"So David Cameron confounded critics and pundits and won an overall majority. His new Conservative Government has already set about implementing its manifesto.
- Gone are the threats to business of higher taxes and more regulations.
- Gone are the threats to the economy of untrammelled public borrowing and never ending public debt.
- Gone too is the influence of the region’s Labour MPs if they foolishly decide on an obstructive, politically obsessed approach to dealing with the new Government.
Nick Brown MP had the tone right when he welcomed the appointment of North East MP James Wharton as the ‘Minister for the Northern Powerhouse’, albeit with the promise to scrutinise his performance.
It is a great truth in politics that an open hand achieves more than a clenched fist, and our region’s representatives need to work in tune with the realities of Government policy. It is a reality that more powers will be accompanied with new mayors; in coalition this pledge (which is not welcomed by many) might have been diluted but a majority Government is entitled to implement its manifesto. The consequences are that new mayors will disrupt existing and long-established political structures and it challenges the domination of Labour, but it is now up to us to make it work.
The pundits who doubted Cameron’s win are also wedded to the belief that he and Osborne are not sincere about helping the economy of the North. I know both men and they are genuine, each of them considering it a matter of personal integrity and professional pride that the economic gains of this recovery reach parts of the UK that other recoveries have not.
This ‘Heineken’ approach to spreading wealth requires smart and targeted devolution. It is true that the North West appears to be in the driving seat, but there is no reason that the North East shouldn’t hitch a ride."