Sunday 29 March 2015


This election is going to be influenced, not decided by divergent nationalisms within the UK.Scottish nationalism is destabilising everything. South Western nationalism should still shore up the Lib Dems and Welsh nationalism will make gains but not many. Then there's the fat complacent nationalism of the comfortable SoUth East divided only by London's pools of poverty

Yet in all this babble of accents and attitudes the nationalism of the North is strangely silent. Why?The north's problems are much the same as Scotland's-the death of basic industries, the decline of manufacturing (always an out of London activity) the drain to London, yet Scotland gets far more help support and spending than the North and is doing more to improve its own lot.

Does the North get a fair deal? Hell no!! Our safe seats are used to provide a firm base for national leaders : Osborne and Hague,Miliband and Balls to pursue policies favourable to the south. Our other seats are filled by apparatchiks and chaps or loyal back benchers who vote these policies through. We're fobbed off with baubles like HS2 or the Northern Powerhouse while all the big spending goes to London.We don't even get the same benefits from the recovery as the Fat South.

The government's entire economic strategy is based on helping the rich on the grounds that the benefit will trickle down to the poor in the same way as horses trickle down on the road. It doesn't work of course because the rich use their bonus to spend more time on the golf course or buy bigger German cars and there's certainly no trickle up effect from all the benefits showered on the fat South where most of the rich live. All that trickles up (a difficult feat in itself) is ever higher house prices  to levels that on our lower wages we can't afford.

Why the hell do we put up with it? Do we have to grow our own Northern Nationalist Party to disrupt the southern dominance as the Scots have done? We should demand that all northern MPs commit to a better deal and devolution to the North  so that we can assert the same leverage and power Scotland has.The North deserves a better  deal in return for its long loyalty. Has it had a fair deal? Hell No!

A nice supplement in the Grimsby Telegraph looking back at my 38 years representing the best constituency in the country is promptly followed, Grimsby style, by 13 comments  asking " what's he ever done for us"(WHEDFU) the question which is being asked of candidates all over the country but is asked more loudly in Grimsby partly because folk are more direct but mainly because  we've had fewer favours from government than the big cities or the south generally.

However it has to be answered and I am now preparing an 84 page supplement setting out the answers and featuring some of the "thank you" letters from some of the many thousands I've helped over the years. The angry correspondents will get a special illustrated and illuminated copy written in calligraphy on parchment  to hang on their walls. If only they'd given their names and addresses so I can send it round by Pickfords.

1 comment:

  1. Great post.

    Hell yeah, we need a party of the North to represent us like never before.

    I have been thinking the same thing for a long time now.

    The whole electoral system is also flawed with the efforts of both Labour and Tory geared towards winning over voters in marginal seats in middle England.

    Meanwhile, those voters living in the fortress like safe Labour seats of the North are taken for granted with their struggles having been largely ignored by the Blair and Brown governments.

    The "they have nowhere else to go" logic of Blair and Mandelson springs to mind.

    Here's what I'd like to see a party of the North stand for.

    Redistribution of wealth from rich to poor which cannot be achieved by stealth and complicated tax credits but only by having a fairer, more progressive income tax system.

    An increase in the tax being paid by big business.

    Increased rights for workers and a fairer work place.

    A public transport system in public ownership.

    Renationalistation of the utility companies.

    Increased public spending paid for by the rich rather than by soaking the working poor and low income households with indirect regressive tax hikes (VAT increases etc).

    Yet today's' Labour Party stands for none of these things, it would seem.

    Under the Blair and Brown governments the watchwords were "fragmentation, globalisation, privatisation and that they were very relaxed about the filthy rich!"

    The Blair and Brown governments were also far too close to the right wing (especially the Murdoch) press with their support being seen as the be all and end all of political life.

    Blair and Brown talked left but ACTED right.

    I no longer even know what today's Labour Party stands for other than presumably more of what Cameron has to offer - a change of personnel rather than any meaningful change in policy.

    Yet what is the point of electing a labour government that isn't going to anything much different to what a Tory Government would otherwise do.

    Ed Milband should be brave and spell out exactly how Labour under him would help those living in the North whilst denouncing the right of centre Labour Governments led by Blair and Brown.

    That would show real leadership and that under him Labour had ACTUALLY changed.

    I might even vote for him.

    However, I shan't hold my breath!

    Let's hope a party of the North can be set up soon so that the politically disenfranchised masses in the North can once gain have their interests and views properly represented in Parliament.