A welcome development in the political debate of the last few years has been the sudden realisation by the powers that be that Britain has a serious issue over balance.
London – great city though it is – is in danger of overwhelming the rest of the UK, sucking in all the attention and the money.
George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse and the rapidly-developing debate over devolution of powers to the regions were the response to this overdue realisation.
For a while Mr Osborne made the running. But there are signs that Labour has caught on – and has seen a chink in his armour.
For Mr Osborne is hung up on elected mayors. They might work well in London, but we don’t need them here. We don’t want them either – otherwise we’d have voted for them when we had the chance.
Labour’s chosen method of devolving power through combined authorities – with or without a mayor – is less sexy. But it is more practical, which is what counts.