Conservative ideology is costing us all

The Conservatives’ ideological commitment to “public sector bad; private sector good” is costing us all. It is what drives their privatisation and outsourcing instincts.When it is combined with ‘light touch’ regulation and contract management – with inadequate resources being committed to tender assessment and contract monitoring – we end up with poor value-for-money, service specificationsContinue reading “Conservative ideology is costing us all”

The Right to Privacy and the Digital Revolution

Are you interested in the collection and analysis of ‘big data’? Are you concerned about the impact the collection of data could have on protecting human rights? Are you affronted and seriously worried about the amount of data that the government (or ‘the state’) has about you? Or, are you more like me, much moreContinue reading “The Right to Privacy and the Digital Revolution”

Learning for the future

I have been a long-time supporter of devolution, which is why I’ve supported the development of the Sheffield City Region (SCR), because the current economy and the future economic challenges for South Yorkshire are quite different from those facing North Yorkshire or the East Yorkshire coast, let alone Yorkshire or England as a whole.In 2015,Continue reading “Learning for the future”

Not bothered, don’t care, we’ll blame you anyway

“Not bothered, don’t care, we’ll blame you anyway…” was the message that the government sent to councils, of all political controls and none, when it cancelled the Local Government Finance Settlement announcement last week and deferred it to a date yet to be announced.Only a few weeks ago, I wrote that, as the Chancellor of theContinue reading “Not bothered, don’t care, we’ll blame you anyway”

It’s a knotty problem

As the national and parliamentary debate about Brexit continues, I often take wry amusement from the contributions of some arch-Brexiteers about the way in which we need to return to “our British way of life”. I heard one such contributor on the radio recently speak with proud anticipation of his ‘traditional British Christmas dinner’, apparentlyContinue reading “It’s a knotty problem”

Take a deep breath – no yet!

Most people under the age of 50 will have no memory of the choking smogs from which Sheffield – and most other cities – suffered in to the 1960s.Concerns about Sheffield’s air quality go back over 400 years. It was a combination of industrial pollution, from the city’s heavy industrial production, and domestic pollution fromContinue reading “Take a deep breath – no yet!”

Land value – time for reform

Land value – time for reformIn September, I wrote1 about the investigation by and the report from the all-party Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which I chair, in to Land Values.2 3I am pleased to say that a wide range of organisations and individuals, across the political and professional spectrum, have also now reflected on the issuesContinue reading “Land value – time for reform”

Christopher Grayling – the exception that proves the rule.

Generally, I don’t believe in personalising differences of opinion. I prefer to stick to dealing with the government’s policies and, where appropriate, being critical of them rather than the minister who is promoting them.But, I have to tell you that I am prepared to make an exception in the case of the government’s Transport Minister,Continue reading “Christopher Grayling – the exception that proves the rule.”