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I hope Charles Moore reads this.

It's not a "thoughtful report". It is irresponsible drivel with a very tenuous connection to reality - and that's before you even get to the political implications.

This report was published in 2007 and yet it surfaces the day before DC arrives in the North West. Someone's making mischief.

Absolutely disastrous own goal. POLLS POLLS....

I think the report is the equivalent of scoring 2 decisive own goals in the FA Cup Quarter Finals. Someone deserves shooting for the timing of this debacle.

It should be pointed out that this report was written by Tim Leunig, one of the lib dems top team and close to clegg

The most talented people in this part of the world have been migrating to the South for decades. That's been part of the problem. I don't see how a further brain drain will help matters.
A report that is careless, unthinking and perhaps tinged with snobbery.

Apart from the major stupidities of abandoning the north and encouraging people to move to the already congested south, it also contains smaller stupidities like "government should buy up the cheapest houses and give them to the next door neigbours"!

Surely the logical progression from this leads us to the conclusion that as Britain is beyond repair, we should all just bugger off and live abroad?

I live and work in Bradford (one of the cities that this report suggests has the sword of Damocles hanging over it). The report was briefly discussed this morning

1) Most people thought it was true
2) Most people thought it was hilarious
3) Nobody mentioned it being even remotely related to the Tories

So, while it won't help, I don't think it's going to be the utter calamity some on here are fearing

Obnoxious ignorant tripe.

Also economically ignorant tripe as there is plenty of evidence that, given the political will and therefore the money, towns and areas can undergoe wonderful regeneration eg York.

This is of course brought out by a British organisation which has no concern for England other than that of perpetuating its disdainful governance of that part of "Britain" over which it still has direct rule. Its mental attitude is redolent of the harrying of the North by William the conqueror, a major early mediaeval exercise in extermination and population terrorism of which there is still a strong folk memory and which probably is at base why the Tories have never taken root in the North where they are, still to this day, equated with London based Normans ie the British government.

England is an ancient country. The North Of England is an integral part of that ancient country and it history is part of England's. The very name England derives from the Angles who formed an early kingdom in the north east.

This report is yet additional evidence why England needs her own parliament,administration and budget quite separate from the British government. We need a government that actually cares for and identitifies with the people of England and then strives to protect and enhance her.

Scotland has it. Why can't we?

"A report that is careless, unthinking and perhaps tinged with snobbery."

Hmm, but would it be in the interests of Southern snobs to encourage the migration of Northerners onto their green and pleasant lands? Surrey is full up, thank you very much!

You can have no idea of the damage that this has inflicted in key northern marginals, including Bolton West. Catastrophe for Cameron.

Posted by: Andrew Gilbert | August 13, 2008 at 12:57

Yes, I noticed that the piece is copyright 2007 and yet it is the lead download on the frontpage.

Anyone have the latest press release from PX?

Looks like Carmeron isn't that close to PE on this issue:

"The authors of this report have themselves admitted it is barmy, it isn't, it is insane.

"Regeneration of our northern cities has been a key Conservative theme over the past three years, and one of the first things I did as leader was to set up the Cities Taskforce to look in to how we can further renew and regenerate our great cities."

I don't see why this should be bad for the Conservatives. Policy Exchange is not, as I understand it, part of the Conservative party.

Don't like this report at all. I haven't read the detail only the headlines but if the conclusions were enacted it would be a disaster for both Northern and Southern England so I don't think there is any chanced at all of these proposals being acted upon.
However on the whole Policy Exchange has a good reputation and I don't see why you should think there's a problem with the party having close links with them Tim. If you have a moment could you explain please ?
PS Jake, is there any subject at all that can be discussed without you bringing the future of the Union into question?

The very name England derives from the Angles who formed an early kingdom in the north east. And were from Germany...

Actually the Angles settled right across Britain - notably East Anglia...

Policy Exchanged,

Founder and Chairman - Michael Gove (Education)

Policy Director - Anthony Brown (due to be working for boris.)

If labour do even a half arsed attack over this....

Good CH advice to PX.

Given that the Cameroons are seen as masters of political positioning, yesterday's geeky and Redwoodian offering from PX was a disaster.

Chaps- we need to win the Chorleys, the Stocktons, the Warringtons, next time. This A'level offering is not going to help one iota.

It also confirms my long held view that Chris Grayling is totally overated, and prone to errors of judgement that would be magnified if he got a senior Government job.

In from the fields to see David Cameron on tv. He is in Carlisle and the Border tv reporter's story is wholly concerned with the PX report.

Dave says the report is barmy.

Put Carlisle down as Lab hold in 2010.

Work to do.

Tim Leunig's Lib Dem chums will have had a hand in releasing this information to co incide with Cameron's visit to the North West. Our heavy footed colleagues at Policy Exchange did the rest.

Its part of the revised Lib Dem strategy to concentrate on fighting Labour in the north of England, for this to work they have to isolate the Tories as insensitive loony Thacherites.

DC will be on the defensive throughout his NW tour. Shame.

Dorian Grape at 13:51 - It wasn't on the front page at 8am. It took me a while to find it under the author's profile. It was buried at least 3 or 4 links in.

I think the 'abandon the north' headlines are a misrepresentation of the reports recommendations.

It attempts to understand why some cities succeed while other s fail, and the principal policy suggestion, as I read it, is devolution of power from Westminster to local government.

I'd suggest any media storm is entirely artificial, newspapers looking for headlines on a slow news day.

Guys like Anthony Browne remind me of Ken Clarke's 'teenage scribblers'. I am afraid that Alice Thomson is equally unworldly. These guys need to remember that we actually held seats in;


Wetc in the 1980's. Mrs Thatcher did not right off great swathes of the electorate in this way.

Cameron is in Carlisle today. It should be eminently winnable with a good candidate. Farming is in crisis, and Labour policies contributed to the town being flooded out. Yet he has to waste time defending this rubbish.

Andrew Gilbert. The plot thickens not only has this item been regurgitated from November 2007 but it has also been spuriously highlighted as 'Latest' content.



BBC on this very same report. Thursday, 8 November 2007, 05:47 GMT

‘Some £30bn spent on regeneration schemes in UK towns and cities over the past 10 years has had no real impact, a centre-right think tank has claimed.’


November 8, 2007: BBC Radio Five Live on "Cities limited"

Dr Tim Leunig, co-author of "Cities limited" on Radio Five Live




Mystery solved - today's report is the third in a series. The first one was released last year ('Cities Limited') and the second one earlier this year ('Success and the City'). Today's report probably bears the '2007' because that's when it all began and this is just a continuation.

So nothing dodgy, just inept.

Thanks Andrew. You're right.

London people routinely believe that things like electricity only exist in London, so it comes as no surprise that Policy Exchange (Michael Gove's toy think tank, most notable for being exposed on Newsnight as a forgers' den) thinks that there are no airports, there are no motorways, there are no banks, and there is no Internet outside the South East.

Taken together with the apparently serious suggestion that yet more people should move to the South East, this report tells us all we need to know about the seriousness or otherwise of the Cameroon project, the participants in which, as much as anything else, seem blissfully unaware that their party already holds most of the seats in the South East (although for how much longer, if the plan is to strain the infrastructure there even further?), and will only return to office by winning seats elsewhere. For example, in the North of England.

This is actually going to be damaging in the south! All my mates who have mentioned it to me today are appalled at the idea of encouraging northerers to migrate down here. They'd vote for a party that promised to limit immigration especially from Scotland and the north.

I think you misunderstand the influence IPPR has now. They are actually quite critical of the Government (although with some subtlety) and are very credible in serious policy circles.

The trouble with PX is that it has no credibility in serious policy circles. The depth of analysis and credibility in the fields is not there.

It is the right, talking to the right.

Keep your thoughts to yourself Michael Gove et al - Just when people in the North thought it might be safe to start voting Conservative again!!!!!

Dear oh dear!

Does anyone remember the headlines from last August now?

It is a silly report (and from the above comments seemingly from a high flying Lib Dem) during the silly season.

I doubt that anybody will remember it in a month

JAT, I am a Conservative member and a Conservative Councillor - don't underestimate how fragile the acceptance of the Conservatvies is in parts of the North. Some of us have worked damned hard to keep the party going over the years. The author of this report is a dipstick

If this mass migration took place, no-one in these cities would get any money for selling their properties and would therefore only be able to afford shoeboxes in London or the south east. So presumably a large proportion of the breadwinners would have to leave their families behind. If its precriptions were followed, it is ironic that this publication from an organisation apparently founded by Michael Gove might therefore harm cohesive families in a way that only "Zoo" and "Nuts" can dream of.

"Someone should ask the people who publish this stuff, what on earth they are thinking of" (rough quote from M Gove last week).

Fortunately this report is as much a fastasy as the pics of busty girls in "Nuts", and likely to have as little effect.

That they want all development to be around London, Oxford and Cambridge says it all. They have no concept of anywhere except those three.

And remember, these are the people who would actually be running the country while "Prime Minister" Cameron and "Chancellor" Osborne spent every day recovering from the night before.

Whoever wrote this has been incredibly stupid.
And they are wrong.

They should be deeply ashamed of themselves - after all the work many candidates and party workers have done to regain ground in the north, which has been paying off in 2008.

That's a wise piece. Compare how the ippr got too close to New Labour and ended up with nothing to say, no influence, and not a critical thought in its head.
Cameron desperately needs ideas - at the moment all he has are tactics.

Quite true. The report states factually that 10 years of credit-fuelled growth has had little impact in dead Northern cities. It is so very true.

These cities are tumbleweed towns where PR is used to give the image of regeneration but where education is poor, infrastructure dilapidated, and inner city poverty through economic inactivity widespread, there is simply no hope.

The North is England's "Mezzogiorno" and the educated leave for the South as they have done for decades. Why can't people simply admit the North has no prospect of dynamic growth and anyone with initiative gets out

Which cities are you talking about? Leeds with it's financial centre, or Manchester.
Cheshire, Alderley Edge, Wetherby, York - no initiative?

Of course, in recent years, there has been far too much reliance on large public sector employment rather than allowing private business to do the job.

Oh - and as I write,
Newsnight is on, and they are having a gloat.
And the author is being interviewed - he sounds about 22 as though he's never been out.

This is an utter disgrace,
and I'm prepared to debate it properly, fact by fact with anyone who is prepared to use their real name.

The people who wrote this report don't really understand politics. Moreover they have no desire for power either. Idiots!

Incredibly stupid.
It's been given quite extensive coverage in the BBC, and I'd bet anyone it's in quite a lot of regional newspapers with a catchy headline.
This total idiot.

Setting aside the crass stupidity of this report for a moment (well aired already, thank you very much) and lets focus instead on the seeming absence of any intellectual rigour.

Taking Liverpool as an example - a city that's lost its raison d'etre, according to this bunch of muppets - here are some facts the authors chose to ignore:

* The Mersey handles more than 40m tonnes of cargo a year, more than at any time in the ports history. Port busineses sustain 17,000 jobs and contribute £2.2bn a year to the local economy.
* The value of current ciy centre construction projects underway or completed in 2008 is £3bn.
* Company formation, VAT registration and survival rates have been running comfortaby higher than the average for more than 7 years.

I could go on and on and on. Suffice to say, the only conclusion you can reasonably draw from this is that these guys are rank amateurs a far researchers go and that their report must have its foundations in pure prejudice.

Apologies for the variou grammatical errors in the submission above. The missus was hassling me to post the opinion so that I could get Junior Scouse Tory out of bed and feed him his milk. Tut tut.

This report by PX effectively suggesting that the North be "abandoned" is unutterably stupid! What on earth was a supposedly Conservative think tank thinking of - and especially timing it to coincide with David Cameron's visit to the North West!! It could not have been more unhelpful if it had tried! Those involved in Campaign North must be spitting feathers.

An indication of how fundamentally inept the authors are was their admission that they "could not remember" when they last visited Merseyside.

Nice 'research' guys. Idiots.

The Tories should break their links to this potty think tank ASAP.

LondonJay and others.

Haven't read the report but get the impression its only about England, so its even more tosh in that context.

The politcal and quango machines plus the media may be organised on a "national" basis, but the real British economy still works on a unified basis and so doesn't fit into these additional layers of devolved public sector complexity.

If you look at it on a GB economy basis the report is actually talking about the problems of some cities in the Midlands and suggesting migration South. Actually by most measures (incl. even the "property porn" shows) the most successful growth metro area in the UK right now is Edinburgh (for some of the same reasons as Oxford and Cambridge). So in the real economic world the actaul response is that many Geordies are now moving here, i.e. further North.

The politicos and media (for their own purposes) may chose to draw a border, but actually the two big economic drivers of the East coast are the next door cities of Edinburgh and Newcastle and you can't look at them in economic or social isolation from each other. Note that while the duplicatory and rival public sector bodies fail to deliver us even a decent road between the two cities, the private sector provides a Newcastle United supporters shop in Edinburgh!

wpb for any economic report that isn't done on a GB basis methinks while we are still one economy and one society?

Which cities are you talking about? Leeds with it's financial centre, or Manchester.
Cheshire, Alderley Edge, Wetherby, York - no initiative?

Alderley edge is not a city. Leeds has lawyers and back-office jobs for City Banks but outside the main CBD it is poor with Chapeltown a slum and shops that most Leeds dwellers cannot afford because they are not yuppies.

There are lots of empty riverside apartments for the auctioneers and Leeds is rather pathetic with a focus on jobs that will be exported to India or Dubai as The City unwinds its credit boom.

Try towns like Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Sheffield and the booming prospects for those leaving school there. Look at Bradford's 100,000 Muslim population and ask why shops are full of males during the day....why benefit has replaced employment.

Look at the LEA league tables and see how far Bradford is below Tower Hamlets or where Leeds stands.

Alderley Edge is a far better option than Bradford or Leeds, but Wilmslow and Cheadle are probably better still. Then again a city used to host a cathedral and Alderley Edge doesn't so a city it is not.

Great to see you back TomTom!

Likewise! Welcome back Tom Tom - I have greatly missed our little spats!! :-)

Of course I didn't mean Alderley Edge was a city. It was the next part of my post as I listed other well pff areas of the north.

I'm surprised that some people find this a trivial matter.

More importantly, it is plain wrong.

I recall Thatcher was find of one particular think tank as well. Generally Ive found the PX work to be fairly good. Cock ups happen in think tanks as well. More often than not with the more left wing ones. Reports like these come along every now and again. As long as Cameron bats them away, it shouldnt be a problem. Cameron said straight out he disagreed with it.

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