The (not) much-anticipated Moss review of 2011 part one

Cat in a Santa hat
Image caption The traditional Moss review Christmas cat with its Santa hat

When my humble blog was known as Moss Missives, my review of the year became almost legendary (well, I liked it).

So it would seem churlish not to provide you with another festive gem to provide you with a wholesome slice of Moss wisdom to sustain you through the frivolous excesses of Christmas.

This is part one and I make no apologies for including a picture of a seasonal cat. It's traditional, so there.


Labour MPs begin lining up on either side of the Alternative Vote debate ahead of May's referendum, and it becomes clear most in the North East will be voting no.

Hartlepool MP Ian Wright helps mastermind a Labour by-election victory in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Image caption Ageing rockers Iron Maiden threw their support behind a Wearside MP in January

Darlington beer drinkers help persuade the government to act on a legal loophole which is allowing brewers to prevent closed pubs reopening.

A list of our councils' expenditure demanded by Eric Pickles sends me to sleep.

Sunderland football club makes an unusual signing, as David Miliband joins its board.

Heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden back Wearside MP Sharon Hodgson's attempts to curb ticket touts.

North East and Cumbria MPs win an inquiry into alleged profiteering by providers of heating oil.


The Lords approve a bill which will allow a referendum on the Alternative Vote, and reduce the size of the House of Commons.

The proposed sell-off of the UK's publicly-owned forests causes protests in Cumbria and the North East.

Image caption Protesters came out in force when the government threatened to sell off publicly-owned woodlands

MPs try to apply pressure to persuade the government to remutualise Northern Rock.

All of the region's local authorities agree to freeze council tax.

Ed Miliband brings the whole Shadow Cabinet with him on a visit to the North East.

Northumbria Police sets out plans which will see 1,100 jobs cut.

Unemployment surges as the North East once again becomes the region with the highest rate of joblessness.

A Politics Show survey reveals that only one of the region's council Chief Executives has followed government advice and taken a pay cut, while others get increases in pay.

The steel blast furnace in Redcar is sold to Thai company SSSI who say they plan to reopen it by the end of 2011.


The go-ahead is given for a new train factory in Newton Aycliffe after the government confirms investment in new rolling stock. It's hailed as potentially a new Nissan.

Image caption There was good news for the North East when plans for a train factory were approved in County Durham

Councils in the North East warn that the proposed localisation of business could cost the North East up to £320m.

The government announces two new enterprise zones in the North East.

The Electoral Commission confirms that the shake-up of the Commons will see the North East lose three MPs, and Cumbria one.

A financier offers a £15m donation to prevent the famous Zurbaran paintings being sold. They will be kept at Auckland Castle in County Durham.


North East companies do well in the first award of grants from the Regional Growth Fund, although 50 schemes do miss out.

Image caption The PM came to Darlington during the local election campaign

The No campaign looks to be winning the battle in the AV referendum, with echoes of an earlier vote in the North East.

Universities announce their plans for tuition fees with most in the North East and Cumbria opting for fees at or close to the £9,000 annual maximum.

The Prime Minister visits Darlington and accuses Sunderland Council of wasting public money on trips to the USA. The council says the visits were about generating jobs.

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon comes under pressure after comments he made in private phone calls to a local taxi driver are published. Some call for him to quit the race for re-election.


Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg visits the North East on the eve of the local elections, but avoids actually coming to Newcastle.

Image caption Labour celebrated victory as they took control of Newcastle City Council in May

Labour take back control of Newcastle from the Lib Dems as the party makes gains in the local elections. The region joins the rest of the country in voting resoundingly against a change in the voting system.

Middlesbrough and Gateshead submit applications to become cities.

A dramatization of the former Sunderland MP Chris Mullin's diaries - A Walk on Part - proves to be a hit at Newcastle's Live Theatre. It later moves to London.


South Tyneside Council comes under fire for spending money to find out the identity of blogger Mr Monkey, who has been posting scurrilous material about local politicians.

The politician behind the idea for a university in Cumbria criticises its decisions to raise its fees to more than £8,000.

Image caption For some reason, one Newcastle MP didn't like the image of the city portrayed in Geordie Shore

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah complains about the depiction of her city in MTV's Geordie Shore.

Nissan announces that it will be building its new Qashqai model at its Sunderland plant.

Eric Pickles tells North East councils he went out of his way to limit cuts to their budgets on a visit to South Shields.

Unemployment falls in the North East but it still has the worst record for jobs in the UK.

Tory Boy, a documentary film which heavily criticises Middlesbrough MP Sir Stuart Bell premieres in the town.