It's grim up North - but it doesn't have to be.
That's the message from think tank IPPR North who have argued the area needs its own figurehead like the bombastic, blondetastic mayor of London.
In their Northern Economic Future Commission report, they argue fore more devolution with "metro mayors" and a Northern chair to speak on behalf of the area.
Is it time for a Boris Johnson of the north?
Ed Cox, the Director of IPPR North, said Boris had been a "driving force" to win powers for London as well as "to get Londoners’ voices heard when it comes to big national transport projects."
"The North needs a big hitter who can ensure the North ‘speaks with one voice’ and can bang the table at Westminster on the issues that matter most to the people of the North of England," he said.
"Londoners can see the impact that Transport for London has had every time they use their OysterCard to go from train, to tube, to bus.
A new ‘Transport for the North’ could coordinate big transport infrastructure projects, like a ‘Northern crossrail’ to cut the journey time from Liverpool to Newcastle in half."
But who could take up this mantle on behalf of those who live beyond Watford? We've listed our contenders below.
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