Dan Wootton: The government needs to stop marching to the beat of the drum of the London liberal media elite

Gove’s words are why I’m so frustrated that it’s those elites in London who seem to constantly drive the government’s agenda, largely thanks to the way the metropolitan media work together to scare the PM and his team into action they deem important.

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Forget cake.

Forget Abba birthday parties.

Even forget devilish Dom’s drive to Barnard Castle.

Today’s Levelling Up announcement by Michael Gove, with 12 pledges to transform deprived areas of the UK and close the gap between the north and the south, will determine whether the Tories are given an unprecedented fifth term at the next election – and whether they have any hope of governing into 2030.

But has the government done enough to tackle such an existential issue?

The jury is out.

Michael Gove is indeed correct that the government will be defined a failure if it doesn’t deliver its moral mission to improve the lives of overlooked communities outside the elites in London.

Gove’s words are why I’m so frustrated that it’s those elites in London who seem to constantly drive the government’s agenda, largely thanks to the way the metropolitan media work together to scare the PM and his team into action they deem important.

Would the police be investigating Partygate and much of the machinery of government currently be paralysed if BBC News, ITV News, Sky News and virtually every other broadcast outlet, besides this one, had decided that Partygate was the most important story in the country and should dominate the news agenda every day for the past two months?

For Levelling Up to succeed, I truly believe the government needs to stop marching to the beat of the drum of the London liberal media elite.

Many of the people dealing with the real struggles of post-pandemic life have switched off from traditional mainstream media outlets because they have rightly become so disillusioned with coverage that does not reflect the issues impacting them day to day.

It’s the reason behind the decision to Brexit in 2016 – which no one in the Westminster bubble ever thought would actually happen – and the smashing of the Red Wall three years later.

But the goal to level up was smashed to smithereens by the government’s response to Covid-19 the past two years.

Remember when cities like Manchester and Bolton were plunged into economy-destroying lockdowns for months longer than many southern areas.

That damage is going to take a long time to fix.

Metro Mayors might sound great, but if you look at the disaster of Labour’s failed Sadiq Khan who is driving London into the ground, they may do more harm than good.

In reality, there are probably not enough specifics announced today.

But I do have a lot of respect for the principles.

But now we must see delivery, without dither, delay or any more excuses.

Boris must ignore the London left-wing media and put his government’s internal problems to one side in order to provide a laser focus on ensuring his highly ambitious levelling up agenda is a success.