Just when Tories, especially in the red wall, are moving away from the ‘levelling up’ mantra, Michael Gove has gone the other way and pulled a cracker out of the box!
He described Margaret Thatcher as a champion of “active government” in a speech saying levelling up should achieve for the north of England what Thatcher achieved in London’s Docklands.
The levelling up secretary, said: “The experience of successful economic transformation demonstrates that growth is not secured by absent government but by active government.
“A government that plays a strategic role, irrigating the soil for growth as Mrs Thatcher did, specifically in the Docklands.
“When the Thatcher government took office in 1979, London’s docklands were a derelict economic desert.”
“The original vision for re-generation of the area, from the Treasury of the time, was simple: just cut taxes and de-regulate and a thousand flowers will bloom in the dusty and contaminated soil of the docklands.
“Gove said Thatcher helped set up deeper government intervention through the London Docklands Development Corporation, bringing jobs and housing and transforming that area of the capital.”
He continued using the Docklands experience as a model for levelling up, saying: “Government created the environment, the private sector created the jobs. London Docklands today is an economic success story.
“One of the most signal successes we owe to Mrs Thatcher’s government, and it is that spirit that animates our levelling up policies: active government.”
Docklands levelling up?
The redevelopment of the Docklands was a major project of a brownfield site, that can’t be denied.
However, the area became a mecca for big business and banks, filling the skyscrapers, that increased the money (some of it dirty) flowing into the capital.
How did the north benefit from that you may wonder?
Did the vast amount of money trickle down?
Ask the people in neighbouring Tower Hamlets if it’s improved their lives.