Not on the same scale as "desolate", but the Tories might want to find some more positive "D" words to describe The North.
A politician once noted for his pointed interventions has been rather well-behaved of late. You'd almost think there had been a deal.
Boris Johnson and George Osborne head south today on their trade missions to China - the first after a chilly period in political relations.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is likely to have raised the ire of Liverpudlians yet again after claiming it was London, not Liverpool, that propelled The Beatles to worldwide fame.
"The greatest band in the world came from Liverpool, but in the end they recorded their stuff in London and it was London that helped propel them around the world," Johnson said during a speech at the London School of Economics entitled "London, the gateway to Britain."
Mr Johnson has been forced to apologise to the people of Liverpool in the past after suggesting Liverpool football fans were partly to blame for the Hillsborough disaster and claiming locals "wallow" in their "victim status", following the murder of contractor Ken Bigley in Iraq.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who has died at the age of 95.
A great heart is stilled. No statesman in history can match him for resilience, grace and forgiveness. Nelson Mandela, icon of our age.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that people should "stop bashing" the super-rich.
In his column for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson compared them to hard-pressed minorities such as the homeless or Irish travellers for the unfounded vitriol they receive.
He said: "We should be offering them humble and hearty thanks.
"The top one per cent of earners now pay 29.8 per cent of all the income tax and National Insurance received by the Treasury."
Boris Johnson has questioned whether burqas should be allowed in British classrooms and courts, but stopped short of suggesting a ban altogether.
The debate into the full-face veil has reopened after terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed managed to evade surveillance by leaving a London mosque wearing a burqa that covered his face and body.
"I certainly think it's a bit much to ask teachers or judges to deal with people who have their faces covered," he told listeners to his regular phone-in on LBC.
"That seems to me to not be how we do things in this country and it is absolutely reasonable to say that face veils, burkas, whatever, should not be acceptable in state-funded classrooms in this country and nor should they be acceptable in the system of British justice."
However, the London Mayor stated his belief that authorities should not ban items of dress altogether, and suggested that you "might as well ban balaclavas and ski masks" if the burqa was banned.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for tougher controls over terror suspects after the "absurd" escape of Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed who managed to evade surveillance by wearing a burqa.
Mr Johnson told LBC radio that it was clear that Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpims) were not working as they should if a "fellow can get into a burqa and evade his invigilators".
The mayor said it was clear to him - though unconfirmed by the police - that Mohamed had been able to contact supporters to help him escape, despite being under the order.
"This guy Mohamed was obviously helped to escape. I don't believe for a minute that he did it on his own. He was in contact with people who are sympathisers."
"Characters such as him - and even if he doesn't pose an immediate threat to this country, it is plain he is a danger - should be more closely invigilated than they currently are and I am sure that is a point that Theresa May will be taking up very actively."
Mr Johnson blamed "coalition politics" for watering down the previous control order system and urged Home Secretary Theresa May to be tough with the Liberal Democrats over the policy.
Boris Johnson has expressed frustration at the drawing out of the HS2 project timescale.
The Mayor of London wrote in The Telegraph that China built its own high-speed rail in just two years.
Meanwhile, he said, Labour are delaying the project further by "shamelessly courting the sceptic vote".
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne are "kidding themselves" if they think Britain can stay internationally competitive without building a new multi-runway hub airport, Boris Johnson has warned.
The Mayor of London called on the Government to follow the example of Hong Kong and overcome their doubts to green light a new airport to the east of London.
Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok airport is built on land reclaimed from the sea - much like the Mayor's plans for a so-called "Boris island" - and replaced the old airport which was situated in an urban area with no room for expansion.
Mr Johnson said China has "clearly figured out that aviation is absolutely key to economic growth" and claimed the situation bore a resemblance to the Heathrow expansion - a controversial and, according to the Mayor, unworkable option.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was frustrated that the "plebgate" row has continued for so long and wishes it was "knocked on the head".
Mr Johnson said: "It's got to be done, we need to get to the truth of what happened in so far as it could possibly be established for everybody's sake and it is extremely frustrating that it is taking so long.
"But the mills of justice grind slowly but they grind small, we will get the answer and that is the best we can do but we have to follow the correct procedures."