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I am an experienced online journalist and political editor working for Trinity Mirror papers in the West Midlands and the North East, based in the Parliamentary Press Gallery at Westminster.

I understand how government, Parliament and political parties work. I am equally at home digging out stories from data, social media or interviews as I am covering major set-piece events or explaining how things work to readers.

I produce content which is shareable and promote my work on social media.

My experience with content management systems and knowledge of HTML allows me to include charts, embedded content from third parties and formatting in my work, to create content which encourages interaction and keeps readers on the page.

Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (but please send press releases to my work email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

Ed Miliband, the Jewish English Patriot

Ed Miliband could become the United Kingdom's second Jewish Prime Minister, following in the footsteps of Disraeli, the Victorian statesman who led the country from 1874 to 1880.
His Jewish identity is something he has chosen to highlight. In his keynote speech to the Labour conference in September 2010 , days after being elected party leader, he described how his parents "fled the darkness that had engulfed the Jews across Europe, and in Britain they found the light of liberty".

Recently, he spoke again about being Jewish in a moving article about his family in the New Statesman , and in a speech entitled " Defending the Union in England ", delivered at the Royal Festival Hall on 7 June.

Of course, Jewish identity can be complicated, as Mr Miliband pointed out in his New Statesman article.

Judaism is a religion but he is an atheist. He plans to teach his children (his wife is not Jewish) about their heritage, but rather than dragging them to a synagogue, he said: "I will sit down and watch Woody Allen with them".

Perhaps this all makes Mr Miliband just the man to tackle a question which makes "what does it mean to...

Read more: Ed Miliband, the Jewish English Patriot

Cameron Has Turned the Police Against the Government and the Conservative Party

There was a time when the Conservatives were seen as the party that supported the police - and enjoyed the backing of officers in return.

But somehow, David Cameron has managed to turn rank and file cops against the Tories.

Evidence for this is contained in a hard-hitting and moving report which tells the story of ordinary police officers as they struggled to cope during August's riots.

Published by West Midlands Police Federation, it was originally distributed to the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the riots, and is now being sent to every MP.

By allowing police officers to talk about their experiences in their own words, three themes emerge:

  • The bravery and dedication of officers who worked long hours and put their own safety at risk to protect the public
  • The staunch support for the police expressed by members of the public, which appears quite at odds with the criticisms made by politicians
  • The real anger felt towards David Cameron and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, after they appeared to take the credit for ending the riots , accused police officers of being inflexible and vowed to continue with devastating cuts to the police...

Read more: Cameron Has Turned the Police Against the Government and the Conservative Party

Every Party Should Back Reforms to Fight Election Fraud

At long last, serious attempts are being made to cut fraud at the ballot box.

It's a pity that Labour can't bring itself to support these long-awaited changes - even though it was cheating by Labour candidates which demonstrated that they were needed.

You might think that Britain doesn't have a problem with electoral fraud. Sadly, that's not true, as we discovered in 2005 when an electoral court ruled there had been widespread fraud in Birmingham , Britain's largest local authority.

Postmen were intimidated into handing over sacks full of postal votes. Ballot papers were changed once votes had been cast, unbeknownst to voters, using correction fluid. And police discovered six men in a warehouse with 274 unsealed postal votes.

Perhaps it's no surprise that Richard Mawrey, the judge in the case, condemned "electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic". But this banana republic was the UK's second largest city outside London.

How to tackle this fraud? Well part of the answer is to scrap the current system which allows one person to fill in a form registering everyone in their household to vote, and replace it with a system of individual voter registration.

The independent Electoral Commission explained...

Read more: Every Party Should Back Reforms to Fight Election Fraud

X Factor - it's Nasty and Spiteful and I Have had Enough

Will future generations look back on our love of the X Factor in the same way that we look back on our ancestors' love of bear-baiting?

As our forefathers flocked to the public hangings at Tyburn, so we tune in each week to watch vulnerable youngsters - and a few oldies - being humiliated.

I must confess that I've been an X Factor fan in the past, and I've been following the current season.

But I first began to have my doubts about the show in 2007, when lead judge Simon Cowell humiliated 17-year old Emma Chawner , partly for wearing a hideous dress made for her by her father.

What I couldn't get out of my mind was the thought of her dad sitting at home, creating an outfit for his daughter - presumably they weren't in a position to nip off to Selfridges and put a new dress on the credit card - and the pride she must have felt as she wore it walking in to the studio.

Call me a softy but that warms my heart more than any note-perfect rendition of a Whitney Houston song.

How this 17-year-old girl must have felt when Mr Cowell...

Read more: X Factor - it's Nasty and Spiteful and I Have had Enough

A Register for Journalists? Leave me off it

Should journalists be registered, rather like doctors?

This was the question raised by Ivan Lewis, Labour's Shadow Culture Secretary, during the Labour conference.

His suggestion was that journalists should be officially accredited and "struck off", as he put it, if they behave badly.

He said: "Neither the current broken system of self regulation or state oversight will achieve the right balance.

"We need a new system of independent regulation including proper like for like redress which means mistakes and falsehoods on the front page receive apologies and retraction on the front page. And as in other professions the industry should consider whether people guilty of gross malpractice should be struck off."

Clearly, as a journalist, this is a topic I have a personal interest in, and I may be biased. But let me offer some thoughts.

Firstly, this form of regulation would never have prevented phone hacking, nor the practice of paying police officers for information. People who are willing to break the law are not going to be worried about being struck off a register if they aren't worried about going to jail.

Secondly, many complaints people have about the press have nothing to do with individual journalists.

For...

Read more: A Register for Journalists? Leave me off it

At Last, Ed Miliband will Tell us Why he Should be Prime Minister

The theme of Labour's annual conference in Liverpool this coming week will be "responsibility", as Ed Miliband begins trying to explain why he should become Prime Minister.

Miliband has looked impressive recently, speaking out against phone hacking and calling for an inquiry into the riots - a demand the Coalition more or less acceded to .

What he still hasn't done is set out why he's a potential prime minister, rather than just a decent fellow.

This is partly a deliberate decision. Upon becoming leader 12 months ago, he ordered Liam Byrne, Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, to undertake a thorough policy review.

It meant, until now, that he was vulnerable to the charge that he didn't actually have any policies. Instead, as he said himself, he had " a blank sheet of paper " waiting to be filled.

But Liverpool is where all that changes.

Delegates will be confronted with the results of a year-long policy review which has involved consulting more than a million people, with the findings published in four reports.

These will focus on:

  1. The squeezed middle. The idea that working people are seeing their standards of living eroded as a result of inflation...

Read more: At Last, Ed Miliband will Tell us Why he Should be Prime Minister

Will taking more children away from their parents prevent future riots?

How do we stop the riots from happening again? The Government has decided that part of the solution is for social services to take children away from bad parents and put them up for adoption.

Plans to increase the number of adoptions came up in a speech delivered by Michael Gove , the Education Secretary, as he warned that the looters who ran riot over the summer were part of an "educational underclass" that had been failed by schools.

News coverage of his comments has focused on promises to put teachers back in charge of the classroom, for example by allowing them to impose detention without providing 24 hours notice.

But increasing the number of adoptions was also a key theme.

You or I may think that social services should take children away from their natural parents when there is evidence of abuse - for example, if a child is being beaten or starved, whether out of malice or because a parent simply isn't capable of raising a family.

But Mr Gove seems to believe that simply being a bad parent - failing to teach a young child how to communicate, how to respect authority, how to use a lavatory...

Read more: Will taking more children away from their parents prevent future riots?

This is Ed Miliband's Moment

These past few days mark a turning point in Ed Miliband's career as Leader of the Opposition.

Where once he was "red Ed" or "odd Ed", or the man who stabbed his own brother in the back, now he's the voice of the people.

And this is important. When Princess Diana died, Tony Blair spoke for the nation as he paid tribute to "The People's Princess".

He did it again in the days following September 11 - and whatever happened since, we loved him for it at the time.

But today, when the nation is once again shocked and angry, the Prime Minister is unable to articulate the concern that many people feel.

He's done his best, describing phone hacking last week as "simply disgusting" . But his efforts were undermined by his refusal to accept that employing former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was a mistake - and by his statement that he still considers Mr Coulson a friend.

In a sense, there's nothing else Mr Cameron could say. Admitting he was wrong to appoint Mr Coulson as his Director of Communications would mean admitting to a major error of judgment.

And perhaps that's why the Prime...

Read more: This is Ed Miliband's Moment

The Tom Watson Story: The man who took on Rupert Murdoch and won

Nobody has done more to bring the truth about phone hacking at the News of the World into the open than West Midlands MP Tom Watson.

His battle against media mogul Rupert Murdoch's empire began in 2006 - when he helped to force Tony Blair out of office.

Mr Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) quit his job as a Government Minister and signed a letter demanding that Mr Blair leave Downing Street.

He feared that the former Prime Minister was determined to cling on to power, despite his growing unpopularity. And working with Labour colleagues such as Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) and Sion Simon, the former MP for Erdington, he succeeded in forcing Mr Blair to promise to quit within 12 months.

But Mr Watson had created a powerful enemy. Rebekah Brooks, the Chief Executive of News International, was editor of The Sun at the time - and she was a supporter of Tony Blair.

In a speech to the annual conference of the GMB last month, Mr Watson explained what happened next.

"I was told then that Rebekah Brooks, then the editor of the Sun, now the Chief Executive of News International, would never forgive me for what...

Read more: The Tom Watson Story: The man who took on Rupert Murdoch and won

MPs are Spoiling for a Fight With the Police Over Phone Hacking

Are the Metropolitan Police "evasive, dishonest or lethargic" - or perhaps all three?

That was the question posed in the House of Commons by Alan Johnson - the man who was Home Secretary until May last year.

What surprised me during yesterday's Commons debate about phone hacking was how little faith the people who make our laws seem to have in the people who enforce them.

Criticism focused mainly on the News of the World and the newspaper industry in general. This was both predictable and deserved, however upsetting that may be for those of us who work for newspapers and have never been involved in hacking or similar practices.

But it's not just the media that MPs have in their sights. The police, and the Metropolitan Police in particular, should be worried.

Take Mr Johnson, who asked: "I have huge regard for the work of the Metropolitan police, but was it being evasive, dishonest or lethargic? I think it is one of those three."

When former Labour Health Secretary Frank Dobson piped up with "or all three!", Mr Johnson added: "Or was it being all three?"

Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who led yesterday's debate, was clear. He said:...

Read more: MPs are Spoiling for a Fight With the Police Over Phone Hacking

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About me

Jonathan Walker Political Editor of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury, Coventry Telegraph, Newcastle Journal, Newcastle Chronicle and Sunday Sun.

Contact me:

Email jonathan@walkerjon.com (but please send press releases to my work email which is
jon.walker@trinitymirror.com, as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

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