South Yorkshire pit rescued by workforce forced to shut

  • 21 August 2015
  • From the section England
The winding gear at Hatfield Colliery on the day the last pit in South Yorkshire shut down
Image caption The winding gear at Hatfield Colliery on the day the last pit in South Yorkshire shut down

It was with a sense of disbelief that I turned up with a satellite television truck a few days ago to report on the closure of the last deep mine in the coal fields of South Yorkshire.

I have reported on the coal industry in one way or another for 35 years and even as big chunks of it were sold off, the idea that all of it would shut down in my lifetime is still hard to take in.

Yet as a convoy of vehicles from court-appointed administrators drove past me to take possession of Hatfield Main Colliery just outside Doncaster, it marked the final chapter of more than two decades of struggle to save the pit.

During that time commercial operators have come and gone, forcing the workforce to step in twice to invest their own money to keep it alive.

The end of Hatfield's precarious hold on survival became inevitable towards the end of 2014 as international coal prices dropped so low that it was cheaper for power stations on its own doorstep to burn fuel from Russia or Columbia.

Image caption John Grogan, chair of the Hatfield Colliery Partnership, says Russian and Columbian coal will now fuel our power stations

Blood on the coal

Read full article South Yorkshire pit rescued by workforce forced to shut

Will 'three-quid voters' decide next Labour leader?

  • 6 August 2015
  • From the section England
Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Leeds on the Labour leadership campaign trail
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Leeds on the Labour leadership campaign trail

After a recent speech in Leeds two or three people in their twenties approached Jeremy Corbyn pledging they would be voting for him in the Labour leadership election.

All freely admitted they were not members of the party, and had no intention of ever joining unless the veteran left-wing MP won the election and Labour adopted his manifesto.

Read full article Will 'three-quid voters' decide next Labour leader?

How did Labour miss the bus in Yorkshire?

  • 13 May 2015
  • From the section England
Len Tingle
Image caption Len Tingle waiting for Ed Miliband's battle bus on rally night

As the seconds ticked away to my last live broadcast before polling day, Ed Miliband's big red battle bus was due to arrive at a rally right behind me in central Leeds.

But the bus was late and missed my broadcast by a couple of minutes.

Read full article How did Labour miss the bus in Yorkshire?

Lord Mason of Barnsley: Mineworker who never forgot his roots

  • 21 April 2015
  • From the section England
Roy Mason Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Mason served as Northern Ireland secretary at the height of the Troubles

Lord Mason of Barnsley was one of the most influential politicians of the 1970s but never forgot his roots as a mineworker who became the MP for his home town.

He was Labour's Defence Secretary under Harold Wilson and oversaw one of the most comprehensive reviews of the strength of the armed services since the Second World War.

Read full article Lord Mason of Barnsley: Mineworker who never forgot his roots

Is Yorkshire still the promised land for UKIP?

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section England
UKIP badges Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption UKIP supporters continue to work hard across Yorkshire despite their leader's absence from the campaign trail in the county

Every main party national leader has jumped at the chance to be quizzed by a BBC Look North viewers' panel at the Yorkshire news programme's Leeds studios.

After all, some of the UK's most closely-fought seats are in Yorkshire so all the leaders should be trekking to the county several times in the weeks of campaigning before the polls open on 7 May.

Read full article Is Yorkshire still the promised land for UKIP?

Leon Brittan and the miners who would never forgive him

  • 23 January 2015
  • From the section England
Police in riot gear during the 1984/5 miners' strike
Image caption The miners' strike saw a big change in police tactics, training and equipment

Three decades ago in the early hours of what promised to be a beautiful spring morning my car was stopped at a police roadblock on a quiet country lane and I was threatened with arrest.

It came as a complete shock.

Read full article Leon Brittan and the miners who would never forgive him

Yorkshire to be key General Election battleground

  • 13 January 2015
  • From the section England
David Cameron Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Cameron chose Halifax for the launch of the Conservative Party's first election campaign poster

If you want to know how important Yorkshire will be in deciding the outcome of May's General Election - just ask the Prime Minister.

In fact, if you were in Halifax on the first working day of the new year you would have been able to ask David Cameron personally.

Read full article Yorkshire to be key General Election battleground

Will Yorkshire enter the open door?

  • 4 December 2014
  • From the section England
11 Downing Street
Image caption The Chancellor says his door is always open to council leaders from Yorkshire

The chancellor never mentioned West or South Yorkshire council leaders by name in his Autumn Statement but it was clear he was referring to them when he said his "door was always open" for further discussion from cities wanting to follow Manchester's lead.

The coded message was clear - George Osborne has not accepted the strong rejection by Yorkshire of the introduction of directly-elected executive mayors to lead the implementation of devolved economic powers to clusters of neighbouring local councils.

Read full article Will Yorkshire enter the open door?

Two Yorkshire regions could get new elected mayors

  • 1 December 2014
  • From the section England
London Mayor's Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone
Image caption Parts of Yorkshire could come under the control of a London-style mayor

Parts of Yorkshire could be run by a London-style directly-elected mayor if new plans are proposed in the government's Autumn Statement.

South and West Yorkshire would both control some tax and spending if local councils devolve powers to new combined authorities run by a mayor.

Read full article Two Yorkshire regions could get new elected mayors

Devolution for the North: Catching the bus at last?

  • 4 November 2014
  • From the section England
Ed Miliband steps from bus Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Labour leader Ed Miliband has recently joined the queue of politicians heading to the North to trumpet regional devolution

Devolution for the English regions is a bit like trying to catch a bus - you miss the first one, hang around for a while, and then half a dozen turn up virtually nose-to-tail.

Over the past few months just about every senior cabinet minister and their shadow have trekked north to announce that taxpayers' money by the lorry load will be heading our way and decisions on how to spend it will be made here.

Read full article Devolution for the North: Catching the bus at last?