Andy Burnham, the new “voice” of the North of England, challenges the central power

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, at a conference in Manchester on October 20.

A few passers-by gather in St Peter’s Square, the vast esplanade facing the enormous neoclassical rotunda of the Central Library, the epicenter of Manchester. It is the time for the lunch break, and also that of the ultimatum given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the rebel elected representatives of the metropolis of north-west England, who for ten days now, this Tuesday October 20 thwarted its regional strategy to fight the pandemic. They still refuse to be placed in the “maximum alert” category, with the closing of pubs, cafes and casinos.

“Last week, that’s where Andy Burnham [le maire du Grand Manchester] held its conference “, explains Ben, black mask and salt and pepper hair. “Compensating at only two thirds of their salary those working for businesses that are going to close is nonsense [c’est le soutien financier qu’a proposé Londres]. We can see that Boris Johnson and Rishi [Sunak, son chancelier de l’Echiquier] do not impose such treatment, we can not live with it! “, connects this man, working in a concert hall in Salford, a suburb of the north of Manchester, who prefers to keep his last name silent.

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“The maximum alert level will not change the progression of the epidemic. All in all, a national confinement of two weeks [comme vient de le décider le Pays de Galles], it would be more efficient and fairer. “ Behind him, Mark, another Mancunien is also waiting “Andy” firm footing, and squarely questions the reality of the figures put forward by the Minister of Health Matt Hancock to justify the passage of Manchester on maximum alert: “The hospitals are not fuller than usual, it’s just a way of oppressing the popular classes. “

We can see very close the former Manchester Central station, converted into a conference center in the 1980s and being developed to become one of the Nightingale hospitals, these establishments supposed to absorb the epidemic peak – it is still empty. “Do you know where you are precisely there?” “, adds Mark, very lively: “This is where the Peterloo massacre took place. “ On August 16, 1819, the cavalry charged a peaceful demonstration that demanded better representation of the region in the Parliament of London, eighteen people perished.

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