The “march of the makers” ended with the collapse of the Redcar and Port Talbot steelworks. As for the much-vaunted “northern powerhouse”, it was always a branding exercise rather than anything serious. After Clegg lobbied him to include Sheffield, he came out of the meeting chuckling to Laws: “George is hilarious. He immediately suggested including Sheffield and just dropping Leeds.” Sheffield, Leeds: to a Notting Hill boy they’re all oop north, aren’t they?
It was all just a hi-vis gag: according to the government’s own figures from last July, of all the spending on infrastructure on which work is actually under way, almost 50p of every pound is going to London. The north-east is getting less than a penny. Alongside this are the findings of Steve Fothergill and Christina Beatty, showing how the Tories’ welfare cuts left the prosperous south-east and booming inner London almost untouched. According to the authors, the areas hit hardest were “older industrial areas, less prosperous seaside towns, some London boroughs”. In other words, Brexit-land.
Thatcher and Blair might have left parts of the country battered and feeble, but it was Osborne who cut off their life support, by taking away the public sector jobs and benefits. It was Osborne who created the post-crash economy of low pay and zero-hours contracts, at the apex of which stand the likes of Mike Ashley and Philip Green. It was Osborne who took the tax revenue from eastern European workers but refused to reinvest it in schools and local government, thus stoking community tensions. It was Osborne who indulged in the divide-and-rule rhetoric of skivers v strivers. He has to take part of the blame for Brexit, even while he no longer has to shoulder the responsibility for it.
Horticulture update 19th July 2016: Today is the hottest day of the year so far, with highs of 31°C. Too hot to work on the new greenhouse, although might carry on in the evening when it’s a bit cooler. So my only outdoor tasks today have been watering things/damping down Greenhouse 1. Dahlias are looking fabulous. They’ve already brought so much joy this year and different cultivars keep blooming for the first time, very exciting. The Sempervivums I grew from seed 5 years ago are flowering. That means that those rosettes will die, but that’s okay, they’ve spread by offsets as usual. Hesperaloe parviflora seedlings growing well, but I have to make sure to keep them free from aphids… just by blasting them with a jet of water. New things: Passiflora alata and some free lupins that came with it. A thyme plant rescued for 50p and a little Crassula rupestris I received as part of a plant swap. Also some small Sempervivum offsets (inc. S. arachnoideum) I ‘stole’ from B&Q. And 2x Echeveria ‘Raindrops’ which both look like they could do with more light, but this is how I bought them. And finally, the mystery cactus which I’m in the process of identifying.
I accidentally found myself in a charity shop, obviously looking at the books!!! These were 50p each, we paid a £1 each and still an incredible bargain. Oops, sorry book buying ban, I couldn’t help it 😁