Did Manchester like us?

I was keen to know if holding the Conservative conference in Manchester had influenced local voters at all, whether they were more likely to support us. I very IMG_1102 much doubt it.

I asked a group of commuters at the tram station about this and it was impossible to gain any eye contact, but they made it clear they were loyal Labour voters.

Despite being very friendly (and I single out the taxi drivers here for a change, they were certainly much friendlier than in Cambridge and London), achieving a huge cultural change regarding strong feelings of negativity towards the Tories is going to be a massive uphill struggle. These strong feelings are firmly rooted from the past and many of them have no wish to move forward or see things differently.

IMG_1085 This page lead letter in the Manchester Evening News with the headline “Invasion of the Tories,” sums up the views of these Mancunians:

I WENT into Manchester city centre on Tuesday and found the place crawling with Tories. I wasn’t prepared for the shock of seeing so many, en masse, as Manchester has been a Tory-free zone for decades.

Seeing them walking the streets as if they owned the place felt like an invasion of alien beings, and it was obvious that many had never been here before, but patronisingly, like Boris Johnson, thought it a great city.

Yes, it is a great city, but no thanks to them. In the 18 years of the last Conservative government, Margaret Thatcher only came to Manchester once and got such a rough ride she never came back.

Manchester has changed and reinvented itself beyond recognition since the bad old days of the Tories. This is through having a Labour council of vision and daring who  believe in the potential of the city and its people, and a Labour government that sees the northern cities as worthy of investment, not cuts that the Tories promise. 

For those people with short memories or not old enough to remember the last IMG_1111Conservative government, let me remind you of the greyness, the hopelessness and despair; the young people who wasted their youth on the dole; people trapped in poverty on run-down council estates and the riots and brutal confrontations that characterised our cities.

The sight of this new generation of Tories claiming to be different brought the whole horrible nightmare back. If anyone is tempted to vote Conservative at the next election they should go down to the conference centre at about 5pm when the delegates are all coming out, and see if you can detect in those faces anything to suggest that a Conservative government now would be any different.

Janet Higgins, West Didsbury

I have no idea how representative this letter is for the city. But I feel that no matter how bad the Labour government is, these Mancunians would prefer not to vote at all rather than vote Conservative, and this is why we cannot take anything for granted.

Good luck to Stephen Holland, Conservative prospective candidate, who also had a timely letter published reminding readers that it was time for change.

Boris Johnson kept his word and didn’t insult Manchester. He also said the Tories had won London and could go on and win Manchester. I would be interested to know if there are any post-conference polls from this city to support those optimistic views.


  1. That sort of reaction in Manchester doesn’t surprise me.

  2. I’m glad to learn the Mancunians have some sense!

  3. Well written letter!


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