Last man to say ‘Northern powerhouse’ unironically dies

THE only man who still believed that government initiatives would turn Barnsley into Europe’s answer to Palo Alto has died.

82-year-old Rotherham resident Roy Hobbs remained convinced by George Osborne’s vision of a revitalised North of England with such an amazing rail infrastructure its citizens could get to a well-paid job in London in less than 35 minutes.

It is believed that news of the proposed Leeds-Manchester road tunnel filled Hobbs with such optimistic joy his heart simply exploded.

Hobbs’ son Keith said: “My father had unshakeable faith in the Chancellor’s vision and never wavered from his conviction that a new £200 million cross-North transport smart-ticketing policy would convince Google to relocate its headquarters to Wakefield.

“Dad never once responded to waiting for a bus to Doncaster in the pouring rain for 40 minutes by muttering, ‘Northern Shitehouse, more like.’

“And while others greeted the news that the bakers in Keighley had run out of pies by quipping ‘Yet another great leap forward for the Northern Poorhouse’, he steadfastly refused to join in with their bitter laughter.”

Hobbs’ neighbour Tom Logan said: “He also believed that fitting starlings with microchips could create an avian internet hub, so he was basically a mad twat.”