With the Tories winning so-called Red Wall seats at the last General Election, there was talk that this would ensure that the North wouldn’t get forgotten. But has that indeed been the case? I think the answer has to be a resounding no.
I mean so far as Grimsby is concerned, all the measures that our Tory controlled council tries to take credit for, date from the time when Labour was in office. Even the much-heralded changes to Toll Bar roundabout came from a funding pot that we had managed to access.
There has been no money for large scale improvements to the public transport network, not even direct trains to London that campaigners have long been fighting for. Indeed, thanks to Covid measures the Barton line has temporarily closed to rail passengers, who are now forced to travel on a replacement bus service. So instead of hoping for new investment, it’ll be a case of trying to keep things as they were pre the pandemic.
And certainly, there is no likelihood of the Government moving public offices to North East Lincolnshire, even when the Commons might have to relocate on safety grounds.
Perhaps the biggest sign of what Boris and Co really thinks of us, concerns their Covid strategy of getting life back to normal. For the indication is that we won’t be returning to a tiered approach, in which we as a low rate area, had a good chance of being in Tier 2. That’d mean being allowed to go for a meal, to the cinema and have a haircut, with non-essential shops also opening.
Instead though all the country will be treated as one. In other words, we’ll have to wait until the situation improves in London before being allowed to move forward. But if London had the same level of Covid cases as ourselves would the capital still be in total lockdown? Of course not!
If it is therefore still grim up north, it’s because the Tories remain a Southern based party for whom abroad starts at the Watford Gap.