Is Hampshire devolution doomed?

  • 27 November 2015
  • From the section UK

It all seemed to be going so well. The glossy prospectus picked out the South of England's role as a driver of the UK economy, representing the largest "county area" economy in the UK, close in scale to Wales, promising to add £3bn if productivity was raised.

An impressive 24 signatures backed the bid, Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth and Southampton city councils and 11 district councils.

They are working together on the project along with the Solent and Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnerships, New Forest and South Downs National Park authorities, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue and NHS England Wessex. Phew!

But keeping the leaders of all those organisations marching in the same direction is proving difficult.

Leader of Hampshire County Council Roy Perry got top billing at a debate on devolution at the Conservative conference. But then the call for 100% retention of business rates looked less distinctive when the chancellor announced that was what he planned anyway.

Read full article Is Hampshire devolution doomed?

We've reached the big four-oh

They are gold-plated, copper-bottomed, cast-iron guarantees of statistical certainty.

The folk in Fareham toil long and hard over their numbers.

Read full article We've reached the big four-oh

Would citizens' assemblies work?

assembly south

Take 35 strangers off the street, put them in a room for the weekend and ask them to devise a new form of government.

It sounds like madness, but then is the current system much saner?

Read full article Would citizens' assemblies work?

Who speaks for England?

John Redwood MP

"A lively debate" it certainly was.

MPs kept pointing out they had no time, or need, for the interventions that are supposed to add life when debate drags in the House of Commons.

Read full article Who speaks for England?

Has Corbyn got southern momentum?

  • 19 October 2015
  • From the section England
Peter Henley interviewing Jeremy Corbyn

When I interviewed Jeremy Corbyn recently he was gently chiding about my suggestion that the south of England was a tough nut for Labour to crack.

At the end of our filming in the leader of the opposition's offices in Parliament he wanted to stress the growth in southern membership.

Read full article Has Corbyn got southern momentum?

The picture Farage wants to forget

Ashley Mote on South Today

He talks like a UKIP MEP, he looks like a UKIP politician, right down to the rosette with the pound. But Nigel Farage seems to have developed a blind spot for Ashley Mote.

After Mote was convicted of fraud for a second time in Britain's biggest ever expenses scandal, the UKIP leader commented "I knew he was a wrong 'un."

Read full article The picture Farage wants to forget

South jobs hang on airport expansion

Plane taking off

Politicians should be good at taking decisions, after all that's what they're paid for.

But the Heathrow third runway is a really knotty one. A classic from the economy versus environment debate that will probably define this generation.

Read full article South jobs hang on airport expansion

MPs don't make good voters

"Can I count on your support in the forthcoming election?"

Image caption An original campaign leaflet idea

It's the opening gambit every MP knows by heart. They've all trotted it out on innumerable doorsteps as they canvass for votes.

Read full article MPs don't make good voters

Magna Carta and the UK's newest citizens

The Salisbury copy of Magna Carta is thought to be the best of the four remaining copies on display in the UK.

And the 800 year-old bill of British rights has a huge emotional impact on some of the tourists who come to see it.

Image caption The Latin text of the Salisbury Magna Carta

Read full article Magna Carta and the UK's newest citizens

Why a safe seat is the certain route to power

  • 29 April 2015
  • From the section England
Jeremy Vine with the election map of the South
Image caption Jeremy Vine with the election map of the South

You can read the polls, talk to insiders, see which way the seaweed is blowing or talk to Jeremy Vine. But I can confidently predict the places in the South of England that will see the greatest turnover of MPs at this election.

Just look at the safe seats.

Read full article Why a safe seat is the certain route to power