Good moan could do the trick

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Coun Kieran Quinn


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

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