Welsh Independence: the sleeping dragon in Sturgeon’s shadow?

By Joshua Bell Welsh Independence. Not a misspelling, nor an accidental replacement of the word ‘Scottish’, and no longer a pipe dream for Welsh-nationalists. It is a movement building significant, yet quiet momentum. As the 2020’s begin, political analysts are consumed by Boris’ mandate, Brexit delivery and the Scottish National Party’s Independence argument. This decade…

When is a deal not a deal? When it’s a NI Assembly deal.

By Chris Midgley Last night Táiniste (taw-nish-ta) Simon Coveney and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith announced “New Decade, New Approach” a 62-page draft agreement designed to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland. It has taken three years and countless hours of negotiations to get here and yet, still, we are nowhere. As…

Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure!

The Weekly Newgate Engage Planning Blog By Drew AspinwallAt the 1997 General Election, Tony Blair famously promised that a Labour Government’s three main priorities would be ‘Education, Education, Education’. Flash forward 22 years, and today’s politicians could take a rhetorical leaf out of Blair’s book when it comes to the solution for housebuilding, ‘Infrastructure, infrastructure,…

A tale of two conferences

By Simon Gentry I had the dubious privilege of attending the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, in the heart of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ over the last few days.  Say what you like, but party conferences are fascinating: they provide a window into the soul of a party and have, over the years, been a very…

Five observations from Labour Conference 2019

Five observations from Labour Conference 2019 by Gareth Jones. Corbyn weathers a difficult conference and remains in control: As the Labour Party gathered in Brighton earlier this week, Jeremy Corbyn faced a number of internal challenges, with negative headlines about Party disunity and significant pressure on him to change his stance on Brexit. The conference…

The election will present the country with two very different futures

By Simon Gentry With the Conservative government now a minority administration, an election in the next few months must be a certainty. With the Tories approximately 10% ahead in the polls, there seem to be two broad possible outcomes when that election comes: The first is that Johnson’s Conservatives run a ‘People versus Parliament’ campaign…

Is further devolution the only route left for Northern Rail?

By George Robinson The current Northern Rail franchise has had a troubled existence. Shortly after it started, it got hammered by industrial relations issues. It was then particularly affected by the timetable travails of May 2018, along with GTR. Things aren’t getting any easier. Several weeks ago, Northern’s operating group, Arriva, was put up for…

Labour’s energy nationalisation: A plan to erase the legacy of Thatcherism

By Gareth Jones The Labour Party has today officially launched its plans to nationalise the UK’s energy networks, in a major speech delivered by Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey. This accompanies the publication of an official policy document, entitled Bringing Energy Home – a detailed proposal and rationale for bringing the UK’s…

Local elections 2019: the view from the cutting floor

By Douglas Johnson Last week’s local elections in England saw the Liberal Democrats make significant gains at the expense of the Conservatives and Labour. It’s tempting to focus on the national significance on the results, particularly with European elections now two weeks away. But for those working in the local government areas affected by the…