LIKE it or not, Jeremy Corbyn has been more effective than most at identifying the concerns of ordinary voters. Unlike Ministers, he recently endured the TransPennine Express rail service from Liverpool to Hull to see, for himself, the ordeal, and hardship, being suffered by passengers each day.
Yet, while there’s still deep scepticism surrounding his left-wing agenda and the economic viability of Labour’s spending plans, this alone will not save the Tories if Theresa May’s government collapses over Brexit and triggers a general election.
The Conservatives need to show that they, too, are a party of action if they’re to neuter the electoral appeal of Mr Corbyn at a time when voters here have been left fatigued by the Government’s indifference towards the North.
Take flooding. Yesterday Mr Corbyn was back in Leeds to, once again, meet those people – already long forgotten by the Government – whose homes and businesses were ruined nearly three years ago.
Yet, while this disaster exposed the financial folly of Government cuts to flood defence budgets, the Environment Agency is – even now – procrastinating and cancelling meetings with the likes of Leeds MPs Rachel Reeves and Hilary Benn rather than making sure that already vulnerable communities have adequate protection. After all, it was Mrs May who hinted on Wednesday that austerity could soon be over. She now needs to prove it.