Author: Peter Benson

Irish Born Peter Benson moved to the UK in 1987. Peter is a frequent visitor to the North East and has been an active campaigner to stop Brexit and the damaging effect it would have on the peace process in Northern Ireland. He is very much committed to social justice and frequently highlights the many inequalities in society in letters to newspapers and on social media in addition to campaigning on these as well Peter is married with two grown up daughters and lives in London.

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Starving to free Nazanin

Peter Benson

I stumbled upon it on my way home. A night time vigil for Nazanin Ratcliffe. It was to highlight the ongoing hunger strike by Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign and Commonwealth office in Whitehall Central London. It was his thirteenth day and night there and it was a cold night.  It was humbling to be […]

My energy firm is bust: we needed more ‘Rough’

Peter Benson

Sadly, my energy provider has gone bust, It was Pure Planet, a 100% green energy provider. It’s the 13th Energy provider to go broke. I have been switched to Shell.  Another provider serving 1.7 million is also reported to be in financial difficulties. Some of these firms might have survived if the UK had invested to […]

Opinion

Wetherspoons’ boss loses out because of Brexit

Peter Benson

I fear I could be suffering from Schadenfreude, as I find myself somewhat unable to show empathy for the boss and biggest shareholder of Wetherspoons pub chain, Tim Martin. Brexit promoting Tim Martin must take some of the blame for the current crises in food, energy, labour and logistics, that the country is still reeling from. He […]

It’s colder up north: a winter of discontent beckons

Peter Benson

Every winter we take the cold weather for granted. However, this year it’s going to cost us all so much more in heating bills. On 1 October gas and electricity prices go up by 12%. How many of us can really afford all these prices hikes, along with fuel and food prices rocketing, all largely […]

Energy crisis sparks food and beer shortages amid local job losses

Peter Benson

We must not downplay the seriousness of the current energy crisis. Higher gas and electricity prices on top of other price increases are a real problem. There is a potential for blackouts and job losses. Whilst the government says there is no scarcity of energy at the moment, winter is coming. Why is there an […]

Less cash in your pocket: more costs and tax rises yet to come

Peter Benson

The expression ‘triple whammy’ does not adequately describe what is ahead for all of us, much less cash in our pockets in the months to come. And the North East is often hit particularly hard. So many prices are increasing: fuel and energy prices, travel, council tax, National Insurance, roaming charges and inflation. Universal Credit […]

“Help! I need somebody”: a problem of Brexit economics

Peter Benson

Employers all around the UK must be humming the words of the iconic Beatles song in total despair. Chronic labour shortages are holding back economic recovery, causing rapid inflation and damaging businesses in virtually every sector of the economy. It beggars belief that a Scottish farmers co-operative has had to throw away 3.5 million heads of […]

The Wonderful Everyday in short supply: from Ikea to rubbish collections

Peter Benson

More national brands are announcing supply problems caused by the lack of HGV drivers, on top of Tesco and Iceland. Adding to the list in recent days are Ikea, Coca Cola, Costa, Gregg’s, Wetherspoon’s, McDonald’s, KFC and many more. The reality is that virtually every corner of the economy is being impacted. This is from supermarket […]

UPDATED

Hangover for Wetherspoon’s boss as beer runs out!

Peter Benson

It must be the biggest disaster ever for a pub to run out of beer and suffer staff shortages all at the same time. Tim Martin, boss of the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s, cannot be getting much sleep these days as his die-hard love of Brexit costs his business trade. Wetherspoon’s is yet another high-profile business […]

“New hospitals”: more spin from the government

Peter Benson

The current government has brought new meaning to the word ‘dishonesty’, as in creating a false illusion that something is real when it clearly is not. In good old-fashioned language it’s a bare faced lie. And as such we need to call it as it is. This has been likened to adding a garden shed to your […]

McDonald’s: I’m no longer “lovin’ it”

Peter Benson

The food shortage crisis engulfing hospitality sector has now claimed a new high profile scalp, Mc Donald’s. The tabloids are reporting  that customers of Mc Donald’s are fuming and furious with the lack of milk shakes and bottled water. There are also multiple reports on social media that North East based Greggs is also suffering from […]

Chicken shortage: it’s peri-peri serious!

Peter Benson

Are you in a flap about the chicken shortage and worried about not getting enough of your favourite finger licking delicious chicken meal?  Well, if not you should be or perhaps you have not been in a supermarket lately. The reason for the chicken shortages in Nando’s and KFC  is an acute shortage of staff within […]

Inflation: the real cost of rising prices

Peter Benson

I renewed my household insurance on 31 July and it was a shock. The renewal price had jumped from £253.40 to £294.24, an increase of 16%.  My  attempt at negotiation failed: ”Mr Benson this is the final price after all the discounts”. Rising prices I have had so many prices rises in recent months. The car insurance […]

Testing positive: a personal reflection

Peter Benson

I tested positive on Tuesday 13 July following a PCR test the previous day. However, I feel like I have dodged a bullet as so far, my symptoms have been relatively mild. I did a lateral flow test on Sunday 11 July just prior to the big England v Italy match and that was negative but I […]

Keep them poor, uneducated and hungry!

Peter Benson

I would like to hypothesis that the greatest success of this ten-year government is to keep the underclass in their place. That is as far away as possible from the elite. And poor, uneducated and hungry. We are run by the elite for the elite. Any other thoughts are pure fantasy. I think that it would […]

Betrayal and the Covid Memorial Wall

Peter Benson

There is an old proverb that says trust can take years to earn but only seconds to lose. It is basic component of human character; without it we would not have got this far as a species. And so when it is broken, or lost, or even misplaced, the pain is so great and lasting.

How many lies did Matt Hancock tell?

Peter Benson

The key issue was testing patients for Covid before they were discharged to care homes. It’s been clear for a long time that many patients were transferred untested, thus substantially increasing the risk of spreading the disease, and that many thousands of care home residents died.

Party city: memorable moments in the Toon

Peter Benson

I enjoyed my scenic walking route to the hotel on the Gateshead quayside close to the Baltic. The shops pubs and restaurants were all busy and everywhere signs of life and vitality were evident. The scenes reminded me of pre- lockdown days.

Does trust matter in the North East?

Peter Benson

What the Cameron lobbying scandal tells us is that it’s time to say enough is enough, these people are effectively robbing us and it’s time to ditch them once and for all. Hearing from a friend of Cameron, George Eustace MP the Environment minister on Sky News that Cameron didn’t do anything wrong is like telling someone who mugged an old lady that they didn’t do anything wrong.

Lancing the boil of Tory corruption

Peter Benson

It’s extraordinary that in 2021 a former Prime minister can bring such disgrace to himself, his party, our parliamentary democracy and the nation’s reputation around the world. But it is perhaps a foretaste of what’s around the corner from the current Prime Minister who seems to revel in controversy.

Belfast riots expose old wounds that may never heal

Peter Benson

“All conflict is about difference, whether the difference is race, religion or nationality… Difference is an accident of birth, and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace — respect for diversity.”

Was Jenrick “politically motivated”?

Peter Benson

The Towns Fund was set up to be shared between ‘left behind areas’ all around the country but it would appear that any poverty and depravation in the North East was of the wrong kind. The fund was found to have a clear bias for areas where the local MP was a member of the Tory party.

Corruption: The 60 million dollar question facing David Cameron

Peter Benson

As taxpayers we may be grateful for the diligence of the treasury officials who rejected the efforts of Cameron’s lobbying but we must continue to be vigilant on the actions of all government ministers. There is considerable evidence to suggest there is clear bias in the awarding of grants and contracts to friends and donors of the Conservative party.

A Watergate moment for Johnson?

Peter Benson

The code of conduct for ministers says they “should not accept gifts, hospitality or services that might place them under an obligation” – and the same applies to family members.

Opinion

A morally corrupt government?

Peter Benson

The Chancellor, fixated on his own image and the Prime Minister, preoccupied with paying for an opulent £200K redecoration of his Number 10 flat is only the start. The Justice Secretary wants to restrict peaceful protests and the Health Secretary has handed out PPE contracts to a mate. But the icing on the cake is […]

Opinion

Digital friendships: taking back control?

Peter Benson

The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on millions of people all around the UK and globally. Demand for mental health service is rocketing in every corner of the world and just easing off on your mobile phone is not the sole solution but it’s a great start.

Panic attacks and anxiety: it’s good to talk

Peter Benson

I never expected that a regular, wintry morning train commute to London Bridge station would see me ending up in the back of an ambulance. This particular morning in November 2018 started like any other work day as I took my 07:59 train, albeit delayed. I got no seat, which was unusual, the carriage was […]

Don’t say cheese!

Peter Benson

I feel new words coming on to describe the carnage that hauliers and UK business will be facing this year and they’re not pretty words. It’s going to be one hell of an ‘Annus Horribilis’, and those much-promised sunny uplands were just empty promises.

Peace hanging by a thread?

Peter Benson

We all know the history of Northern Ireland but on his last visit there Boris Johnson clearly said there would be no checks on goods imported into the province from the UK. General Election 2019: Johnson insists no NI-GB goods checks after Brexit – BBC News Could this political lie cause the peace process to unravel in Norther Ireland?