Author: Alex Toal

Alex is a postgraduate student, studying for a masters degree in public administration at the University of York. He works for the Bylines Network as its Audience Development Officer, and can be found on Twitter at @toal_alex

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Yorkshire takes another step towards regaining its voice

Alex Toal
North Yorkshire Devolution

Alex Toal writes on the latest step of devolution in North Yorkshire, as a months-long consultation process comes to an end. Speaking with John Harris from OneYorkshire, whatever happens, devolution in North Yorkshire will be far from perfect, but it is a star.

What can we learn from the local elections in Yorkshire?

Alex Toal
Yorkshire local elections

Alex Toal breaks down the results of the local elections and what they mean for Yorkshire. Broadly speaking they show the importance of well-advertised local leadership, along with the strength of both the Greens and Liberal Democrats, with the right-wing vote consolidated in the Conservatives.

Local elections preview: West Yorkshire

Alex Toal
West Yorkshire

Alex Toal finishes his local elections preview with a look at West Yorkshire. The county’s districts have a third of their councillors up for election, in addition to the first ever mayoral race.

Local elections preview: South Yorkshire

Alex Toal

Alex Toal previews the local elections in South Yorkshire. With elections in all four of the county’s boroughs: Rotherham, Barnsley, Sheffield, and Doncaster, a lot is to play for. A lot may change, in the four major trends in the region. Exciting moves up ahead!

The Greensill scandal shows that the revolving door isn’t so transparent

Alex Toal

Alex Toal breaks down the Greensill scandal, and the broader problem of the revolving door which Cameron’s actions have highlighted. Politicians have had an uncomfortable level of closeness with the private sector for years, and the scandal is nothing new. But we need to change our incentive structures to improve practices.

Are young people citizens of nowhere in the politics of place?

Alex Toal
politics of place

Alex Toal asks, are young people left as citizens of nowhere by our system which prioritises the politics of place over the politics of the nation? With young people more mobile than any generation before them, their politics is increasingly focused on national issues rather than local ones. Our system still fails them.

Don’t hate the monarchs, hate the monarchy

Alex Toal
Buckingham Palace Monarchy

Alex Toal argues that we should hate the institution of the monarchy, not the monarch. With the monarchy a block on constitutional reform and a symbol of inequality on several levels, it needs to go.

The known unknowns that may decide the Johnson premiership

Alex Toal

Alex Toal examines the known unknowns that may well define the Johnson premiership: the NHS pay dispute and the return to schools. Should they fail to go to plan, knock-on effects may disrupt the local elections and hamper either his or Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Sunak’s budget reflects its author: bland, corporate and ineffective

Alex Toal

Sunak is neither the people’s chancellor of Conservative media, nor the evil banker of the online left. His budget reveals him as a product of inoffensive corporate Britain: with no courage to cause controversy among the various constituencies of the Conservative base, it has little to offer business or the country.

Will the next Grenfell happen in Yorkshire?

Alex Toal

Little has been done to prevent another Grenfell tower fire, research from the Labour party revealed as they pressured the government to act. With millions of people still living in blocks with unsafe cladding, more needs to be done to make these fit for habitation, Alex Toal writes.

Has Robert Jenrick nothing better to do than fan up culture wars?

Alex Toal

Jenrick must have solved looming crises in housing, local government debt, and cladding, Alex Toal writes, given his obsession with statues. The minister has been borrowing tactics from one of his predecessors, Eric Pickles, in preventing communities in having a voice about their public space.

As MPs call for action on long covid, Baker’s rebels plot…

Alex Toal

Alex Toal summarises the debate over long covid in the House of Commons, while Tory rebels led by Steve Baker plan to overthrow another leader…”Rather than squabbling over ivory-tower ideology, the Conservative Party needs to pull itself together, and recognise the severity of the task at hand”.

Tory donors resorting to stealing children’s lunch money?

Alex Toal

What do accusations of bribing the UN, striking NHS workers, and Tory donors have to do with the latest government procurement scandal? York-based Alex Toal breaks down the news of another government contractor misusing public money during a national crisis, this time using £30 school meal credits to provide £5 worth of food to children in need.

Are Christmas songs getting worse?

Alex Toal

Alex Toal looks into the failure of new songs to break into the canon of Christmas songs. Nothing newer than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” has become a classic, is it because of science, economics, or are modern Christmas songs just bad?