Has Davies an 'eggs in one basket' airports plan?

  • 1 July 2015
  • From the section England
Birmingham Aiport
At 09:00 each morning, the two giants of American aviation, United and American Airlines, fly from Birmingham across the pond

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

That was the warning with which Birmingham Airport's managers campaigned, shoulder-to-shoulder with their Gatwick counterparts, for an extra runway for the Sussex airport plus, a system of other major airports around Britain.

The Gatwick option, though not ruled out by Sir Howard Davies's Commission, definitely plays second fiddle to his controversial vision of an even bigger Heathrow, complete with third runway, competing more strongly with the Schiphols, De Gaulles and Frankfurts.

His principal concern for regions like ours is to improve our air links not with the world but with "Planet Heathrow".

That way, fewer of us would need to connect through those rival European gateways.

Read full article Has Davies an 'eggs in one basket' airports plan?

Labour wannabes confront their demons in Nuneaton

  • 16 June 2015
  • From the section England
Nuneaton
Nuneaton: A 'gritty' town where Warwickshire meets Leicestershire, often only viewed from a Virgin Pendolino as it zips along the West Coast Mainline

The choice of Nuneaton as the venue for the first of Labour's hustings debates with their four candidates for the party leadership is a brave one.

The very name of the place must send a shiver down the collective spine of the party, just as Basildon did in 1992.

Read full article Labour wannabes confront their demons in Nuneaton

Midlands devolution debate: Urban vs Rural rift

  • 3 June 2015
  • From the section England
Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne was in Birmingham this week to discuss prospects of a Midlands mayor

Let's join the dots between some of the week's breaking news stories:

'Main wealth creator'

Link them all together and you have a powerful reassertion of the view that the great cities are the main drivers of Britain's 21st Century economy.

Read full article Midlands devolution debate: Urban vs Rural rift

A Midlands Powerhouse: But who wants a 'metro mayor'?

  • 26 May 2015
  • From the section England
Greater Birmingham sign
'Greater Birmingham' could stretch as far as Coventry and Wolverhampton

All this talk about the "Northern Powerhouse" seems to be concentrating minds wonderfully here in the West Midlands.

The combined authority proposed six months ago by four Black Country councils with Birmingham has now enlisted the influential support of Coventry's ruling Labour group.

Read full article A Midlands Powerhouse: But who wants a 'metro mayor'?

Why Nuneaton was the Basildon of 2015

  • 13 May 2015
  • From the section England
Conservative Marcus Jones increased his Nuneaton majority by nearly 3,000 and said voters in the Warwickshire town had 'spoken for Britain'

"Wow!"

Of all the countless syllables uttered during the political career of the one-time council leader and newly appointed Local Government Minister Marcus Jones, this will probably go down as the one that will always stand out.

Read full article Why Nuneaton was the Basildon of 2015

Drum beats in Midlands election battle

  • 1 May 2015
  • From the section England
The debate was held at The Drum arts centre on Wednesday

What do Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Morecambe and Wise have in common with Sajid Javid, Tristram Hunt, Nigel Farage and Lorely Burt?

And do please resist the temptation to tell me they were or are all clowns!

Read full article Drum beats in Midlands election battle

What happens if pensioners vote but young people don't

  • 23 April 2015
  • From the section England
BBC Newsbeat debate
Young voters joined BBC Newsbeat's debate in Birmingham on Tuesday

The magnificent Great Hall of the University of Birmingham has established itself as one of Britain's great cathedrals dedicated to our political devotions.

In the past five years it has seen a 2010 televised prime ministerial debate, a husting event in the resultant Labour leadership campaign and a well-attended public meeting addressed by their lordships Heseltine and Adonis in support of their so far unavailing campaign for the city to elect its own executive mayor.

Read full article What happens if pensioners vote but young people don't

Why this is a very local general election

  • 17 April 2015
  • From the section England
Presenter Robert McKenzie with the swingometer on election night, 1964.
Presenter Robert McKenzie with the swingometer on election night, 1964

Only people with long memories have clear recollections of simpler times when Professor Robert McKenzie's swingometer could tell the story of successive general elections.

Our part of the country has long been a two-party affair to a greater extent than anywhere else in the country, so a straightforward device pointing this way and then that was almost invariably quite good enough to do the job.

Read full article Why this is a very local general election

Some highs and lows from the Midlands campaign trail

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section England
Nigel Farage
Cake and campaigning for UKIP's Nigel Farage in Dudley North on Tuesday

No question about the most memorable moment of my week. It came during a spectacularly sunny Tuesday in the Black Country

Nigel Farage had arrived paradoxically early in UKIP's target seat of Dudley North after fog had forced the curtailment of earlier planned visits in Staffordshire.

Read full article Some highs and lows from the Midlands campaign trail

Election 2015: Midlands snapshots and predictions

  • 30 March 2015
  • From the section England
Who will be the next occupant of 10 Downing Street?

No Parliament. No MPs. Just candidates.

Today's dissolution marks the formal start of a five-and-a-half week election campaign. That's long by the standards of recent elections, even though for most of us it seems to have been full-on for an age already.

Read full article Election 2015: Midlands snapshots and predictions