The call by a Labour MP for northern England to "be given the same tax and borrowing powers as New York" is the latest in a long line of proposals from the main parties in their attempts to convince us that the vast wealth of London is to be shared more fairly throughout the country.Earlier this week the Tories promised billions would be spent updating transport and such like, whilst last week the Adonis plan was for £30bn to be spent over the term of the parliament. Desperate for votes, both main parties conveniently "see rebooting regional growth as a core objective", just months away from a general election, and are keen to display sudden generosity,They really do take us for idiots, don`t they?
Funny how they didn`t think the issue was important enough when discussing HS2. Had they done so, they would have insisted that the first phase to be built should be the northern section. Everyone knows that speeding up the journey from Birmingham to London will only increase the economic importance of the capital itself, and enhance its reputation as the place to work.
Similarly, did it not occur to any Labour or Tory politician that an excellent method of spreading the wealth would be to improve the airport capacity of one of the major northern cities? No, of course not! They cannot wait to spend billions on a third runway in the capital, even though the plans will involve increased discomfort for thousands. Already, Crossrail, the biggest construction job in Europe, costing billions, is well under way, and will improve London`s transport considerably, but clearly, not enough.As for the rest of us, well how about some fracking, which, it seems, is all we`re good for?
Suddenly, there are offers to spend money and devolve some power to the provinces, but the motive certainly is not to reduce the economic predominance of London. We don`t expect any better from Tory politicians, but from Labour we do; waiting for the leadership to come to its senses before it`s too late, and to rid itself of such Mandelson-like practices, is beginning to look like a waste of time!
What incentives are there for businesses to move out of London when the largest proportion of government investment is clearly destined for the south-east? Rather than having lorries clogging up the north-south motorways, a high-speed freight line to Folkestone might be a better bet!