...and Tour gets off to a winning start
WHAT is the difference between Ed Miliband’s challenge, delivered in Leeds yesterday, to local councils to come together to form a series of “regional economic powerhouses” and George Osborne’s plan to turn the North into an “economic powerhouse”?
Listening to the politicians, there is a world of difference. The Tories say that Labour’s plan to devolve £30bn to the North is unaffordable, while the Opposition have accused the coalition of dragging its feet. The Chancellor wants a high-speed rail line from Leeds to Manchester; Labour want more investment across the whole region.
The reality, however, is very different. Despite their protestations, the main parties actually agree that West Yorkshire’s transport and business infrastructure needs to be overhauled – and that it would be preferable if these changes were driven by the Leeds City Region rather than London-based public servants.
This common ground should be exploited. It would be prudent, for instance, if the peers Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis, the respective masterminds behind the Conservative and Labour blueprints, were allowed to work together.
They could then build a lasting strategy that has the potential to withstand any political changes that may, or may not, take place after next year’s election.
After all, this is surely too important an issue for the usual party politics.
On their bikes – Tour gets off to a winning start
AS the race director of the Tour De France, Christian Prudhomme is accustomed to seeing cyclists on the road. But even he has been taken aback by the sheer number of riders in Leeds. “It is fantastic,” he said.
Yet, while cycling’s aficionados are counting down the days until the Grand Départ, one of the most symbolic and emblematic moments took place yesterday in Temple Newsam Park when primary school pupils took part in a series of races.
This is what the Grand Départ is all about; encouraging the next generation to learn to cycle in a safe and rewarding environment. On this evidence, the 2014 Tour is already off to a winning start.