13 August 2008

Tories say 'Close The North Down'.

For those of us who remember the 80s and early 90s, this statement from right-wing Cameron backed think tank - Politics Exchange, is no surprise.

This is effectively the Tories saying...
'we are not going to waste any money on the North of England where we win so few seats'.

So 'everyone should get on their bike and move down South'. No practical problems here of course. So all you Scousers, Geordies and Mancunians should sell your £100,000 houses and buy a £150,000 studio flat in the South. What sort of government backs this suicidal policy (both economically and socially)? - A Tory one, of course. If you think Labour is bad, just you wait to see what these bastards are going to be like in less than 2 years time!

I particularly like the bit where they say the success of Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle cannot help Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland - but these Tories were saying that Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle were beyond hope 10 years ago - well they are if you don't make any effort to regenerate them!


  1. It's a Big Topic. But hats off to Policy Exchange (who have published lots of sensible pamplets on liberalising planning laws*) - at least they are putting a shot across the bows of the Southern NIMBYs!!!

    * Even though I could never convince them that besides the liberalisation carrot you need the Land Value Tax stick, but hey.

  2. Mark, I agree that the '3 million homes' that Labour propose (in practise they are nowhere near having policies to make this happen) - should be mostly built in the prosperous South - this does ask questions of infrastructure and natural resources - but all are surmountable. But apart from that this Tory pamphlet does smell of simpleton Tories ignoring as usual the social and economic consequences of what they are proposing. There is no reason to 'give up' on the North - if Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle can be turned around (which they acknowledge has happened) then so too can neraby Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland - but they need large investment and of course that has risks - but we cannot just leave these places to rot.

    And of course Land Value Tax is a great idea whose time has most definitely come.

  3. If "giving up on" means stopping stealing money from one group of people so that another group can continue their inefficient, outdated way of life, then I'm in favour of it.

    I don't really see why a region that used to be populated in the past must ipso facto be populated in the future, and that's even before we get to the moral issues about using the force of the state to steal people's money in order to fund such an exercise.

    Fundamentally, government should respond to the people and if it must provide services, should do so following the public rather than attempting to force them to stay where it thinks they belong (or, indeed, to nudge them to where it thinks they should go!).

    Rory Meakin

  4. Why would anyone want to live down South? It's a hell hole!

    Interesting to note that people living in these "failing" cities are heavily reliant on benefits to function.

    Is the welfare state to blame? The solution is not more "investment"

  5. Rory M makes further good points, and Snafu's last question ought to be answered.

  6. Mark, Rory: It is just naive to think we can forget about people because a region has become 'difficult' to regenerate. It is not realistic to expect huge numbers of people to immediately move around the country at the drop of a hat - uprooting all their ties and social connections. It is not always possible for them to move either - when you look at the difference in housing costs. There are economic inefficiencies to this chop and change system as well. Even if such a geographical 'cleansing' were desirable, there are huge long term costs to having a lop sided country - strains on environmental resources etc.

  7. snafu 'is welfare state to blame?':- The short answer is 'NO'. Welfare is a symptom not a cause.