In short, it is because they felt that the advantages of globalisation had bypassed them and they were also angry that successive governments had ignored the needs of the North, and the urgent need to overhaul this region’s creaking infrastructure, because investment funding was skewed so heavily in favour of London and the South East for so long.
However today’s political leaders risk fuelling this sense of disillusionment still further because their Brexit battles – and the prevailing uncertainty about the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union – are compounded by Theresa May allowing her then advisers to marginalise the Northern Powerhouse agenda when she succeeded David Cameron in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 referendum.
Even though Chancellor Philip Hammond dismissed Labour’s claims that the Northern Powerhouse had become “a vacuous slogan”, and that deprived areas would be even worse off if the Government is unable to match the EU’s level of funding for regeneration schemes, his claim that “infrastructure decisions are made on a transparent and equitable basis” deserves to be treated with contempt.
Not only is rail performance still deteriorating across the North, but a £2bn bailout of London’s Crossrail scheme was announced on Monday as commuters in Yorkshire faced further misery due to the latest timetable changes. If this is the Chancellor’s new definition of fairness, it probably explains fears that the North-South divide will become even more pronounced after Brexit.