The dramatic fall of Tatton’s George Osborne, the vile atmosphere in the Labour Party and the opportunity offered to UKIP by Nigel Farage’s departure; just sit back and watch the three ring circus that is British politics.
For Northern business the most significant move of the new Prime Minister was the sacking of George Osborne. He was the only North West MP in the Cabinet and had driven the Northern Powerhouse (NP). We don’t know what the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond’s policy on devolution will be. We certainly know that leaders of northern cities are worried about
hundreds of millions of investment promises and possible signs of wavering on HS2.
Osborne deserved to go along with his buddy David Cameron. The two men were responsible for the disastrous referendum and that overwhelms even the considerable achievement of turning round the economy. Nevertheless Osborne knew the North and put the whole weight of his office behind devolution and the NP. If you have the Chancellor backing a project, it happens. if its an initiative of a more junior minister the chances of success are less certain.
We now see the broad shape of the May administration. The best we can say about the two at the top is that they are efficient politicians that get on with the job. Maybe that’s what the country needs. I remain to be convinced about May’s one nation rhetoric. We cannot even guarantee colour from Boris Johnson. They frown on tripwire antics in the Foreign Office. His roller coaster ride this year truly illustrates the unpredictability of politics. From loyal Remainer to traitorous Leaver, he was alarmed at his referendum success. Michael Gove detected this and sent him into political oblivion only for May to rescue him and rightly sack Gove from the Cabinet.
On the subject of the unpredictability of politics, look at the return of Dr Fox and David Davies. Fox left office in 2011 under a cloud and seemed like yesterday’s man. So did David Davies who lost the Tory leadership battle to Call Me Dave 11 years ago. Now they are deeply involved in ministries trying to get us out of the EU.
LABOUR PARTY’S VILE BATTLE.
I don’t want to say much about Labour this week. It is too upsetting to see the party of Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair reduced to a complete joke. Actually it is worse. Anyone who heard the trembling voice of National Executive Committee member Janet Baxter describing the atmosphere in this week’s meeting would never get involved in politics. She seemed on the edge of a nervous breakdown. What must the staff in the Wallasey office of leadership contender Angela Eagle be doing? Waiting for the next brick through the window?
The foul language of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell this week in his description of some of his fellow MPs gives the lie to the leadership’s protestations that they want a clean fight. The minority of violent Trots pick up the vibes just as racists on the right have used the Leave vote to intimidate Polish immigrants.
BEWARE THE WOOLFE.
UKIP should elect Steven Woolfe as their next leader. He’s a North West MEP and the party’s spokesman on finance. He is plausible and would not indulge in the bar room antics of his now departed leader Nigel Farage.
If UKIP can develop policies on health, housing, and social care as well as immigration, they could become a huge threat to Labour in the North and Midlands.
Let’s hope there is a strong centre left party to face them in 2020.