Boris Johnson fooled voters in Blyth and other parts of North England but lies told in 2019 could turn Blue Walls Red again

Posted: 2 July, 2024 | Category: Uncategorized

Miners in the pits of northern England were strong supporters of the Labour Party. They could remember the horror of mass unemployment and the marches by their parents and grandparents in the 1920s. After 14 years of Tory rule, Socialism has been turned into a political swear word by brain-dead, out-of-touch and class-soaked politicians.


By Trevor Grundy

Hull, Yorkshire (July 2, 2024)  – – –  The election campaign between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will soon be over.  As one cold and weary ghost-watching guard said to another at the start of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’  – “For this relief, much thanks.”

Two parties – the Unspeakables and the Unbeatables  have been handing out see-through plastic promises like confetti at a shotgun wedding.

How many voters would want to tie the knot with that lot remains to be seen.

“Are you two the best that Britain has to offer?” an angry member of a hand-picked TV debate audience asked Starmer and Sunak.

It made me think of what the late Bernard Crick wrote in his book In Defence of Politics over 60 years ago that “boredom with established truths is a great enemy of free men.”


Last week, friends in Africa asked me if I’d watched any of the slanging matches between Sunak and Starmer on the telly?

I said Yes but only for five minutes before changing channels to watch Georgia beat Portugal 2-0 in Euro24.

“So, you’ve become like the rest of them,” one said. “Fast asleep at the wheel as the ship hits the iceberg.”

I wanted to hide in a cupboard when he started to sing a few lines from HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan.

For in- spite of all temptations

To belong to other nations.

He remains an Englishman.

Then again in case I missed it first time round-

He remains an Englishman.

He said that living in Britain under Starmer would be like living in some Alice in Wonderland ‘socialist’ state in Africa.

“But you should be used to that,” he quipped, a reference to the 30 years I spent in freshly independent African one party socialist states from 1966-1996.

But to cheer me up before the call ended, he sent a smile down the line.  “Like Tanzania . . .  but without the sunshine.”


Blyth harbour and lighthouse known to sailors around the world when the place was a mining and ship-building centre


Until about 1996 I never really felt English. But I certainly had an English childhood.

My sister, Lovene and I were evacuated to a village near Whitley Bay, a picturesque place called Seaton Sluice.

A couple of miles down the road in a small house close to a wonderful world for children called The Dean lived my mother’s parents and sisters who came from another world which I only found out about decades later.

They were Jews pretending to be Methodists in Christian England.

My father’s father was Tom Grundy the local Anglican church organist. My Scottish grandmother Bess Grundy was head of the Women’s Institute.

Before we went to bed, Lovene and I would look out across the nearby sandy Links towards the North Sea and then we’d turn our heads towards the lighthouse at the end of Blyth Harbour.

It was that reason that an article in the “I” newspaper caught my attention on the morning of June 21.

It was by Patrick Cockburn and was a story about Blyth headlined “In the first ‘Red Wall’ seat to turn blue, voters no longer believe in change.”

A strapline added the words- “Resignation has replaced hope in Blyth Valley and Newcastle.”

The well-written and illustrated article by Cockburn told how on 12 December 2019 the Labour-held constituency of Blyth Valley gained its 15 minutes of fame when it narrowly voted in a Conservative for the first time.

Blyth Valley was the first brick in the Labour Party’s Red Wall to fall.

Blyth today –  The Town’s once thriving Market Square is now full of bargain and vape shops and derelict empty buildings.


In London, it was seen as a major victory for Boris Johnson and his policy of levelling- up and getting Brexit done.

A similar pattern took place right across the North, with signs that at long last the working class was turning to the populist Right.

“Brexit was the cause,” the veteran trade unionist Ian Lavery told Cockburn.

”It was that simple,” he said. “People were taken in by Boris Johnson’s promise that he was a huge friend of the working class. They felt their lives were shit, so they believed him.”

So, backing Boris in Blyth and other parts of the run-down North East was a sign of a deep anger at being poor, left behind and ignored while nothing in their lives improved.

The ever-popular Blyth Spartans  football team has joined hand with Blyth Foodbank to help members of the local community.

Said Lavery, the Labour candidate for a re-marked Blyth constituency on July 4: “In Blyth we have had a cost of living crisis for generations with life expectancy 10 percent lower and child poverty 40 percent higher than in the rest of the country.”

The north-south divide is stark: suicide is the strongest evidence of extreme unhappiness and the rate in the North-East is twice that of London.

Deaths caused by alcohol, drugs and suicide are far higher in the North than the South.

Cockburn spoke to John Tomaney, Professor of Regional Planning at University College London, who told him that ‘deaths of despair’ are caused by alcohol, drugs and suicide.

Out of 20 local authority areas where such deaths are most prevalent, 16 of them are in the North.

Among 25-19 year olds, more than two in five of all deaths are in the deaths of despair category.

“White working- class communities, which used to work in coal- mining and ship-building have lost the narrative of their lives,” said Tomaney.

White working class men played for or watched and shouted loud The Spartans  on Saturday afternoons no longer have jobs in shipbuilding or mining.

Throughout Northumberland, levelling up is a non-so-funny joke. There’s not a sign anywhere that life has improved now Brexit has been done, along with job creation, the economy, trust in authority figures. There are now loud demands for an end to the  first-past-the-post voting system and the introduction of a fairer proportional representation.

And the Northumbrians who were desperate for change in 2019 are on the eve of the July 4 general elections even more desperate after 14 years of rule by a collection of arrogant and out of touch Conservative space-heads.

Cockburn, like most commentators, believes that Labour will sweep into power on July 4, taking all the bricks on the Red Walls home to Whitehall.

But he says Ian Lavery was strikingly gloomy when he talked to the more than likely Labour MP in an office close to what had once ben the largest coal mine in Europe employing over 5,000 miner.

Lavery is so unlike the new breed of Tories with their PhDs and PPE degrees from Oxbridge.

“I am not an accountant,” he said, “or a lawyer and have never managed a hedge fund. I am one of the few who has ever had dirt on his hands and claimed the dole. I once worked in a mine stretching seven miles out under the North Sea.”

He only mentioned the man so many saw as a saviour in the Blyth of five years ago, Boris (BoJo) Johnson

Many of the people who followed his every word and gesture in 2019 are now homeless and hopeless, angry and wanting change that none of the Big Parties can give them.

But shed no tears for BoJo.

While Northerners go hungry and as food banks spread across a large once powerful industrial part of the UK, BoJo is on his way to the bank, once again.

It’s reported in newspapers here that Harper Collins has given him/ or promised him £500,000 as an advance for a memoir called ‘Unleashed’ and it will be published in October.

It will be BoJo’s 11th book. In 2015 he received an £88,000 advance for a biography of William Shakespeare which is yet to be published.

After quitting Parliament last year, having been  found to have misled the Commons over ‘Partygate,’  this ex-Etonian former British prime minister has continued with his speaking tours and  writing endless drivel in various newspapers.

Like the Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland, BoJo  can’t stop wagging his tail as he slowly fades away, leaving behind him the only thing that any of us will remember about the man  – the grin.