The Devil in the levelling

by Andrew Wright (Workers GB Writers Group) 

Apparently some ‘levelling up’ is happening, or is apparently going to happen, in the West Midlands.  According to no less an authority on such matters (the BBC) the “levelling up secretary”, Michael Gove is ready to allocate £15 million to the West Midlands Combined Authority – (WMCA) for the purpose of urgent renovation of aged social housing in working class areas. 

Not content with that, £30 million of Levelling Up money is destined for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands generally. All of this is, according to leveller Gove, “[is] one of our key levelling up missions…” he adds, no doubt thinking of John Lilburne, “poor housing kills.” 

Let’s not be churlish. £45 million of overdue Government funding is welcome news, assuming the money is actually real, not merely soundbite propaganda for granny beeb.

Before our eyes become too misted over at this exhibition of Mr Gove’s Christian leveller altruism however; bearing in mind he seems to have forgotten his parable about a rich man and a needle; and bearing in mind he, and his fellow Conservative Party leveller Andy Street – Mayor of West Midlands – are between them worth £10 million; we can smell the hypocrisy leaking out of the Conservative Party levelling drainpipe.

To compare the prices: replacing Trident costs a mere £12.5 billion; to float a Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier in the South China Sea for a month costs only £1 million per day.

The truth of the matter is that local councils have been deliberately and cruelly starved of government funding for social regeneration for decades. A massive social housing project needs to be invested in as a matter of urgency.  Playing with Mickey Mouse propaganda phrases like “levelling up” is a pettifogging irrelevance to people marooned in aged ramshackle housing who have to constantly worry about poverty, low income and poor health.

Luckily for wealthy levellers like Messrs Gove and Street, the real, true Levellers : Richard Overton, Gerrard Winstanley, Thomas Rainsborough, William Thompson, are all safely dead and cold. Conservative Party “levelling up” is, to borrow a phrase from Edgar Allan Poe, “one vast perambulating humbug.”

We will not be fooled.

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