Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Regional Disparity”

North East England is not Metropolitan

The mini devolution deal for North East (of England) is apparently in danger of running out of time.

In a letter sent to the councils which make up the North East Combined Authority, and which has been seen by the BBC, Mr Javid said: “I reaffirm the government’s commitment to implementing the North East devolution deal in full.

“[However] without an elected mayor the deal cannot progress.

“There is a significant risk now that we will run out of time to implement the deal unless you publish your governance review and scheme, and move forward with the consultation immediately.”
BBC News Website, 26 August 2016 | North East devolution delay ‘risks £900m investment’

Why does an area that includes two conurbations (Newcastle-Gateshead-Tyneside and Sunderland-Washington) and a huge rural area (Northumberland and Durham) need an elected mayor to manage transport, skills and training? The LEPs (remember them?) where set up by the Conservatives to address issues that included skills and training. Read more…

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Massive boost to rail services brings Northern Powerhouse to life

Duh, have I missed something?

To sustain “our” capital city, London gets:

  1. HS1 (to link to the continent – onward links North were abandoned years ago)
  2. HS2 (to bring commuters in from the South Midlands)
  3. Crossrail 1 (to link East West)
  4. Crossrail 2 (to link North South)
  5. Various improvements/extensions to London Underground
  6. Mega-laneing of the M25
  7. Heathrow 3 (or some equivalent once Dave has got his inconveniently anti-Heathrow mayor installed in City Hall)

In the North we are to believe that the Northern Poorhouse will be “brought to life” by a “massive boost to rail services”. This must mean new tracks, high-speed lines (HS62/HS3?) “connecting the Great Cities of the North”, new high-speed trains, better stations,  …

Er, No. This Government Website Headline is more like a Tory Central Office Propaganda headline. Read more…

Whatever it costs (2)

Our dear Prime Minister was deeply concerned about the flooding in the Thames Valley around Oxfordshire (where his constituency is), Buckinghamshire and Berkshire (where Theresa May’s constituency is).

Money is no object in this relief effort. Whatever money is needed we will spend it.
BBC News Website 11 February 2014: UK floods: PM says money ‘no object’ in relief effort

Nice to know (then); what about now? Read more…

Rail Fares Freeze – whose promise?

When Labour promised an energy price freeze they were condemned for

  • interfering in the market
  • having a freezing effect on necessary investment
  • effectively preventing price drops

And who was condemning them?

Now we have an election promise to freeze rail fares? Whose promise?

Read more…

Is the country full?

Julian Ware-Lane’s blog often has some interesting data, sometimes enlightening, other times rather meaningless. The latest thought-provoking post questions whether the country is “full up”.

On the basis of the data he presents, he says no. But the data does not address what is meant by a country being “full up” in today’s global world. Read more…

Drumbeats from North of the Border

This week (27 November 2014) has seen the publication of the Smith Commission‘s proposals – seen by many as the first stage in delivering the three Musketeer’s Vow to the Scottish People.

Whether it proves to be an effective response to the apparent desire of the Scottish people for more autonomy is yet to be seen.

It does however set a critical and crucial drumbeat to which all in the UK must respond. Read more…

Second Class High Speed Rail

There seems to be a bit of momentum behind HS3 – or High Speed Rail along the M62 corridor.

Only a bit mind – part of the route and not very “high-speed” and only possibly planned.

Read more…

The English Paradox

Nations are rarely static; they tend to either form structures to hold them together or they split apart.

This puts England (as the core of the hollowed out British Empire) in a decidedly odd position. Read more…

Brass Plaques

Salmond says he is not worried about Banks and Financial institutions threatening to leave Scotland when it votes for independence.

Quick look – What are banks saying now?

  • Lloyds – It said it could shift its legal home to to the headquarters it has in London. However, Lloyds said this was just a legal procedure and “there would be no immediate changes or issues”.
  • Clydesdale – The financial institution, which is part of National Australia Bank, said its contingency plans for a “Yes” vote included re-registering as an English company.
  • RBS – It confirmed it will relocate its registered headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence next week.
  • Tesco – Its contingency plans include the creation of a “new registered company, domiciled in England”

BBC News Website 11 September 2014 : Scottish independence: RBS confirms London HQ move if Scotland votes ‘Yes’

Salmond has said:

“We know the moves both from Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland will have no impact on operations or jobs. They are about brass plaques.
ibid

If he is happy for Scotland to become a “branch economy”, he needs to look at the experience of the North East of England. Read more…

Seeing the light?

I have to admit to a degree of surprise. Who might have said this?

… the cities in the North of England were individually strong but were “collectively not strong enough

He said that in the past few decades giant global cities, such as London, had emerged – and that the string of northern cities, with better transport links and careful planning, could take them on and be “greater than the sum of their parts”.  …

it was not “healthy for our economy, not good for our country” if “the powerhouse of London dominates more and more”. …

“We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west – to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

“I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds.”
BBC News Website 23 June 2014 : High-speed rail link needed to boost north – xxxxxxx

A Clue? … Well, it’s a Tory. A very senior Tory – in office

More? … It’s a Tory who is tight with our money and believes in Austerity Read more…

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