You can’t cut 49% from council support and expect everything to keep humming | Cllr Duncan Enright

You can’t cut 49% from council support and expect everything to keep humming. It wasn’t as though when Cameron and Clegg rode their big blue and yellow bulldozers into power that councillors were saying “Hi guys, we have loads of slack, so plough down local services, they don’t matter and we can take it.” All…

Taking back control in Plymouth | Pamela Buchan

The local elections are fast approaching across the UK and Plymouth City Council is one of two key targets for Labour outside of London. Only two seats are required to take control back from the Conservatives in this historic coastal city. Since its formation as a unitary authority in 1998, control has swung between Labour…

It’s a long way from Islington North | Tobias Phibbs

Helen Goodman MP’s rural constituency is the geographically largest that Labour holds. To walk around Bishop Auckland’s 356 square miles, taking in the hill farms in the north Pennines to the west and the former mining towns to the east, would take around a week. It is a long way from Islington North. Jeremy Corbyn’s…

That’s Tory territory, isn’t it? | Sandy Martin MP

When I challenged the Secretary of State to provide more resources for the Police in Suffolk in September, Sarah Newton, the junior minister, clearly mis-heard “Southwark” for “Suffolk” and replied that it was all the fault of Sadiq Khan. Leaving aside the blatant buck-passing that was going on, it is obvious that the Minister was…

Has Gove stolen Labour’s clothes? | Martyn Sloman

On 4th January Michael Gove made an important speech: as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs he outlined his vision for British farming after Brexit.  His speech received precious little publicity.  There has been no response to date from Labour.  There is danger here: Gove is an able politician and may well…

Sustainable Villages: Rural Housing for the Future

Having lived for much of my life in the Forest of Dean, a glorious forest and a group of small communities between the Severn and the Wye, I’m all too aware of the problems, and in some cases the opportunities, that present themselves on the issue of rural housing. As in most rural areas, we…

Rural voters and the price of milk

In recent years my campaigning activity has been limited, but having been made redundant from local government I was able at last to play an active role at the general election this year. I hit the streets with gusto wearing my ex-council demographer hat to find out the lie of the land. Now, being a…