Category: Politics

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 […]

Less cash in your pocket: more costs and tax rises yet to come

Peter Benson

The expression ‘triple whammy’ does not adequately describe what is ahead for all of us, much less cash in our pockets in the months to come. And the North East is often hit particularly hard. So many prices are increasing: fuel and energy prices, travel, council tax, National Insurance, roaming charges and inflation. Universal Credit […]

North East HistoryPART 4

Ventilation in North East mines 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Without coal, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would have been impossible, The steam engine could not have operated without it; the iron industry demanded it. Coal was in fact at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. In this North East History series, Audrey Marshall takes a look at the issues of safety and eventual legislation for […]

The voice of children on Covid, vaccination and inclusion

Carol Westall

Involve me Talk to me Help me understand These are words I read from the summary slide from the new NICE guidelines for babies, children and young peoples experiencing healthcare. This was developed in consultation with young people. I heard these words in a webinar, Vaccination in Children: Evidence, Ethics, and Equity, given by the […]

Gove’s comments on northerners: the Westminster attitude towards our region

Lauren White

Michael Gove is remembered by different people for different things. Some recall his infamous line, “people have had enough of experts”. Some recall Gove’s removal of American literature from the English GCSE curriculum, meaning age-old traditions of reading anti-prejudice novels such as To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men were slashed. What a […]


Dominic Raab is no longer Foreign Secretary

Yvonne Wancke

Dominic Raab has been dropped as Foreign Secretary in the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle today. He is said to be ‘very angry’. It’s not long since the furore that surrounded the Foreign Secretary about Greek holidays, phone calls (or lack of them) and the Afghanistan situation. When the Prime Minister supported Raab on the same […]

Cabinet reshuffle: change is in the air

Dylan Neri

Nostradamus predicted many things, but if you go back through his wild and eclectic predictions you will find no mention anywhere of a UK Cabinet reshuffle. Its nature is quantum mechanical; it cannot be predicted with any certainty, and only a fool would try. But when asked about the rumours of potential change during yesterday’s […]

National Insurance increases: ‘levelling up’ for the North East?

Yvonne Wancke

This week the government voted to increase National Insurance contributions in order to fund social care. National Insurance contributions are set to rise by 1.25 percentage points. Whilst initially this may not seem a lot, it is worth noting that for anyone earning between £10,000 and £50,000 a year, it actually means an increase of […]


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 […]

Climate crisis: time’s running out

Liyanah Riyaz

Since the UN’s 2018 special report on global warming (released when I was 13) gave humanity a climate crisis deadline, lowering emissions has become a priority of many governments around the world. However, 12 years quickly turned into 11 years, which fell into 10 years with the distraction of a deadly pandemic. I am now […]

Support needed for touring musicians say artists at the Last Night of the Proms

Louise Brown

This Saturday thousands of musicians and artists gathered outside The Royal Albert Hall on The Last Night of The Proms to show solidarity and raise awareness to the plight of our touring arts industries, many of whom are now facing ruin since leaving the European Union. David Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Featured Artists Coalition […]

Social care: now we know

Sally Young

Eleven months ago I wrote an article for North East Bylines called ‘Social care: whoever knew’. The title was written in ironic font. This week the government unveiled its plans for social care in England. There are numerous controversies within this relatively short document, that has been eleven years in the making. It includes the […]

Reading Festival: an interview with an activist

Yvonne Wancke

Festivals are a traditional part of the great British summer. After over a year when it hasn’t been possible to host or attend festivals, some tentative steps have been taken in 2021 and festival goers have once more enjoyed a few days of camping, great music and the time to chat, discuss and meet new […]

“Help! I need somebody”: a problem of Brexit economics

Peter Benson

Employers all around the UK must be humming the words of the iconic Beatles song in total despair. Chronic labour shortages are holding back economic recovery, causing rapid inflation and damaging businesses in virtually every sector of the economy. It beggars belief that a Scottish farmers co-operative has had to throw away 3.5 million heads of […]

‘Keep the lifeline’ of £20 UC increase urge Kenton councillors

Stephen Lambert

The UK government should retain the £20 increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which has been a lifeline to thousands of households across the city for people struggling to afford the essentials. Charities, health care professionals, foodbanks and councillors across the city are backing the Keep the lifeline campaign and are calling on […]

The Wonderful Everyday in short supply: from Ikea to rubbish collections

Peter Benson

More national brands are announcing supply problems caused by the lack of HGV drivers, on top of Tesco and Iceland. Adding to the list in recent days are Ikea, Coca Cola, Costa, Gregg’s, Wetherspoon’s, McDonald’s, KFC and many more. The reality is that virtually every corner of the economy is being impacted. This is from supermarket […]

…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 […]

North East HistoryPART 3

A breakthrough: lighting in North East mines 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Throughout the history of coal mining, various methods of lighting had been tried out, some of them safe, others highly dangerous, none of them really effective. During the 18th century, for instance, parts of Merton Colliery were ‘illuminated’ by the faint but secure light of fish skins, while in Hebburn Colliery, before the invention of […]


Hangover for Wetherspoon’s boss as beer runs out!

Peter Benson

It must be the biggest disaster ever for a pub to run out of beer and suffer staff shortages all at the same time. Tim Martin, boss of the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s, cannot be getting much sleep these days as his die-hard love of Brexit costs his business trade. Wetherspoon’s is yet another high-profile business […]

“New hospitals”: more spin from the government

Peter Benson

The current government has brought new meaning to the word ‘dishonesty’, as in creating a false illusion that something is real when it clearly is not. In good old-fashioned language it’s a bare faced lie. And as such we need to call it as it is. This has been likened to adding a garden shed to your […]

Poetry Corner

What’s for dinner today?

Harry Gallagher

There are foodless holes on my regular strolls around supermarket shelves, the wheels on my trolley having come off, and the folly is we did it to ourselves. We looked back rosily at war, at Normandy and Agincourt and opted for more strife. Now the irony is endless; we sit here friendless as driverless lorries […]

Hartlepool: nuclear waste and a council civil war 

Julia Mazza

August is the silly month, with the press scrabbling for copy to fill column inches left empty by the political recess. It is the perfect season for Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, sultan of spin, to create a “secret radioactive waste dump” conspiracy theory. In eleven August days, he accused Hartlepool Labour Group, smeared a local charity, ousted […]

North East HistoryPART 2

Accidents in the North East coalmines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Many accidents were caused by falls of stone or of coal, men falling down shafts, the use of gunpowder for blasting, and breakages of the winding ropes which were used both for raising coal to the surface and for raising and lowering the miners to and from the mine. Accidents were numerous, so numerous in […]

APPG on Coronavirus: Workforce, well-being and NHS capacity

Carol Westall

The latest APPG Coronavirus oral evidence session on workforce, well-being and NHS capacity was held on Tuesday. Question: how will the NHS survive winter? “The problem is so extreme that up to 70% of the NHS working population are considering a career change over the course of the next 12 months” This was a startling […]

Sharon Hodgson Visits ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ Bus

North East Bylines

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, recently visited the ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ programme at Rickleton Cricket Club. The ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ programme, which is funded by the Department for Education’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme, has been supporting children […]

North East HistoryPART 1

Dangerous jobs in the North East coal mines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Without coal, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would have been impossible, The steam engine could not have operated without it; the iron industry demanded it. Coal was in fact at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. In this North East History series, Audrey Marshall takes a look at the issues of safety and eventual legislation for […]