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How the Left lost Hartlepool The crumbling town feels betrayed by the whole political class

Boris is not enough for Hartlepool. Credit: IAN FORSYTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Boris is not enough for Hartlepool. Credit: IAN FORSYTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


May 7, 2021   9 mins

As I step out of Hartlepool station, I see the Prime Minister’s motorcade. It is neurotically large. The cognitive dissonance of these cars with the landscape — rotting Edwardian houses, boarded up hotels — is shocking because in Hartlepool decline meets you like a wall of heat. There are shards of past wonder — a ruined church, a sailing ship in the marina — but they are singular, choked by ring roads and sprawl.

The Tories think they will take this seat from Labour in the by-election on Thursday called after the Labour MP Mike Hill quit, beset by allegations of sexual misconduct. They may well: another brick from the wall. (Hartlepool has been Labour since the seat was created in 1974.)

The first potential voters I meet wait for theocracy, which is a fair measure of alienation. Still, they are chirpy because they have given up on politics, and the weather is fine.

They are three elderly women, sunning themselves by the war memorial. “We don’t vote for any political party,” says one, “because we are a non-political organisation and the only one is Jehovah God. His kingdom is the kingdom that will rule the earth. We know by the things that are happening now. No government in the world can solve these problems. Only God. We need theocracy.” I try to imagine the logo on a leaflet and fail.

“There was a lot here once upon a time,” says the second, “It’s declining. It’s all Christmas cracker factories. Not real jobs. For men. All the mines have gone, everything substantial has gone.” “I don’t like Hartlepool at all,” says the third. “There is nothing in Hartlepool that interests me”. “Well, you’re here,” says the second. “Just the shopping,” says the third.

“I think the general air is one of despair really,” says the first. “Not despair, despair is a strong word. Helplessness.”

My notebook is full of such quotations; one man of 86 tells me, in all seriousness, that he is too old to vote. Hartlepool once made ships; it had 43 ship-owning companies in 1913. Now it makes ennui. It has some of the highest rates of male unemployment (9.7%) and child poverty (32% of children in workless households) in Britain. The A&E has gone, the police lock-up and magistrates court have gone, and maternity services have gone. No one is born in Hartlepool anymore, except in error.

A vacuum is also an opportunity: the Tories sent Johnson to Hartlepool United, to kick a ball in support of the candidate, “a farmer and businesswoman” from Yorkshire called Jill Mortimer, who is dogged by rumours that, prior to her candidacy, she never visited Hartlepool, or had a proper job. (That, here, is quite relatable.) She says not. She has raised cattle and run a B&B, cites a Hartlepool-born relative, and says she has visited the battery museum, which is apt.

If Hartlepool falls, it will not be a victory for Conservatism, unless you are cynical. “For 47 years, Hartlepool has had Labour MPs,” says Mortimer’s campaign literature, “it is why the town has been taken for granted and struggled. I’ve brought Boris to Hartlepool twice already during this campaign,” she adds, as if presenting a wrapped gift, a piece of human infrastructure. Its fall will, rather, be a fable about political failure: a story of disconnection, hubris and, of course, class.

There are two Hartlepools: the Headland (“The Heugh”), an ancient fishing village, and the newer West Hartlepool (Hartlepool means “stag pool”). I go to the Headland. There is a fabulous Norman church, St Hilda’s, built on the site of a 7th century abbey, named for the patron saint of poetry. Its bells cannot be rung, due to weakness of the tower. What a metaphor! There are fine Georgian and Victorian houses on the sea, but they are crumbling, and in the gaps when others have fallen, modern housing: a history of English architecture, in mistakes. “It could have been another Whitby,” says a man fixing a burglar alarm. But the Labour council was careless of this treasure, and it wasn’t.

Many things have harmed Labour here: corruption, individualism and the desire to punish the villain they can touch. “Here Labour is the establishment,” says Rachel Featherstone, the Green Party candidate. But the most important is a failure of representation which Brexit exposed so gaudily it could not be ignored. Labour is two parties now, co-existing uneasily, which is why Keir Starmer is pale with fretting: pro-Remain London and the other affluent cities, and places like this. The two despise each other, but only one side will admit to it.

It is pitiful that no native pro-Brexit Labour candidate from a town with 100,000 residents could be found. Perhaps they were not sought. Labour’s man, Paul Williams, was born in Canterbury, educated in Cambridgeshire, worked in Stockton-on-Tees where he was an MP 2017-19, and was a Remainer, while 69.6% of this constituency voted to leave.

A former magistrate describes the main candidates: “One [Mortimer] is north Yorkshire and the other one [Williams] was the MP for Stockton. He didn’t represent the people of Stockton when they wanted to vote for Brexit [by 61.7%] so how can you trust him? He ignored the electorate so I wouldn’t vote for him if he was the only person standing. I’d tear my vote up. I really would”.

A workman on Scarborough Street, formerly Labour, now Tory, says: “A hell of a lot of red wall people voted Brexit and they [Labour] knew that. They went against them all, that’s why they lost the last election by a massive landslide: ‘we’re ignoring what you said, we’re going to stop in Europe no matter what’”. He says he misses Tony Blair, and I don’t blame him. Child poverty fell by 13% in the North East between 1999 and 2013. Between 2013 and 2019 it rose by 9%, three times faster than the national average, and it is still rising. Unfortunately, the most vocal local Socialists — the Northern Independence Party — want a referendum on secession from the United Kingdom, will call their state Northumbria, and are not granting interviews to me.

I eat roast beef in the Cosmopolitan pub — the name is a gag — on the Headland, and I meet the landlord, the independent councillor Tim Fleming. Fleming says: “We’ve had enough of people just getting dumped on us, ‘oh that’s a safe seat, put him there’. It’s the London Labour Party where it [the rot] started.”

For Fleming, some voters have passed beyond despair to cynicism. “If you have a Tory up as mayor in Teesside [Ben Houchen] and a Tory in Hartlepool — all the Tories in all the towns they’ve took over — they might do [something] because they might be looking to build a new power base that’s longer lasting than the one they’ve had. They’ve never had anything in the North so who knows? If he [Houchen] gets re-elected, there’ll be nothing if we have a Labour MP and a Labour council in Hartlepool. No money will come here, never has done”. The Green Party candidate Rachel Featherstone calls this “a protection racket”.

Labour councillors, Fleming says, have voted against a council tax freeze, but didn’t vote against a 30.8% rise in their allowances. It was another tipping point; Hartlepool has the highest rate of council tax in the country proportionate to the value of property. Fleming, though, has a sense of humour. “If only Richard III had won the Wars of the Roses,” he says, “he was more northern-based”.

In the car park opposite David Bettney, a former Regimental Sergeant Major in the Light Dragoons, and the Social Democrat candidate, is talking to a smudge of supporters, after which he will be driven round the Headland in a tank. Bettney says Labour’s decline mirrored the decline of local industry: “Before you had a captive audience. Trade unions used to get them at election time, [they] were like, ‘here’s your MP’. They don’t have that hold anymore. Everyone is splintered now. They are working out of their white van.  They can come to their own opinions, not a herd opinion. I don’t know a single labourer that votes Labour.”

Bettney thinks an elite stole the Labour Party. “When is the last time you’ve got someone with a regional accent from Labour?” he asks. “They are all replaced by people who’ve gone to university and are from Wiltshire — or whatever. It wouldn’t matter if it was just now and again, but it’s happened everywhere. They are not representative of anybody in these areas.”

To redeem Labour, Bettney says, “All MPs would have to sack themselves.” They preach inclusivity, he says, but they will not allow their own former voters to be themselves; is that really emancipation? Bettney imagines a voter saying, ‘I’m proud to be from Hartlepool’ or ‘I’m proud to be from Yorkshire’. “You can’t say that [in Labour]: ‘it’s bigoted; it’s racist’. You are robbing them of any self-worth.” His conclusion is this: “Labour now is rich people telling poor people that other rich people are their problem.”

When I first meet the Labour candidate Paul Williams, he accuses me of door-stepping him at his campaign office in West Hartlepool. I say I didn’t even recognise him, as he is wearing a (very clean) mask, and he calms down. He is obviously decent, but he can’t be what they need him to be: a man who sounds like them and voted for Brexit. He offers the weary contradiction of a proud apology. He speaks like a heavily edited leaflet. Of Hartlepool’s Labour councillors who damaged the party’s reputation, he says: “there were some people [who] weren’t in it for the right reasons. They are no longer in the Labour Party. People are very disappointed that Labour didn’t deliver. Labour didn’t live up to what people hoped they would do locally in the council.” He is more honest than the Tory Party, whose campaign literature obliquely blames de-industrialisation and austerity on the Labour Party.

“People are willing to at least listen to us again [since Corbyn],” he says. “There were people who were just angry at Labour. Now people are no longer angry. It’s almost as though they want to be able to vote Labour but they’re just not quite sure”. He says the 2019 voters will stay with Labour, and there are new Labour voters too: “But what we don’t know is if it’s enough.”

He emphasises Tory cuts: tells me that after the A&E closed in 2011 there was for six years no overnight doctor in Hartlepool. He organised a consortium to open an urgent care facility: “I worked the first shifts there myself and I was leader of that organisation.” He sounds stung. “That’s the contrast between somebody who has a positive history of doing great things for people in Hartlepool versus a farmer from Thirsk [Jill Mortimer] who has almost no connection to this town.”

Ralph Ward-Jackson has an obvious connection: his great-great-great-uncle — another Ralph Ward-Jackson — was the founder of West Hartlepool. His statue is by the station, looking lonely and aggrieved. Ward-Jackson meets me in the park named for this ancestor, and we drive to the marina to look for the 30-foot inflatable Boris Johnson raised by The Wombles of Hartlepool, a sort of mood-lifting collective (it has been removed) and eat chips. Most candidates do this for authenticity, though only the Northern Independence Party has a graphic of a whippet: “Taking inspiration from our shared history of communal solidarity we, like the whippet, shall run to freedom”. (They are not yet registered with the Electoral Commission, so their candidate, Thelma Walker, is running as an independent, and she is polling at 6%. Splitters.)

Ward-Jackson wanted to represent Hartlepool at the General Election in 2019 for the Conservatives, and the local party, he says, agreed. They sent him to Conservative Central Office where, “I end up in front of this ice-queen in who clearly didn’t know where Hartlepool was. And then she said in a po-faced way: ‘Why would anyone want to go there?’”

He wasn’t selected and he wouldn’t have stood as an independent, he says, if they had selected a decent candidate. Instead, “they produced this I’m sure very nice lady from north Yorkshire. This is how Central Office think. They’ll think, ‘oh let’s get a map, who have we approved within this area? Oh yes, there’s her, that’s great’”. I think Ward-Jackson is too kind. I think an algorithm chose her; even so, he was enraged at the insult to Hartlepool.

“It’s 35 miles away,” he says, “Hartlepool and Thirsk. One is a tough industrial slash post-industrial town and the other is a sleepy agricultural town with no real challenges or issues of a different sort anyway. They’ve got nothing in common” — unless you work in Central Office.

Ward-Jackson says it is a “non-doorstep issue” (I’m not sure I agree) but it obsesses him: “I hate the political class and I want to give them a bloody nose if only by frightening them a bit: [for choosing] another slick, packaged professional politician. They want biddable people.” Ward-Jackson, a former Tory, and Bettney, a Social Democrat, are of the same mind on this, and this is comforting: at least the anti-Tory contingent agree on something. Hilton Dawson, formerly a Labour MP, now standing for the pro-devolution North East Party, thinks so too.

“The only way of making progress in the local state and the regional state is to join the party,” he says, “and the party serves itself.” I believe him: he was a Labour member for 35 years and an MP for eight. “And the people within the party serve themselves and without opposition they lose completely all perspective on what they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t respond to criticism and complaint, they don’t respond to good ideas. They simply try to close down any debate”.

In this race to centralisation and control, people take what choice they have left: “I don’t see a vote for Brexit as being some great anti-European thing or something about UK independence particularly. I see it much more as people just saying, ‘We want to change, we want something different, we want to be in control of this agenda’”. That is an argument for devolution; he says it is the only route to accountability.

I sense in Hartlepool, under the ennui and the exhaustion, a dynamism trying to break free: 16 candidates, many of whom are competent, and have good ideas, is proof enough. Labour has, like Citizen Kane, talked about the people as if it owned them for too long.

Some voters look to the Conservatives as “fresh eyes” with “fresh air” and praise the vaccine roll-out. (Here, as ever, women take pleasure in Boris Johnson’s idiocies. Men do not.) They may be poor, but their lives were saved; and perhaps their cynicism is so acute Hartlepool will turn blue; perhaps the Tories will meet it with tribute. But they should not cackle too recklessly if Labour stumbles here: their own reckoning with the North will surely come.


Tanya Gold is a freelance journalist.

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Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

“Labour now is rich people telling poor people that other rich people are their problem.”
This is an excellent quote and reminiscent of some of the Labour voters I know. Came from modest backgrounds, but now university educated, property owning, with good jobs and private health insurance. I remember vividly one of them complaining on social media about being at a farmer’s market in the middle of town and wanting to “hit all those awful middle class people over the head.”
I pointed out to her that we are all middle class (but kept my lip buttoned about being at a farmer’s market in the middle of a city being just about the most BoBo thing you can do). My goodness, that went down like a lead balloon. These people confuse me: even with all the trappings of the middle class, they still saw themselves as part of the great class struggle, eschewing gratitude for toxic envy of the middle class which they themselves had become.
Not that being middle class should mean you can’t be socialist and in favour of better wealth distribution etc…but I felt that they had the wrong perspective on it. And they were none too happy at having that pointed out.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Today, the idea of middle class is meaningless. When the Two Ronnies sketch was new, there was still a working class (of workers), an appreciable upper class – and the rest were middle class.
Today, there is almost no working class (of workers), a smaller and quieter upper class and a huge middle class. So you can no longer expect to share attitudes with other middle class people.
We should now use upper, middle and lower but we don’t for obvious reasons. Certainly, since the drive for equality at any price, the middle has grown and become more diverse, as you say, and the lower has become super-low because there is not even the discipline of going to work or preparing your children for work.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I don’t think the super-low class take their kids to school. And I doubt they wear pyjamas. Trackies maybe. Or, perhaps you have a better class of super-low where you live.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

They most assuredly do take their kids to school in their pyjamas. I have seen the pictures in the Daily Mail and National Geographic.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

They were probably upper super-low.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You are priceless – if it’s in the Mail then it must be true

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Pyjamas banned by Tesco in wales, until an ‘outcry’ on Twitter made them recant.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

I used to live in a small southern town. At a late evening (10pm) film show we were astounded to see a family in onesies and slippers.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It’s more of a huge petit bourgeoisie than a huge middle class. And the upper class may be quieter but still exerts influence behind the scenes.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“there is almost no working class (of workers)” – not the case where I live – mechanics , bricklayers , cleaners , bus drivers , plasterers , shop workers are all working class.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

But most of the plumbers, electricians, gas fitters and decorators I know are small business owners who earn more than the teachers and nurses I know. I think it is becoming trickier to determine what class actually means.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If it means category of economic and political function, then they’re petit-bourgeois (people who own their own means of production, but not other people’s as capitalists do.) However, class also refers to some artifice of social preference which often varies from place to place and time to time and may contradict the first definition.

S Henry F
S Henry F
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yes, class is no longer what it’s about. Where is that political party that defines itself by something else? Greens? Too lumpen.

S Henry F
S Henry F
3 years ago
Reply to  S Henry F

More precisely, economic class is no longer what it’s about.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I don’t know about the British but the Chinese do this. We were in Shanghai in 2009 and went for a stroll in the evening. We were surprised to see loads of natives out on the street in PJs. Apparently, they like to do this after a meal as the walking helps digestion and pyjamas are more comfortable to wear after a meal. There is an unassailable logic to all of this, although I’ve only since adopted the walking bit. I suspect the British people wandering around in PJs who you have seen have quite different motivations.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Didn’t Noel Coward use to appear in a silk dressing-gown? Perhaps they are just trying to be posh? I once visited Hartlepool in its heyday-there was a long row of back to backs running downwards with the brow (?) of a ship at the bottom which looked like it was going to come charging after us-bit scary for a child. Problem with a lot of places that grew to accomodate something , is they become a bit like American ghost towns when they are no longer needed.

opop anax
opop anax
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

We have the underclass, we have the middle class (those that work for a living) and we have the tiny minority super rich ubermenshen who have become even more uber during the last year. The term “working class” is outdated.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I would speak of a “chip on the shoulder” rather than an underdog, but yes – the basic argument is spot on. Being grateful for what you were given in life or feeling proud of what you have achieved while voting in a way which shows concern for others and helps them get up the greasy social mobility pole would be a far better approach. In my opinion anyway. It doesn’t create quite so much rage – although that might be what a lot of people hanker after.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Reading some of the comments on here – I don’t think they were way off the mark

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

I don’t think the readership is necessarily right wing – just most of the comments

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Come off it! Who do you think you are bluffing? Mr T Hopp has exposed you, best be off before you get ‘hurt’.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

What would be wrong if it was?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

I am a tradesman, lounging around in underwear on here, because the price of lumber is up 400% and I am waiting for it to come back down to begin construction of my next house. (I am doing side jobs a little, but part time as I dislike fixing stuff). I am an odd cross, an upperish Middle Class from London, fallen to tradesman, and after decades in USA have even become a Red Neck, so a real construction worker.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Precisely.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Clearly you do not live in Bristol. Dismaland was fantastic – I spent 2 days trying to get tickets online. You have no idea what Banksy stands for – he has set up stalls in the past selling his artwork for a few dollars. Dismaland cost less than a tenner for two of us.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yes, that quote caught my eye as well.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

An astute observation.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“Not that being middle class should mean you can’t be socialist and in favour of better wealth distribution etc”

By this I assume it means middle class Socialists advocating taking money from those even better off then themselves, and giving it to the deserving poor.

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Middle Class Socialists surely advocate taking money of the rest of us and giving it to their own supporters.
After all the Guardian doesn’t print itself you know.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Brilliant, very accurate and precise. Very few people today have to face up to life and death challenges. The days when teenagers , WAAF personnel and fighter pilots were being killed in the Battle of Britain is history. Being born into a middle class family, attending suburban schools whether public grammat or comprehensive and going up to read for an arts degree is not a life or death challenge . Most of woke come comprehensives which are former grammar schools located in expensive catchments; selection is via house price.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

the true working classes used to have more in common with the true upper classes than they ever did with the middle classes.the middle seemed to be populated with snobs,backstabber,faux intellectuals and social climbers,whereas working and upper were generally genuine people with nothing to prove.the few real upper class people i ve met have been really nice,decent folks.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
3 years ago

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian – Labour keep on losing and it’s all the electorates fault, democracy is under threat.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Nothing makes me happier than the sanctimonious rage of a hate-filled champagne socialist bigot. I laugh and laugh at everything she spews.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Does anyone recall what Philip Toynbee, Polly’s father ‘did’ during the War?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I can only assume he tried to get the army to go on strike or something.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

I imagine he spied for the USSR and he probably adopted a proley name, like “Tony” Blair, “Tony” Benn, “Ted” Miliband and of course his daughter Mary Louisa “Polly”.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago

What did you hear he did?
According to Britannica he served; according to Wikipedia he “lived a bohemian life in London’s Fitzrovia“.
Was he a spy for the Russians? the Germans? Doesn’t sound like someone with the temperament for espionage.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

I’ve no idea, hence the genuine question.
I suspect he managed a medical exemption, his sort normally did, if not outright traitors like Philby & Co.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago

I don’t know, but my father, a soldier of the type who fight, once remarked that the Education Corps was stuffed with Labour types, whose big moment was the 1945 general election, which they tutored for and then administered.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

I think he Was A Marxist,Pacifist,however Toynbee Hall is named after him?..

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Arnold Toynbee? A real question, as I dont know.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Shrieking from Quislington as always I’m afraid.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

Does she not use her villa in Tuscany these days. Maybe she hires it out. She might also be writing from her home in Sussex.

David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

I don’t recall EVER agreeing with her writings. Could be a record.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

The record she holds is for making predictions that were wrong.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

In that respect she shares the record with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the DT.

Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Just so. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day but Ambrose’s apocalyptic predictions are never borne out, which is probably a good thing. He’s been making them for about 30 years and still churns them out. You’ve noticed and I’ve noticed but it seems to escape the Telegraph’s editor.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

I prefer ”Mystic Meg”more prescient than YouGov,Twitterati etc..

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Albeit remotely, from her sprawling home in France.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

When she isn’t going off to her Italian villa;, does she still have it?,Unmasked by Richard littlejohn on ”Question time” around 2012

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Labour councillors, Fleming says, have voted against a council tax freeze, but didn’t vote against a 30.8% rise in their allowances.’
The one fact alone tells you all you need to know about the modern Labour Party. Not that councillors from other parties wouldn’t do the same in a heartbeat. Anyway, hopefully Labour will soon be reduced to nothing more than its northern heartlands of QuIslington and Woke Newington. 

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

LOL @ Woke Newington.
There must be something to be done with Haringey too. Haringtrans?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

The ‘Harridans’ of Haringey perhaps?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

To put that in context – Hartlepool Council Allowances, after the increase, were still 3rd lowest of 12 North East Councils and the 30.8% was on the recommendation of an Independent Remuneration Review designed to increase the field of working people who felt financially able to stand as councillors.

Anne Bradshaw
Anne Bradshaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Nevertheless, it isn’t a good look when the area is so deprived. Something that politicians of all parties fail to learn, time and again.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

They could have voted against it

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

“no-one is born in Hartlepool anymore except by accident” – “everyone is splintered”, “working out of a white van”*. The place has a nuclear power station, (with 24 hr medical service) numerous chemical manufacturers and “green” waste to energy plants. My company works with them. Rates for skilled technicians and engineers range from ÂŁ200-500 per day. Hartlepool is still great, not as great as it was but no longer in decline. Build the freeport and it’ll speed up the process. Go back to the Grauniad Tanya and take your Limp Dim RSM and the Labour guy from Canterbury with you. *Ladie Nugee Thornberry award for snobbery.

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
seanoshah
seanoshah
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Articles like this one are why I became a member of UnHerd. I detected no snobbery in any of the extracts you quote. The first one appears to lament rather than sneer at the fact that no-one can be born there because the hospital was taken away.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

Neither deserves to win. The Tories appear to have had a good local candidate, whose great-great-great uncle, we’re told, built the town. What a gift to the party! Yet idiotically they parachuted in someone from Yorkshire – somebody presumably deemed more suitable because she wasn’t cursed with a dangling thing between her legs.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Really, are you sure? In this ‘Trans Age’ you never know.

A.N. Other
A.N. Other
3 years ago

That was a sneering piece of snobbery. Maybe I’m easily pleased but I think Hartlepool is OK. I’ve been there several times and there’s loads of good things. Yet she seems to have ignored them all.
If she wants to know why we, working class or of working class origins, have no time for the metro bubble types and labour there is no need to travel north. She can just look in the mirror.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
3 years ago
Reply to  A.N. Other

Yes, the misty-eyed reference and longing back to the golden days of the War Criminal gave the game away. Ignoring the fact that he quickly tired of the UK around 2000 when he got bottled off stage by the Women’s Institute, seeking adulation abroad instead.
We’re at the point where people are turning away from Labour perhaps because they just don’t know what they are getting. Red blooded socialism or New Labour? Or something in between the two delivered by a committee of opposing ideologies?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

Survation poll today has the Tories 17% ahead in Hartlepool.
In other news, Andy Street is on 54% in the West Mids and therefore may well be re-elected straight off the first votes count. Useless Labouroid Liam “I’m afraid there is no money Byrne is on 34%.
Nothing makes me happier than bad news for Labour. It sets me up for the day, it really does.

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

What are the poll figures for Sadiq Khan??

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hopwood

He’s got it in the bag. My chagrin is tempered by the knowledge that he’ll catastrophically lose a general election for Labour in 2028.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hopwood

Sadist khan on 50-54% in Average of six popular polls,depressingly

Jon Read
Jon Read
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I find it an enormously cathartic experience as well.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

At least Liam Byrne told the truth, and had a sense of humour. I honour him for that.

Last edited 3 years ago by Colin Elliott
Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

As an Ex labour voter of 45years I totally agree…Labour needs to be flattened&then shredded.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

I feel about the Labour Party like I feel about the environmental lobby. We need one, but not the one we’ve got.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

SDP is Moderate Left &Patriotic..”Greens” are Scientifically illiterate on Arctic,Antarctic Ice expansion,Solar Flares ,Volcanoes Affecting climate etc..

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

The Greens are even worse than that. See this (scroll to fourth article) which examined their Party manifesto.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I like bad news for Lib-Lab-Cons-Greens-Snp I don’t agree with 13 Paid Mayors ,brought in by Tony Bliar in 2000-8 , to further split &divide UK ,Globalist agenda VOTE INDEPENDENT May6 2021..

Daniel Shaw
Daniel Shaw
3 years ago

“Labour now is rich people telling poor people that other rich people are their problem”

This quote from the Hartlepool local is the most succinct explanation of the demise of Labour.

Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago
Reply to  Daniel Shaw

I’m not entirely sure that is an accurate analysis. Surely, Labour is rich people telling poor people that they–the poor people–are the problem.

Angus J
Angus J
3 years ago
Reply to  Daniel Shaw

Yes, it’s spot on, isn’t it?

Mark McConnell
Mark McConnell
3 years ago

Nothing from Gold on the elephant in the room – a whole year of BBC et al reminding the electorate in Hartlepool that they have a healthy dose of inherent ‘privilege’ to go with their unemployment.
Why would this go unmentioned I wonder?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark McConnell

Like her restaurant reviews: 95% meandering observations in the history and architecture of the caff, and 5% on the food. Misses everything important. Cant think why anyone employs her.

David J
David J
3 years ago

I tried to imagine three elderly ladies of Hartlepool saying “we need theocracy.” I failed, but if true at least the town’s educators have been doing their job.
If I worked in the excellent marina, or perhaps the handsome Borough Hall, I’d be a Johnson voter for sure. Plenty to see in Hartlepool elsewhere, such as the Royal Navy Museum with HMS Trincomalee, and assorted galleries. And it’s a port town, so there’s always the sea!

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Yes, a friend of mine has just moved there, nice house ( built on brownfield) with direct sea view. She likes it more than Harrogate where she lived before.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

I’m not sure that the author of this article understands what Theocracy really means.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Frankly the way Boris Johnson has abandoned our Northern Ireland Veterans is a national disgrace.
However would Labour have ‘stood up’ for them?
Off course not, so where do we go?

Boff Doff
Boff Doff
3 years ago

Hartlepudlians hold politicians in contempt and for good reason. We voted for a monkey as mayor for goodness sake! Thrice! If the Reform Party had persuaded Stuart Drummond (aka H’Angus) to stand they would have won by a mile.
Lab and Con have just embarrassed themselves by putting up Continuity Contempt Candidates. It is sad that either of them will win.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
3 years ago
Reply to  Boff Doff

“Continuity Contempt Candidates”, very good

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Boff Doff

Did you vote for a monkey or did you apocryphally hang one for being a Frenchman?

Boff Doff
Boff Doff
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Capital punishment had been abolished by the time H’Angus was ashore so voting for him was the only option. Would have been a close run thing otherwise!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

They also “ hanged “ a monkey as you correctly say. However that was sometime ago and it was wearing a blue coat at the time was it not?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

It looked a bit weird and was gibbering unintelligibly, so the locals reasonably assumed it was a Frenchman, and hanged it. Or so the legend goes, although it may all have been made up in the 1840s.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Boff Doff

I have not heard that the monkey was thrice voted as mayor. When I lived in Sunderland I understood the story was that the monkey was from a ship which was wrecked nearby and the residents of Hartlepool thought the monkey was a Frenchman and hanged him.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Easy mistake to make.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Different monkey! The first was definitely French whilst the second was the football club mascot H’Angus. H’Angus made more sense than the other candidates, even when he did his impression of the first monkey.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  Boff Doff

Stuart Drummond was good mayor, though, to be honest.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago

Labour richly deserve to see all their former Northern Heartlands fall to the Tories, just as their Scottish Heartlands fell to the SNP, and for basically the same reasons: they didn’t give a stuff. I live in the North not far from a Labour dominated city which is in ruins and a large part of the blame rests with the Council. They are incompetent and stupid. How I wish I could run their property portfolio (for a 10% commission !). They have no idea how to manage anything. But at least there are plenty of ‘diversity awareness officers’ and they have a policy for everything and anything, save for what they ought to be doing of course.

techfell
techfell
3 years ago

The Chancellor of the Exchequer lives about halfway between Thirsk and Hartlepool, so maybe that’s another reason why they feel ‘closer’ to Conservatives.
But I think the biggest reason is one that has hardly been touched on here.
Most will have heard of the Stockton and Darlington railway; the first commercial railway in the world. Stockton is just down the road in Teeside; this area was at the heart of the industrial revolution.
As well as being an important port, the area was noted for shipbuilding and steelworks with ore and coal arriving from mines further inland. This was a powerful and autonomous industrial area, not screwdriver factories and technology transplants.
Since the 1970’s the north west has been in decline. This is no accident. On map of the single market it’s the back of beyond. Why invest there? And there isn’t much else. With a tough climate and poor soil Agriculture does what it can. There are no shortage of nice places in the area with potential for tourism, but when you’re hemmed in by the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria, The Scottish lowlands, and the Northumbrian Coast the competition is tough.
When the Po faced lady at Conservative HQ asked ‘why would anybody want to go to Hartlepool’ she hit the nail on the head. Nobody does. But the people who are there don’t want to leave either. They want to make a go of it like everybody else in the North West. They don’t want handouts, aid packages, screwdriver factories and, god forbid, ‘incentives for a digital age’; all they want is the space and opportunity to be able to create their own economy tailored to the areas pragmatic realities.
In the Brussels straight jacket this would have been impossible. Central European policy for places like Hartlepool consists of masked welfare to gloss over what they hope will be a slow death. They are not interested in bending rules to accommodate outliers.
Little wonder that the area was so pro-brexit. Brexit was seen as a chance for a change. There is no doubt that Johnson’s promise to ‘get-Brexit-done’ was the driving force behind his red-wall victory. And there is also no uncertainty that the desire for Brexit had nothing to do with immigration and NHS funding. It was all about opportunity.
Whilst Labour were busy telling anybody that would listen that they had made a mistake voting Brexit, that they were ignorant or at best mis-informed, the Conservatives pulled their masterstroke: they promised a freeport.
That might not sound like such a big thing on it’s own, but it’s implications are epic. The conservatives were essentially saying that post Brexit they can and will legislate to make a personalized local economy. An economic reality were these people <i>may</i> have a chance.
The conditional is obligatory, and they are well aware of this. But nonetheless it’s a glimmer of hope, and it’s all they’ve got.
So far Johnson has lived up to his word, he got Brexit done despite fierce attempts from all sides to derail it by means fair or foul. Next the NW will be expecting the freeports and other initiatives that will allow them to rebuild their world. There is reasonable hope, at least for the foreseeable future.
And how do Labour respond? ‘Oh don’t vote for them because you don’t know who paid for the wallpaper in Johnsons flat’. Labour aren’t just off by miles, they’re on another planet.

Last edited 3 years ago by techfell
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  techfell

Near incomparable Guisborough perhaps?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  techfell

The unions, employers, politicians and civil servants failed to notice the changes in engineering,post 1945.

  1. Opening up of vast open cast coal and iron mines post 1945 which produce at lower cost..
  2. The dock, ship yard and sailors strikes of the mid 1960s.
  3. Closure of Suez Canal in 1967 which meant ships had to go around the Cape. Oil tankers went frm 50K T to 500K in 10 years. larger dock yards, use of welding and pre fabrication was needed to build 50k+T ships . Japan produced such ships from 1968 onwards.
  4. Introduction of containerisation phased out general cargo ships.
  5. Bulk ore ships – grain, coal, ore , etc increased in size to 250KT and reduced cost of transporting iron and coal.
  6. Fleets kept British officers but needed less and phased out British crew.
  7. Jumbo Jets A747 replaced mail and passenger ships.
  8. By 1985 British coal was ÂŁ43/T and The World price was ÂŁ32/T.
  9. Labour kept closed shop. There were many into union disputes and did not bring in technical training of Germany, Japan and Korea.
  10. Merchant ships are low tech compared to warships; speed and cheapness of production are vital. If a ship cost ÂŁ10m and was delayed for a year, at 10% interest rates this means price is ÂŁ11M . Add in loss of income and soon cost is ÂŁ11.5 or ÂŁ12M.
  11. In the late 1950s , British and commonwealth was largest shipping company in the World, by 1987 it had sold out.
Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  techfell

This was about five times more interesting than the original article. Thank you.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  techfell

As with most people who aren’t right up themselves it’s more about ‘this is where I live’ than the sneering politicos understand.
This is probably why the Heritage Party, with a local candidate (the only genuine one) beat LibDems, Greens and Reform on their first outing in a parliamentary election.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The journos don’t stay long enough to get out of the town centre and their concerns are only of the most superficial kind. Anyway, it’s great to hear that the suburbs are full of hard working, professional people. They are exactly the type of people who are unlikely to vote Labour.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
3 years ago

I know Hartlepool, and though this is an interesting article, I don’t recognise the town, I don’t think Hartlepool is any worse than another hundred or so towns in the UK. But then, Ms Gold seems always to find buildings depressing
But so do I; the poor quality of urban redevelopment maybe causes more of our general fedupness than we realise.

Last edited 3 years ago by JR Stoker
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Socialist architecture. The buildings, the policies, the consequences: all the same.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I agree – the low standard of many buildings, both public and residential, creates its own blight.

Ben
Ben
3 years ago

The decline of these places has been going on for decades and in the case of the textile towns since 1914. The scandal of our political system is that no-one has sought to tackle the underlying problems and help create a post-industrial settlement which people can take pride in. Michael Heseltine to his credit did something for Liverpool in the early ’80’s and that was the catalyst for a rise in that city’s fortunes.
But far too many other smaller places have been ignored. They won’t be helped by write-ups like this by sneering, self-righteous privately educated north London Oxford educated Guardian journalists. She is the embodiment of the very type they’re complaining about in Hartlepool – has she not noticed?! Oh the irony…

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Correct, Ben. In an ideal world people like Tanya and Polly would be stacking shelves in Lidl; whining about them doesn’t seem to have worked, however, so I shall add Tanya to my blacklist and avoid a few minutes of irritation

Wil Harper
Wil Harper
3 years ago

Always good to read pieces by journalists who have obviously done their research and avoided the obvious tired clichĂ©s about Northern working class towns. (that’s sarcasm)
Yeah Hartlepool isn’t exactly thriving but I do get sick and tired of these ongoing descriptions of northern towns as if they’re third world countries.
The article is also missing several key points about how politics in the north has changed in the past twenty years or so. Felt very superficial and obvious, half of it devoted to throwaway references to features of the town, rather like those patronising ’24 hrs in’ puff pieces. The rest was more or less a cut and paste job. Nothing new or interesting, majority of it could be applied to any ex industrial ex labour town.

Article would have been a lot stronger if it had focused on the class betrayal within labour.
I wonder if the author has read Despised? If not I thoroughly recommend it.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
3 years ago

She quotes the child poverty figures as if they mean anything ,or rather as if she has the faintest inkling what they mean .
Go back to the restaurant reviews in Islington,love .Is Granita still going ? Possibly a bit down market for Tony these days

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
3 years ago

Labour’s choice of candidate shows conclusively that the party has lost touch with reality.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 years ago

The ‘left’ is well entrenched in Oxford and Cambridge colleges but bereft in Hartlepool, Belper and the Don Valley. It’s a rum do that’s for sure.

Simon Moore
Simon Moore
3 years ago

I see Labour continues to think it can insult its way to back to power.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Strange Tanya made the effort to go to Hartlepool but couldn’t be bothered to talk to the Tory candidate.

John Williams
John Williams
3 years ago

How the hell have we come to this? How have we managed to alienate so many of our fellow citizens, and drive them to such despair?

Gareth R Edwards
Gareth R Edwards
3 years ago
Reply to  John Williams

Listen to Lee Anderson and learn from what he has to say.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  John Williams

Most of the wokist Labour are the impractical school swots, sneaks, teachers pets, toadies; the types who burst into tears at the sight of muddy rugby or hockey pitches. The Milliband Brothers are good examples.
If one looks at Labour left wing types one sees an absence of those who are physically tough, practical, patriotic, cheerful, down to earth, endowed with common sense and common decency. In short they lack the hardy and enterprising qualities needed to create and maintain civilisation, any civilisation.
If one needed people to rebuild civilisation from scratch, is is difficult to to think of any Labour type who would be of use. Compare labour women with ” The Yorkshire Shepherdess”.

Gareth R Edwards
Gareth R Edwards
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Spot on.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

A useful slice of local affirmation for Piketty’s larger thesis (encompassing as it does the US, UK and the continent) of how the nominal “parties of labour” have betrayed their erstwhile constituency in favour of their “donor class” of urban educated elites.
They deserve to reap what they’ve sown, and richly.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

‘The crumbling town HAS been betrayed by the whole political class’ – your subheading is spot on; and what I always fail to understand nowadays is why people still vote for the legacy parties (Conservative and Labour) when (a) they have seen for themselves, clearly, how little the MPs in those parties REALLY care about what happens to them and (b) when they have nothing left to lose by backing some worthy outsider.
In 2015’s General Election there was fear – justified – of our having a Labour government with a weak puppet-like leader (Ed Miliband) whose strings would be tightly pulled and jerked (as they were in the televised leadership debates) by the Scottish Nationalists with their exploitive ultra-demanding loony agenda.
In 2017, millions turned out to keep the wild madman Corbyn out of office. Again, a justified reaction.
In 2019, people voted for Getting Brexit Done, the asseveration of the decision they had made in our referendum.
Yet Corbyn belongs (mercifully) to the past – for the present at least; Boris Johnson is a corrupt metropolitan Liberal who has no socially conservative agenda (one of the things the people of Hartlepool most want and need).
Why is this by-election about Tory v. Labour, and not about one of the outsider candidates? (According to the bookies none of those rate at all.)
Are most Britons as lunatic as Nicola Sturgeon, Jeremy Corbyn (and Carrie-Antoinette for the matter of that)?
Einstein defined lunacy as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

“…never…had a proper job…”
Could be said for Ed Millband and Jeremy Corbyn too.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
3 years ago

Labour led councils have been betraying their voters, wrecking the towns and cities they lord over, for decades. If they are kicked out it is not a moment too soon, however, I can only hope that Northern Conservative councils are far better and more efficient than their Western parliamentary counterparts.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

In Midlands We have Conservative Councils Letting Building developers Destroy Countryside,with no thought for putting in schools,A&E, Parks in their ‘Truman Show” Estates..So As i keep Contempt for Lib-lab-cons-Green-Snp .

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

It’s good to see Boris following in the immortal footsteps of Brian Clough, who began his managerial career at the town’s football club. I always wondered why, in those days, the club was called ‘Hartlepools’ or perhaps ‘Hartlepools United’. I have now learned from the article that there are two Hartlepools.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Every Englishman should pay a visit to Hartlepool to see H.M.S Trincomalee.

A Bombay built, ‘Leda-class Frigate’, and sister ship to the immortal H.M.S. Shannon, that on June 1st 1813, triumphed in what has been described as the “ greatest single-ship action in the Age of Sail”, when she thrashed the USS Chesapeake in eleven minutes flat.

Unlike the earlier Frigate actions of that war, where the American ships were far larger and more powerful, this was a contest of equals, where superior gunnery and seamanship proved the victor. The brevity of the action was perhaps its most remarkable feature.

Last edited 3 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago

You’ve just described in vivid&well written language that ‘national pride’ is not just nostalgia,but a living thing.
Well said&it makes me reach for a history book.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

Thanks.
A good place to start would be :
Broke and the Shannon, by Peter Padfield, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1968.

Broke’ fine house on the estuary of the River Orwell still survives, as does his Tomb in nearby Nacton Church. Both are in Suffolk.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

Hartlepool will do itself a big favour by giving the Conservatives a chance to prove itself. It will become the benchmark constituency of how to develop sustainability, resilience and sufficiency from immiseration.

This will include links to the Teesside regeneration, an uplift in public services, vocational training and the formation of a community policy hub so that locals can participate in its own change.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

You have the magnificent ruins of the Augustinian Priory at Guisborough nearby!
Scotch readers maybe interested to know this house was founded by the Franco-Breton Brus family, a group of particular efficient avaricious thugs, who went on to grab the Scotch Throne. A Brus (Bruce) Cenotaph survives.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago

” Scotch ” ?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

In 1965, the historian A.J.P. Taylor wrote in his Preface to English History 1914–1945: “Some inhabitants of Scotland now call themselves Scots and their affairs Scottish. They are entitled to do so. The English word for both is Scotch, just as we call les français the French and Deutschland Germany. Being English, I use it.”*

(*courtesy of Wikibeast)

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago

In that case why didn’t you use Scotchland instead of Scotland in your rather trite explanation

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Just to annoy you, I must confess.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago

Guisborough doesn’t count. It’s in Yorkshire! Nearly to Thirsk!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

‘As the Sparrow flies’ Hartlepool to Guisborough 12 miles, Guisborough to Thirsk 24 miles.
QED

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago

“Hartlepool decline meets you like a wall of heat”.
That’s a vivid phrase. I enjoyed this piece for the writing as much as the politics.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

WEll you can enjoy the writing if you like, but those who know, say the impression she gives is not born out by reality.

Granville Stout
Granville Stout
3 years ago

Surely the place to vote against a council is council elections. If they want change why vote for the party that has been in power for over 10 years?

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago

“When is the last time you’ve got someone with a regional accent from Labour?”
I don’t think it’s any different from the other parties. Candidates for Parliament are almost always recruited from the middle and upper classes.
It’s not good for democracy if any one party becomes dominant in the long term. At best it leads to complacency and inertia – at worst it leads to corruption.
This is what you get with a FPTP electoral system.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Actually there are a few regional accents among the intake of young Tory MPs who won seats in 2017/19.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Conspicuous due to their small numbers. Still, Tories do take the lead when it comes to appointing candidates from different backgrounds. They’d select monkeys if they thought they could win.
Whereas labour candidates have to be woke first and foremost. Whether or not they can do the job is irrelevant.

Gareth R Edwards
Gareth R Edwards
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Too true.
Take a look at Lee Anderson, Tory MP for Ashfield, who is the sort of candidate who would walk it for (Real) Labour in any Red Wall seat if only they were wise enough to select rather than alienate those of his kind.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

It’s many years since plummy accents were the norm in the Conservative party. It’s unfortunate that Boris is an old Etonian, and so soon after Cameron, but the choice on offer at the time was limited, and the need desperate.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Surely the only criterion should be ability. Who cares how anyone speaks?

martin_evison
martin_evison
3 years ago
Last edited 3 years ago by martin_evison
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  martin_evison

Two John prescott’s?..Vote SDP

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
3 years ago

I await the outcome with interest – personally a Tory but curious to see what the local electorate thinks best. Never been there myself, but there are connections insofar as my grandfather laid the foundation stone of the Ward Jackson Schools of West Hartlepool, in 1876. So I would be interested to hear more from Ralph WJ.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
3 years ago

So the only candidate Tanya didn’t interview, and whom she dismissed with scorn, stormed home. Twice as many people voted for her as for the Labour bloke, no one else had any significant support.
When does being so unlike the population you are investigating render your perceptions useless?

eugene power
eugene power
3 years ago

there is a boat being rebuilt in hartlepool . Its called the Coronia , saw service in Dunkirk .
Visit and give your support

Neil Wilson
Neil Wilson
3 years ago

Hartlepool and every constituency in the country can have a job for everybody. All we have to do is require the government to provide one.
There is much to do in Hartlepool, and clearly government can pay the wage as the furlough scheme has shown. So let’s continue doing that at the living wage, get people to mend the bits of the town that need mending, pay them to do so, and then their spending from that wage will help the hard working professional and business people in Hartlepool earn a living there – and perhaps help them to expand. Then they hire people away from the public works programme into the private sector
It’s a great way of getting money into local areas, get the work that needs to be done done and bootstrap local private employment that can lead onto better things.
It’s sad that none of the candidates are pushing for an employer of last resort option, which our towns in the North desperately need.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Wilson

I’m just going to stand in this bucket and lift myself up by the handle.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Wilson

The only jobs a government can give are those for bureaucrats, the remuneration for which sucks resources from the rest of the economy which has to be taxed to pay for them.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

This statement demonstrates the shallowest understanding of macroeconomics possible. I suppose congratulations are in order?

opop anax
opop anax
3 years ago

Gave up after the first two asinine paragraphs. There is a deception in calling this luvvie rubbish “unherd”. It is all too “herd”,and all too “heard”. Guardian.

google
google
3 years ago
Reply to  opop anax

Always the same guff from Tanya Gold. Always fails to conceal her massive left-wing bias.

J D
J D
3 years ago

I enjoyed this article, best thing I’ve seen by Tanya, even if it was guilty of the usual metropolitan sneering at working class communities. Why do the luvvie classes never understand that not everybody wants to be like them? They are incredibly parochial in that regard.

petercurtain92
petercurtain92
3 years ago

I have no answers but a much better understanding. This reporter has written a very good story.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Firstly they haven’t lost it yet, ;Secondly ,Labour,lib-dem,Green Supine support of Lockdowns has not impressed North East Voters 3) Opposition to Whitehaven New Mine ,means Coal &steel jobs Lost .by all including ”Green”Tories Could help SDP 4) Choosing A ”Rejoininer” in One of Most EU disliking places in UK is NOT a good sign

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
3 years ago

Tanya! Great article. See how well you can write when you stop the woke nonsense?

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago

” intellectuals ” is a bit strong – more like outraged from Tunbridge Wells

Terry Tastard
Terry Tastard
3 years ago

Just to say what a brilliant piece of reportage that was. Five stars to Tanya.