Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Doctors of nonsense

I'm not going to accuse the Tory Party of being about to abandon the North of England on the back of today's report by the right-leaning think-tank Policy Exchange. David Cameron has, after all, made clear his view that the report is "insane rubbish."

But you have to question the report's basic assumption that people should move out of the North to avoid becoming trapped there by low house prices and finding themselves unable to move to more prosperous areas.

Have the report's authors actually been to Newcastle recently? If so, they would realise that those aspiring to live in the more desirable parts of the city are already paying London prices, and have been for several years.

I may return to this subject shortly, but all in all, this report strikes me as a rather ignorant contribution to the great North-South debate.

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purplepangolin said...

I haven't read the report yet, butI agree that some of it, as reported, seems flawed. However, the observation that many people are already choosing to move south despite attempts at regeneration and questioning whether we should accomodate that, rather than try to reverse it, seems reasonable.

medis scum said...

If you look at history, there was a big scandal in the 1830's when the workhouses in towns in the south (which were distressed due to the big slump in agriculture) started shipping orphans, waifs and strays and able bodied young men to the mills of Manchester and Oldham as surplus labour. The tories never change their spots.....................

david gladwin said...

In short, what they're suggesting is that the housing shortage down south should be eased at the expense of development in the north. Thanks, wankers.

On behalf of the north, i'd like to say that anyone living up here who believes that sort of bollocks is welcome to piss off down south where they belong.

Letters From A Tory said...

It wasn't that ignorant in the sense that the labour market should have encouraged these people to move in search of higher wages and more jobs without any need for government intervention.

That said, I can't believe the report suggested that some cities in the north will never be regenerated.

Anonymous said...

Paul - I couldn't agree more. The North East represents a thoroughly exciting and vibrant place. I'm not sure what this report offers apart from a few headloines for PX. I have written a blog post of this over at Platform 10:

MorrisOx said...

An awful document, I grant you, but I think it tells you more about the unmerited authority of the 'wonkocracy' than it does about purist economic development.

What frightens me is not documents like this, which have been produced in the knowledge that they are never likely to be translated into policy, but the litany of theses that actually have been grasped by desperate politicians as potentially headline-grabbing policy initiatives.

As I'm sure you are well aware, Paul, Whitell departments are full of people whose grasp of reality has never been polluted by any serious exeprience real life.

What should be truly worrying is that some of them are ministers.

Paul Linford said...


In the Church of England, we used to lament the fact that there were a large number of people who went straight from public school to Oxbridge to ordination to parish ministry without anything resembling "real life" in between. It seems something very similar is now happening in politics, ie public school to Oxbridge to wonkery to the senior levels of the Cabinet, and - who knows? - even No 10.

David Ottewell said...


I think that's very true, very significant and potentially very bad for the country.

Link to daily record story that snp : said...

OK Dirty euro here, with a big story for the by election. It seems the snp and lib dems were campainging in the seat for the recently dead mp before he had even died. He even had to make a statement that he would fight the next general election.
It seems he wanted to live but the snp were setting up campaings against him I normally respect the snp and lib dems but this is sick. How can you even consider setting up a by election cmapaing before a man has died and makibng it public can cause disstress to the fmaily of the man and himself and may sap his or her will to live. I think it is sick that the snp would campaign before a man had dided.

rob's uncle said...

The report [which seems to me to be sensible and well-written] draws attention to the current high spend on 'urban regeneration': £6 billion p.a., up from £3 bn. in 1997 and almost zero in 1977. This money has not regenerated places like Sunderland but it has made them a lot less poor than they would otherwise have been.

An incoming Tory government [with few or no members from these places] will cut this spending to the bone [it is mostly project based and therefore time limited] as part of its struggle to get public spending back under control.

So the regeneration towns are in for a sharp fall in their income, like it or not. Surely it is better to discuss what is going to happen now, beforehand, rather than wait for the event?