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.
Former Conservative MEP John Stevens discusses the ticking clock overshadowing the Brexit deal process. Stevens looks at Ireland, the Scottish parliamentary elections, and the view from Europe as the deadline approaches. He concludes that above all, time is running out for pro-Europeans to make the case for rejoining the bloc.
The next four years will be dominated by the damaging results of Brexit. As the harm becomes clear, the public will be looking for an alternative. Labour needs to be in a position to offer it – not hampered by voting for a deal that it knows already is bad for Britain.
David Goff reviews Michael Ashcroft’s new book on the chancellor, Rishi Sunak. In the review, David criticises Ashcroft for going easy on the chancellor, and not mentioning any of the potential scandals of his career.
The EU-UK trade talks are at a tipping point. A breakthrough or a breakdown is imminent. If talks do breakdown the “level playing field” will be the stumbling block
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.
Marcus Cain examines the movement for electoral reform throughout the Labour party. With groups like Make Votes Matter and Unlock Democracy pushing for for a more representative system, momentum may be changing within the party.
Clarissa Leung catches up with the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. “It’s not the end [of the fight for democracy] because most people are still in full support of full democracy in Hong Kong”
Munira Mirza, who denies the existence of institutional racism, was picked as the government once again sidelines issues of race in the country. As Dawn-Maria France argues, “it seems unlikely that Munira Mirza’s commission, reporting to Johnson and overseen by Badenoch, will do more than kick the can down the road.”
By refusing to concede, Donald Trump is playing dangerous games with the future of the United States
Jack Walker looks at the dangerous precedent Donald Trump is setting by refusing to concede the election result to Joe Biden … and what the reasons might be for his actions.
Chancellor Rushi Sunak delivers his 2021 spending plan against a backdrop of unprecedented risks financial and, for some, existential. These are detailed in what looks like an updated and more apocalyptic version of Operation Yellowhammer about to become reality.
Politics in the UK is fossilised in an earlier time. With a setting which encourages confrontation and is hostile to women. Natalie Bennett writes: “politics needs to catch up with the modern world, and speak to all of our citizens.”
The ‘Covid Recovery Group’ is nothing to do with helping the country, and is pursuing a reckless strategy. Helen Davidson examines what the group wants, and how their end-game may be nothing to do with the controlling the virus, but instead controlling Boris Johnson
New Irish Consulate General planned to open in the North of England next year, to strengthen the UK-Irish relationship. The consulate, based in Manchester, is planned to open in early 2021.
During the covid crisis, the government has spent millions of pounds of taxpayer on firms owned by their associates, often without experience of providing what they had been offering, and often without a competitive tender process. Jane Thomas presents a catalogue of corruption.
With 38 days to go before the greatest instantaneous shock to our overseas trade in history, there is apparently a total void at the highest levels of government where policy direction normally starts, while we await the mercurial mind of Johnson to be made up. Psychopaths tend to lie, be socially irresponsible, disregard or violate the rights of others, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, have difficulty showing remorse or empathy, manipulate people and have problems with the law. Does this seem familiar?
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.
In the 26 years since publication of Nolan’s Seven Principles of Public Life, standards have progressively fallen – with a near-vertical plunge since Johnson became prime minister. Johnson, Cummings, Gove and the rest of the government fail the test on each of the seven principles: integrity, objectivity, accountability, honesty, openness, selflessness and leadership.
Geoff Martin was the inaugural head of the European Commission in the North of Ireland and has advised the Commonwealth on strategic relationships worldwide. Here he looks at what Brexit will mean for the island of Ireland, and the potential collective future for Celtic nations post-Brexit.
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.
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.
Andy Brown analyses the PM’s new climate plan, which sounds good, but needs action to back it up. Sadly this action has so far been missing. There is a big difference between ambitions and reality. It remains very easy to criticise.
Former MEP Michael Hindley looks at Biden’s burgeoning relationships with European leaders and the race to find the new ‘special relationship’ across the Atlantic. International relations abhor a vacuum and Brexit has created one for others to step into.
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.
Why Boris Johnson’s choices are limited to securing a deal at any price and an extension to the transition period. The next few days will be crucial in setting the terms of Britain’s future relationship with the EU but circumstances mean the prime minister’s choices are strictly limited. A deal at any price and an extension to the transition period is the only option.
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?
War, climate change, and persecution have led to a refugee crisis of about 80 million forcibly displaced people across the globe. Over the decade it has become increasingly difficult to respond compassionately and effectively, as the numbers have grown and the language used by the government and the media against refugees has hardened. Headlines such […]