Rain rolled into Manchester on Saturday lunchtime – just in time to give the Prime Minister a very Mancunian welcome when he arrives in the city for a conference.
Boris Johnson and his government will be in town from this weekend for the annual Conservative Party conference, and with them is a riot of the country’s news team, shards of protesters and hoards of police.
So with Manchester back at the center of the country’s political universe, we asked the Mancs what they thought of our city hosting the event, how they felt about Boris Johnson, how Andy Burnham is doing – and what needs to be done to close North-South Boundary.
READ MORE: Young brother and sister in stable condition after being hit by car – as witness describes ‘chaotic’ scene
On Cathedral Street, Gill Lingard and Joyce Bull shop. Joyce is wearing a new coat, and it’s becoming a baptism of rain.
“Of course, transport is a big thing,” she says when asked what needs to be improved in Greater Manchester.
She adds: “I think a lot of southerners feel like we’re still walking around in clogs and shawls, you know.
“It is more the perception from southerners [than the reality]. ”
Gill continues: “I think we are still seen as very provincial, there is nothing here. It’s a bit like Americans are not leaving America because there is nothing outside. Most people in the south are thinking about what is coming here. ”
Much of the hype before this conference has surrounded two men: Boris and Burnham.
Earlier in the day, the mayor of Greater Manchester said he wanted to avoid a repeat of last year’s Covid cash row when he launched a £ 1bn bid. Pounds to improve the urban region’s transport infrastructure.
Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester straight to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter
You can sign up very easily by following the instructions here
However, he added that ‘we will never withdraw from a quarrel’, suggesting he is prepared for Boris and Burnham round two.
When the political melodrama is about to play out, it seems that the mancs are either pro-PM or pro-mayor — there is no middle ground.
“He’s a ** head,” Alice Bowden says of the Conservative Party leader.
The 25-year-old who walks his dog Frank on Deansgate is much more laudatory to the Labor man.
She says: “He is an absolute legend. He’s fighting for the North, right? ”
Alice says she was not aware that the Tories were in town this weekend, adding that it ‘makes sense’ that the conference is in Manchester.
Anna Burlingsby, who visits the city from London, also dislikes the Prime Minister.
“He projects a hopping air, whereas he knows exactly what he’s doing,” she explains, waiting for friends in St. Peter’s Square.
On the opposite end of the political spectrum is Chris Proctor. The 50-year-old shelter hides from the wind and rain on St Ann’s Square.
He is a fan of Boris and says: “He did a good job [of Brexit], and I’m not a Brexiteer.
“I do not particularly like Andy Burnham, the way he behaved under Covid [row], I know everyone supported him here, but I thought he played the one wrong. ”
One woman who is not a fan of either Andy Burnham or Boris Johnson is Sylvia Edwards, who trades with her family on King Street, Spinningfields.
“I’m not a fan of any of them, for everything I see about politics, fall, competition and just the desire for power,” the 76-year-old says.
Sylvia from Worsley adds: “It’s about power, it’s not about doing things for the people, I’m not sure if it ever was.
“Especially in these days after Covid and after Brexit, we all need to get together. We have so many problems to solve and move on and solve them without falling out and calling each other names. ”
Sign up for MEN’s email newsletters to get the latest on sports, news, what’s going on and more by following this link.