party has its future in government in its own hands. If it continues its fractious ways, putting Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a shorter lead than his dog, Dylan, had on his trip to vote, it will deserve all it gets.

The pressing challenge to the Tory Party is to demonstrate its responsibility, knuckle down and convince the electorate that nobody else on offer could conceivably do better to cope with the enormity of problems facing the nation.

It needs urgently to concentrate on the multitude of issues facing all Western governments after the pandemic instead of creating more for Britain by harrying its Prime Minister, whether out of dislike or Brexit.

If it fails in the crucial hour to set an example for concentrating on priorities what hope is there of summoning up the nation’s blood and resolve to transform the outlook?

It may well be argued that politicians – leaders and rank and file of all parties – have set a poor example over recent years.

But that is all the more reason why the Tories should now rise to the occasion to restore the economy and so preserve our freedom. In our present state we are in no fit condition to meet the challenges of a very dangerous world. If the following list of urgent priorities does not make the Tories jump to attention, what will?

1. The absolute imperative of containing Vladimir Putin. He is a menace to world peace and so, more subtly, is China. Make no mistake: They want to subject us to the Communist straitjacket.

2. Restoring an economy ravaged by a pandemic-induced cost of living crisis so that we have the resources and the collective will to contain or deter Communism.

3. Holding the UK together since the recent elections have encouraged thoughts of secession in Northern Ireland and Scotland. And if they go, can Wales be far behind?

4. Requiring all public servants to return to the office to end the backlog induced by working from home. The current failures, including the GP service, are an indictment of their irresponsibility and public service ethic.

5. Reforming the NHS so that it is at last fit for purpose, knocking some sense of responsibility into the education system and academia and mounting a law and order campaign that makes the UK a place to be avoided by crooks, of which enough is enough.

6. Recovering public pride in the nation whether by tackling the attitudes that produce a demeaning mess of litter, restoring its fading fabric or ridiculing at every opportunity the idiocy that puts a mental health warning on Shakespeare’s works. Are Britons men or mice?

Not all this can be accomplished over the next two years. But the politicians must let the dog see the rabbit.

If they cannot find within themselves the discipline, purpose, responsibility and stamina for the monumental task, why should they expect the public to do so?

The situation demands leadership of a high order.

The intelligent North seems to think that Mr Johnson is still the man to provide it.

Is the Tory Party as dim-witted as London to think anybody else on the horizon could?

Sir Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Ed Davey or half a dozen Tory pretenders? You must be joking.