Section: UK

Patriotism, schools and the UK

Connor Lamb

Can a government led by a Prime Minster who once compared Muslim women who wear the veil to letterboxes be trusted to respect other people’s faiths? Can a government whose Prime Minster unlawfully suspended parliament claim to respect the democratic policy? Can a government that had quietly removed anti-bullying training regarding homophobia in schools last year claim to be for identifying and combating discrimination?

JournalPART 2

Covid and me: Christmas ‘celebration’ and tiers

Peter Lathan

In the North East we, of course, will be in Tier 3, whilst London, whose rates are rising while ours are falling, will be in Tier 2. Of course. Well, we are in the north and London is London and must therefore be better than us. Even if it isn’t.

Poetry Corner

Happyland

Harry Gallagher

In Happyland we sing our song of pride in riches from squalor, we read our press and nod along while worshipping the dollar.   Take pride in our irrefutable past, mansions built from sugar and cotton, take heed of that flag, pride of the mast and keep saluting till you have forgotten.   So sing […]

Opinion

One Britain One Nation: nil points for sentimental forelock tugging

Julie Ward

The OBON song was created by school-children in Bradford and there are certainly a lot of cute children waving Union Jack flags in the official video. Whilst I love a good sing-song and I do go all dewy-eyed at the thought of primary school choirs I simply can’t get excited by the crassness of the whole thing.

Free school meals: multimillion loss to North East schools

North East Bylines

Figures published by the Department for Education confirm that there was an increase of 5,700 pupils in receipt of FSM across the North East between the school census of October 2020 and that of January 2021. This means that schools in the region are facing a loss of up to £7.66 million in pupil premium funding as a result of the Government’s change.

Home Time with Wideyed in County Durham

Julie Ward

Home Time is the collective’s latest community photography project, bringing together images of life in lockdown from across County Durham, captured on disposable cameras by a diverse range of people, some of whom live in care homes. The results of this crowd-sourced project are now being exhibited in large-scale format on exterior walls of public venues. This is nothing if not innovative!

Review

Raiders of the Lost Ark: 40 years on

Phil Coghill

Ford does not play Indiana (or Indy as his friends call him) as an invincible superman. He gets hurt, is physically outmatched by his opponents, and barely gets out of some situations by the skin of his teeth. Indy is also far from a clear-cut hero.

Voting rights for British citizens abroad

Clarissa Killwick

“In a world where goods and capital are mobile, I think rights should also be mobile, this is why Italy decided not only to allow its citizens living abroad to vote but also, since 2001, to elect their own representatives in the Italian Parliament in order for them to have their own voice.”

Covid and mental health: the effects Part 3

Carol Westall

Covid and Mental Health hosted by the British Medical Association is concluded here, with the emphasis on mental health, domestic abuse and homelessness. In this article we shall report some of the work being done to analyse and understand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of citizens, particularly those affected by domestic abuse.

JournalPART 1

Covid and me: some highs and lows

Peter Lathan

Somebody asked me what are the top three places I would go to once my incarceration is finished. That’s easy. I’d head for the bar at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle, the bar at Live Theatre, also in Newcastle, and the bar at the Customs House in South Shields. Not for the drink — I’ve got plenty of wine and single malt at home — but for the company and conversation of like-minded theatre-lovers. For I have missed all that so much.

The Online Safety Bill: threats to free speech

Dylan Neri

There are roughly three approaches to free speech: the absolutist approach of the United States, outlined in the First Amendment to the Constitution; the authoritarian approach, that says speech must be limited to ensure order and stability, for the safety of the collective; and, a third approach, encapsulated by the blurry wording of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, with its dubious reference to the “duties and responsibilities”, which argues that free expression must occasionally be restricted to the benefit of the minority.

Gavin Williamson: Queen’s portrait, twisted priorities

Connor Lamb

While you fixate on one of the most revered and financially secure universities in our country, do you know that SEND provisions in schools are underfunded, to the point where these services could be cut due to the lack of funding? Schools across my region could potentially lose up to £7 million, which would be used to support students from low-income backgrounds.

Opinion

What is the point of peas?

Peter Lathan

You may by now have reached the conclusion that I am not a fan of the pea. ‘Tis true, I’m not. A childhood in which tins of Marrowfat Peas were always to be found in the kitchen did not enamour them to me.

EXCLUSIVE

The beauty pageant: breaking stigma and stereotypes

Jessica Ingham

When you think of beauty pageants you might think of ball gowns, glitz, and glamour. You might think of a competition like ‘Miss World’ in bygone days. You might think of the objectification of women. However, good or bad, the beauty pageant and the beauty queen are still something that are very much alive nowadays.
I recently had the opportunity of interviewing Harriotte Lane, Miss International UK 2019/2020 and it was interesting to hear what she had to say.
Harriotte is the only contestant to have won the crown in three divisions. She is also the only coach to hold this record.
Tell us about yourself?
Harriotte told me that she has been competing in pageants for eight years. It is her sole passion. She is a full time pageant coach and is dedicated to helping others achieve their dreams.
She said: “ I love being a pageant girl and have been blessed with so many opportunities to travel the globe such as the Miss International Global finals which were held in Japan. I have also been to Indonesia and America through the pageant systems alone.”
Let’s talk platforms.
Harriet’s passion is evident.
“My platform centres around pageantry and inspiring others to reach their potential. I wanted to create a community for girls getting into pageantry and support them on their journey where they can grow and learn new things.
“I have had a community for over seven years on my social media and started by doing one off coaching… The Crown Coach was born in 2019… I have really invested into my community and pageants and wanted to bring these together to help others.
What is Crown Camp and how can it help when preparing a pageant?
“Even if you are not taking part in a pageant the experience is so beneficial for everyone/ It caters for people 12+ and is an amazing opportunity to make friends and gain confidence. I have camps for different ages depending on which division for example Teen and Miss.
“The camp is designed to build up your confidence and gain valuable coaching as well as getting to experience and learn what pageants are all about. It is also a way for girls from different pageant systems to learn about each other and prepare without the added stress of the competition. Its sort of like a dress rehearsal before you step on the stage for real.
“Crown camp is a two-night stay in a beautiful mansion, on arrival you receive an amazing goody bag filled with crown coach merchandise. Throughout the experience you also have the opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the best pageant photographers in the industry, Charlotte Clemmie.
“During the two days stay we also host a Pink Party where it is totally pink themed, and everyone dresses up to match the theme. This year we have even got a pink themed room. We also host a PJ party.”
Tell us about the good and the bad?
“I think when you are starting out the most daunting thing can be the fear of how you are going to be treated and all the preparation that comes with being a contestant.
“I want to put your mind at ease by letting you know pageants are based on sisterhood and empowerment. All the girls are super supportive. You literally make friends for life. You are going to gain confidence, experience and life skills as well as being exposed to amazing opportunities. There is no negativity.
“In my experience the best things about pageants are the opportunities to travel… I have also been able to step into modelling and presenting through being an ambassador for Miss International. I have made lifelong friends and dare say I have a friend in every part of the world. It is truly amazing.
“I have also had some big names sponsor me such as BMW and was given a beautiful car that was branded with my name and title. I was sponsored by Naz, an amazing designer, who has created some of the most beautiful ball gowns that I and other queens have worn.”
Harriotte’s advice is to never give up… Be persistent and follow your dreams. She advises everyone to prepare and research so that they can succeed.
Is it all glitz and glam?
The girls, women and men who compete in these pageants work hard all year-round fundraising, running campaigns, modelling, presenting, creating awareness alongside their normal jobs and hobbies. They demonstrate their dedication and showcase all their achievements while promoting a healthy active lifestyle.
Pageant opportunities
Pageants are broken into divisions and many people can be crowned at the grand finals. These typically include Miss, Mrs, Ms, Little Miss, Miss Pre-Teen and so on. This means individuals of all ages can be given the opportunity to shine and gain sponsorship from celebrities, fashion designers and more.
This also allows people from different backgrounds to come together and compete nationally. Every year someone gets to take home a crown to their hometown or city. This is a tremendous achievement and contestants are often featured in local, regional, and national newspapers; and when the opportunity arises even international. Many queens have gone on to have successful careers in parliament, government, fashion, business and have become role models and ambassadors making a real difference in their community.
Inspiration and empowerment
Many contestants have come from backgrounds where they have been abused or exploited. They can use this as their platform to create awareness and help others who have suffered similar traumas. They are very inspirational people.
There is also a wonderful community that can be found in every pageant system. This means endless support and friendship. Most queens feel as though they create and maintain lifelong friendships and bonds that fill them with confidence. Empowerment is one of the main things someone can take from a pageant.
Pageants for everyone
There are pageants for everyone whether that be tattoo fanatics, plus size, male, and children. There are transgender females who have won competitions too.

Women in a ‘man’s world’
When beauty pageants where first starting, they were traditionally looking for physical attributes from their contestants. At that time women were seen as objects of desire and men had the money to fund these events. As women have broken their silence and gained more responsibility in a ‘mans world’, we have developed careers, businesses and overall, our dreams that were shunned for centuries. We are allowed to be individual and daring and pageants are a clear example of women developing over the past century alone.
In a world where people are developing and working on themselves like never in history, pageants can shape the way for women who are trying to make it in the world. It is a chance to showcase achievements and gain help in any ventures to improve their career and passions. We celebrate change and growth. Pageants are about empowerment, success and beauty with a purpose. ”

Remembering Jo Cox: Love not hate wins

Jessie Joe Jacobs

But we all vowed to continue to fight for our values. To never let hate win. To not allow division to be the foundation of our democracy. People campaigned for remain for many different reasons but for me, it was about values. It was a belief in international solidarity. That we genuinely are stronger together.

Refugee week 2021: it could be you or me

Caroline Hoile

I shall never forget speaking to ‘E’ as I met him off a flimsy boat arriving into Chios, packed with desperate people. He smiled at me, gratefully accepting the food that I offered to him, which the charity I was volunteering with supplied for people arriving. “What will happen to me now?” he asked me nervously.

UK commitment to donate Covid vaccine doses at G7

Carol Westall

A recent cross-party letter to the Prime Minister from 116 MPs and peers, has been coordinated by the APPG on Coronavirus. While the UK has committed funding to COVAX, we remain a net importer of Covid-19 vaccines. The letter called on the UK to donate one dose of the vaccine to the Covax scheme for every dose imported into the UK.

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.

Pride in the UK: Bylines podcast

Bylines Network Podcast

At the height of Pride month, join the team at the Bylines Network podcast, as we discuss the history and state of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK and across the world.  Hosts Chris Davis from Brighton and our very own Connor Lamb from Newcastle share their own experiences. The podcast also includes a fascinating and interesting […]

Unrealistic Covid-19 expectations

Giuseppe Bignardi

How many more variants of concern are we going to see? Some scientists believe there may a limited number of mutations that increase the ability to spread ad evade immunity: thus, the Covid-19 virus might have already played its best cards. However, there is no certainty about this.

Nigerian military violence petition

North East Bylines

“ I am glad that we have finally had a response from the government on this, nearly nine months later and that that there is an investigation into the violence and the SARS unit has been disbanded, but I and the Nigerian diaspora in the U.K. want to see tougher action from the UK government to show that further violence is not acceptable and to help clamp down on corruption.”

Supporting queer young people: legacy of Section 28

Connor Lamb

Stonewall conducted a survey regarding queerphobic bullying that found that 46% of queer students experienced queerphobic bullying in the North East, compared to 40% of students in London and 36% of students from the South East. This suggests that the North-South divide may come into play when it comes to queerphobia within schools.

EXCLUSIVE

Steve Bray, campaigner: first protest and what’s next

Yvonne Wancke

“This government has stripped away my rights, your rights, everybody’s rights. They have divided this nation…they’ve lied, they’ve cheated and nothing about this government is honest…In a modern day democracy that is frightening and we have to do everything we can to oppose it. “

Opt in, opt out? What is the law?

Richard Henson

Under GDPR, the rules are much stricter. The custodian must inform the subject of any change of purpose, in such a way that doing nothing retains the status quo, or face a heavy fine. That means they must be informed of any proposed change in such a way that they have to give explicit consent to the change (the opt in principle was there even with the previous act, but many companies construed it wrongly). The UK agreed with this; indeed it fits well with the NHS principle of informed consent.