Be careful what you wish for

The people have spoken. Well, more precisely, less than four out of ten UK electors voted in the elections for the European Parliament last Thursday. It’s difficult to be precise, but it appears that about half of those who came out to vote supported Brexit…and the other half supported Remain. Proportionately, it was more or […]

Knotty issues

In the mid-nineteenth century, some horticulturalists thought that Fallopia Japonica, a fast-growing plant with bamboo-like stems, would be an excellent ornamental plant in parks and large gardens. Since then, millions of households have discovered that Japanese Knotweed (JK) is one of the most problematic plant species in the UK. It has been estimated that 1-2% of all residential […]

Tracking back

Today, it has been revealed that rail passenger time lost to delays and cancellations last year was the worst since records began. Passengers, on about 80 trains a day, experienced significant delays. Eight million passengers were held up for a minimum of 29 minutes. But, in some ways, they were the lucky ones. What about […]

Future prosperity

Over more than three decades, our area has received many millions of pounds (or euros!) to help our us to adjust to the major structural changes in our local economy, especially in relation to the decline in the coal industry and the changes in the global economy and in technology which so impacted our steel […]

Universally discredited

No-one has ever questioned the principle behind proposals for Universal Credit, which would bring many income support measures together for an individual or a family. Clearly such a scheme, successfully implemented, would bring significant benefits (sic) to both recipient and taxpayer. However, successful implementation of the government’s current proposals is simply impossible for a number […]

It’s a High Street low

Take a walk down nearly any High Street in any small or large, inland or seaside, village, town and city in the country and you know there is an economic challenge. Of course, there are a small number of places which seem to have escaped. But, at the other end of the scale, there are […]

What have the Tories got against wildlife?

Two weeks ago, the Conservative government announced that it was ‘rolling out’ its badger cull to parts of Cornwall, Herefordshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset. It isn’t surprising that the government didn’t want to disclose the facts and figures whilst Parliament was sitting. Cowardly Conservative Ministers waited until the Parliamentary recess before announcing its plans […]

Saving the elephants and rhinos

The Great Elephant Census published this month that 30% of Africa’s elephants have been wiped out between 2007 and 2014. That’s 144,000 elephants killed in 7 years. At the current rate of decline of 8% per year, African elephants are on the path to extinction.  Every year some 30,000 elephants and 1,100 rhinos are brutally […]

Time to go forward, not backward

When George Osborne announced that he intended to pursue some devolution initiatives – headlined by the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ branding – to support economic regeneration outside London and the south-east, I gave the proposals by broad backing. I have been a consistent supporter of devolution. The Labour government got its fingers burned in a referendum on […]