Author: Anna Girolami

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Currie Purdah

Anna Girolami

Purdah – a term previously used to describe the period leading up to an election, commencing on the date the Notice of Election is published and ending at the close of the poll on election day. Was ever anyone more aptly-named than Edwina Currie (yes, yes. I know she calls herself Currie Jones these days […]

Lamport Hall lambasted over lack of payment

Anna Girolami

Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire is a pretty typical, privately run stately home. It’s got painted ceilings and Neapolitan cabinets. It’s got extensive gardens and a classical frontage. It’s even got a baronet credited with introducing the garden gnome into Britain. What’s not to love? What it also seems to have is huge amounts of chutzpah. […]

We need to talk about Serco

Anna Girolami

In 2019 Serco was found to have “engaged in quite deliberate fraud against the Ministry of Justice.” It had already repaid £68.5 million to the government in overcharges and was subsequently fined £19.2 million for fraud and false accounting over its electronic tagging service. It also had to pay the Serious Fraud Office’s costs of £3.7 million. It still has the contract.

Latest news: East Midland MP banned from China

Anna Girolami

Today, the Chinese government has announced sanctions against a number of UK individuals and organisations – including MP for Harbrough, Neil O’Brien who leads the China Research Group and advises the Prime Minister on policy. These sanctions are a tit-for-tat response to similar sanctions brought against a number of Chinese officials four days ago by […]

Whisper who dares

Anna Girolami

We will have no recourse when the police silence us. No-one will have to resign or explain.


11 days ago, Sarah Everard disappeared in Clapham at about 9.30 pm. She was walking home from a friend’s house.

There’s something about Nadine

Anna Girolami

In this week’s furore over NHS pay, Nadine Dorries is front and centre again. Whenever the government needs someone to loudly defend the indefensible (in that tricky two day gap between announcement and U-turn), they invariably send Nadine over the top.

‘None are safe until all are safe’

Anna Girolami

Building healthcare resilience against future pandemics Yesterday, shadow health secretary and Labour MP for Leicester South, Jonathan Ashworth gave the keynote address at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) webinar on building healthcare resilience. Central Bylines was on hand to take notes and put together this summary. Unprecedented not unpredictedThe Covid-19 pandemic may be […]

Latest news: Derby asylum seekers in squalid Serco accommodation

Anna Girolami

In Derby, a property that houses asylum seekers and run by Serco – yes, that Serco – is in such appalling condition that the city council is arranging an urgent inspection. According to the Guardian, photos show missing ceilings, an unusable shower full of rubble and with cracked or missing tiles, rusted pipes and walls […]

Block Party

Anna Girolami

In my East Midlands, progressively-inclined corner of the internet, I come across daily complaints by members of the public that their Tory MP has blocked them on social media.

Æthelflæd – our lady, from Lincoln to Ledbury

Anna Girolami

Some of you may already know of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians. More, I suspect, will not. She wasn’t somebody we learnt about at school, unlike Boudicca or Joan of Arc. I confess that I know of her mainly through ‘The Last Kingdom’ –  the BBC/Netflix adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s novels. But Æthelflæd should be […]

The NRG starts to show its hand

Anna Girolami

Last autumn, Jake Berry (MP for Rossendale and Darwen, good mate of East Midlands’ very own Robert Jenrick) and fifty other Conservative MPs sent a letter to Boris Johnson. The NRG was born.

JD Sports: “Brexit is considerably worse than expected.”

Anna Girolami

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill did not mince his words when he spoke to Radio 4’s World at One on Tuesday. The company is reeling from the effects of increased costs and administration. Cowgill believes that none of this was adequately explained to businesses prior to our departure seven weeks ago.

Surescreen miss the gravy train

Anna Girolami

SureScreen offered the tests to the government nearly a year ago but they were ignored. Addressing the government’s response to their approach, David Campbell, one of the directors, said, “We’ve done our best to engage with the government. There’s been tentative interest but unfortunately we haven’t had any good dialogue.”

Latest news: Covid-19 cases rising again in the East Midlands

Anna Girolami

Levels in Rutland have doubled over the past week whilst Corby currently has the highest number of cases of any area in England. Of the 15 areas in England where cases are currently rising, 7 of them are in our region – Corby, Kettering, Boston, Rutland, East Lindsey, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.

Latest news: Dangerous Desmond & workers rights.

Anna Girolami

Dangerous Desmond Desmond Swayne, the MP for New Forest West and blackface enthusiast, is receiving a certain amount of opprobrium this morning. To put it another way, he’s getting a right pasting. An incendiary report from Sky News reveals that back in November, Sir Desmond told an anti-vaxxer group that Covid-19 figures about NHS capacity […]

Rishi Sunak cancels support for the East Midlands

Anna Girolami

Today, there will be an opposition day debate on this issue in the House of Commons, followed by a vote. Perhaps mindful of the damaging and on-going fallout when most Tory MPs voted against the motion on free school meals, the government is urging them to abstain today.

Free school meals

Anna Girolami

The free school meals saga chunters unedifyingly on. Yesterday, social media was full of debate about what exactly was being provided in the £30 food parcels that an eligible child receives once every two weeks. High profile celebrity activists such as Marcus Rashford and Jack Monroe have yet again been asking the awkward questions that never seem to occur to th

Yesterday in America

Anna Girolami

Yesterday saw one of the worst breaches of security in the history of the United States of America (US). A mob of supporters of the out-going US president, Donald Trump, stormed Capitol Hill. Within the US parliament building itself, the results of last November’s election were being certified.