Author: Scott Hunter

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The day the Gazette ran out of news…

Scott Hunter

Not much in the news this week, apart from the ongoing threat of further covid restrictions, investigations into Christmas parties last year in Downing Street, ongoing investigations into the financing of the renovations for Johnson’s Downing Street apartments, and continuing fallout over the government’s abandoning of commitments to improvements in rail infrastructure across the North […]

Houchen waves goodbye to PD Ports

Scott Hunter

PD Ports is no longer up for sale. The Financial Times is reporting this afternoon that Brookfield Asset Management Inc has taken the company, whose core business is at Teesport, off the market. The paper also reports this as a blow to Ben Houchen’s ambitions. Which it is. Little information about the dispute between Brookfield […]

Who runs Teesworks? Houchen’s blunder

Scott Hunter

It’s 28 July 2020, and Ben Houchen is making a presentation at a Tees Valley Business Club event. The South Tees Development Corporation (the Corporation), the first of its kind outside of London and responsible for 4,500 acres of ex-industrial development land, is being rebranded as Teesworks, he tells his audience. He also uses the […]

Meet your MP: Dehenna Davison (Conservative), Bishop Auckland

Scott Hunter

Much has been written over the past few days about MPs income, in particular issues around how certain MPs obtain income from sources other than their MP’s salary. Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison (Con), is one of those whose secondary sources of income are of interest, but examination of her declaration of interests also raises […]

Meet your MP: Peter Gibson (Conservative), Darlington

Scott Hunter

Some background on Peter Gibson Peter Gibson was first elected to parliament in 2019.  He is a solicitor, and continues to practise on a part-time basis for Darlington-based firm Clarke Willis LLP.  (This is entirely proper. He has earned around £800 in two years from this, and it is a practice commonly followed by lawyers […]

The agonies of Steve Turner, Cleveland PCC

Scott Hunter

Times are hard for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Steve Turner.  No sooner had he batted away complaints that he was unfit for office on account his receiving a police caution for theft whilst a manager for Safeway in the 1990s, than he was confronted with further historical allegations of sexual assault. That such a […]

Michael Gove’s extraordinary tale of Teesside at the Tory Party Conference

Scott Hunter

Are those beer goggles you’re wearing, Mr Gove? Michael Gove visited the site of the South Tees Development Corporation in late September. When he spoke of that experience at the to the party faithful on Monday, many may have been enthralled by what he had to say. Many on Teesside, meanwhile, were left absolutely speechless.  […]

Tees Valley: Houchen helps those that help themselves

Scott Hunter

The shortage of HGV drivers continues to dominate the headlines, with Boris Johnson telling the world that the whole point of Brexit was to do away with the low-wage/high-immigration economy that we are living with and instead to train British workers to do higher skilled jobs, thus creating a high-wage/low-immigration economy. Time to look at […]

Is Ben Houchen getting cold feet about Teesside Airport?

Scott Hunter

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the airline industry. So, the news that the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) recently provided Teesside Airport with a £10 million bailout came as no surprise. Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, rightly pointed out at the time that this type of measure had been necessary for regional airports […]

Opinion

Should Middlesbrough be granted city status?

Scott Hunter

Middlesbrough mayor, Andy Preston, has been asking for suggestions why Middlesbrough should be granted city status. The informal opinion poll he commissioned in the town, predictably came back with the result that people are overwhelmingly in favour. After some reflection, I decided to contribute my opinion, but in so doing I think there is a […]

The bigger the lie: Houchen’s alternative facts about the Dorman Long Tower

Scott Hunter

The Dorman Long Tower was demolished on Sunday 19 September. The engineers’ report that occasioned its demise was published on Monday. Some will be unsurprised to learn that Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen’s, description of its contents bears little resemblance to reality. He has taken a few risks in the process. Will they pay off […]

Welcome to developers’ world with Houchen and Dorries

Scott Hunter

One day into the job as Culture Secretary and Nadine Dorries has aleady signed the death warrant of the Dorman Long Tower, symbol of Teesside’s industrial past, unique example of brutalist architecture, and source of copious amounts of scrap metal for those authorised to take it away. Only last week, Historic England, assigned it grade […]

Opinion

Has Roy Chubby Brown become a champion of free speech?

Scott Hunter

Things were looking fairly encouraging for entertainer, Roy Chubby Brown, last week. After his show at Sheffield City Hall was cancelled by the City Council over concerns that his humour did not coincide with their values, a petition was set up to protest the ban. By the time it was reported in Gazette, on 7 […]

…and the walls came tumbling down…

Scott Hunter

Have some sympathy for Jacob Young , MP for Redcar. As  the news comes out that permission has been sought to demolish the Dorman Long Tower, he has been made a complete fool of by Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen. Young it is who is so enamoured of the tower that he has a picture […]

Opinion

Is Houchen heading for Westminster?

Scott Hunter

The minds of many Twitter followers yesterday were exercised by an article in  Prospect Magazine profiling Ben Houchen, which they were alerted to by the Politico Morning Briefing. Another article, to which that Briefing also provided a link, seems to have attracted much less attention. This is unfortunate, as the two go well together. It […]

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the Tees Valley responds to the Afghanistan Crisis

Scott Hunter

Middlesbrough mayor, Andy Preston, has been making the headlines, with an unambiguous statement of support for refugees from Afghanistan. Many here will welcome those humanitarian sentiments, published in the Gazette on 19 August. The Gazette article, however, moves swiftly on to discussion of the pantomime of incompetence in Westminster over the issue, and so does […]

Teesside enjoys its Palmyra moment, as Redcar Blast Furnace is torn down

Scott Hunter

The destruction of Redcar Blast Furnace has begun in earnest, with the Teesside Heritage Taskforce on hand to record the action on film for posterity. Soon the people of Teesside will be able to survey the roofs of the never-ending warehouses of the freeport, monuments to low pay and tax evasion, as if that is […]

Will the real Ben Houchen please stand up?

Scott Hunter

Who advises Ben Houchen?  You might have supposed that it was the officers of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Until last week, that is. When he announced that he would seek to ensure that a referendum would be required before Teesside Airport could be sold, he crossed a line, and cemented what many had […]

Telecommunications provider shows appreciation to Stockton MP, Matt Vickers

Scott Hunter

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South, has championed several causes in his time in office including tougher sentences for pet thieves and the protection of hedgehogs. Both undoubtedly worthy causes.  He appears to dislike international aid, asylum seekers and gypsies. So, there seems to be a ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ theme to his […]

Ben Houchen and the chamber of secrets

Scott Hunter

Tees Valley Mayor seeks to protect Teesside Airport from ‘rogue’ politicians like himself, as the airport operator departs Teesside Airport operator Esken Ltd, formerly Stobart Aviation, has jumped ship and pulled out of its contract with the airport company (TIAL). Now, in place of Esken Ltd, the airport is being operated directly by its own […]

Cleveland Bridge is falling down

Scott Hunter

Darlington-based structural engineering firm Cleveland Bridge has collapsed into administration, it has been announced. Its entire workforce of 230 is now under threat of redundancy. The firm, in existence for 144 years, has been owned by the Saudi al-Rushaid group since 2000. The crisis has occurred despite the firm having a full order book.  So, […]