Posted by Ian
The Conservative Party’s favourite think tank has announced it’s all over for the north of England.
According to the Policy Exchange, cities such as Liverpool and Hull, and towns like Blackpool and Scunthorpe, are apparently doomed. There is no point in spending any more money on them. Their populations should be forced to leave and move to the green and pleasant land that is the south east, where jobs, houses and money are supposedly plentiful.
It’s been a long long time since I’ve read of such an utterly demented and blinkered piece of research. It reminds me of the pontifications of Norman Tebbit in the early 1980s, who commanded everyone who couldn’t find work to "get on your bike" and look for it, even if it meant moving to the other side of the country, uprooting families, communities and homes in the process.
Never mind the fact that Liverpool is presently the European Capital of Culture. Oh no. That counts not a jot. Never mind the heritage and tourism industries that have made Blackpool, Hull and Scunthorpe some of the most distinctive and colourful places in the UK. And never mind their respective populations, who own homes and businesses, who have children in school, who have relatives nearby, who have roots in those places stretching back for generations. No, forget all that.
Come, the think tank orders, come to the south east of England, a place that is in no way already crammed full of people, in no sense choked by pollution, and not at all devoid of the sort of spectacular landscape that makes the north one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.
And don’t, whatever you do, build three million new homes in a region like the north where there is an acute shortage of affordable housing. Heavens no! They should be built in those clearly run-down, half-empty and abandoned outposts of civilisation such as London, Oxford and Cambridge. After all, there are plenty of empty fields and countryside all around which can be easily concreted over.
It’s ludicrous and obscene. For their part, the Tories have distanced themselves from the report, saying it doesn’t reflect party policy and they do not agree with its conclusions. But still: the fact anyone can come out and, presumably with a straight face, argue such a risible opinion is just mind-boggling.
Surely there’s nobody with a sound mind who can agree with these proposals…is there?