Posts Tagged ‘Barnsley’

Stronger In or Vote Leave: The view from the café

18/03/2016, 04:46:08 PM

In the second of a series looking at the views of people from outside of the political bubble, on the EU referendum, Lucy Ashton gets the perspective from a local café.

In a Barnsley café, three woman are chatting about the EU referendum over a pot of Yorkshire Tea.

Brussels may seem a world away from this backstreet café but the referendum is definitely a pressing issue for Jane, Donne and Chloe, three colleagues at a respected, successful South Yorkshire company.

Jane, a company director, says she wants to know all the implications as an individual, as an employer and as a member of the business community.

“The EU touches on every single aspect of life, so much of our legislation is created by Europe,” she says, sipping her tea.

“If you look at the Working Time Directive – what would be the consequences if we left the EU? Would that piece of legislation continue? Would the Government have to start afresh and make it a new British law? Would the cost of implementing any new legislation be colossal?

“Britain pays £35 million into the EU daily, which I know some people are unhappy about, but Barnsley and South Yorkshire has also received a huge amount of European funding for regeneration.

“I have a lot of questions but don’t feel they are being answered. My worry is the issues are so complex, they will wash over everyone and people will vote for Boris Johnson because they like his hair or some other daft reason.”

Chloe, who is 19, voted for the first time in the 2015 General Election and is looking forward to voting again but is undecided.

“It seemed much easier to decide with the General Election as there were very definite political parties with manifestos and if you wanted to, you could speak to candidates directly,” she says, nibbling on a Yorkshire ham sandwich.

“With the referendum, I honestly don’t know which way to vote as no one has explained the consequences if we leave. There doesn’t seem to be any straight forward information, no one has drawn up a list of what will happen if we stay or go.”

Donna nods. “Every time you make a major decision in life you can read the details, take advice and weigh up the pros and cons yet with something as serious as the referendum, there doesn’t seem to be any information at all.

“There are huge consequences yet the issue has been really badly communicated and there are so many unanswered questions.

“Along with the impact on Britain, what would happen to other countries if we pulled out? Would Greece collapse completely? Would Germany become a super power? Should we have a responsibility to other countries?”

As they order another round of tea, Jane sums up the general feeling. “It’s frightening to think in four months’ time everyone will have to make a momentous decision that will affect not just Britain, but the whole of Europe.”

Lucy Ashton is a journalist and former Political Editor

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Rather than shedding tears for Mrs.Thatcher, Tory Ministers should apologise for their coalfields’ legacy

04/01/2014, 11:01:45 AM

by Michael Dugher

With the release of the cabinet papers on the 1984 miners’ strike, one of the more shameful chapters of our history has once again been exposed – and it’s time today’s Tory ministers apologised for the sins of their fathers.

Yesterday cabinet papers from 1984 revealed that Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government did have a secret hit list of pits earmarked for closure.  Despite denials by the then government and by the National Coal Board, we now know that Tories planned to close 75 mines at the cost of some 65,000 jobs.

The papers also revealed that the previous Conservative government did seek to influence police tactics and put pressure on them to escalate the dispute.  Government ministers at the time pressured the Home Secretary, Leon Britton, to ensure chief constables adopt a “more vigorous interpretation of their duties”.

Shockingly, the cabinet papers also show that the Tories were willing to go as far as declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army in order to gain victory over the striking miners and the unions – confirmation that it was a central tenet of government policy to regard tax-paying, law-abiding colliery workers, locked in struggle to defend their jobs and their way of life, as (to use that awful phrase of Margaret Thatcher’s) “the enemy within”.

Far from viewing people from these coalfield areas, such as in Barnsley where I represent, as ordinary, decent, hard-working people employed in a valuable and vital part of our economy, they presented the striking miners as dangerous ‘revolutionaries’ to be defeated. It is extraordinary to think that a British Prime Minister would seriously consider deployment of the British Armed Forces against ordinary British communities to further her domestic political ends, but this is the ugly truth of the Thatcher administration.

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Sergeant Watson sends a postcard home from Barnsley

09/02/2011, 07:00:50 AM

by Tom Watson

I always find it amusing to be described as “Scottish” in the newspaper columns written by famous people I have never met. I think Jackie Ashley started the trend. Back in 2006 she described me as “burly, Scottish and a former engineering-union official….most people’s idea of the archetypal Brownite”. She was spot on, except that I am neither Scottish nor a former trade union official, though I did work in the political department of the AEEU and some may describe me as “burly”. Had she written, as Ann Treneman once did, that I was a “down market Billy Bunter” she would have been more accurate.

Actually Jackie, I’m a Yorkshire man. South Yorkshire. With heritage in mines and steel that stretches generations. That’s why it’s so great to be in Barnsley helping Dan Jarvis win for Labour.

I think there’s going to be a by-election here soon. And the climate here is a gift for the political campaigner. The people on the doorsteps are writing the slogans. “I want you to go to London and tell that David Cameron that I’m already sick of ‘im, me love”, said a kindly pensioner who voted Tory last May. (more…)

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