Boris Johnson: enemies inside and outside the game


  • The area known as the “red wall” that gave him victory in December asks him to keep his promises


  • It has been the most affected region since the beginning of the pandemic and demands that investments be accelerated


  • Conservative northern MPs have created a pressure group that has sparked a civil war

The main enemy of Boris Johnson is inside of his own party and Is in the north from England. And more specifically on the so-called “red wall,” the northeastern constituencies that had always voted for the Labor Party and that in the general elections of December they gave their trust to Johnson for the first time and they provided him with a majority of eighty MPs that the Conservatives had not obtained since the Thatcher era. In return, Johnson promised them to implement Brexit and decentralize the country with a heavy investment of money in the region in infrastructure and technology.

Now that borrowed vote that gave him power has turned against Johnson and threatens to rip it off. Johnson keeps his Brexit promise intact but his investment promise has been complicated. A few weeks ago the parliamentarians representing the northern territories of England and the Scottish border They have created a group within called Northern Research Group (NRG), something like Northern Research Group, which aims defend the interests of local constituencies and the most important, see to it that Johnson keeps his promise.

October 27 fifty-five northern deputies belonging to this group sent a open letter to the prime minister in which they asked “An exit plan from confinement.” They also wanted me to speed up infrastructure projects in the north like high-speed rail, ultra-fast broadband, and boosting growth and productivity. The missive became a kind of founding statement. The deputies came to warn Johnson that if he did not comply with his electoral promise of “Level the country” they were going to withdraw the support given in December.

The “red wall”

The “red wall” embraces cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds y Yorkshire that they had mines of iron, steel and coal, industrial cities that they saw as from the Seventies began to close factories and mines. Its inhabitants, mainly workers, they had always voted labor. Since the seventies this area had deteriorated and the quality of life of its inhabitants had decreased in relation to the southeast and with London, where it improved.

The sixty percent of the population of this region voted Brexit in the 2016 referendum. It was one of the areas where it got the most support. Voters expected that by regain control of the economy from the hands of Brussels, it would improve your life. They voted for Johnson because this one guaranteed Brexit and because he had promised to invest £ 80 billion to “level” the region to the rest of the country. They also voted for him because They stopped believing in Corbyn’s Labor ambiguous about Brexit and perceived too focused on London and the South East.

Their lives have gotten worse

The vote of the “red wall” it’s a borrowed vote and, no matter how many speeches politicians make, no matter how many promises they keep making, its inhabitants only want to perceive that their lives improve. There is no room for deception. They want to see that really their lives soar and they are level with those of the rest of the country. But nevertheless, Covid has caused the opposite effect and has worsened their standard of living. The communities most affected by the pandemic are those in the north. In fact, since the de-escalation began in July that the northeast has not returned to normal. Has continued under strong restrictions.

It is criticized that when the infections grew in London, in the south, in March, it was confined to the whole country And when they grew up in the northeast, in September, it closed just the north. “The Covid pandemic has revealed the profound structural and systemic disadvantage our communities are facing, ”says the NRG letter. We believe that [la pandemia] threatens to undermine the mandate won in December at a political and economic time when the leveling agenda has never been more essential”.

The NRG has become a kind of party within the Conservative Party and some deputies have already recognized that it has caused a civil war between defenders of the north and south. This group was created in the image and likeness of European Research Group that forced the Hard Brexit in the government and caused the resignation of Theresa May and elevated Johnson. The NRG is bringing together the same power and has become a threat to Johnson.

A cold desire for revenge

Its members include heavy weights tories like David Davis, the former Brexit minister, Esther McVey, former labor minister, or David Mundell, former Minister for Scotland. On November 4 there was already a rebellion in the parliament of thirty deputies tories who voted against the lockdown plan which Johnson finally approved without problems because he had the support of the opposition parties. But it was a first notice. The two ringleaders of the rebellion, the ex-party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, and the leader of the parliamentarians who are not in the cabinet, Graham Brady, are members of the NRG. After the vote, they said there are many more and that can complicate things for Johnson if you continue with the economic restrictions.

There is another factor to consider. Its leader, Jake Berry, is an old ally of Johnson who also has a pending account with him. It was during the tenure of Theresa May and early that of Johnson the secretary of state of the Northern Powerhouse, an institution created in 2010 to boost economic growth in the north. Berry was also one of the most helpful Johnson in the primary in July last year. And who came up with the slogan “leveling up” (“Leveling the country”) with which conquered the North.

Berry, 42, I expected to get an important position in the foreign ministry in the February ministerial restructuring, but it was discarded. It is said that Johnson wanted Brexiters and Berry is a Europeanist. The truth is that Berry felt disappointed and unrequited after his blind fidelity to Johnson. Now it has become your main threat. It moves a cold eagerness of revenge.

The future passes through the north

Now him northeast is known as the “Blue wall” But it is feared that, after securing Brexit on January 1, its voters will rethink their vote. In any case, it seems clear that One of the factors that will determine British politics in the coming years will be identification with the North or the South.. The Conservatives they have announced opening a second headquarters in Leeds to control the north. When they asked the finance minister, Rishi Sunak (who sounds like successor Johnson) by letter from the northern deputies, he replied “I am a northern Tory.” Sunak met with the NRG deputies and promised to help them.

The new Labor leader, Keir Starmer, has also started a campaign to reconquer the north. Johnson will have a very difficult time fulfilling his ambitious investment promise in the region after having already spent more than 230,000 million euros in the Covid. And it is expected to end up accumulating a debt from 414 billion for this fiscal year ending April 2021, according to the office that controls government spending (OBR). The forecast (before Covid) was 61 billion. To this must be added the economic impact of no-deal Brexit to which the country appears in a month and a half.

And do not forget the Scottish elections in May, where a victory of the nationalists with the second referendum in the electoral program. You will have to do many concessions to the independentistas to stop your vindication. The next elections general They are in May 2024. There is still a lot left, but the group radical Brexiter was able to bring down Theresa May mid term and the Northern Research Group has enough members to neutralize most of Johnson in parliament on tight votes. The group is every time stronger and the situation in the region more and more complicated because its inhabitants feel your life gets worse.

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