England needed a “Boris of the North,” declared a report in 2014 by the Institute for Public Policy, a progressive think tank which today might think twice about proposing to add more Boris Johnson’s to the political landscape. The idea behind the catchphrase was that the northern regions needed strong leaders to champion economic growth – people who could use their personal charisma and networks to lobby central government for more funds, as Boris Johnson had done in London, and utilise a broad range of executive powers to spend the money in the most effective way.