Section: UK

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Opinion

Bucket Lists?

Mark Bell

Stop and think, please just consider; you cannot sum up the events of a life in a bucket; a finite volume. I believe everyone has to collect their own aqua vitae, learn how to make the bucket first and then drink from the memories, therein. There is no need to write a list; there is no need to consume more and more. If you have the chance to take on an adventure then take it, do it, but do not set out on this adventure with the desire to simply broadcast it.

Transforming our communities: transforming what and why?

Penny Grennan

This is where our hope lies, in our communities. Seven months ago there were many examples of unity and action. A time when we clapped for carers, walked round our gardens to raise money, helped people who were shielding, organised, cooked, shopped, and supported our front-line workers. These many hundreds of examples of community action demonstrate that there is an alternative. What’s more, groups and individuals are still supporting each other and those in need.

The North East’s last slave owners

Julia Mazza

The scale of slavery was matched only by the owners’ double standards. Like the anti-slavery campaigner James Mather of South Shields who, in a feat of moral contortionism, lodged a claim on behalf of his slave-owning wife, Grace Ainsley. He received £2,469 for 121 slaves at their plantations in Jamaica.

Speaking truth to power : why solidarity between generations matters

Julie Ward

Every major crisis has profound consequences for the next generation. The financial crisis resulted in mass youth unemployment, Tory austerity devastated the youth service, Sure Start centres and child and adolescent mental health services, whilst hiking up university fees and creating mass unsustainable student debt.

Opinion

Boris’s border breakout?

Keith Macdonald

Scotland and the North East have so much in common that we should be able to find an acceptable legal basis to enable us to work together. The idea of recreating a barrier between us last seen 300 years ago fills me with horror but that is now in prospect.

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?

Make masks matter: imagine all the people…

Yvonne Wancke

Make Masks Matter aims to spread positive messages in our communities in a creative way, whilst also protecting each other. The idea is to wear a mask with a message, take photos and publish on social media. Lynne said: ”It’s easy to use a Sharpie permanent marker to write on a disposable or re-useable mask, working your message around the folds so that it is readable when the mask folds are opened while wearing it.

Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”

Peter Lathan

I have great memories of climbing this wonderful hill by what I think is the best route of all the seven I’ve tried. That’s Hall’s Fell, the most central of the five buttresses which make up the southern face of the mountain. Starting with a wide swathe of grass and heather, it soon becomes a narrow rocky ridge which leads unerringly straight to Blencathra summit.

Alternative ways to protest during ‘lockdown’

Louise Brown

In a similar vein displaying political art, music or poetry can grab people’s attention in real life and on social media. Likewise, a lockdown does not prevent us from wearing political messages on our clothes or masks to get the message out. If you are sharing such images or lyrics on social media be sure to tag in your local politicians.

Double Halloween horror show for the North East!

Louise Brown

The region is famous for its 1936 Jarrow to London march against unemployment and poverty. Although initially perceived as a failure, in subsequent years, this march was acknowledged by historians as a defining event of that decade.

Opinion

No good news ever goes unpunished

Peter Lathan

Billingham Forum plans to go ahead with its panto this year…Cause, you may think, for celebration. A little bit of good news amid the theatrical gloom. ..

Opinion

I don’t know what I am

Peter Lathan

Now, perhaps, there are just two classes – the public school, wealthy, grouse shooting, hunting, power-hungry class and their wannabes – and the rest of us, the shopkeepers and civil servants, barristers and baristas, blue-collar workers and teachers, doctors and lawyers et al.

Peace is fragile and needs your help

Julie Ward

So in the midst of this maelstrom of testosterone-fuelled theatrics what can the genuine peace loving individual do to help avoid Armageddon? Firstly, mark the day in your diary this year and every year. Don’t let the UK forget its historic foundational role so spread the word and tell all your friends.

Working from where?

Sally Young

Employers are starting to realise that they can cut down on office costs, reduce the difficulties and risks of social distancing and quarantine and enhance the geographical diversity of their workforce. Workers can see the advantages of not having long commutes, saving transport costs, possibly having more autonomy on how they work, and a potentially more pleasant environment. Clearly there could be a massive impact on the environment in reducing emissions.

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 […]

Ghost Light: an interview with Jen Stevens, singer songwriter

Yvonne Wancke

“I come from quite a musical family, I started learning piano aged four and have sung for as long as I can remember. My parents were into a mixed bag of music, so I grew up listening to everything from the Beatles to Grieg. I started off studying classical music, both for piano and voice and then moved towards folk and jazz. I was gigging from the age of 15 and have worked as a professional musician since then. Music has always been an integral part of my life.”

BREAKING

Further Covid restrictions in the North East

Yvonne Wancke

The leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes said: “The evidence we’ve found from local testing is that it’s spreading in three main areas: in pubs, in people’s homes and in grassroots sports…[council leaders] have put together a series of requests to government for additional restrictions around these areas for a fixed period of time to try to prevent a damaging full lockdown.”

Shorting the Tech Sector – With state aid we’ve got it made: technical misnomers

Dr Jayne Hamilton

What would be the criteria for awarding state aid to a tech firm or a project? Would there be viable tests and assessments? Could more government money be thrown away and wasted? Will we see a mushrooming of dodgy algorithms and apps which do not function properly. Will they invest in the wrong companies again and waste yet more of government funds? Will the state aid land once more in the hands of companies and individuals who are associates of government staff, advisors and donors?

Letter to a northern conservative MP

Kim Cowie

Does Johnson actually speak for ordinary Tories? Does Johnson represent your views? Johnson was elected on the basis of having personally negotiated a ‘fantastic’, ‘oven-ready’ deal with Europe, what happened to it? Is the government so incompetent and negligent it doesn’t read the small print of the international agreements it negotiates? How will you vote tomorrow?

Opinion

Happy days!

Peter Lathan

Those were the days when the only heating in the house was the fire – and someone had to clean out the previous day’s ashes before laying and lighting it. And if the only hot water in the house came from the boiler behind the fire, then some poor soul – usually the mother – had to get up before everyone else to get that fire started.

Stop scapegoating students

Carlos Conde Solares

Over the past few years, the average British millennial has been stripped of their European citizenship, and all the exciting life opportunities it entails, largely against their will. Young people remain well and truly locked out of an inhuman housing market. They are forced to work long hours on top of full-time studies yet will still graduate dozens of thousands of pounds in debt and into yet another catastrophic recession that is not of their own making.

Save British Farming and No to No Deal protest in Newcastle

Yvonne Wancke

This is the Haymarket, Newcastle. Nowadays it is a metro station at the end of a busy shopping street. As the name suggests this area was for many years the scene of a market selling hay and straw, a reminder of our agricultural past. Long ago but still remembered and timely to do so in […]