As a kid in Italy in the late 1970s, I fell in love with a country called ‘Inghilterra’. This word translates as ‘England’, but at that age I was not aware of the four countries that make up the UK nor of the political issues amongst them. Inghilterra was the country of my favourite British […]
A personal reflection on a protest On Tuesday 18th August I joined a protest outside Chequers, the country residence of the Prime Minister of the UK. The group was there primarily to draw attention to the Russia Report. So much for taking our sovereignty back! In the words of Dominic Grieve QC, former attorney general […]
One in three companies expect to make redundancies by the end of September.
We didn’t set out to become Brefugees. What happened to us may well become more and more common as the UK’s Brexit recession sets in.
A contemporary review of Alan Bleasdale’s 1982 television series. Is it relevant today?
Gail Ward is one of the foremost activists in the UK on disability rights. She has an impressive CV when it comes to both raising awareness of the issues at hand, as well as fighting and winning battles on behalf of disabled citizens like her across the UK. She is currently standing for the position […]
Many commentators currently believe that ministers are scapegoating PHE for their own failures.
Today it was announced that the controversial ‘algorithm’ which decided A-level and GCSE grades would finally be abolished. This is a huge U- turn from the Westminster government. The algorithm was initially used as a way of standardising this year’s A-level results and was based largely on a student’s prior attainment as well as a […]
Education should be an essential part of a thriving vibrant democracy. However, on Thursday 14th August when A-level results were released this concept was in question. I had the opportunity to join a student led protest outside both Downing Street and the Department of Education on Friday 14th August. My daughter is scheduled to receive […]
Algorithms have been mentioned a lot in recent days. We hear that it was an ‘algorithm’ that was responsible for the ‘downgrading’ of A level results this year. In fact, there is nothing wrong with an algorithm. Of itself it is neutral. Neither good nor bad. Let’s take a closer look. Firstly, what is an […]
Local residents from the North East held a socially distanced night vigil outside the Nissan factory in Sunderland (Washington) on Friday 14th August at 9.30pm. The group is concerned about the effect of a No Deal Brexit on industry and jobs throughout the North East and particularly at the Nissan plant in Sunderland. Members of […]
On military philosophers and mercenaries Two striking discussions of Dominic Cummings have described him as a ‘mercenary’. The Newcastle social scientist and child poverty expert, the late John Veit-Wilson, commented in the Guardian that “it has long seemed obvious that Cummings was a highly articulate chancer and mercenary for neo-liberal US billionaires.” A reviewer of […]
The culture and hospitality sector is in danger. Many theatres have a limited number of months, or weeks before they completely run out of funding. Pubs that employ musicians to draw in punters are struggling badly and some are closing for good. People who work in the arts sector are finding themselves with little or […]
Schools in the UK have been totally or partially closed since 20th March. This time has not been utilised well to make realistic and sustainable plans for reopening. Boris Johnson has argued that reopening schools in September with full attendance is necessary to restart the economy. He has subsequently put more emphasis on the concept […]
At the beginning of March this year I met up with some friends in Sheffield. We had all been involved in a project on poverty some years ago; as often happens, we had become friends and had kept in touch over the years. We are all women aged over 60, from different places, different work […]
Following the statement by Dominic Cummings in The Times on 30th June, that he would like to “take an axe”, to planning laws, Boris Johnson has now publicly stated that he wants to “tear down the system and start again”. Obviously, a reprise of Cumming’s intentions, the result is essentially the same. Either way, chopping […]
The progress of the Agriculture Bill Can No Deal Brexit be averted? Good news. It can! If the House of Lords amendment passes when it returns to the House of Commons in September it may kill off the nightmare of a No Deal Brexit! This may surprise you. I did say “if”, but It’s a […]
Today it was announced that A-level and GCSE students in England would be guaranteed to achieve a grade which was no lower than their ‘mock’ grade. This begs a number of questions. Firstly, how accurate is a mock grade? Many of us have heard countless times the expression “it’s only the mocks”. As one Newcastle […]
Meeting one’s idol at any age is momentous. I met mine when I was just 18 and deeply immersed in local politics in Ireland, during the Summer of 1981. Politics was in my blood and I was active since the age of 16, in County Kildare, Ireland. My political involvement centred around the youth wing […]
On graphs, statistics and misleading numbers We are bombarded with numbers, graphs and statistics every day. We turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper, click on a website and there they are, a vast array of images, figures and assumptions, so much to absorb and understand. It can be tempting to just soak it […]
On democracy, Brexit and Russian money It can be difficult to have any faith in our current democracy, but I suppose when we compare the UK to Russia or China or indeed some other countries, we might consider ourselves lucky. Democracy is defined as ‘The belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves’ (Cambridge English Dictionary) […]
During this challenging time, discovering and producing a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine in a short period of time is a formidable challenge, but not the only one. Despite the evident benefits of vaccines (10 million deaths were saved by vaccines just in 2010-2015), the influence of anti-vaccination movements is increasing. However, history shows us […]
On independence, Russian style The House of Commons Select Committee on the Future Relationship with Europe conducted its last oral session before the summer recess interviewing experts on the future of UK foreign and security policies after Brexit, and the scope for future coordination in these areas with the EU. Professor Malcolm Chalmers, from the […]
The first in a 3 part series investigating and analysing the relationships between Brexit and Russia and the part played by Dominic Cummings. Part 1 considers ‘Central Asia’, science, ‘weirdos and misfits’
Boris Johnson has rejected a level playing field with the EU in relation to workers’ rights and other standards. This position makes it increasingly likely that there will not be a trade deal with the EU.
The Mirror & The Light is a triumph. It may win awards for the whole trilogy, but at 875 pages long, it suffers most when Mantel’s imagination overrides history.
Dialogue has to start and respectful truth has to be spoken, otherwise any attempts at solutions are just one misunderstanding, one celebration, one meme from collapse.
Working in the Performing Arts is not a career but a way of life. It’s not what you do, but what you are.
Virtually every day, fresh job loss announcements are made: some national such as EasyJet, Boots, Marks & Spencer and Intu, some local like Nissan and De La Rue.
Remember what the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and others promised us to win their referendum four years ago? How are these promises turning out?