Levelling up

On Thursday the PM gave a speech setting out his vision of levelling up. It rightly concentrated on the differences in lives in different parts of our country, drawing attention to big variations in average life expectancy, in likelihood of getting a degree and obtaining a well paid job, and the differences in ability to buy a decent home. The speech both accepted that governments of all persuasions in the post 1945 world have tried to reduce these inequalities, and that the divergencies have remained.

The new ground in the speech was the understanding that successive governments have in practice reinforced the success of the richer areas, drawing ever more talent into places like central London . This has led to the need to invest heavily in public transport and other public services there to cater for all the extra numbers going to work and living in such places. In a vivid topical analogy he said investment has followed success creating a world where you “hang around the goalmouth rather than being the playmaker”. The draw of London has meant many people facing long, expensive and often vexatious commutes, and relentless pressure for more housing investment and development in the South East. As a result two thirds of the country’s graduates from the top 30 universities end up in London.

He was clear that a socialist egalitarian agenda which entails levelling down as well as levelling up is not the way to go. “We should not want to decapitate the tall poppies. We don’t think you make the poor parts of the country richer by making the rich parts poorer”. What you need is more of the potential playmakers to stay in or move to other cities that can as London does attract talent, investment and new jobs.

The big issue is how we help create these new success stories. The digitalisation of the UK is part of the answer, where the PM tells us 60% now enjoy the benefits of faster broadband, up from 7% two years ago. I will return to these issues and examine the government proposals to help level up. Central to it all, as this speech states, is to help many more people on their personal journeys to success, to home ownership, to business creation or to better skilled and better paid jobs.

206 Comments

  1. bill brown
    July 17, 2021

    Sir John,

    Well written and very relavant , thank you

    1. Ian Wragg
      July 17, 2021

      Totally irrelevant if we are to continue with this net zero nonsense.
      Most newspapers are now beginning to research what it means and are coming to the conclusion that it will cost up to £50k per household and increase fuel bills substantially.
      This will do some levelling, it will raze the liblabcon to the ground.
      There is a political vacuum which urgently needs filling.

      1. Alan Jutson
        July 17, 2021

        Ian
        Just had an estimate for a ground source heat pump £25-35,000, they contacted me promoting such products.
        Do not need to upgrade anything as yet as gas boiler is only 7 years old, but thought I would just get an idea as to what costs may be involved for future reference.
        That was without any changes to the existing Pipework or radiators which may be necessary.
        It is only a verbal estimate to be fair, so I have sent them the complete specification of the house, its construction ,square footage, present heating system number of radiators etc etc, and also the present insulation standards of roof, floor, windows, and walls in order to get a more accurate quotation/estimate.

        I await with interest the response if I get one, then I will copy it to JR (my constituency MP) for his own information, so he can see the actual figures and supposed to be logic of the Governments argument and policy of changing from Gas.

        1. Ed M
          July 17, 2021

          ‘£25-35,000’

          – I needed some changes to some software / website I own. One guy quoted me £15,000 pounds for it. Another guy (a university student) did it for £200 (And the guy was really intelligent and nice) So I believe you!

          (Most people quoted around £2,500. Goes to show you have to really have to do your research in everything in life – from buying boilers in the house to buying software etc in work).

          1. Ed M
            July 17, 2021

            Lesson also: there is often a solution to a really difficult problem. Just have to work at it and not given up until you’re sure all avenues have been tested – especially for something really important.
            Sorry for life lesson. But this was huge lesson for me ..

    2. Peter
      July 17, 2021

      Attlee was the great man for levelling up.

      He introduced the National Health Service and opened up education.

      It’s difficult to top that.

      1. MiC
        July 18, 2021

        No, so the mission to destroy his work in both fields continues from the Right.

        1. Peter2
          July 18, 2021

          Yet the Conservatives have increased funding for both health and education every year.

          1. hefner
            July 18, 2021

            P2, even you should see that without any figures of actual money or percentage increase your statement is vacuous.
            When some time ago I had told my grandson I had added 50p to the £10 I had given for him to go and do some shopping in next door’s grocery shop so that he could buy something for himself he looked at me as if I was taking the mickey (which I was).

            You are not even doing that.

            So by how much have the budgets for health and education been increased since May 2010?

          2. Peter2
            July 18, 2021

            Sorry hef
            I forgot we had to follow your rules and requirements in order to post on here.
            You present yourself as the site’s academic guru so you give us the data.
            Come on hef you know you want to.

          3. hefner
            July 19, 2021

            P2, are you so limited that you keep repeating the same formula when you are cornered?

          4. Peter2
            July 19, 2021

            Listen heffy if you think what I said wasn’t correct, then post something clever with the proof I am wrong.
            PS
            Not limited just bored with you trolls.

  2. David Peddy
    July 17, 2021

    I hope Sir John that you will prevail against the government possibly trying to introduce a new tax for social care . We are taxed too much already.
    Ways of raising money include further reductions in the Overseas Aid Budget , abandoning HS2 and stopping the Triple Lock for people like me who do not need WFA, free travel or TV licenses

    1. lifelogic
      July 17, 2021

      We have the highest tax levels for 70 years and still the government is spending £billions more than they raise in taxes. On top of which we have red tape everywhere, very restrictive employment laws, restrictive planning, an expensive unreliable energy net zero agenda (cost about £30,000 per household with zero value return), a government that wastes money hand over foot, a very poor education system, a policy of blocking the very pot-holed roads, a dire NHS and police who have largely given up on most real crimes. In short the overpaid and over pensioned state sector is far too large, very incompetent and hugely misdirected. They do not serve the public they parasite off them.

      1. Jim Whitehead
        July 17, 2021

        LL, +1

      2. Fedupsoutherner
        July 17, 2021

        +1.

    2. JoolsB
      July 17, 2021

      +1 I agree with you but no chance as we need a Conservative Government for that.

      1. glen cullen
        July 17, 2021

        +1

  3. turboterrier
    July 17, 2021

    Personal journeys to success

    The road ahead is littered with tank traps, toll gates and minefields all being manufactured with this insane Net Zero policy. All the areas affected by Net Zero are those when starting out on home ownership and building a business need to be user friendly and as competitive as possible. It’s is similar to everyone can buy a car but can’t afford to run it. All this Net Zero is doing is putting everyday costs up.
    Just so this country can be a “world leader” . Pathetic, more like divide and conquer.

    1. lifelogic
      July 17, 2021

      Net zero is indeed economic and environmental insanity.

      1. glen cullen
        July 17, 2021

        An insanity that this Tory government has created and implimented themselves…they didn’t have too

        1. lifelogic
          July 17, 2021

          Indeed not only that it will be a political disaster too. The Poll tax on steroids.

      2. Peter Aldersley
        July 17, 2021

        Boris Johnson and his green agenda remind me of Tony Blair. A very popular PM at the outset, but Boris is heading for a similar disastrous legacy (though hopefully a much quicker exit). Whereas Blair’s downfall was the hubris of bringing democracy to the Middle East ending in the invasion of Iraq, Johnson’s nemesis will be Zero Carbon. Boris, you are heading the same direction as that Tony, one of the most hated politicians in British history.

    2. Christine
      July 17, 2021

      Net-zero is nothing to do with climate change. As we contribute less than 1% of global emissions it will have little to no impact. We see billionaires blasting off into space for the fun of it, we see woke celebrities in their large gas-guzzling cars and flying around the world in their private jets, yet they preach to the little people about saving the planet.

      We see climate change conferences that have a huge energy cost. The climate change industry has become like the racial discrimination industry, which is a huge cash cow for a few who need to keep the myth going otherwise they are out of a job. The media is complicit in this propaganda.

      Net-zero is about dwindling oil supplies and conserving stocks so the elites can continue with their lavish lifestyles at the expense of the masses.

      1. J Bush
        July 17, 2021

        +1
        Johnson can hardly claim otherwise, given he used a private jet to get him and princess nut nut from London to Cornwall.

        Rather begs the question, if he truly believed his ‘green’ and zero carbon garbage, why didn’t he start by setting the country an example, and take the train? Or is his ‘green’ agenda only for the little people?

        1. Lifelogic
          July 18, 2021

          Do as I say not as I do, once again in the Prince Charles mode.

  4. Mark B
    July 17, 2021

    Good morning.

    The big issue is how ‘we’ [my emphasis] help create these new success stories.

    The problem is Sir John, is that the ‘we’ means more government interference and control. It will mean a new Minister and department being created and all the bureaucracy and costs. It will mean more money created which, intern, will lead to the least needy getting more with the real needy getting just crumbs.

    If you really want to ‘Level UP’ as you claim, let those on lower incomes keep more of what they want, stop taxing us on silly things and just leave well alone. Life is full of winners and losers. Socialism concentrates on outcomes. Capitalism concentrates on opportunity. The PM’s agenda is Socialism with a tinge of blue. A blue that will not wash.

    1. SM
      July 17, 2021

      MarkB: that is pretty well my reaction too – government should just let people get on with their enterprises, big or small; provide decent security in the form of a police force that actually patrols its neighbourhood and has police stations that are open and accessible at all times; provide a similarly active and accessible court service; overhaul the NHS so that it is suited to the C21st; ensure our armed forces are properly supplied and maintained; and stop indulging in pompous and flatulent postures about Britain’s global influence and moral leadership, whether it’s about AGW, foreign aid or foreign wars.

      Then reform the tax legislation, from scratch!

      1. SecretPeople
        July 17, 2021

        +1

      2. Jim Whitehead
        July 17, 2021

        SM +1

    2. jerry
      July 17, 2021

      @Mark B; “The problem is Sir John [..//..]”

      Cough, I don’t think you meant to say that, at least not like that! 😮

      ‘we’ means more government interference and control

      Correct, the continuance of govt top slicing, the best opportunities being sliced off and offered on the plate to private companies (just as happened with the recent NHS T&T for example), thus “working class” people will be lucky to see much if any of the wealth generated, priority given in paying excessive salaries to directors, consultants, executive managers and Shareholders, those who actually created the wealth will be lucky if they seen anything more than a living wage for their hard toils.

      “Life is full of winners and losers.”

      Indeed, but when it is always the same winners, the same losers it points to deep fundamental problems.

      With Brexit done (how ever crassly), those northern Red Wall voters will want something else, not more of the same 1980s social/economic divides that dumped them were they now stand!

  5. Mary M.
    July 17, 2021

    Good Morning.
    If the idea is to encourage ‘potential playmakers to stay in or move to other cities that can as London does attract talent, investment and new jobs’, might this be the moment to actually discuss the white elephant HS2?

    1. lifelogic
      July 17, 2021

      HS2 cost £100 BIllion (about £4,000 per household) value delivered by it is negative (far more disruption and environmental damage than any positive value delivered). Even Lord Mandelson, the former business secretary thinks it is an “expensive mistake” and will damage the north of England’s economy.
      (The South too).

      1. Richard1
        July 17, 2021

        It is a huge mistake. People who use it – a tiny minority -will be glad enough to have it, although it will be obsolete technology by the time it’s open. But we’ll all be poorer for it – we would be richer if the money was either spent on something else, or better still not spent at all.

        1. lifelogic
          July 17, 2021

          +1

  6. Peter
    July 17, 2021

    Service industries prosper which has helped London.

    In the same period many of the manufacturing industries that were a mainstay of many other cities and towns started to disappear.

    1. lifelogic
      July 17, 2021

      Manufacturing often/usually has to compete in world markets where wages can be under 1/10 of the UKs. Not so easy especially with expensive energy, restrictive planning, the highest taxes for 70 years, restrictive employment laws and endless red tape.

      Plenty of people in the south have slightly higher salaries but after housing costs and commuting costs have less disposable income yet are paying more in income and other taxes. They might for example have to pay £30k stamp duty to buy a house when the same size house in the north might attract no stamp duty.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        July 17, 2021

        Agree L/L. Everything was cheaper in Scotland. Rates were cheaper, hairdressers, vets, houses to buy and rent.

    2. Oldtimer
      July 17, 2021

      There used to be plenty of manufacturing industry in London 40 to 50 years ago. Many of the the spaces they occupied became business parks (for service industries) or retail parks.

      1. The PrangWizard of England
        July 17, 2021

        Manufacturing was abandoned and freedom given to City spivs. They and the government got together to sell off the country’s businesses and anything else that could bring in foreign money. Give us money and we’ll do anything you want us to do is still the policy. As I have said many times we have been prostituted.

        1. Peter
          July 17, 2021

          PrangWizard,

          Agreed. Laundering dirty foreign money and lawyers ‘taking in washing’ with libel and divorce cases that have no real reason to be heard in the UK.

        2. dixie
          July 18, 2021

          Agreed

      2. Alan Jutson
        July 17, 2021

        Old Timer

        +1

    3. MiC
      July 17, 2021

      They did not spontaneously disappear.

      The economy was restructured by abrupt privatisation etc. to cause this. The net costs, taking into account social impacts, benefits, increased crime costs etc. have been enormously negative.

      Taxpayer subsidies were the excuse. The reason, however, was that the millions in these industries tended to vote Labour to protect their jobs and conditions.

      If that doesn’t work then there’s always voter suppression.

      1. Micky Taking
        July 17, 2021

        I agree those jobs were continually subsidised by Labour, pretending there was a future. Harsh reality economics bit I’m afraid.

        1. MiC
          July 17, 2021

          The point is the suddenness with which the closures were imposed, without any transitional arrangements for local economies, and often where no losses were being made anyway.

          The often catastrophic social impacts were, I claim, entirely intentional.

          1. dixie
            July 18, 2021

            Union strikes were always pretty abrupt- no power, no public transport, no school lessons, no burials, no rubbish collections, even no doctors at one point.
            The unions didn’t give a rats ass for the catastophic impacts on the general public and instead celebrated it.
            I don’t recall any private sector business going on strike.

      2. Peter2
        July 17, 2021

        So competition from cheaper emerging nations wasnt the cause MiC
        Well I never.

      3. Alan Jutson
        July 17, 2021

        Mic

        No the businesses did not disappear, they simply moved to more heavily taxpayer subsidised areas which were being promoted at the time. Subsidised Industrial buildings with extended Rent free periods, no rates (Council tax and business rates now))
        South Wales was a popular area to move to back in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s indeed two of my old employers moved there during this spell.
        One of my old manufactures also moved there some 15 years ago, but due to the lack of necessary skilled labour (they had a training programme at the time) they eventually gave up after 5 years and moved back to Oxfordshire.

      4. Peter
        July 17, 2021

        North Sea oil revenues were squandered taking on the unions.

        When the industries went to the wall there was nothing to replace them.

        1. MiC
          July 17, 2021

          That’s the nugget.

        2. Peter2
          July 17, 2021

          Industries went to the wall because customers changed to buying superior products from abroad.
          The car industry was a classic example of this.

          1. dixie
            July 18, 2021

            But for the most part they weren’t superior products, they were cheaper because their host government subsidised them. In many cases the issue was that overseas market had too many protectionist attitudes and barriers, in particular the EU.

          2. Peter2
            July 19, 2021

            I don’t recall BMW Mercedes Lexus and other brands being cheaper.
            Some models were more expensive that UK vehicles.
            Other less luxurious brands like Toyota, Honda and Nissan were priced competitively to UK vehicles but had better reliability and specification.
            Which is why many UK car and motorbike customers switched to buying them.

  7. DOM
    July 17, 2021

    Those who take an interest in politics are now acutely attuned to the interventionist pap pumped out by post-Thatcherite political leaders with the tired old crap about ‘helping those who need help’. Well, I have a message for politicians, ‘we don’t want nor need your help. we don’t need more intervention. we don’t need more meddling’ from patronising Oxbridge types who think they know more than we do about how to progress in life and enrich ourselves

    I have an idea what Johnson is. He’s not what he seems. Indeed, he is entirely the opposite of his public persona. His agenda is Socialist uber control, not meritocratic. His agenda is large state diktat, not small State. His agenda is authoritarian, not libertarian. His agenda isn’t humanitarian, but political.

    Slash taxes. Smash Labour’s political State that now controls both this government and it seems our lives ie the BBC, Police and the NHS. Repeal fascist speech laws. Purge the State of people like Michie who it seems has the ear of this so called libertarian PM.

    It’s the deceit I can’t abide. This faux concern by these lizard like shapeshifters who stand on a platform and declared they want only to aid us in our path to a better life when their main objective is entirely political and to promote the State’s objectives in its quest to subsume all our lives into its gravity field.

    The Tory party is still creating the impression that they are the anti-thesis of Labour. This is a LIE. They are one and the same with the same aim, to protect both parties from all harm. Don’t believe me? Look around and tell me that we have a Conservative government.

    You’ve become New Labour on steroids. Creating State dependency to assert control by using taxpayers money to buy loyalty with free lunch bribes and then take their freedoms with the other hands

    The Tory-Labour political class have become the Child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The two small kids are Tory-Labour voters. The lollipops the free lunch bribe. The gilded cage, the Utopian promised land. Once inside, the gilded veneer comes away to reveal an authoritarian dystopian hell of monitoring and enslavement

    1. Will in Hampshire
      July 17, 2021

      I think you get a bit carried away in the final paragraph, but broadly your observations about Mr Johnson are spot on in my view. The Conservative Party has always prioritized power over principles: its character is to adapt its policies to secure or maintain power rather than to advocate policies based upon firm principles.

      As leader, Mr Johnson is a particularly severe manifestation of this general trend. My view has always been that when he secured victory at the General Election in 2019 he finished his life’s work in politics. Getting into 10 Downing St is the only actual outcome that has ever mattered to him.

      1. No Longer Anonymous
        July 17, 2021

        I think he nails it.

    2. Paul Cuthbertson
      July 17, 2021

      Boris is a globalist and will promote the agenda of the UK Establishment. You only have to look at the G7 farce.

  8. Everhopeful
    July 17, 2021

    Well….considering one can not believe a word he says, I imagine ODL will be shambling through poppy fields, personally chopping down any above ankle height!

    Didn’t Mrs M like cornfields? Are there any poppy fields left in this benighted country? Or will BJ have to go to Afghanistan? Obsession with the countryside = wanting to stick millions of houses on it.

    How does he know how people want to live? Apparently being curtailed, imprisoned and pinged is his preferred approach. Not for him you understand…only for us. Do many appreciate that?

    1. J Bush
      July 17, 2021

      +10 re: your last paragraph.

      He may be in the ‘conservative’ party, but all his decisions evidence no Small State Conservatism and is clearly in the wrong party. He will fit in far better in the British Communist Party.

  9. MFD
    July 17, 2021

    I’m really surprised that our PM does not realise that one cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
    Or is it just another control and tax excuse?

  10. MiC
    July 17, 2021

    Which party is proposing a “socialist egalitarian agenda”?

    None of which I am aware.

  11. Everhopeful
    July 17, 2021

    The absolute, utter cheek and arrogance of him assuming he knows what people want!
    How I wish that I had not swallowed the Samuel Smiles path of bloody self improvement!
    Get an education..get a “good “ job…buy a beastly house..pay your taxes…obey the law…pay your taxes…oh pay your taxes…get treated like sh*it by all in authority…get imprisoned and treated even more badly.
    What a nicety…define socialism. Doesn’t he see how he has already levelled DOWN so many people?
    How does the complete twit intend to “level up” innate skills?
    Where does he think he would be now if the boys at the local comp had been “levelled up” to his public school?

    Just leave us alone!!

    1. Micky Taking
      July 17, 2021

      Levelling up always seems to be pulling everybody who went to public school, having parents who aspired, into a merry-go-round of looking after the boys. For decades it has been what school, who do you know, contacts to ensure the best paid jobs circulate in the group.

      1. MiC
        July 17, 2021

        Yes – THAT is, exactly, who are meant by “The Establishment”.

        Farage is one of them to a tee.

        1. Micky Taking
          July 17, 2021

          OMG – that was a leap of plausibility. Poor Nigel, he even gets castigated for being a rebel.

        2. Peter2
          July 17, 2021

          Do you include Kier Starmer in your list MiC?

          1. MiC
            July 17, 2021

            He didn’t go to Eton, Harrow, or to Dulwich College for that matter, but he could perhaps still be if he wanted, yes – even if less easily than the late Tony Benn, say.

            He clearly doesn’t want that though, or he would not be in the Labour Party, would he?

          2. Peter2
            July 17, 2021

            MiC
            Multi millionaire Londoner from a top grammar school then university then barrister.
            Sounds posh establishment to me MiC
            Not exactly a guy who came from a working class background via the Trades Unions.
            But because you like him he is a man of the people.

        3. dixie
          July 18, 2021

          The Chinese and Soviet establishments would be very proud of you. Pol Pot is applauding in the wings and the EU has readied a special place for you.
          The “establishment” is any group that has influence and control over the rest of us, is hard to dislodge and you seem to think it excludes the lefties, civil servants, educators, BBC etc and pro-EU zeolots.
          You clearly don’t worry about dictatorships as long as it’s your lot.

          1. Peter2
            July 18, 2021

            Great response Dixie.

      2. Everhopeful
        July 17, 2021

        Absolutely!
        And remember the Bullingdon Club photo?
        At least two PMs and a Chancellor!

  12. Nig l
    July 17, 2021

    Government by cliche, b.s. not action. Jam today, jam tomorrow, bread and circuses etc. Zero detail.

    In the meantime the nothing happens government limps on. Camilla Tominey shreds him in the DT being spineless in thrall of non accountable often wrong zero Covid scientists and as she published we see the pathetic u turn by Shapps regarding France with the usual failed excuse of protecting the public.

    I look forward to your comments in more detail in his speech. As evidenced in yesterday’s blog re NI you seem to believe in what ministers say, we don’t. The Guildford MP was spot on, prove it by showing us the money for tunnel to get rid of a notorious choke point.

    An in other news it has been announced that No 10 under costed its dash for green households by 10 billion plus not to mention the eye watering sums and destruction we will have to put up. As ever surrounded by yes people fooling no one in the wider community.

    1. Mark
      July 17, 2021

      I think you have that wrong by a couple of orders of magnitude. Under-costing of net zero is running into trillions.

  13. Bill B.
    July 17, 2021

    Mr Johnson may not have noticed, Sir John, but his and Sadiq Khan’s policies together have already done for London as an employment and commuter hub. It’s a ghost city compared to what it was in 2019. The ‘playmakers’ are no doubt moving to other cities, as you say, but whether those places are in this country is another question.

  14. Sharon
    July 17, 2021

    You can’t ‘level up’ and do green at the same time…

    Green will destroy our way of life, making us poorer, unable to travel and be cold, and probably dark too, at times.

    Levelling up should mean encouraging jobs and opportunities nationwide – and supporting those with low taxes etc.

    Which is it, Boris really intends?

    The only positive is, that finally, the truth about what going green really means, is beginning to come to light, and the £trillions cost it will incur, and the cost to the environment!

  15. BJC
    July 17, 2021

    Mr Johnson’s observations are correct, however, how is he going to overcome the (genuine) “unconscious bias” of the left towards those who wish to advance ahead of others in life? They don’t (or won’t) understand the meritorious spirit of people who wish to stand apart and seek independent, successful lives through hard work. Their vision of equality is an ethos built around pursuing the easiest and quickest possible route to the blandness of mediocre, aka, dumbing down.

    How do you break the bear trap grip of our powerful institutions, infiltrated by the left and their destructive politics of envy, i.e. public services (particularly schools), councils, devolved assemblies, etc, who disdainfully hold up any level of self-advancement as privilege and excellence as a source of shame?

  16. MiC
    July 17, 2021

    Two of our sons have just tested positive for covid19. They’re symptomless, but had been vaccinated. They appear to have caught it at football-watching gatherings, along with others of their group in London.

    This will assist the virus in developing vaccine-resistant mutations.

    Tory England leads the way again, against international expert advice.

    1. oldwulf
      July 17, 2021

      In my own city, for some time covid, has been a matter of personal irresponsibility. The government and experts (international or otherwise) can say whatevert they want. Like it or not, the plebs have stopped listening.

    2. Peter2
      July 17, 2021

      “They’re symptomless”…so your example shows how the vaccine works. MiC.
      Remember the “save the NHS save lives” original mantra?

      1. MiC
        July 17, 2021

        Can you ever address the point?

        1. Peter2
          July 17, 2021

          It not only addresses your usual anti Conservative nd anti UK point but demolishes it MiC
          You are so biased you just dont see anything else.

          1. bill brown
            July 17, 2021

            Peter 2

            If you were really informed, it might actually be worth noting on this issue

          2. acorn
            July 17, 2021

            At least MiC is not looking down the wrong end of the telescope, like you and nine out of ten Redwoodians commenting on his site.

            BTW. How many of you “denialists” (e.g. anti-EU; anti-Covid; anti face masks; anti vaccine; anti climate change etc etc.), have sneaked down to a vaccination centre, to get both jabs of the AZ potion, when the neighbours weren’t looking?

          3. Peter2
            July 17, 2021

            What does that comment mean bill?

            And acorn I am not a denialist as you define it.
            More nonsense from you trolls on here with your made up ridiculous comments.

    3. No Longer Anonymous
      July 17, 2021

      We have to trust the vaccine.

      Otherwise this is going to go on forever and ever and now we see (from newspaper exposes’) that people in the Track and Trace industry are making vast amounts and want this crisis to go on and on. We know (from newspaper exposes’) that Matt Hancock’s interests in keeping lockdown going were conflicted to say the least.

      I believe (unfortunately) that masks are now permanent and that vast areas of our life that we used to love and used to bring us great pleasure are now going to be completely destroyed.

      It is worth reading Jeremy Clarkson today. A closet Lefty. He says that ugly and boring people want lockdown to continue – it is a way for wallflowers to get their own back on people who enjoy their fun lives and friendships.

      Freedom Day in Name Only.

      The best vaccine roll out in the world squandered.

      An elite class making millions out of keeping the whole thing going and terrifying the public.

      And at least one minister responsible for keeping us in masks not declaring is conflict of interest because he was enjoying the frisson during the excitement of crisis.

      1. Mitchel
        July 17, 2021

        Fantasy economy no1 was where we cut each other’s hair,pour each other cups of coffee and go shopping.Fantasy economy no2 is where we test and inject each other and go internet shopping (adding to all the debt/money printing that has been carried forward from fantasy economy no1).

        There won’t be a fantasy economy no3.

        Global Britain?No,Fantasy Island!

      2. MiC
        July 17, 2021

        The best start of a vaccine roll out in the world, perhaps.

        Its remaining in that position is being eclipsed as we write.

    4. Philip P.
      July 17, 2021

      Perhaps your sons can take the test again, MiC, and see what the results are the 2nd time. Or you could ask for the ct number (cycle threshold) used by the lab where the test was carried out. If it’s above 25, follow CDC advice and ignore the result as worthless. Or, as recommended by the WHO, your sons could get a clinical examination as well, as recommended by the WHO back in January, when they informed medical practitioners that the ‘test’ by itself is not a reliable diagnostic of infection. Perhaps doctors in Cardiff didn’t get the memo.

      1. SecretPeople
        July 17, 2021

        Well said.

      2. SecretPeople
        July 17, 2021

        Exactly; high CT leads to false positives and shouldn’t be necessary. Back in December the WHO issued this:

        Users of RT-PCR reagents should read the IFU carefully to determine if manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is necessary to account for any background noise which may lead to a specimen with a high cycle threshold (Ct) value result being interpreted as a positive result. The design principle of RT-PCR means that for patients with high levels of circulating virus (viral load), relatively few cycles will be needed to detect virus and so the Ct value will be low.

      3. MiC
        July 17, 2021

        It was in London as I said, but some fair points raised.

        Son A has experienced some loss of taste and smell but otherwise he’s pretty well OK.

        As to the morbidity of vaccine-tolerating strains, we’ll just have to see as they arise – won’t we – since no one in government in England seems to be doing much to stop them.

        1. a-tracy
          July 18, 2021

          MiC – are your son’s adults? Did you advise them not to go to the football and mix in crowds as your views are so strong against coming out of lockdown, or did you advise them that if they did they go they should wear their masks if in close contact with others? Do they not listen to you? Is that why you are on here twenty times a day trying to persuade other people to listen to you because your own family don’t?

          If I disagreed with everything this government did around covid I would persuade my nearest and dearest to take alternative action and not just follow the herd.

          1. MiC
            July 18, 2021

            They are independent adults with their own homes, doing exactly what millions of others are doing, and with the blessings of this “government”.

            However, they are generally far more careful than many on this site would urge them to be.

    5. Hat man
      July 17, 2021

      So there’s nothing wrong with your sons, MiC? Good. This is an opportunity for them, and you, to call time on this nonsense, and all get on with your lives.

      You can still have a go at Johnson and the Tories, of course, about Brexit and everything else, just as before.

    6. SM
      July 17, 2021

      Were your sons press-ganged by sinister, covert Tory forces, into attending a large and crowded sports gathering in a congested city?

      I sincerely hope they both remain healthy.

    7. steve
      July 17, 2021

      MiC

      “Two of our sons have just tested positive for covid19. ”

      I, and most on here I’m quite sure, wish the best health for your Sons and hope that they manage to shake the virus off.

    8. Zorro
      July 17, 2021

      “This will assist the virus in developing vaccine-resistant mutations”….. Explain how alleged asymptomatic infections can create ‘vaccine resistant mutations’. A science free zone – utter nonsense. You are just repeating things you heard off the TV.

      Zorro

      1. MiC
        July 17, 2021

        So our vaccinated health secretary has also tested positive, and three days after visiting a care home.

        And you still don’t see anything wrong with lifting all restrictions either, it appears.

        WHO’s guidance is that vaccination is an “as well as” measure, not an “instead of” one.

        1. a-tracy
          July 18, 2021

          MiC it’s not freedom day until tomorrow Martin. Mask wearing is still compulsory indoors (Our health sec was photographed wearing a mask indoors) and advised in close contact outdoor space, I hope he kept a safe social distance outdoors, do you know otherwise?

          People are asked to take a bit more responsibility for themselves and make decisions for themselves and their families. I’ve worked full-time throughout this crisis and taken care and precautions, got jabbed when asked, wear a mask I will still continue to take precautions as I see fit moving forward.

        2. Zorro
          July 18, 2021

          Yes, but he’s OK isn’t he?

          Zorro

    9. Paul Cuthbertson
      July 17, 2021

      MiC – Why did your sons take the unapproved experimental gene therapy jab in the first place, it is NOT a vaccine? Were they ill? Were they co-erced? Fear is the pandemic ably pushed and promoted by the government and the MSM but there is so much information available outside of the the MSM to prove otherwise.
      Remember the real conspiracy theorists believe that their government cares about them, the media would never mislead or lie to them and the pharmaceutical industry that makes billions from sickness wants to cure them.

    10. a-tracy
      July 18, 2021

      Martin, I am concerned your sons have the virus, I sincerely hope that they recover quickly. Losing a sense of smell seems to be a long term problem for younger men I hope that the scientists are looking specifically at treatments for this.

  17. Walt
    July 17, 2021

    Sir John,
    Mark B has it right (above): capitalism is about opportunity.
    Reduce government size and interference. Create and maintain good basic infrastructure, e.g. practical rail and road transport (not HS2 and the rushed adoption of EVs), the national high-speed broadband in which this country has been so lacking (outside of London and some fortunate cities) thanks to BT. Then tax us less and leave us alone.

    1. SM
      July 17, 2021

      +10

    2. Mark B
      July 17, 2021

      +1

      And thanks 🙂

    3. SecretPeople
      July 17, 2021

      Me Too +1

    4. Alan Jutson
      July 17, 2021

      +1

  18. formula57
    July 17, 2021

    Levelling however, there must be recognition that now “personal journeys to success” often dispense with the “to success” part as prevailing conditions mean that no longer is there delivery of the rewards taken for granted by those starting their working life in much of the twentieth century.

    Worse employment conditions and prospects (dispensing with middle management, less favourable pension schemes, outsourcing to cheap labour countries etc.), student debt, junk degrees, housing inflation, a selfish and self-absorbed society all make their corrosive contribution.

    At least the 1972 MIT study that said it would all be over by 2040 has recently been confirmed as still correct. And nineteen years will pass quite quickly for it is not a long time in the politics of levelling.

  19. agricola
    July 17, 2021

    I perceive that our PM has a credibility gap, nobody here seems to believe him whatever his real intentions might be.

    I would like to see education concentrated upon, we cannot afford not to maximise the talent we have. Life is competitive, like it or not. Education needs to mirror it as a preparation for working life both academically and technically. On a specific note I would cease burdening engineers, scientists, and medics with higher education fees. The country needs them as much as they need a career. They have already proved their potential by getting to higher education.

    Beyond the above it is a matter of encouraging enterprise in terms of research and manufacture to those areas that need levelling up.

    There being now a vast gap between what many earn and their ability to get on the housing ladder, we need to have a total rethink of the mortgage business to facilitate it. I’m quite sure that there is a lot more fine tuning to be done, but I will leave that to others to emphasise.

    1. steve
      July 17, 2021

      Agricola

      “I perceive that our PM has a credibility gap, nobody here seems to believe him whatever his real intentions might be.”

      Delivered BRINO.
      Sold a large chunk of sovereign British territory down the river.
      Failed the nation on fishing.
      Did not abolish the TV licence fee.
      Twice let dangerous visuses into the country.
      Betrayed millions of Labour voters who lent their votes.
      Betrayed milllions of Conservative voters.
      Appeases a very threatening nationalist organisation in Scotland – and still gives it OUR money.
      Done absolutely JS to defend our borders against the French dumping of migrants on our shores.

      Of course he has a credibility gap, that’s understating it. What Johnson (or the remains of the conservative party) will face at the next general election will be pure unadulterated wrath.

      A far worse PM for England than Tony Blair in my opinion.

  20. Alan Jutson
    July 17, 2021

    Interesting topic today John.
    If the government wants to encourage people to build success for themselves , they need to get out of our lives with less control and taxes ,and let people keep more of their earned income, they also need to encourage self employment and business start ups, not regulate and tax them out of existence, or introduce more IR35 type regulation.
    Yes I am all for spending more on education, but education that is relevant to a working and developing life, not just academia for academia’s sake.
    Most new businesses I would suggest are set up by self employed people, self employed people do not usually decide to leave a salaried job and jump in at the deep end, they become self employed either gradually by dipping their toes in the water whilst still employed, or after a work change experience like redundancy.
    The benefits and tax system needs to accommodate such action not penalise it.

    Just look at the obstacles to starting and setting up your own business, even trying to get a working bank account is sometimes difficult, even if you are not seeking any loans or overdraft facilities.

    With regards to levelling up, yes you are correct reliable and widespread fast broadband is the game changer.
    Yes London and the southeast is a huge pull, or at least was, but people for years now have been realising that London is horrendously expensive, much better value for housing and business premises can be found elsewhere in the country, the main problem it would appear is the availability of suitable labour.

    Local Councils and governments need to understand that they need to support business growth and not stifle it with additional costs and ever more taxes and regulations, the business rate system also needs a complete re-think, as the costs are absolutely crazy.

  21. lifelogic
    July 17, 2021

    “He was clear that a socialist egalitarian agenda which entails levelling down as well as levelling up is not the way to go” in his speech he also waffled on about how behind East Germany was compared to West Germany when he was there. Why does he not apply this logic to the dire, communist, virtual monopoly NHS?

    Business needs far less government, cheap reliable energy, opening up now, cancelling test and trace, a bonfire of red tape, taxes at about 20% of GDP & not heading for 50%, easy hire and fire, government out of the way, simpler planning and no net zero expensive energy lunacy. This is true north, south, east or west. Lumbering millions with £50k of debt for largely worthless degrees (about 75% of them) does not help much either.

  22. Oldtimer
    July 17, 2021

    The Johnson government is demonstrating a capacity for waffle but appears not to grasp that its policy objective of net zero will level everyone down not up. It is already costing jobs and beggaring the nation. The Conservative party, or those within it in a position to do so, needs to replace the Prime Lemming with someone with a better grasp of the realities of life, the sciences, government spending and taxation.

    1. steve
      July 17, 2021

      Oldtimer

      “The Johnson government is demonstrating a capacity for waffle but appears not to grasp that its policy objective of net zero will level everyone down not up. ”

      They know this perfectly well, it’s the plan……working class taxpayers enslaved into massive perpetual debt, just for the priviledge of keeping slightly warm in winter and having a crappy useless EV.

      About £40k for the heat pump and another £40k for the EV – which will have no value whatsoever after three years, and probably incur significant further cost to dispose of, what with all the toxic heavy metals they haven’t devised a safe way to dispose of.

  23. a-tracy
    July 17, 2021

    It is the geographical nature and City v City in the Midlands and the North (Red Rose/White Rose still functioning) that causes a lot of problems. Miles and miles apart unconnected with cheap transport like those in the South East. We’re all just called ‘The North’ in London everything was centred within the M25, it is leaking out now. With fantastic access to facilities, entertainment, jobs etc the problem with this containment is everything has to be shipped in, it no longer has sufficient resources for the huge numbers this attracted.
    They want us to stop eating animals and start eating plants, where is all the water (and land in the SE) going to come from to localise that.
    In many, many areas in the North you can’t function without a car. Our Cities have been allowed to be completely taken over by Labour with the poorest functioning schools following their dictates and governance. They want car less cities and like all good socialists want to nanny everyone and tell them what they’re allowed to do and what they are supposed to enjoy.

    Sort out the rapid transit system and Oyster card system for the North instead of HS2. You again sort out a rail system concentrated on London. These lines run through our Counties but we can’t use them in the main. We don’t all live in a big conurbation. We can’t even get 30,000 people into three Big Cities within an hours drive.

  24. Cliff. Wokingham
    July 17, 2021

    Tag line of the week….. Levelling up.
    Most of the areas the government want to level up were wealthy, had full employment and great industries but were destroyed by successive governments and trade unions.
    The so called Green agenda will help no one in so far as energy will have to be rationed and expensive.
    Gesture politics are fine for peacocks but it is the little people who suffer.

    The best thing for this country would be a real true blue Conservative government, but where we will get that from, I haven’t a clue.

  25. oldwulf
    July 17, 2021

    London achieved its meteoric growth at no net cost to the taxpayer. In fact, the success of London and the South East has significantly contributed to tax revenues. This growth has been to the detriment of the provinces particularly as many talented people moved away.

    The aim of “levelling up” the provinces is laudable. Ideally it will be achieved at no net cost to the taxpayer (and will ultimately benefit the uk as a whole). However, it is likely to slow London’s growth and may remove some of its people, businesses and wealth. This is probably no bad thing.

  26. Dave Andrews
    July 17, 2021

    Suppose the people in the areas that need levelling up don’t want to level up? Maybe they want to continue pursuing destructive lifestyles, oppressing members of their society with archaic social practices, abandoning the mother of their children who end up fatherless and prey to gangs that recruit them in county lines or seek to fabricate a disability so they can claim benefit.
    Easy to blame government for society’s ills, when it’s really society itself that’s to blame.

    1. steve
      July 17, 2021

      Dave Andrews

      “Easy to blame government for society’s ills, when it’s really society itself that’s to blame. ”

      So, if ‘WE’ have to mend broken society then why are we paying good money for 650 foreign – serving quislings to do the job ?

      1. bill brown
        July 17, 2021

        Steve,

        Are they doing a bad job or are you just against foreigners?

        1. Peter2
          July 18, 2021

          You need to read steve’s post again bill.
          In your haste to get to your monthly target of posts, you have totally failed to understand what steve actually said and plainly meant.

    2. turboterrier
      July 17, 2021

      Dave Andrew’s
      Brilliant last line. Classic observation.
      Why work when the taxpayer ensures you get more and more given by people who are overrun with workloads?
      Big example. Why do people living on their own get to live in 3 bed rented houses and still eligible to claim everything that’s going?

    3. Mark B
      July 17, 2021

      +1

  27. majorfrustration
    July 17, 2021

    Boris just does not get it – all words and no plan of action. When will the real politicians arrive to lead the UK

    1. Oldwulf
      July 17, 2021

      @MAJORFRUSTRATION
      Yep… a good start might be to immediately build HS2 north of Birmingham and to ditch HS2 south of Birmingham.

    2. turboterrier
      July 17, 2021

      Dave Andrew’s
      Brilliant last line. Classic observation.
      Why work when the taxpayer ensures you get more and more given by people who are overrun with workloads?
      Big example. Why do people living on their own get to live in 3 bed rented houses and still eligible to claim everything that’s going?

    3. turboterrier
      July 17, 2021

      Major Frustration
      It is the latest craze for the new generation of MPs. Loads of double talk, no guts to implement what they are saying let alone cost it. Nothing more than a breakfast kipper you can only eat 50% of what you see and get. By the time we get the chance to change the menu it will be too bleeding late.

  28. William Long
    July 17, 2021

    As soon as something, however desireable, becomes a Government initiative, one has to question it, because the likelyhood, or rather, the certainty, is that it will become an excuse for more control, bureaucracy and taxation. The things that are going to make reality of the desireable objectives you list in your closing sentence, are precisely the opposite of these: lighter regulation, efficient administration and sensible, lower and well thought out taxation.
    HS2 is a prime example of the Government wasting a huge sum of money simply to make it easier to get from a ‘poorer’ area to London, while nothing seems to be being done to improve transport connections between the ‘poorer’ areas themselves. Do you think there is any chance of Boris’s own speech waking him up to this?
    And why have we heard no more about Freeports? And if low tax is good f0r a Freeport, why not for the whole country?

    1. glen cullen
      July 17, 2021

      If our generalised forum opinions here are a true reflection of the wider conservative voting community, than the Tories are dead in the wood with the current leadership and policies

      Are we just a small alternative, off the wall think tank or do our opinions reflect the full membership ?

      1. Micky Taking
        July 18, 2021

        Well I’d really like to know. The ballot paper needs to be available ASAP. You know, before memory loss afflicts more of us oldies.

  29. Andy
    July 17, 2021

    Why would anyone believe a word the blustering fool Johnson says?

    He talks about levelling up and then gives jobs and contacts to his posh mates. He doesn’t run a government. He runs a chumocracy.

    He might be able to fool some of the stupider people all of the time, but most of us had him sussed as a complete charlatan a long time ago.

    1. Richard1
      July 17, 2021

      You should try using reasoned argument some time, using evidence, if you can think of one. rather than endless fatuous insults.

    2. steve
      July 17, 2021

      Andy

      “Why would anyone believe a word the blustering fool Johnson says?”

      Not many people would now. His mask has slipped. However he’s not the blustering fool you suggest, Andy. Actually he’s a highly dangerous PM with sinister intent for this country.

      You and I are on opposite sides of an ideological wall, but on Johnson I think we can both agree he’s a wrong-un and has to go.

    3. Original Richard
      July 17, 2021

      Andy :

      I can understand that you have a poor opinion of the PM because he didn’t reverse the EU referendum result as you would have liked and this has led to some inconveniences for you.

      But in many other respects, such as continuing with mass immigration so that wages for the working class are held down and the government/businesses do not invest in training the young and introducing new technology, he is acting in your interests.

  30. No Longer Anonymous
    July 17, 2021

    My wife and I visited Harrogate near Leeds. One of the poshest and loveliest places I have been to. Many areas around Leeds and like that too and Leeds itself is Party Central – a vast symbol of prosperity… the same too with Newcastle and has been for many decades now. Pristine streets, lovely countryside, happy people – good services.

    Yet someone who spent much of his life living in Mitcham and Croydon is privileged. Have a look on Google Street View at the Eastfields estate where I was brought up.

    I escaped. Got myself educated. Dragged my kids out of it and vowed they would never go to a school like the one I did. They are both now first class Masters about to start study for PhDs in sciences.

    Poor people exist everywhere. Especially in London. Especially !!!

    1. SM
      July 17, 2021

      +1

    2. Mark B
      July 17, 2021

      +1 And much respect.

    3. Mark
      July 17, 2021

      In looking at Council Tax variations across the country I found it very interesting to take account of the variations of housing. Poorer cities are dominated by Band A and B properties – Hull is actually the poorest on the measure I used, which is average effective council tax compared with Band D, and Kensington and Chelsea the richest. I produced a map of the results

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/B4Kcp/1/

      1. hefner
        July 18, 2021

        Mark, brilliant. Thanks. What were your original data? Number of properties in different bands by constituencies?

    4. Peter
      July 17, 2021

      NLA,
      “Sutton for good mutton, Cheam for juicy beef, Croydon for a pretty girl, And Mitcham for a thief.” according to the rhyme. It always had a reputation for the caravan dwellers.

  31. Original Richard
    July 17, 2021

    I will not believe the PM wishes to “level up” until I see him start to implement his manifesto pledge to reduce immigration.

    Continuous and massive immigration of cheap labour keeps wages low and house prices high and disincentivises businesses and governments to train our young people and invest in new technology.

    Whilst at the same time the tax payer is funding tax credits, housing benefit, and additional schools/staff, hospitals/staff and infrastructure etc. needed for all the extra people.

    Furthermore, the faster population growth puts further pressure and costs on our environment and makes it even more difficult and costly to achieve the government’s net zero carbon target.

    Levelling up will only be achieved through labour shortages. It was the Black Death in the Middle ages which caused labour shortages and the start of a “levelling up” through the decline of feudalism.

    1. MiC
      July 17, 2021

      Yes, the Black Death enabled many ordinary people to achieve rights of common, over land where the lord had been killed by it, enabling their escape from feudal servitude, becoming independent and self-sufficient.

      This was nearly all reversed by the Inclosure Acts – privatisation – the commoners often being then starved into virtual slavery in the landowners’ new mills.

      It has a familiar feeling for some reason.

      1. Original Richard
        July 17, 2021

        MiC :

        Whilst the Enclosure Acts (some 500 years later than the plagues) did inevitably mean there were initially winners and losers, the beneficial effect of private land was so enormous it led to big improvements in farming and thus the wealth of the country as a whole.

        Owning land meant that farmers not only looked after the land but could use the land in the most efficient way possible whether it was growing particular crops or using as pasture for cattle, sheep or pigs. A far more efficient practice than for all farms growing all the crops required as well as having a few animals.

        1. MiC
          July 17, 2021

          They began in 1604.

          You parrot Right wing historical analysis, unsurprisingly.

          They transformed a large, proud, independent section of the ordinary English stock back into quasi-feudal mill fodder and serfs – basically for the descendants of the Norman invader.

          Of course, those envious of their prior position didn’t lift a finger to help them.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        July 17, 2021

        The shortage of labour after a REAL plague caused the suppy/demand to shift in favour of the worker, MiC.

        A fraction of 1% were affected by this *syndemic* and that was before the vaccine !

        Why are we even considering another lockdown before we’re out of the third one ?

        How on earth is Zero Covid achievable without destroying everything and creating the economic divisions of the Downton Abbey era… hold on …. maybe that’s what this is all about.

      3. SM
        July 17, 2021

        Whoever taught you history, MiC, was not very good. By wiping out a huge percentage of the feudal peasantry, the remaining workers were in far greater demand and could ask for better wages and conditions, and reject their obligations to their overlords.

        As Richard has pointed out, the Enclosure Acts were harsh on many, but ultimately benefited the whole country by encouraging more effective agricultural systems (check out Coke of Norfolk).

        And I’m not aware that many landowners went into the mill and factory trade, which tended to be the province of middle-class entrepreneurs and investors.

        1. Micky Taking
          July 18, 2021

          and very often the good land was divided up equally, the same for the poor land. A piece of each. Generally other areas became ‘common’ with very few rules on its use.

    2. Mitchel
      July 17, 2021

      The Black Death also revived European slavery (and lifted the prices of slaves).Many a palazzo in Venice was built on the proceeds of slave-trading with the Tartars who were notorious for their slave raiding.

      1. Original Richard
        July 17, 2021

        Mitchel :

        I have no knowledge about slavery in Venice or elsewhere in Europe but in the UK the shortage of labour as a result of the Black Death meant landlords/landowners (the elites) had to pay higher prices for labour and even saw labour moving between villages for the first time to better their pay and conditions. A step in the right direction towards “levelling up”.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        July 17, 2021

        Mitchel – and when slave labour was abolished 1% of the population were compensated by the government for loss of slaves.

        We’ll find a similar number raking it in during this pandemic.

    3. steve
      July 17, 2021

      Original Richard.

      Johnson’s manifesto was just to tell people what they wanted to hear at the time. Heck, the Belgian quisling palmed us off with BRINO, so don’t expect honesty from him in anything else he said.

  32. Know-Dice
    July 17, 2021

    Off today’s topic 🙁

    I see that the Boundary Commission is proposing to change the boundaries for the Wokingham constituency. Yesterday I got a leaflet from Labour, so they obviously think that they have a chance with the new constituency, even thought this includes Sonning and North Woodley…

    A question – is there any way to find out the votes from each ward in a national election?

    Reply No. Estimates of the new Woodley and Earley seat Suggest a comfortable Conservative win in both 2017 and 2019 on votes cast then.

    1. Alan Jutson
      July 17, 2021

      Know -Dice

      This would be interesting John.

      Mrs May would be one of your constituents !

    2. MiC
      July 17, 2021

      Aye, like Amersham…

  33. Christine
    July 17, 2021

    The Government should set an example. The main employer in my town in the north of England is the Civil Service. Over the last 20 years, thousands of these jobs have been moved to the cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Leeds. The cities cost far more for accommodation, the calibre of staff is inferior as there is more competition for good workers. This is an escalating problem we are seeing because of the power being given to city mayors. We do not have a level playing field between towns and cities and it is getting worse.

    What we want is better mobile phone coverage (I still can’t even get a mobile signal where I live), faster broadband, more apprentice opportunities (it’s now very difficult to find tradespeople), less red-tape for small employers, and a ban on cities enticing jobs away from the towns.

    What we don’t want is more layers of Government, HS2, net-zero nonsense, high immigration, and an increase in taxes.

    The problem with Boris is that he listens to the wrong people, does constant U-turns and has no coherent plan for the future of this country.

    1. Mark
      July 17, 2021

      At least you can’t have a functional smart meter if mobile phones don’t work.

      1. Christine
        July 18, 2021

        No, I don’t have one and won’t be getting one.

  34. The PrangWizard of England
    July 17, 2021

    The drift to London has been going on for decades. I started work from school in a bank branch in north Yorkshire in 1962 and within five years when I was fully trained up and educated in banking business and law I began to be invited to provide ‘relief’ to other branches which were short of staff for one reason or another. London and the south east of England was in the biggest need. I was surprised at the more lighter discipline and lower work output expected and required in the south compared to the north, in other words a slack work ethic. I saw also that the south of England was a much nicer place to be and busy London in the 60’s was a far freer and exciting place.

    In 1969 I was invited to departmental work in London which was being regionalised and I was sent to Nottingham, then Manchester, Bristol and Manchester again. I don’t know how successful this has been since as branch banking has been collapsed in recent years.

    My taste for the south remained and I moved ‘down’ as soon as I could. My work time in the north was a long time ago when it was much grimmer than it is now but I have no intention of going back to my roots. The north is going to need to be made a much ‘prettier’ area than it is and the climate needs to be improved – neither is possible, so all this this talk of levelling up is just bluster and posturing as usual. What is needed is much better paid jobs, real jobs that is. Building new roads and railways might help but it is no guarantee.

    The biggest problem though is that England is being destroyed by population importation policies and practises.

  35. glen cullen
    July 17, 2021

    Tory Levelling Up = Ban the working class petrol car and force people to buy the more expensive electric car; just like the rich…..then everyone will be rich, we’ve levelled up the poor

    You can’t measure the success of ‘levelling up’, therefore the success is whatever the government says it is – its just another campaign like the Cameron ‘The Big Society’

  36. Derek
    July 17, 2021

    If Boris was serious about “Levelling Up” he would halt the HS2 project and funnel all of its allocation into upgrading the infrastructure of the Northern England.
    The Internet and ‘working from home’ have made that OTT grandiose, pet vanity project, obsolete.
    Improve the roads and rails up t’North, provide tax incentives for companies to move or to set up there and the people will follow to boost the whole area. Freeports included – but they all require first class infrastructure to work efficiently.

    1. turboterrier
      July 17, 2021

      Derek..
      First class infrastructure?

      Where is it?

      1. Mark
        July 17, 2021

        On HS2? Or is that supposed to be a one class train? (Toffrail)

  37. hefner
    July 17, 2021

    I guess a lot of people here would not even consider reading just looking who the author is but there is an informed portrait of our PM by Andrew Adonis in this month’s Prospect ‘Boris Johnson: The Prime Etonian’, 9/07/2021 prospectmagazine.co.uk
    Adonis was the Labour Transport Minister when Johnson was London mayor and they had to interact about Crossrail.

    1. Peter2
      July 17, 2021

      Adonis hates Boris and is a leading rd join, pro EU person who has his reasons for writing these articles.
      I dont think you could call this article a fair minded rounded view of the Prime Minister.

      1. hefner
        July 17, 2021

        It might not be a fair minded rounded view of the PM but it addresses a number of concerns addressed by contributors above. But I guess that as usual you were so keen on commenting on what I had written that you did not take the time to read the other contributors.

        So unable to write anything new from scratch and just barely able to criticise (and so often ridiculously) what others have written, aren’t you.
        Ah, some names act on you like the ‘capote de brega’ on the ‘toro’. It is so funny, hilarious indeed.

        1. Peter2
          July 17, 2021

          I have read numerous posts on here thanks heffy.
          But to read an article by Adonis on someone he hates is a waste of my time.
          I note you still cannot post with personal abuse.
          So here is what I think heffy,
          I find your posts generally sarcastic and pompous in tone.
          You seem to have a desperate desire to show off how educated you are.
          Like a bitter retired teacher, lecturer or academic who wasn’t listened to.

          1. hefner
            July 17, 2021

            The only piece of truth you have in your last line is ‘retired’, but good try.

          2. Peter2
            July 17, 2021

            Thanks.
            Always glad to respond to you hef.
            PS
            In my last line I didn’t say you were……I said you were like….
            Do you lefties ever read a post properly.

        2. bill brown
          July 17, 2021

          Hefner,

          Peter 2, is not going to change his approach about reading before contributing, it just goes on

          1. Peter2
            July 18, 2021

            Like your post above where you failed to understand what Steve said and jump in with one of your little sly quotes implying racism.
            “Reading before contributing”….take your own advice bill.
            Hilarious.

    2. Micky Taking
      July 18, 2021

      Me included – and why should I? A list of ‘required reading’ on here leaves me thinking I have joined a class, pontificated by some ‘extreme thinking’ group of both right and left political activists. What happened to the ‘this is what I think of today’s subject Sir John’ ?

      1. hefner
        July 18, 2021

        MT, very good point.

  38. X-Tory
    July 17, 2021

    There are two things that are needed to raise people’s standard of living in poor areas:
    1. More well-paid jobs;
    2. Less street crime.

    The government needs to get more ‘hands on’ in order to achieve both. One of the main tangible advantages which I foresaw from Brexit was a relaxation in state aid restrictions. The government needs to pump BILLIONS into reviving manufacturing industry (primarily new, high-tech businesses, but not forgetting foundational industries like steel) in poorer areas. Battery gigafactories, car plants, modular nuclear reactor manufacturing, chemicals production, computer chip production, etc. This ‘pump priming’ is what other countries do, our economic ENEMIES, and we must not lose the economic WAR by government inactivity or stupidity.

    As for street crime, the sad fact is that reducing this is not going to be achieved simply through recruiting more police. I can tell you – from direct personal experience – that the police are utterly useless and do not want to go into high crime areas and stop, arrest and charge known violent youths. Priti Useless needs to take more direct control of policing and FORCE the police to direct their resources into day-and-night patrolling of areas known for street crime and anti-social behaviour. They do have the manpower, it’s just they they currently prefer to persecute people who exercise their right to free speech on the internet, or who drive a couple of miles too fast on an empty road, or who break one of the million idiotic Covid restrictions.

    Sort out employment and crime – through direct government intervention – and you will have levelled up the whole of Britain. There you are: I’ve solved the levelling up problem for you. You’re welcome.

  39. steve
    July 17, 2021

    JR

    “The digitalisation of the UK is part of the answer ”

    An answer for whom, JR ?

    If you own a car or a house……you’ll find yourself being regularly ‘grassed-up’ .

    Distribution of personal data without express consent. Culprits? …..DVLA, Passport Office, TV Licencing, Local Government, the whole lot they’re all at it even the banks.

    In this country ‘digitalisation’ means only one thing for the average punter…..finding themselves being regularly threatened to part with hard earned cash.

    To coin a phrase: ‘Shove it’, I’ll park where I like and say what I like, watch what I like (Still waiting for Johnson to decriminalise TV licence fee non-payment as he said he would, by the way)

    Ban CCTV, Bus Lanes, ban the DVLA from grassing people to private businesses. Abolish or decriminalise the TV licence fee. Make it a criminal offence to post threats to people’s addresses…..then I might just start to think the establishment was on the side of the people. Also consider banning Tasers, what with them being illegal under international treaties – i.e. electro cardiac disruption classed as an intstrument of torture.

    Until such things happen digital i.e. state technology will remain the tool of choice for mandateless despotic governments such as ours, and organisations assuming a right to poke their noses into people’s privacy.

    Coming next:- Johnson’s Blairite ID cards aka vaccine passports……yes, we ain’t stupid and we’ve got Johnson sussed.

    JR, people don’t trust this government one iota, and resent the tools it deploys against them.

  40. J Bush
    July 17, 2021

    In one respect Johnson reminds me of Cameron – he says a lot, but tells you nothing. I understand ‘in the trade’ it is called ‘economical with the truth/political or double speak’.

    Well, I was not overly impressed by his ‘get brexit done’, ‘die in a ditch’ (I am still waiting because he failed an dismally) and global Britain etc slogans. Hindsight is marvellous, but then so too is ‘gut instinct’, which is why I spoilt my ballot paper in 2019. Now we hear him referring to the ‘great reset’ and ‘build back better slogans. I know what the WEF mean by these slogans and my response to this unelected, unaccountable and greedy self serving mob, who want to take everything I and everyone else have worked for and control every aspect of our lives is, thanks but no thanks and bog off back down your rabbit hole!

    However, Johnson keeps using their slogans and his policies mirror the direction they want to achieve! Why?

    He claims his hero is Churchill, so why do his actions mirror what Lord Haw Haw would have heartedly approved of?

  41. kb
    July 17, 2021

    If this means levelling up the house prices, we up north don’t want it thanks.

    1. Mark
      July 17, 2021

      Quite right. An effect of net zero policies will be to add large sums to the cost of houses, and therefore to mortgages. We are already seeing the effects of QE – London prices are now above £500,000 according to Nationwide, and soaring at record rates. Chart of regional prices back to 1973

      https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/qKCHV/1/

  42. turboterrier
    July 17, 2021

    Original Richard
    Pledge to reduce immigration

    Hell will freeze over first.
    Simple Action: Those who cannot prove with legal documentation, age, country of origin automatically lose any rights to be accepted for vetting to stay and will be returned to French waters.
    Stop the RNLI using the crisis to claim they are saving lives and bringing them ashore. They should tow the dingy back to French waters.
    All this could be done out at sea with no need to land them on our beaches or ports.

  43. Everhopeful
    July 17, 2021

    I sincerely hope that all “Covid Recovery” types are racking their brains 24/7 to think of a way to STOP the maniacs locking us in our houses again.
    The fate of this country rests on your shoulders….
    Haven’t you all seen and heard enough?

    The people who would happily destroy us have been infantilised by free stuff, all of their lives. They have no idea what they are doing to themselves and to us all.
    Stop rewarding them with lollipops.

  44. John Mcdonald
    July 17, 2021

    Dear Sir John,
    As a first step the UK Government can relocate the English Parliament to the centre of England together with the associated Civil Service associated with English matters.
    MP’s need to put their money where their mouth is, and lead by example!
    Don’t forget a lot to do with the situation we are now in was the move to a Service Industry away from Manufacturing – encouraged by Mrs. Thatcher, Globalization, and the import of cheap labour (at all levels) encouraged by those who want to make a quick profit at the expense of the long term benefit to the community as a whole.
    What has changed since the mid-1960’s when a working class boy could leave school at 16 and still end up with a well paid Job in Engineering ? Further education supported by the State and Industry, and of course a bit of effort. Nothing on a plate then 🙂 The expectation was you had to work to get what you want in life.
    Entitled to nothing.

  45. hefner
    July 17, 2021

    This might be of interest:
    ‘Huge study supporting ivermectin as Covid treatment withdrawn over ethical concerns’, paper by A.Elgazzar et al., originally published in Research Square, now retracted. Story in the Guardian, 15/07/2021, M. Davey.

    ‘Ivermectin: arguments for AND against its use as Covid-19 treatment’, biznews.com, 08/07/2021, Nadya Swart.

    ‘Review of the emerging evidence demonstrating the efficacy of Ivermectin in the prophylaxis and treatment of Covid-19’, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, May-June’21, P. Kory et al.

    So you have it, one against, one balancing the results of multiple studies, one for ivermectin.
    Place your bets.

  46. Enough Already
    July 17, 2021

    The problem with the Tories is they talk conservative but do squishy-liberal-centre-left.

  47. Bryan Harris
    July 17, 2021

    The divergencies have remained

    Proving yet again, that Thatcher was right – The economy, NOT huge nanny state governments, drives prosperity.
    Yet it is clear that we are not going to learn the lessons of the 80’s.

    The main plank of this governments position is everything green – so every single policy or project now has to align with that.
    We are already promised ridiculous tax increases that work towards net-zero aspirations, and it is impossible not to see net-zero in all that is talked about, legislated for and planned.

    It is very clear to me that the lessons of socialism have still not penetrated, which makes me feel that any leveling UP, will mean a leveling DOWN elsewhere.

    With the government taking the authoritiarian approach to everything I can only see us all getting poorer, while our quality of life sinks ever lower.

  48. hefner
    July 17, 2021

    Some figures to put things in perspective: in 2017, 12.3 m British citizens went to France for holidays whereas 3.7 m French people came to Britain for the same reason.

    Right now, the Covid beta variant represents 3.4% of Covid-19 cases in metropolitan France. The 148 hospitalised for Covid beta with 38 in intensive care are on the Ile de la Reunion, in the Indian Ocean with population of about 901,000 inhabitants. People flying from La Reunion still have to show a clean LFT before embarking, and when in France be quarantined for seven days and have a PCR test within two days.
    Moreover actual tests have shown that the beta variant reacts rather well (effects are attenuated) with Pfizer/BioNTech (75% of doses given in France) not so well with AZ1222 (15% of doses).

    So a possible question could be: is the UK government scared by the Covid beta variant because the AZ1222 vaccine might not protect the UK population that well against it, or pretending to be scared because people not going abroad might keep some money on this septic (sorry I meant sceptered) island?

    1. Micky Taking
      July 18, 2021

      ‘some figures to put things in perspective: in 2017, 12.3 m British citizens went to France for holidays whereas 3.7 m French people came to Britain for the same reason. ‘
      And 500,000- French came to S.East to work !
      Just goes to show that the promise of sun, cheap wine and cheese for 2 weeks does.

      1. hefner
        July 18, 2021

        According to gov.uk ‘EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021’ updated 01/06/2021, Fig.5, a bit more than 200k (with 92% in England, Fig.3) French people have obtained either the settled or pre-settled status. This for the whole of the UK, and with 60,000 (as of 2016) thought to have been working in financial services within the Greater London area.
        So it would seem a maximum of 250,000 French people are likely to be living and working in the UK.

        1. Micky Taking
          July 19, 2021

          what about the 250,000 who went home? Lies, damn lies and statistics.

  49. Mark
    July 17, 2021

    I believe if you want the economy to take off like a rocket the prescription is

    1 Light blue touchpaper
    2 Retire 10 paces

  50. forthurst
    July 17, 2021

    The idea that fast internet will mitigate expensive energy is nonsense. A modern efficient factory requires cheap energy to drive the automation that reduces manpower costs to remain internationally competitive.
    Some industrial process require huge amounts of energy and some require dirty stuff like coal, oil and gas to function; these processes need to be performed somewhere so driving them out of the country with Carbon trading nonsense and expensive and unreliable electicity does not SavethePlanet per se, but merely transfers them elsewhere together with the associated employment and wealth creation. If there are no factories there is little demand for most engineering graduates and if you sent a PPE graduate to Yorkshire they probably wouldn’t know what to do with it.

    Ever since Thatcher, the Tory party has had the naive belief that we can be a wealthy and successful country with just services to sustain us. This was never true and will never be true and furthermore will prevent any levelling up or any other silly slogan that the Tories can dream up achieving fruition and will ensure that large parts of the country will remain disaffected, unfulfilled and some will want to break away.

  51. Roy Grainger
    July 17, 2021

    Levelling up the regions means more money will be spent there, on infrastructure for example, and less will be spent in London. The government seem reluctant to make this very obvious point. Why not? There’s no votes to be gained in London and the profligate Labour councils there (mine included) don’t deserve extra money.

    1. Newmania
      July 17, 2021

      There are also inequalities within regions, and London is the most unequal place in the UK. The South East by contrast is notably equal, but many people commute between the 2 or spend some of their lives in one and some in the other. Usually people leave London when they have children .
      This Government wishes to curry favour with Northern swing seats and if it attacks London and the South to do it , so be it . The turkeys who continue to vote for Christmas are the ones that mystify me .

  52. acorn
    July 17, 2021

    People with extremist views less able to do complex mental tasks, research suggests. Cambridge University team say their findings could be used to spot people at risk from radicalisation. A key finding of the psychologists was that people with extremist attitudes tended to think about the world in a black and white way. Our brains hold clues for the ideologies we choose to live by, according to research, which has suggested that people who espouse extremist attitudes tend to perform poorly on complex mental tasks.

    Researchers from the University of Cambridge sought to evaluate whether cognitive disposition – differences in how information is perceived and processed – sculpts ideological world-views such as political, nationalistic and dogmatic beliefs, beyond the impact of traditional demographic factors like age, race and gender.

    Basically, the research shows the thicker you are in the head, the more likely you are to be conned into voting for a populist nationalist Conservative government and any associated referendums.

    1. jon livesey
      July 17, 2021

      Ironically, you have just demonstrated your inability to interpret the research.

    2. Peter2
      July 17, 2021

      You forgot to mention the theory also applies to lefty extremists acorn.
      So be careful.

  53. Newmania
    July 17, 2021

    Inequality has been stable over the past decade .The Gini coefficient, ( a measure of inequality ), reached 34.6% in 2020 after peaking 38.6% just prior to 2008. In modern times the great change in equality was between 1979 and 1990 when it went from 24 % to 34%. This coincided with the reforming Thatcher Government and the creation of the post industrial poverty traps we know to day.
    If Sir John is suggesting Regional equality was a priority of this administration, “recollections may differ” !
    In fact both inequality and housing costs have “improved ” since 2008 somewhat so why does this Government suddenly wish to carpet bomb the South Easts Country side with shoddy housing and treat it even more unfairly than it is already.
    The South East is already the second lowest recipient of spending per head £8919 while a favoured region such as the North East gets £10285. The starkest unfairness however is between England as a whole and Scotland and Wales bothy of whom get prodigiously above the UK average ( Scotland £11566 eg ). This is why our ( SE ) schools are underfunded , our roads a daily torture and our Rail simply unspeakably bad.
    The average price of North Eastern house is £215,377 , South Easterners face £450,001 and rent is if anything worse .
    While disposable income may be larger in the South East life is not the easy ride Sir John suggests it is for most and it certainly is not at the expense of the North.
    Sir John and other Southern safe seat MP`s may yet be surprised at how tired his constituents are of hearing our lives are easy, and that we must hand over yet more of our money to politically useful Northern Seats we already subsidise .

  54. jon livesey
    July 17, 2021

    A Government can, of course, make policy changes, but most of the benefits of good change come as side-effects, and so cannot be planned in detail.

    A good example of this is Maggie’s privatization, which was a fairly simple, although radical, policy change that seemed to be aimed at getting Government out of running money-losing businesses it was incapable of running, but which ended up revolutionising the entire economy.

    So Boris ought to point the way and bring in some policy changes that encourage investment and growth by making investment in the UK more attractive – pretty much the Brexit agenda of getting out from under EU regulation – but it would be a mistake to try to plan the long-term changes. Free markets are pretty unpredictable simply because they are free.

    1. Ed M
      July 17, 2021

      @Jon,

      Maggie was GREAT at tacking the unions. But privatization isn’t rocket science.
      In fact, not all privatization is wondrous (some Tories exaggerate). For example, it wouldn’t make huge difference if post office was privatised or not (but on balance, sure, better off private – but nothing to get excited by).
      Far more is needed than privatization (important as that is). The government has to focus super hard on helping entrepreneurs build the great high tech and digital companies of the future. Just as the USA government helped Silicon Valley, the German government helps its excellent German-brand cars, and Israeli government help establish Tel Aviv as a world centre for high tech / digital.
      We want the UK to be manufacturing and exporting in the future the equivalent now of (and all the high level of skills / productivity involved): Apple phones and computers, German-made cars such as BMW etc, IBM servers and all the services around that, satellites for space, and so on.

      1. Ed M
        July 17, 2021

        Not forgetting all the services these support. HUGE.

    2. Ed M
      July 17, 2021

      Maggie was GREAT at tackling the unions (and more). Not taking anything away from her here. But just that we have to move on from the 80’s. We’re 2021 and there’s huge opportunity to take a lead in High Tech / Digital. And quite complicated the way government can help. But it certainly can (and work it out with a good plan) and must.

  55. Iain Gill
    July 17, 2021

    key is giving more decision making power and freedom to ordinary people.

    people left to their own devices would move closer to jobs markets, not be left in jobless areas. if the people really had the power the social housing providers would be forced to build new housing near new jobs hotspots and abandon housing in old industrial areas where there are currently few jobs. these dynamics are not there so people get rationed and forced to live away from jobs markets.

    people left to their own devices would force school standards up, current rationing and allocation leaves parents little real power, especially if they have to move into a new area (for work reasons) after school allocation season, as they will be put in the worst school in town. so an active disincentive to a flexible workforce.

    many social housing contracts stop people working away from home for long periods. a real disincentive to being an active part of the mobile workforce, which the country needs.

    move house for work into another NHS area and your family will mostly be put back to the start of any nhs waiting list they were on. yet another disincentive to the flexible mobile workforce we need.

    it is the public sector, its rationing approaches, its top down approaches, its allocations, that causes a significant part of the problem.

    if you want to “level up” you need to give more people the power to make real decisions about their own lives, they will optimise things far better than the state ever will.

    real power shift to individuals is an election winning message, its a shame none of the political parties see it.

  56. Ed M
    July 17, 2021

    Most of the men on this website are probably in their 60’s or thereabouts.
    If you really want to help this country, you need to getting talking to your sons and grandsons about masculinity. Because sooo many young men today are lost. They don’t know how to be men. They are afraid to be men – afraid of their masculinity. They’ve been emasculated by the feminist world we live in.
    And it’s not just men. Just as our young men are turning into women (in men’s bodies) our women are turning into men (in women’s bodies). Marriage is falling dramatically. And with it procreation. And family life.
    A country cannot survive without proper men and women. This is happening all over the Western World. It’s a real crisis. Far more serious than any of the topics discussed on this website (important as they are).

  57. Aden
    July 17, 2021

    Nothing will change when the state assets strips the workers.

    There’s that 14 trillion pound socialist pension debt hidden off the books.

    Why would you hide the debts?

    1. dixie
      July 18, 2021

      define “worker”.

  58. Aden
    July 17, 2021

    30% of tax goes on the debts. The workers are asset stripped to pay the socialist debts.
    Mr Average cannot afford his £600,000 share.
    Now if the money had been invested, Mr Average would have £1.3 million in the bank at retirement just from National insurance. A 50% increase from not paying 10% of his income to support the borrowing.

    Levelling up? There’s no chance of levelling up with that debt and all the Tories can offer is levelling down.

    So why won’t MPs left or right, talk about the pension debts except to say, we are going to cut them and claim its fair to default?

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