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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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?

Opinion

It’s still a man’s world

Peter Benson

By contrast, Labour has put forward 17 male and 17 female shadow cabinet members on The Andrew Marr Show. On Sophy Ridge on Sunday, 18 male shadow cabinet ministers and 17 female shadow cabinet ministers have made an appearance since the first lockdown.

Size matters: what next for the UK?

Peter Benson

We all know that Scotland voted to remain in the EU and that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is determined to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence as soon as possible. But what of Northern Ireland which also voted to remain, could they also leave, and the UK really shrink in size?

Digital poverty

Peter Benson

The Good Law Project has also identified links between Computacenter, the company which has won contracts of at least £198m for the supply of these laptops and the Conservative Party. The founder of the company Sir Philip Hume and his wife have both made donations to the Conservative party with the latest being £100,000 for the 2019 General Election. Questions have also been raised on the price being paid for these basic laptops.

Cardiac Arrest: an international rescue in the ‘heart’ of London

Peter Benson

John and I talked dozens of times over the following hours and days, has the pub or police called, is she still alive? We did not know but as the hours turned into days and the days into weeks, we were confident she was still alive and the stress started to ease away. We never got the call or a letter in the post.

3p in my bank account: the story of Tony and Boris – both ‘just about managing’

Peter Benson

Tony is so proud he hates asking for help and always says there are so many others who are worse off than him. He volunteers at a charity in London; manning the library, sorting new books received, and handing them out. He loves it as he is on a rota and has a few buddies. There he is valued. He would never reveal just how badly-off he actually is as he doesn’t want people to know.

Every ten seconds…

Peter Benson

But who is really looking out for the hungry in the UK? It seems to be down to all of us and businesses around the UK and an army of volunteers who so generously give their time energy and often money to volunteer in a charity food bank.

UPDATED

How low will Jenrick go? UPDATED

Peter Benson

The public accounts committee (PAC ) of MP’S issued a highly critical report on the actions of Mr Jenrick on the 11th November with the chair of the PAC suggesting that the distribution of funds gave “every appearance of having being politically motivated “

Opinion

Would you pay for a hug?

Peter Benson

How sad it is that real people and human interactions have been left behind in the need to shelter or shield from Covid-19. And how distressing to hear relatives talk about being denied a visit to their loved ones in a care home where a familiar voice or a song can bring back such happy memories.

Food glorious food!

Peter Benson

But this food bank, like all others throughout the UK, is likely to see a new surge in demand as furlough ends and new Tier 2 or 3 Lockdowns are announced, causing losses of tens of thousands of jobs. It’s estimated London could lose 200,000 jobs in ‘hospitality’, and hundreds of thousands more are at risk all round the UK. So, a huge crisis is developing as we approach Christmas.

How low will Jenrick go?

Peter Benson

Critics pointed out that relatively prosperous towns such as Glastonbury (low-priority listing) were chosen for inclusion in the Towns Fund publication, but relatively poor towns such as Tynemouth (medium priority listing) were not. For medium-priority towns in the North East like Tynemouth, Sunderland, Seaham and many others, the chance of access to the Towns Fund has not just diminished, it has gone. They have been erased by a centralist, elitist government which focusses solely on the rich and powerful.

Enjoy your breakfast!

Peter Benson

We may compensate with a coffee and croissant, or biscuits at 11am, or eat more for lunch as hunger pangs set in, but imagine if you are a primary or secondary school student and this option was not available. Can you learn while hungry? Can you sleep if you are hungry?

Poor Boris

Peter Benson

Does the Prime Minister know what it is really like to be without enough money or a job, to have to borrow mid-month to survive till pay day or turn to a loan sharks or a charities to buy food, nappies, pay the bills or buy Christmas presents for his kids?

Give peace a chance

Peter Benson

I can’t believe that we still need to talk about peace in Ireland in September 2020. The Good Friday Agreement was signed on 10th April 1998; that’s over 22 years ago. Peace, this unique and precious commodity is being gambled with and traded in the most underhand and despicable way possible by the Westminster government. The […]

Mind the gap!

Peter Benson

Blackpool is a famous seaside town tucked away just 27 miles north of Liverpool and within an hour’s drive from Manchester. It’s famous for many reasons, the promenade, the beach, the tower, the illuminations and of course the glitterball which each year sees the cast and crew from Strictly Come Dancing pay a visit to its […]