Boris Johnson has already let the ‘red wall’ down

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Friday 16 July 2021 21:23
<p>Where are the policies prime minister?</p>

Where are the policies prime minister?

Perhaps the prime minister really believes that if he liberally repeats the fatuous term “levelling up” enough times, people will stop peeping behind his tightly drawn curtains to look for the details of his policies.

In truth he is setting up the country for a huge let down as some of his “red wall” backbenchers are beginning to realise. Beyond the inherited HS2, a faltering “northern powerhouse” and a stalled devolution offer, what else of substance is on offer to redress the deepening structural inequalities in jobs, growth, investment, skills and income across the country? The Towns Fund seems to be his only palliative but is already mired in controversy and suspicions that it was allocated more on political than economic calculations.

Boris Johnson cites Germany as a model for levelling up. But where is the Helmut Kohl, single-minded leadership, courage and Keynsian commitment to a multi-trillion, 20-year plan to effectively underwrite modernising the infrastructure of our northern regions on an equivalent scale to the East German leaders of Saxony and Thuringia? Or the imagination to help decentralise the British state by removing its administrative capital to an outlying region as West Germany did after the war (Bonn), so helping trigger the “wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle)?

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