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”.
Author: Alex Toal
Alex is a postgraduate student, studying for a masters degree in public administration at the University of York. An amateur musician and part-time chef, his areas of interest include the arts, housing, local government and party politics.
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.
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?
The new ‘levelling-up fund’ is not fit for purpose, writes Alex Toal. Failing in three key areas: size, corruption and lack of direction, the fund is emblematic of the Johnson government’s key flaws.
Interview with: Hugh Goulbourne – lawyer and activist running for nomination to be Labour Party candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor
Alex interviews Hugh Goulbourne, one of three candidates shortlisted to be Labour’s nominee for West Yorkshire mayor. Goulbourne has an experience in grassroots activism and business leadership, and has worked on a number of mayoral campaigns before his own. His plans for the region include a cycle superhighway, citizens assemblies, and an authority-wide transport app.
In this latest interview for the West Yorkshire mayoral race, Alex Toal talks to Cllr. Susan Hinchcliffe, one of three candidates on Labour’s shortlist for the nomination. An experienced dealmaker and savvy operator, Hinchcliffe’s time as West Yorkshire Combined Authority chair has given her a wealth of insights to bring to the mayoralty, if elected.
Boris Johnson’s refusal to fire Priti Patel has shown why unrest in the ranks of Tory MPs matters. Here Alex Toal looks at the broader consequence of the Prime Minister’s weakness, and how it might hurt his efforts to rebrand.
Alex Toal looks at the reasons behind the formation of the Northern Research Group. Is this about protecting the seats of its members, about boosting the levelling up agenda, or about control of the Conservative Party?
The Northern Research Group makes its Westminster debut On Wednesday, members of the Northern Research Group took part in a Westminster hall debate called by Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis to quiz the government (represented by exchequer secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch) over economic support for the North. NRG chair Jake Berry followed […]
The Tory party of late seems to have descended into multiple competing and overlapping factions, including the Common Sense Group, the Covid Recovery Group, and the Northern Research Group. Here, Alex Toal takes a look at the NRG, asking – who are they, what do they believe in, and why have they come together? This […]
The appearance of being ‘relatable’ has always been important in politics. The pub trip photo-op has become a staple of electoral campaigning, and candidates can be savaged for their apparent detachment from reality. Long after their disappearance from frontline politics, people still remember Ed Miliband as the sandwich-mangler, and Theresa May as the wheat-field sprinter. […]
Local leaders react to second lockdown On Thursday, the entirety of England entered national lockdown, with stay-at-home orders issued and non-essential businesses closed. As Yorkshire becomes the focal point of the second wave of Covid-19, hospitals have been struggling, with Doncaster public health director Dr Rupert Suckling announcing that the city had more hospitalised patients than […]
Classics is often at the heart of Boris Johnson’s political brand, and particularly his admiration of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. In April of this year, he got in trouble with the historian Dame Mary Beard after misquoting the statesman, and previously he has referred to his use of Ciceronian rhetorical techniques. Comparing ancient […]
Tiers for fears This week was marked by an escalation in coronavirus measures as South Yorkshire was put into Tier 3, starting from Saturday. As cases rise across the region, York public health director Sharon Stolz had to deny that any move to Tier 3 was imminent in the city, and talks continue between West […]
Reproductive rights have long been settled in Britain. Some 86 percent of the population believe that a woman should have a right to an abortion, and only 24 percent are in favour of making the time limit to decide to terminate a pregnancy shorter. Yet recently this has been under attack in the city of […]
Here’s a roundup of some of the top stories from Yorkshire this week. Covid catch-up The news that dominated the region this week was, of course, the pandemic. Tier 2 restrictions were implemented in South and West Yorkshire from Wednesday, and extended to York from Saturday. The news was unsurprising to many, with significant outbreaks […]
Imagine an industry that contributed more than three times as much to the UK economy as steel and employed almost 200,000 people. Imagine an export that is beloved across the globe, and which helped sustain many through lockdown. Now imagine it being shut down for the entirety of the pandemic, even as most of the […]
Alex Toal talks to Yorkshire Party leader Bob Buxton about democracy, devolution and door-knocking
“If only the left could be more united” – a dozen columnists lament each year, whilst proposing Lib-Lab electoral pacts, progressive alliances, or a “new En Marche-style centre party to unite the left”. The political fragmentation of the British left is often cause for concern, particularly when faced with the monolith that is the Conservative […]
“I love this country. I’m proud of this country. Of all it’s achieved, and all it will go on to achieve.” Labour leader Keir Starmer declares in a new video released on Wednesday. This statement is key to the opposition’s rebrand under its new leader, pushing its national pride to the fore whilst laying out […]
Loathe it or hate it, lockdown 2.0 is around the corner, and it’s the government’s ideology of crisis-management that’s to blame
Get your hair cut and stock up on yeast: if you’re lucky enough to not be one of the ten million Britons already under increased coronavirus restrictions, then you are likely to join that number soon. Whilst the prime minister emphasised that he was “deeply, spiritually reluctant” to infringe on people’s freedoms in his announcement […]
Figures released yesterday by the Social Mobility Commission reveal that five local authorities in the Yorkshire and the Humber region are among the 24 least socially mobile in the country. Bradford is listed in 2nd place, behind only Chiltern in the South East, with Hull, Rotherham, Kirklees and North East Lincolnshire all featuring on the […]