Tag Archives: shropshire

Rome and Jericho – Are Gove’s Levelling Up plans Byzantine?

On Wednesday, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up – he used to be Secretary of State for Growing Up – Michael Gove, published the long awaited Levelling Up white paper. There is every hint that this policy paper was rushed out to distract from the ongoing tribulations of the prime minister. It includes paragraphs copied and pasted from Wikipedia. It mentions Jericho three times, ancient Rome twice and modern day Shropshire (where I am a councillor) just once. It also mentions Byzantine, which might be a good description of the white paper.

Michael Gove has responded to Shropshire’s complaints saying we must have an elected mayor before he will part with any money. This is yet another example of how Westminster politicians profess to support giving more power to local areas, while dictating how they operate democratically. As Baroness Cavendish says in this weekend’s Financial Times, Whitehall “isn’t structured to accept that the right answer may be different in different places or that locals may know best”.

Levelling Up is a bad white paper from a government obsessed with the struggles of the prime minister and not the struggles of counties outside the South East.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Time to launch attack on Blue Fields of Shropshire

The BBC and the Telegraph have been today reporting an idea that the opposition political parties could stand aside in the forthcoming North Shropshire by-election in favour of an anti-corruption candidate. It’s the Martin Bell strategy resurrected.

It is easy to see why this idea is attractive. Bell, the “Man in the White Suit”, won the Tatton seat as an anti-corruption independent candidate, with more than 60% of the vote. At the previous election, Neil Hamilton of cash for questions fame, had secured 55% of the vote. It was a dramatic and highly publicised drubbing by Bell. It was a stand against sleaze even if it did not stop sleaze.

Was that a one off? Or a strategy we can repeat in North Shropshire?

I don’t think it could possibly work in North Shropshire. And if we don’t field a Lib Dem candidate, we will undermine the growing strength of Lib Dem activists across Shropshire where we have 14 unitary councillors and are aiming for many more.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Telling Covid as it is in rural Shropshire

Last March, we didn’t know what we were getting in to. We just knew we had to get in. Up to our knees. Up to our necks. At times overwhelmed.

The Lib Dems are in opposition in Shropshire so we could not be decision makers. Our duty in a Lib Dem stronghold was to tell the town and its hinterland – an audience of more than 25,000 – what was happening. Tell Covid it as it is.

We have lived with a tension. Criticising one of the slowest local rollouts of vaccination in the country. Seeking expert advice from the vaccination frontline to ensure our constituents know what the game is and can make informed personal decisions.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Police drop charges against Wrekin Lib Dem candidate who faced sex abuse claims

Three months ago Lib Dem Voice reported that David Murray had withdrawn as Lib Dem candidate for the Shropshire seat of The Wrekin as the result of an on-going police investigation.

The BBC reports the outcome of the case:

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him and no further action should be taken.

Mr Murray had denied the claims and said he was pleased with the outcome. He said the claims had been made to damage his chances at the election.

“It came out of the blue. It was supposed to have happened nine

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

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