As polling day nears, fear stalks the Midlands

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Image caption We're not entirely sure what this election is all about

All that's certain is uncertainty

I have never known a general election like this one.

It's not just because it's in the winter, although that is strange enough. Nor because we're not entirely sure what it's all about, Brexit? The NHS?

I remember when the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath called an election in 1974 which he said was about who should run the country, his government or the striking miners?

He chose the slogan "Who Governs?" The electors duly replied "not you, Ted" and returned Harold Wilson's Labour Party to office, first as a minority administration and then with an overall majority after a second election later that year.

No, what really marks this election apart from the others is that at this late stage in the campaign, in the week before polling, I have never known a time when behind the scenes both main parties have been quite as terrified as they are now.

Read full article As polling day nears, fear stalks the Midlands

General election 2019: The view from Hall Green

  • 26 November 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption UK voters will cast their ballots on 12 December

"It all looks such a tangle"

That's how one of my colleagues described this general election when we were arriving in the office this morning.

It's hard to argue when you consider how so many different parties interact so differently in so many constituencies.

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General Election 2019: The view from a marginal seat

  • 15 November 2019
  • From the section England
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Image caption Newcastle-under-Lyme is one of the UK's most marginal seats

N-u-L by mouth

Everybody's talking politics these days.

Certainly in the North Staffordshire market town of Newcastle-under-Lyme they are. "What's going to happen with Brexit?" "Haven't we already voted to leave the EU?" "Isn't it really the Health Service that matters the most?" "We need new jobs here but where are they to come from?"

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Is it Merry Brexmas Election everyone?

  • 29 October 2019
  • From the section England
Image caption Deck the halls with... ballot boxes

Forget the parcels, pantos and parties

...except for the political parties, that is, should a Christmas election happen.

And quite apart from the December dateline, this would be unlike any General Election we have seen.

Forget the playground

Read full article Is it Merry Brexmas Election everyone?

'Tax on work' in Birmingham a price worth paying for clean air?

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Image caption Can a levy on employee parking convince people to leave their cars at home?

Cleaner buses and more trams: But at what cost?

That's the question gripping political and business leaders in Birmingham. The city's council is promising substantial investment in public transport because "it needs to move away from an over-reliance on cars".

Easier said than done.

Read full article 'Tax on work' in Birmingham a price worth paying for clean air?

'My Government will'... Well, what will it do?

  • 14 October 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption First the theory, then the reality of the Queen's Speech

The Biggest Day in Parliament

In theory, there is no more important occasion at Westminster than the State Opening of Parliament, when the Sovereign announces her Government's plans for the forthcoming session.

Already overshadowed in political terms by the "intense negotiations" between the UK and the EU, this week's pageant also has a serious credibility problem.

Read full article 'My Government will'... Well, what will it do?

Politicians beware! Doctor will see you now

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Image caption Dr David Nicholl is now the Lib Dem candidate in Bromsgrove, a seat held by Chancellor Sajid Javid

Trust me I'm a doctor

What is it about doctors and politics? Maybe it's the profession's general reputation for unimpeachable respectability that confers so much authority on them.

Without really trying I can reel off the names of just some of those who have gone on to forge careers at Westminster: Liam Fox, David Owen, Dan Poulter, Michael Winstanley, Robert Winston, Sarah Wollaston.

Read full article Politicians beware! Doctor will see you now

Government can't govern: Opposition can't oppose

  • 2 October 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Boris Johnson gives his keynote speech to the Conservative conference in Manchester: He wants to get Brexit done

Can't move. Won't move.

Be it a white rabbit or a pig in a poke, Boris Johnson's "final offer" to the EU negotiators in his keynote speech to the Conservative conference enabled his supporters to portray it as an attempt to end the Brexit stalemate.

Read full article Government can't govern: Opposition can't oppose

Midlands questions to the Prime Minister

  • 23 September 2019
  • From the section England
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Image caption Topics including Brexit and HS2 will be put to Prime Minister Boris Johnson by Sunday Politics Midlands

"He's right to bring this to a head"

That's what the Conservative Metro Mayor Andy Street told me when I asked him recently how he reconciled his support for a prime minister who says he's determined to take Britain out of the EU next month, "do or die", with his own repeated warnings about the dangers of a "bad Brexit deal" or, worse still from his perspective, no deal at all.

Mr Street went on to emphasise Boris Johnson's commitment both to secure a deal and then to see it through Parliament.

Read full article Midlands questions to the Prime Minister

Midlands questions for Jeremy Corbyn

  • 16 September 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The new numbers game: Jeremy Corbyn faces a binary question amid a Tory 12-point lead, 'five-party politics' and the supposedly magic sum of 35

The right of reply?

When Ian Austin lambasted Jeremy Corbyn during the Commons' brief but acrimonious sitting before its prorogation last week, the Labour leader simply had to sit there and take it. The former Labour MP for Dudley North now sits as an Independent, having quit the party over what he sees as its failure to deal with anti-Semitism in its own ranks.

Mr Austin had the air of a man who was getting things off his chest and settling some old scores when he accused Mr Corbyn of allowing racism against Jewish people while defending extremists and terrorists: the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah for example.

Read full article Midlands questions for Jeremy Corbyn