Category: Home Affairs

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Should the state fund political parties?

Stephen Lambert

Overall it’s argued this would assist the parties to operate more effectively enabling them to ‘re-connect’ with the public. Declining membership, together with rising costs to fight elections could lead to a ‘slum democracy’ with parties poorly staffed and ill-equipped for government. If parties aren’t funded by the state, they will be funded by single-issue interest groups. State funding would allow UK politicians to focus more on representing their constituents.

Opinion

We talk too much

Peter Lathan

We live in a society in which all opinions are treated as being equally valid, in which ignorance of a subject is thought to be no bar to having an opinion on it, in which facts are what someone chooses to believe rather than something that has objective reality, in which everyone knows everything about everything and believes that everyone else knows nothing about anything.

Lancing the boil of Tory corruption

Peter Benson

It’s extraordinary that in 2021 a former Prime minister can bring such disgrace to himself, his party, our parliamentary democracy and the nation’s reputation around the world. But it is perhaps a foretaste of what’s around the corner from the current Prime Minister who seems to revel in controversy.

May elections special

No north-south divide in Jesmond, Newcastle

Yvonne Wancke

“Growing up both my parents worked in education and seeing the impact that cuts from the coalition government, I felt a real sense of injustice over the heartless policies…such as the bedroom tax. This government targeted some of the most vulnerable in our society and those that were already struggling. Something I will always remember is my Mum saying to me that ‘you should always judge a society on how it treats its most vulnerable citizens and with this [coalition] government we are failing at that test’.

May elections special

Hartlepool: the last leg

Julia Mazza

If Brexit amnesia has combined with the current Covid ‘vaccine bounce’, then Mrs Mortimer could win.

Finding solutions to anti-social behaviour

Stephen Lambert

Northern working people and their families care deeply about where they live. Issues such as litter, fly-tipping, graffiti, burnt-out vehicles, dog fouling and street crime are at the top of every neighbourhood’s list of priorities. It’s a problem that doesn’t seem to resonate with a London-centric based national government. This is backed up by several […]

Opinion

Why the time has now arrived to make people vote

Stephen Lambert

VOTING is the most basic form of political participation in a representative democracy like the UK. Yet, voter-turn out has declined sharply since the 1950s – about 80% in the 1951 general election, but fell to 66% in the last election. In the Newcastle Central constituency only 56% of those registered to vote did so. […]

Was Jenrick “politically motivated”?

Peter Benson

The Towns Fund was set up to be shared between ‘left behind areas’ all around the country but it would appear that any poverty and depravation in the North East was of the wrong kind. The fund was found to have a clear bias for areas where the local MP was a member of the Tory party.

The myth of inter-generational worklessness

Stephen Lambert

Let’s demolish the myths about inter-generational unemployment and get into a proper serious debate about the nature, causation and impact of long-term unemployment amongst the young, those in late life and old, such as poverty, physical and mental ill-health, social isolation and lack of confidence.

Jobs promise guarantee needed to tackle youth unemployment

Stephen Lambert

For individual young people, there are significant multiple ‘scaring’ effects associated with spending very long periods of time outside education and work. These include a loss of confidence and self-esteem; greater vulnerability to various limiting illnesses, including mental health problems; increased propensity to crime, and excessive use of drugs.

Corruption: The 60 million dollar question facing David Cameron

Peter Benson

As taxpayers we may be grateful for the diligence of the treasury officials who rejected the efforts of Cameron’s lobbying but we must continue to be vigilant on the actions of all government ministers. There is considerable evidence to suggest there is clear bias in the awarding of grants and contracts to friends and donors of the Conservative party.

World Autism Awareness Week

Louise Brown

Females are commonly able to ‘mask’ their autism more than males making diagnosis more difficult in some cases. Where someone’s autism is less obvious (also in the case of high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome) sometimes others are far less tolerant as they are not aware they have this condition and hence get annoyed with things they view as socially inappropriate.

The Tees Valley mayoral election campaign gets underway as Jessie Joe Jacobs launches her manifesto

Scott Hunter

The starting point for this is the need to deal with rising inequality in the region, capitalizing on the region’s industrial strengths and applying them to the industries of the future, hence the focus on the climate economy and the digital and tech sector. Her aim is to train up to 10,000 people in climate industry skills, either through apprenticeships or through loans and grants to support other workers, developing a training hub for climate jobs, and providing business investment and the creation of a green industrial park.

Opinion

Flag fetishism by gaslight

Gareth Kearns

Cast your mind back ten years or more. I can remember all the way back to the 1970s. For most of that period, to see a house in the UK flying a flag from a pole was rare. It was also deemed by most people to be odd. Now, I just don’t mean the Union […]

Hartlepool for beginners: a by-election special

Scott Hunter

And what did the people of the Headland do when it became clear that their supposedly independent councillors weren’t actually independent after all? Nothing. No fuss. Hartlepool people don’t make a fuss. Some were undoubtedly upset by what had happened, but they expressed their discontent very, very quietly. And the anti-Brexit minority would defend the town by pointing to the Headland and saying “it’s them on the Headland. They’re very Brexity”.

Could fascism ever get a grip on the North East?

Stephen Lambert

Far right organisations like For Britain, led by Anne Marie Waters, are targeting the North East, especially Hartlepool, to stir up racial hatred and social unrest. MI5 and police have made the point that the threat posed by the extreme right in the north and elsewhere is greater now than at any other time since the 1930s.

Opinion

Shame on them!

Nicola Tipton

Those of us, who have spent so much of our time this last couple of weeks raising awareness about the toxic clauses in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, and its inherent dangers to our human right to protest, can only condemn in the strongest terms the actions of the few last night. Their actions may have wiped out what has been achieved and the limited progress we have made to preserve our freedom of speech. Furthermore, it will inevitably polarise camps and opinion more. Such a travesty, when a cross party group has been set up by concerned MPs about the ramifications of this Bill if it is made law unamended.

Newcastle memorial to murdered women

Louise Brown

The horrific Sarah Everard murder has thrown female safety back into the spotlight on the same week the notorious ‘Policing Bill’s second reading was voted through. A bill which fails to tackle violence against women and girls. We all saw the horrifying scenes of the vigil held last Saturday at Clapham Common while the police tried to stop it. Thankfully today was nothing like that and people were given space to reflect on the reality of women’s safety in the UK today.

Sunderland MP helps lead ‘First of its kind’ inquiry into what Northern Culture needs to rebuild, rebalance and recover

Daisy Windsor

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central The Northern Culture All Party Parliamentary Group will launch its first Inquiry into what Northern Culture needs to rebuild, rebalance and recover. The Inquiry will shine a light on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Northern Culture and call for evidence from key voices and stakeholders across the […]

What a week to be a woman

Sally Young

The heavy-handed response by the Met Police to the vigil, at Clapham Common, for Sarah Everard, was the leading story on Sunday. Peaceful vigils were held in Glasgow, Nottingham and elsewhere. The awful irony of this was not lost; that the murder of a woman by a serving a police officer, ends up with more women being man-handled by the Police. Sunday was also Mothering Sunday.

Opinion

Full of sound and fury, signifying something….

Gareth Kearns

There is an old philosophical thought experiment that you will have heard of. It goes like this – “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This old chestnut persists because it so beautifully demonstrates how language and meaning can impact upon how […]

Find the missing millions

Stephen Lambert

To some experts, the most troubling trend is the drop by up to 40 per cent in the number of ‘attainers’ – teenagers at college or sixth form who are mean to join the register prior to voting age. A generation is in danger of missing its first taste of democratic participation, and perhaps never acquiring the habit of voting. This year’s local, Mayoral and Police and Commissioner elections could have a major influence on young people. The outcome could impact on job prospects, apprenticeships, climate change and finding somewhere affordable to live.

Poetry Corner

Reclaim the night

Harry Gallagher

She came in peace to reclaim the night,
with her sisters, a candle and a thimble of hope,
which wept itself out under flashing blue lights.

North East People

Universities and vacations

Jim Walker

Jim Walker in Red Square 1957 My brother John was at Trinity College, Cambridge so it was assumed that, after my national service, I would follow him there or go to Oxford. My mother, who was the parent who decided such matters, of course thought that she knew about Cambridge but wanted to find out […]