Good moan could do the trick
TAMESIDE COUNCIL LEADER
THERE are times in everybody’s life where the only thing you want to do is have a good moan. But what if there was a way to harness that most British of pastimes to make a real difference as well?
That’s what IPPR North, a Manchester-based think tank, tried to make happen last week with their ‘day of moaning’.
The idea was simple. If anybody in the north had any public transport related moans, they were encouraged to voice them as loudly and as publicly as possible. Annoyed at the fact that it takes longer to travel from Manchester to Chester now than it did half a century ago? Phone up your local radio show and let them know all about it. Irritated that a government minister told the north it was on its own after he blew £30 billion on another bauble for London? Send your moan in writing to your local MP (I promise that, in Tameside at least, they’re just as angry about it as you are).
What did we want to get out of it? The IPPR North have put their heads together and estimated how much it would cost to right the imbalance of government funding for trains and buses in London compared to the north of England. They came up with a figure of £59 billion. That investment would allow the north’s 15 million people, five major cities, 29 universities, eight major ports and international airport to contribute more fully to the British economy, paying it back and then some through better jobs and productivity.
To follow up the day of moaning, last Wednesday also saw northern political and business leaders gather in Leeds to decide what needs to happen next. The message that came out of that was clear.
The north will not stay silent on this, and when it speaks it will do so as one. In front of us is a government whose list of U-turns is long and growing by the day.
From national insurance increases, the dementia tax, taking in refugee children and energy price caps, they’ve proven that they can and will buckle when the pressure is applied.
Let’s make sure that there are as many moaning northerners as possible applying that pressure. Not just for one day, but until we get the fairness in transport funding that is due to us.
Northern prosperity is national prosperity.
● Coun Kieran Quinn