Section: East Midlands

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Keeping up with Lee Anderson

Anna Girolami
Lee Anderson

Back in November last year, Central Bylines posted a profile of Lee Anderson which concluded that Ashfield, his constituency, deserved better than the Labour-turned-Tory-turned-antiwoke-warrior as an MP. Seven months later, we thought we’d see how he’s getting on. Is Ashfield getting a better service from its MP these days? If what you want from your […]

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.”

Melton Mowbray anti-racist, feebly

Michael Brooker
Racism

In 2020, Melton Borough Council came late to the debate of Black Lives Matter. Their hand was eventually forced by the apparently naïve postings of one of their councillors. Simon Lumley. In the midst of the George Floyd protests, Lumley had taken to twitter to post the hashtag, ‘white lives matter’.

We don’t have to build on the green belt

Ryan Priest
Brown field site - no need to build on the green belt

Before the recent West Midlands elections, Mayor Andy Street did his campaigning tour boldly claiming that the green belt was under threat, and that only a vote for the Conservatives could save it. To the passive political spectator, it was a sure vote winner, but it didn’t take much digging to uncover the paradox in the Mayor’s claims. … If there is a threat to our green belt, it is clear where that threat comes from.

Midlands farming sold out: ‘it’s crass and it’s wrong’

Simon Ferrigno

Stanley has farmed 700 acres of land with his parents for the past 12 years in the region. The farm is a mixed arable and beef and mainly tenanted farm on which the family have native longhorn cattle, a breed that was classed as rare until recently. Stanley clearly loves his cattle, and talks with passion about the many dozens of native sheep and cattle breeds that hover near extinction. He fears a Free trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia, said to offer Australia zero tariffs and quotas, will tip these breeds over the edge alongside most of the people who rear them.

The Midlands After Brexit

Cliff Mitchell

Trade figures recently released for the first quarter of 2021 (1Q2021) provide worrying clues as to the impact of both COVID-19 and Brexit on the Midlands economy. One thing that is clear is that long-term planning has never been harder – previous economic trends have been blown out of the water by the pandemic lockdowns, the uncertainty of the transition period, and the confusion of post-Brexit trading.

The citizens who stayed

Alice Knight

I am lucky enough here in Derbyshire to have my post delivered by someone who came to England from Poland in 2005. He is courteous, friendly and helpful. I have often wondered what his impressions are of life in the UK, especially how he had been impacted by the Brexit experience.

Just not cricket

Anna Girolami

Today is 4th May, we are deep into spring. This year’s county cricket season is three weeks’ old and Derbyshire is already languishing at the bottom of their group. Despite Covid-19, despite the Big Bash League, despite the razzamatazz of the Indian Premier League*, cricket remains the quintessential game of the English summer. The gentle […]

Selling a Picasso for peanuts – Allestree Park golf course

Andrew Picken

Allestree Park golf course closed on January 1st 2021. As Derby slides listlessly towards the local elections on Thursday, questions are being raised over decisions taken by the city council about the course. It’s a site that is special to many people in the city, golfers or not, and especially so during Covid-19 when outdoor […]

Liberation through libation: why pubs underpin radicalism

Matt Turpin

Beeston, a suburb just outside Nottingham, was once famed for having a greater concentration of pubs than any other town in the UK. While this is a contentious claim, the town still has more than its fair share of places to meet and drink. A recent book from the renowned poet John Lucas about a […]

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 […]

Adapting to life as a business in a third country: Aztec Oils

Simon Ferrigno

The post-Brexit transition period continues to hurt businesses across our region, with many losing orders and/or moving operations elsewhere to reduce the friction, costing our region future jobs and growth. In this new interview, we talk to Mark Lord of Aztec Oils, a specialist lubricant oil company based in Bolsover, Derbyshire, founded in 1995. It […]

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. […]

The democracy myth

Cliff Mitchell

Staffordshire in the West Midlands has a population of over 1.1 million,  contains extremes of wealth, inner-city poverty and everything in between and is spread over historical market towns, rolling farmland, and post-industrial cities. Divided into twelve parliamentary constituencies, in the 2019 general election 40% of the Staffordshire electorate voted Conservative and all twelve constituencies […]

Bully at the door

Matt Turpin

The story of Carl Husted, Darren Henry MP’s constituency manager and harasser. “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.” I pull up the slide on the screen, and with this quote (much misattributed to George Orwell) conclude my presentation. A dozen teenagers, returning to the classroom for […]

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 […]

Is Northamptonshire County Council the worst run council in recent history?

Stewart Tolley

Northamptonshire is not somewhere you would expect to make world wide news. Yet in 2018 the New York Times (more used to doing an exposé  on Donald Trump’s finances than reporting on English local government) reported the headline ‘As Austerity Helps Bankrupt an English County, Even Conservatives Mutiny’. The legendary incompetence of the Conservative run […]

Nottingham’s speakers’ corner by the Brian Clough statue

David Childs

Since 2008, Brian Clough’s statue has been a popular spot for demonstrators and tourists. It stands proudly in Nottingham’s city centre just off the Old Market Square. It became the first Speakers’ Corner in the UK after an Act of Parliament in 1872 paved the way for the original in London’s Hyde Park. The site […]

Hard man Bridgen picks water fight

Martin Brooks

Andrew Bridgen MP has suggested to David Frost, the new minister for negotiating the post-Brexit Trade and Co-operation Agreement with the EU, that we retaliate against the French rejection of British shellfish exports by banning the import of Perrier water from France. He is either being frivolous with ministerial time or laughably serious. Oh Andrew […]