Alex Toal analyses the difficult tightrope that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has to walk in advance of the G7 summit in Cornwall, balancing his desire for a special relationship with Biden with that of maintaining his vision for deregulation Britain.
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
Alex Toal breaks down the demographic shifts that are slowly deciding the future of UK politics, with the rise of the importance of the grey wall on the one hand, and the growing numbers of graduates on the other.
Alex Toal reports on the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee. Here, experts from providing PPE criticised the government’s response outsourcing PPE during the pandemic, and denounced the use of the “fast lane” to get contracts out.
Alex Toal digs into the weeds of the York pay-outs story. With allegations of misconduct against the council over the administration of pay-outs, how serious are the allegations and how has the council acted?
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.
Alex Toal reviews proposed plans in the Queen’s speech to undermine democracy by extending first past the post to mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections and introduce voter ID legislation.
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.
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.
Alex Toal interviews Stewart Golton, leader of the Leeds Liberal Democrats and the party’s candidate for West Yorkshire mayor. Golton plans to “rage against the machine” at both the regional and national level, challenging leaders in West Yorkshire and Westminster to do better for local people.
Ahead of the elections this week, Alex Toal speaks with Councillor Andrew Cooper, the Green Party candidate to be the first mayor of West Yorkshire.
Alex Toal writes on Rishi Sunak’s latest ‘Kickstarter’ scheme. So far the £2bn jobs programme has only delivered 12,000 jobs, and only 890 in the Chancellor’s region of Yorkshire.
Alex Toal links past with present as Eric Pickles is brought back into the public spotlight over the Greensill scandal.
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!
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.
Alex Toal looks ahead to the local elections in North Yorkshire and Humberside. Police and crime commissioners are up for election in both counties, along with a third of Hull City Council which will be one to watch.
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.
Senior Conservatives may have been calling for Nicola Sturgeon’s head over a potential breach of the ministerial code, but, they have ignored such breaches in their own party. Alex Toal identifies eleven ministers in the Johnson government who have breached the code, there may be even more…
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.
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 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.
Jake Berry’s new plan is just Thatcherism 2.0, and won’t help the Northern Research Group keep their seats. Thatcher is still broadly hated in the North – is Berry heading for the same fate?
Hotel quarantine is good in principle, Alex Toal writes, but its implementation in the UK is riddled with holes. The 10-day waiting period is too short, while the ‘red list’ of countries impacted misses some of the major hotspots.
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.
We all saw first-hand the consequences of a poorly-informed debate on Brexit. The Scottish independence debate holds all the same risks, and we have the opportunity to make it a more substantive discussion.
As Alex Toal writes, the people of Yorkshire need economic support more than ever, but their first Chancellor from the region in 45 years ignores their need. Is Rishi Sunak’s stance on Universal Credit a play to the backbenches, that “a vote for Sunak is a vote for fiscal orthodoxy”?
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.
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”.
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.