When it comes to politics I tend to glaze over. I can’t get enthused about what they stand for, what plans they have or what they say they’re going to do for my region, my friends, my family, my business or simply, just me!
The past governments have a track record of not keeping promises, blatant lies and many have been in politics for themselves, not to serve their (and our) Country. Now we’re heading to another election and once again I have little enthusiasm for what they say, promise or what the political future holds. It’s almost the case of the devil we know or the devil we don’t (but used to). What does bother me is the way Scotland (as well as the South East) receives more money per head than the North of England because they wanted ‘out’ and were appeased with promises and investment. The rise of the Scottish National Party since the ‘No’ to splitting the UK up has been marked as their 60 seats in Westminster may provide the way into power for either the Conservatives or Labour who will probably not have a majority to govern on their own.
What this may mean is that the south of England and Scotland become far more valuable (in political terms) than the middle bit of the island on which we live. There is already a North / South English divide and with the prospect of the SNP helping the Tories or Labour to get in to number 10, the divide may well become bigger. Already London gets a 24x more spend, per head, than those in the North East for infrastructure (£5203 per ‘head’ in London to £223 in the North East, source IPPR), in transportation the ‘spend per head’ is £2731 in London, £134 in the North West and £5 in the North East! (Source IPPR).
Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North says:
Effective infrastructure is the bedrock of an effective and efficient economy. Transport connections, flood defences and high-speed broadband networks all allow people and goods to move quickly from place to place and for business to flourish. It is widely recognised that the North of England loses out as government spending on infrastructure is continuously skewed towards London.
Now it looks to me that if Scotland with 60 seats can get a better deal, the 200+ seats in the North of England (Lancashire, Merseyside, Yorkshire and Humberside and the North East of England) can certainly ensure we’re treated fairly and not forgotten. For me though, we’d need a ‘northern’ political party who is committed to this. The current crop of ‘parties’ have little interest in much further north than Milton Keynes or now, south of the Scottish border.
I think if the bigger northern cities were represented properly, we’d get more of the pie! I’m just like most, I just want fairness. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Hull, Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough have a large combined population and as I mentioned earlier 200+ electoral seats. I want to see investment where it’s needed and opportunities through additional jobs so we all benefit. A little while ago I was fortunate to hear Sir John Hall give a talk and in it he said that the North East (especially) needed more people in it.
A million extra people would mean more houses being built, therefore additional schools, hospitals, medical practices, shopping centres and industrial estates / offices which would lead to more wealth, investment and jobs. I think this has legs but rather than simply encourage immigration, we need people to relocate to the north because of the improved quality of life and bringing with them their investment, jobs, businesses and money to spend in our region. We have to make the north the ‘place to be’ which needs investment in infrastructure, transport links, more housing etc. which takes me back to fairness in spending.
It may be time for the North to stick together, invent a new political party and get a fairer deal.