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?
Interview with: Stewart Golton – Lib Dem West Yorkshire mayoral candidate (“Rage against the machine”)
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.
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.
The pressures for greater local control are growing and cannot be ignored. Devolution may not be a destination, but for some it sure looks a better road to travel on than the current path offered by Westminster.
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.
Sheffield campaigner Jane Thomas reacts to the news that Transport for the North’s budget has been cut by 40 percent, a harsh blow to dreams of levelling up the north. “If the government does not support this through proper funding of local authorities, and through deeper devolution, the levelling-up agenda will never happen.”
Charlie McCarthy writes on the SNP’s opposition to the government’s damaging Brexit deal: “The alignment of international events and incompetence of Westminster leadership is a conjunction of forces that the nationalists in Scotland could only ever have dreamt of”.
The closure of P&O’s Hull to Zeebrugge services marks the start of post-Brexit difficulties for Yorkshire, Lord Newby writes. The move shows just how important it is to ensure regional representation for Yorkshire, as the devolution project stagnates.
Air pollution is deadly. That is a fact we can’t hide from any longer. This week, a coroner ruled that dangerous levels of air pollution “made a material contribution” to the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah in Central London. Before her death of a severe asthma attack in February 2013, Ella endured numerous seizures and […]
Charlie McCarthy looks at the news of Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s arrest. Anderson has been a prominent critic of the government, continuing in Liverpool’s long tradition of being a centre of resistance. McCarthy looks at the complicated dynamics of corruption in the city, and what Anderson’s potential resignation might mean.
Dr Stella Perrott reveals the lack of planning undertaken by both her own county council and by national government to secure food and medicine supplies in January. Having submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests and letters, she found a complete lack of preparation and little concern for the potential disruption.
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.
Charlie McCarthy examines a new housing development in Harrogate. The town has historically been expensive to live in due to its desirability driving up housing costs, and this new development does nothing to help this.
Jane Thomas breaks down the announcement of Tier 3 for much of Yorkshire, and the impending chaos of the UK’s departure from the transition period. Will there be a national lockdown to help ease the congestion at ports on New Year’s Day? We’ll have to wait and see.
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.
The government’s plan for new unitary authorities is causing division in North Yorkshire, where no agreement has yet been reached on how this will look. Various proposals have been submitted, with NYCC and York City Council agreeing on one structure, while the shire councils mostly agree on another.
The prime minister – already facing the twin peaks of the covid pandemic and Brexit – has just given the Scottish Conservatives another mountain to climb next May. It remains to be seen how fit they are with six months to go.
Perhaps it was inevitable: the North of England will apparently soon have its own political party. As the name suggests, members of the Northern Independence Party want nothing short of a country to call their own. This is against a backdrop of majority support for independence in Scotland and the rapid growth of the Yes […]
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 […]
Now that Brexit is all but done and Boris Johnson has the biggest parliamentary majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher, along comes a new schism to occupy northern Tory backbenchers – the North-South divide. On 26 October, Prime Minister Johnson came under considerable pressure from his own side in the form of a letter, […]
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 […]
Over the last two weeks, we have seen nothing short of heroic efforts from northern metro mayors in the fight against an unfair deal for northern citizens as Tier 3 lockdown begins to be imposed across the North. The mayoral roles, which up until now have not provided any significant kick back to central government, […]
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 […]
Hugh Goulbourne is seeking nomination to be the Labour Party’s candidate for the West Yorkshire mayoral election. West Yorkshire cannot wait for Westminster any longer; our mayor must do things differently! As the government dithers and delays further on plans to extend HS2 to Leeds, it is critical that leaders in Yorkshire are not distracted […]
On 1 October, the UK2070 Commission published its latest report, ‘Go Big Go Local; a new deal for levelling up the UK’. We can compare the ambitions of this report with the speech of the prime minister at the virtual Conservative Party conference and whether the government shares to any extent at all the idea […]