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Patrick Burns, Political editor, Midlands

Patrick Burns Political editor, Midlands

This is my take on politics in the Midlands - a region of five and a half million people with a diverse, exciting political landscape

University leader speaks out on "good immigration"

  • 28 November 2014
  • From the section England
Students
The University of Birmingham's chancellor has called for an increase in the number of international students

Immigration seems to be the big issue driving our politics - from every doorstep on every street, to Westminster, Brussels and beyond, right up to the general election and who knows for how long after that.

And this week's net migration figures will only add fuel to the argument.

Suddenly it's difficult to find anyone who has anything good to say about it at all.

But the recently installed Chancellor of the University of Birmingham Lord Karan Bilimoria says there is such a thing as "good immigration".

The Indian-born founder of the Cobra Beer empire told the Mail on Sunday earlier this month that Britain would pay a high price for its latest clampdown, which includes tougher rules on student visas.

Read full article University leader speaks out on "good immigration"

Midlands set to become an even bigger 'Powerhouse'

  • 12 November 2014
  • From the section England
Sir Albert Bore
Can Sir Albert Bore convince the government that Birmingham should be given a larger role in rebalancing the economy?

"Come and join us!"

There was more than an echo of the old Corries song when I talked to the leader of Britain's biggest local authority for Midlands Today.

Read full article Midlands set to become an even bigger 'Powerhouse'

Why Coventry schools may be a lesson in themselves

  • 4 November 2014
  • From the section England
Classroom
"Outstanding" schools in Coventry have partnered with failing schools in a bid to drive up performance

From zero to hero.

It sounds like the unlikeliest of turnarounds in fortune. And so quickly too.

Read full article Why Coventry schools may be a lesson in themselves

HS2 station at Crewe could be hard lines for Stoke

  • 28 October 2014
  • From the section England
Stoke-on-Trent city leaders said running the line through Stoke-on-Trent would deliver benefits to more people
Stoke-on-Trent councillors said running the line through the city would deliver benefits to more people

The proposed route for high-speed rail may be as straight as a die, but the sound and fury of the debate surrounding the project is full of ironic twists and turns.

While thousands of people in Warwickshire and Staffordshire have been fighting tooth and claw to have it re-routed away from their backyards (or ideally scrapped altogether) decision-makers in Stoke-on-Trent are battling equally ferociously for the route to come their way.

Read full article HS2 station at Crewe could be hard lines for Stoke

Worcestershire takes new lead in devolution debate

  • 22 October 2014
  • From the section England
Birmingham Council House
Should decision making be taken away from Westminster and be given to Birmingham?

"What about us?"

A chorus of 'me toos' echoed across the land when David Cameron declared, in the wake of the Scottish Referendum result, that "we must re-empower our great cities".

Read full article Worcestershire takes new lead in devolution debate

Police commissioners to be decommissioned say Labour

  • 14 October 2014
  • From the section England
Theresa May
The role of police and crime commissioner is one of Theresa May's flagship policies

"If it's broke, don't fix it!"

Labour says it would turn the well-worn catchphrase on its head because the role of police and crime commissioner (PCC), one of the flagship policies of Home Secretary Theresa May, is broken beyond repair.

Read full article Police commissioners to be decommissioned say Labour

Political chess is game of chance as end game nears

  • 1 October 2014
  • From the section England
Kings on a chess board
Politics is a game of moves and false moves, just like a game of chess

"It's like a game of chess," we used to say in days gone by.

Every move our politicians made could be analysed and interpreted, not only for its significance in the wider electoral tournament but also for the possible moves, or false moves, it might induce from opponents.

Read full article Political chess is game of chance as end game nears

Political pile-up on the road to Birmingham

  • 26 September 2014
  • From the section England
David Cameron
The Conservative conference starts in Birmingham on Sunday

It feels like a car crash.

These days keeping up with political traffic can give you whiplash.

Read full article Political pile-up on the road to Birmingham

Scotland's answer poses the English question

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section England
Jubilant "No" campaigners
Scotland voted to remain part of the UK Thursday

"There are more questions than answers."

So said the old song and it certainly sums up the outcome of the Scottish Referendum.

Read full article Scotland's answer poses the English question

Scottish referendum will test regions south of border

  • 27 August 2014
  • From the section England
Money generic
Will "the canny Scots" vote with their wallets?

It has been in place for over 300 years but it turns out the Act of Union between England and Scotland is a much looser affair than many of us had thought.

For once, the legalistic title is unexpectedly accurate: it is an act of union jointly engaged-in by two willing partners.

Read full article Scottish referendum will test regions south of border

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  • Paul Barltrop, Political editor, West of England Paul Barltrop Political editor, West of England

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About Patrick

First experience of Parliament as a young BBC journalist was a session of PMQ's when Harold Wilson was being interrogated by Margaret Thatcher.

Reported on The Troubles in Northern Ireland for four years including the worst-ever IRA attack on the army at Warrenpoint.

First became a Lobby journalist at Westminster as part of a team of correspondents which included such legendary figures as John Cole and John Sergeant.

He has been on the "inside track" at Westminster from the "high water" mark of the Thatcher period, through the Blair/Brown era to the unfolding drama of the Cameron/Clegg coalition.

Patrick grew up in Birmingham and went to university in Manchester. He has lived in Birmingham for 25 years.

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