Section: Politics

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Melton Mowbray: bypass row leaves locals behind

Helen Louise Cliff
Melton Mowbray Bypass

When councils fall out with one another in such an acrimonious way to hit the headlines one would expect them to be at different ends of the political spectrum. Not so when it comes to Melton Borough (MBC) and Leicestershire County (LCC) Councils, both Tory run, who have got themselves into a particularly bitter public […]

We need to talk about Serco

Anna Girolami
Serco

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.

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 […]

How Britain Lost Its Weigh

Bryan Manley-Green

Even though the UK has made some strides towards metrication, imperial measurements are still part of everyday life for the nation. Of course, there’s really nothing wrong with still using imperial measurements as part of everyday speech.

Updating the honours system

Bryan Manley-Green
Honours

‘The British honours system is a venerable way of honouring citizens for good work in society. It’s hard to disagree with the nation saying thank you in such a public way to someone who has made a positive difference and has been proven to be a great role model.

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.”

Breaking news or broken news?

Bryan Manley-Green
Broken News

As the leading television provider in the UK, Freeview offers a very random selection of news channels on its main electronic programme guide (EPG). The current rather paltry offering consists of BBC News, Murdoch’s Sky News, Putin’s Russia Today, and Qatari-based Al Jazeera. Seemingly no room for France 24, Germany’s DW, or Euronews.

Euro 2021 – it’s war (minus the shooting)

Richard Hall

Sport can be about harmless fun and exercise but argues it’s only when it gets competitive that it brings out the worst in people. He concludes “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.

How a proud American party dies

Scott Weigle

The Republican party, formed at the dawn of the Civil War and championing union, fractures while promoting conspiracies and lies. A party born in the growing urban centers of the North fades toward irrelevance in dwindling rural enclaves. A party first led by ‘The Great Emancipator’ elects one of the greatest fools to ever hold elective office.

Sunlit uplands? Not quite

J.E.S. Bradshaw

Sheep farming has had a higher profile in the last two years than for decades. Brexit negotiations and HMG’s increasingly frantic attempts to justify its ditching of 40 year-old, highly beneficial trade agreements have brought it to the front. Nothing has highlighted sheep farming more than the public current discussion of the proposed Australia deal. These are a few personal thoughts, from a very small-scale lowland lamb producer in the Midlands.

Confronting or erasing history?

Clark Renney
History

Striking a balance between confronting and erasing history isn’t easy – we must understand, but resist the urge to rewrite. Clark Renney looks at how this is being approach in the UK and USA.

Review: James O’Brien, How not to be wrong

Jayson Winters

Many will know of James O’Brien from his national 10am to 1pm weekday radio show on LBC. To borrow one of his phrases, “depending on which football shirt you are wearing” you’ll probably either think of him as a champion of progressive politics or a patronising woke lefty.  But look back to when LBC was […]

Raising your voice

Liz Crosbie and Lyn Dade

RebootGB continue to work on their pledges following the last round of council mayoral Scottish, Welsh and one national by election to try and reshape the British political landscape, which seems not only stuck but regressive, and where votes too often don’t count. Liz Crosbie and Lyn Dade of RebootGB explain their aim to get […]

Safety first

Anna Girolami

The government’s upcoming Online Safety Bill has been in the pipeline since 2019 but the murder of Southend MP, Sir David Amess has put it back in the spotlight. Central Bylines takes a look at the bill in more detail. There are many in government who take the issue seriously. Tory MP and erstwhile Chair […]

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.

Central Bylines ‘rona round up

Anna Girolami

Today sees the launch of step three of the government’s roadmap to get us out of lockdown. Today, I can go to a sauna (yeah..no), have a meal inside a pub (blessèd relief, it was snowing here last week) or stay overnight with my in-laws (I’m more likely to go for that sauna, to be honest). It all sounds wonderful. Our region has been in one sort of lockdown or another almost continually since November last year, bar a brief and lethal giddy spell over Christmas. It’s been hard but it’s worked – by the end of April, new cases, hospital numbers and deaths were all down, down, down.

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.