MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS: Why Boris Johnson’s choice of ‘left-behind towns’ may have also laid bare his election masterplan

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 9/9/2019

Description

Professor Rob Ford, elections analyst at Manchester University, believes the list is a pretty obvious indicator of election strategy, however.

Nevertheless he notes it's 'not that unusual' for politicians to suddenly take notice of areas when they become potentially crucial in an election, even if this does appear to be a particularly glaring example.

"A lot of these places felt they had not been given much attention for an awfully long time and a lot of them have never been competitive and marginal, so the system that used to work against them now works in their favour - because they are seen as being battlegrounds and now get a slice of the pie,” he says, suggesting that the think-tank Centre for Towns, which has been pushing hard for the decline of smaller areas to be taken seriously by policymakers, may well have had some success.

"It's potentially pretty effective communications and lobbying work by them in willing the Conservatives to frame this as being about towns," he says. 

"As academics, that's a difficult thing to do.

"On the other hand, the amount of money we're talking about [up to £25m, but exact figures haven't been released] is peanuts really, especially when you consider the amount lost in local government cuts. It's symbolic as much as anything - it's about giving candidates and activists an impressive-sounding sum of money to wave around on leaflets.

“If they were serious, they'd be reversing local government cuts in these places rather than throwing symbolic buns in the direction of the places they think they can win.”

Media contributions

TitleWhy Boris Johnson’s choice of ‘left-behind towns’ may have also laid bare his election masterplan
Media name/outletManchester Evening News
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date9/09/19
DescriptionProfessor Rob Ford, elections analyst at Manchester University, believes the list is a pretty obvious indicator of election strategy, however.

Nevertheless he notes it's 'not that unusual' for politicians to suddenly take notice of areas when they become potentially crucial in an election, even if this does appear to be a particularly glaring example.

"A lot of these places felt they had not been given much attention for an awfully long time and a lot of them have never been competitive and marginal, so the system that used to work against them now works in their favour - because they are seen as being battlegrounds and now get a slice of the pie,” he says, suggesting that the think-tank Centre for Towns, which has been pushing hard for the decline of smaller areas to be taken seriously by policymakers, may well have had some success.

"It's potentially pretty effective communications and lobbying work by them in willing the Conservatives to frame this as being about towns," he says.

"As academics, that's a difficult thing to do.

"On the other hand, the amount of money we're talking about [up to £25m, but exact figures haven't been released] is peanuts really, especially when you consider the amount lost in local government cuts. It's symbolic as much as anything - it's about giving candidates and activists an impressive-sounding sum of money to wave around on leaflets.

“If they were serious, they'd be reversing local government cuts in these places rather than throwing symbolic buns in the direction of the places they think they can win.”
URLhttps://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/boris-johnsons-choice-left-behind-16891216
PersonsRobert Ford