Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Manchester's punishment beating

For anyone following the story about Andy Burnham's negotiations with the government on behalf of Greater Manchester, it is easy to dismiss it as "playing politics" and many have in recent days. 

Easy, that is, until you read this: 

This is an insult, to give them roughly a quarter, per capita, of what other areas are getting

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this is a petty punishment beating, meted out to Burnham for having the temerity to stand up for his constituents.

What a government. What a time to be alive.

UPDATE 22:00: Government has insisted on Tier 3 lockdown anyway and dug its heels in with the £22m. This will be an entirely preventable disaster for Manchester, inflicted by a petulant and incompetent government. 

UPDATE 21/10/2020 15:00: Johnson has today announced at PMQs that he will in fact give Greater Manchester £60m - only £5m less than Burnham asked for - after a letter was written by six Tory GM MPs. But it will be allocated directly to councils (presumably government will choose the split), rather than allocated to the Mayor as a pot. So the government knew that it was not politically feasible to punish Manchester, did it anyway and then rowed back today, trying to save face by blaming it all on Burnham, who was merely doing his job.

Apart from the clear pettiness, a quite unnecessary PR disaster for the government with the people of Manchester, who may now kick out their new, former "Red Wall", Tory MPs. Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.

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