Did Corbyn succeed in the South?

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA
Image caption The "fear of Corbyn's dangerous, unrealistic strategy seems distant and London-centric"

It's the old mystery of the dog that didn't bark. The London-based political world really did think Jeremy Corbyn was about to disappear down the drain, especially in the Blairite, aspirational south of England. He didn't.

So the plans, and they were real plans, to get rid of Corbyn have to wait. That is a real, tangible, huge lifeline he's been thrown by the voters of Reading, Southampton and Portsmouth, much to the annoyance of many in his own party.

Just why the Labour vote held up in those places has set so-called experts in all parties scratching their heads.

Here's my take. In safe Tory areas many Labour die-hards relish the return to a true socialist party.

Also, it can appeal to the trendy middle-class who might otherwise have voted Green.

Read full article Did Corbyn succeed in the South?

Top priority - getting the bins right

Bins
Image caption It will take more than a month for Isle of Wight Council to deliver wheelie bins to every household

It's the big bin delivery!

The Isle of Wight Council is used to organising collection of recycling and rubbish, but now it is switching to wheelie bins and it has got to work out a way to get at least one, maybe two bins, to every household.

Read full article Top priority - getting the bins right

Death of the Southern Shire Powerhouses

David Cameron Image copyright PA
Image caption The prime minister has had his say on plans to shake up councils in Oxfordshire

When your local MP is the prime minister it can be a blessing and a curse. Just ask Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council.

On devolution he thought he had the agreement of his district councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the backing of Oxfordshire MPs to join the auction of promises that the negotiation is turning into.

Read full article Death of the Southern Shire Powerhouses

How much does the EU cost in the South?

EU flag Image copyright Getty Images

During this referendum campaign you will hear many claims of how much the EU costs, and how much benefit we derive.

Some will be in Euros, some in Sterling, some will be real-terms adjusted for inflation, others will be back-of-the fag packet guesstimates.

Read full article How much does the EU cost in the South?

Deal or No Deal with council cash

Deal or No Deal Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption Councils are having to decide what deal to take in the face of tough budget decisions

The annual sharing out of cash for local services is always fraught, and never seen as fair.

The mandarins in Whitehall call it The Settlement - as if funds were being bestowed by some aged aunt on her poor country cousins.

Read full article Deal or No Deal with council cash

Are new Clean Air Zones voluntary?

Plans to tax diesel lorries for entering city centres have been thrown into confusion after one of the cities ordered to bring in the charge have insisted it should be "voluntary".

Last year the government ordered a clean air zone be imposed by five cities in the UK where pollution was highest.

Read full article Are new Clean Air Zones voluntary?

Portsmouth theatres in the spotlight

Outside of New Theatre Royal Image copyright New Theatre Royal
Image caption The New Theatre Royal reopened last year after a £4.5m revamp

They're national treasures. Not just the actress Sheila Hancock, but the theatre where she began her work in the 1950s - the Kings Theatre in Southsea and the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth.

Both got a mention from MP Will Quince as he brought the curtain up on a new season of Westminster Hall debates in Parliament.

Read full article Portsmouth theatres in the spotlight

A shaky launch for Euro campaigns

  • 11 December 2015
  • From the section Oxford

With hindsight, perhaps the choice of venue was the big mistake that the Labour campaign to stay "IN" Europe made.

Security is tight at the Culham Science Centre. It's the research centre where they help to develop nuclear fusion.

Read full article A shaky launch for Euro campaigns

The sound of the Syria air strikes vote

Media captionProtesters kept up their chanting as MPs voted

It's the sounds of the Syria air strikes vote that will stay with me.

All night protesters in Parliament Square keeping up a chant to match the stark message on their signs - "don't bomb Syria, don't bomb Syria".

Read full article The sound of the Syria air strikes vote

Is Hampshire devolution doomed?

  • 27 November 2015
  • From the section UK

It all seemed to be going so well. Hampshire and Isle of Wight's bid for devolution was seen as a southern front-runner. An economy close to the scale of Wales bidding for control of its own destiny.

The architect of the plan, Hampshire leader Roy Perry, was singled out to speak at the Conservative Party conference in September and the Secretary of State Greg Clark seemed keen.

Read full article Is Hampshire devolution doomed?