There’s a revealing snippet in The Guardian‘s detailed look at how the recent agreement on major devolution in Manchester came to be. Part way through the process, George Osborne made a major speech setting out his willingness to back devolution. Here’s what happened next:
When Labour HQ called its Manchester leader, Richard Leese, and asked him to bad-mouth Osborne’s speech, he is said to have told them to get lost, with an expletive.
Good for Richard Leese, but also a striking example of how little backing there is for devolution in much of Labour’s Westminster operation that it would rather have got some critical soundbites for one transitory newscycle than take an opportunity to seriously progress devolution.