The return of Tarzan: Heseltine swings into action aboard the 13.23 from Euston
There is something slightly ironic about the supposed great and good of London getting into a first-class train carriage to Birmingham to persuade the locals about the merits of more local democracy.
Coach G of the 13.23 from Euston yesterday was full of the Westminster elite heading off to encourage Brummies to vote "yes" to a directly elected city mayor.
At the centre of attention and munching on a banana was Lord Heseltine. Age may have greyed his locks and he no longer holds elected office but he still eclipsed the Cities minister, Greg Clark – tipped for promotion to the Cabinet, but who yesterday didn't have a prayer of competing with Tarzan.
Mr Clark was asked why, if the Government was so keen on city mayors, it was refusing to give them any more powers than the council leaders they would replace.
Lord Heseltine intervened. "No, no, you're asking the wrong question," in patrician tones. "If I put the question another way, do you think Alex Salmond sits in Scotland and says, 'Oh, I wonder what powers they are going to give me?' He doesn't say that at all. He says, 'This is what I want and I'm going to fight for it'."
Lord Heseltine has done more for British cities than any other politician of his generation. "I was brought up with the old slogan that what Manchester thinks today, the world will think tomorrow," he said. "That has gone out of local politics and it is got to come back if we are going to see the regeneration of our great cities.
"The great driving force was the great provincial cities and the entrepreneurs who built them. But the wealth-creating element of the cities which were fundamental to them has been replaced by an almost exclusive priority on welfare provision. What the Government is trying to do is to recreate the entrepreneurial zeal and enthusiasm."
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...