Section: UK

Has the reopening of schools been planned well?

Giuseppe Bignardi

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 […]

A little bit of kindness

Sally Young

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 […]

Building back badly

Penny Grennan

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 […]

How safe is our food?

Richard Henson

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 […]

What a mockery!

Yvonne Wancke

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 […]

John Hume RIP

Peter Benson

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 […]

I should be so lucky

Peter Benson

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) […]

How safe are vaccines?

Giuseppe Bignardi

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 […]

Cummings, Brexit and Russia Part 2

Colin Gordon

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 […]

Cummings, Brexit and Russia: Part 1

Colin Gordon

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’

Themuns

Cal Doherty

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.

Gis’ a Job

Peter Benson
The jobs market is tough even bar jobs are hard to get. Photo by Louis Hansel on unsplash

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.

Populism

Julie Ward

Defining populism is not easy. It is simplistic and doesn’t address complexities. Populists seem to be against everything and for nothing.

Rule Britanniagrad

David Hardman
House of Commons and Moscow montage.

Interference by Russia in our democracy must be stopped. If it isn’t, we really will become a vassal state and we will no longer rule Britannia.

Crime control after Brexit

Colin Gordon

Failure for the UK to get access to the EU crime databases would probably move from a current average of six days to get criminal convictions to 60 days.

RecipeUPDATED

A simple sourdough loaf

David Hardman
a sliced sourdough loaf

Sourdough produces the most fantastic bread and once started you’ll love the results so much you won’t want to stop. (Recipe)

UK OneWeb: Cummings’ space oddity?

John Jacobson

In December 2018, after a period of failed negotiations with the EU, Theresa May’s government issued a press release which confirmed that the UK would not use the European global positioning system ‘Galileo’ for defence or critical national infrastructure after Brexit. Instead, it would explore options to build its own satellite system which would help […]

No to No-Deal Brexit at Nissan, Sunderland

Yvonne Wancke
Protesters at the Angel of the North

A group of concerned local residents from the North East are planning a socially distanced protest outside the Nissan factory in Sunderland (Washington). The group will call on the government to reject a No Deal Brexit as members are worried that this would risk jobs and seriously damage the economy. The protest will take place […]

Experts… Let’s phone a friend!

Kirsty McTear

A nation state and its international relations are in many ways as complicated as the workings of our modern mobile phone, perhaps even more so. The interactions of one policy may have far-reaching consequences for other branches of government not directly related to the original policy.

Mandatory face masks in Scotland

Giuseppe Bignardi
Nicola Sturgeon wore this face mask by Slanj Scotland that supports the Homelessness Charity Shelter Scotland.

Divergence from Boris Johnson appears to have reduced the number of infections in Scotland As from the 10 July 2020 the wearing of face covering inside shops is mandatory in Scotland. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has not refrained from being seen wearing a face mask, unlike the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson […]

Farmers and tractors against No Deal

Richard Henson
Campaigner with Don't pander to low food standards placard

Prior to the 2016 referendum, the National Farmers Union (NFU) recommended their members vote to remain in the European Union. In spite of this, 53% of farmers were more swayed by the Leave campaign and voted to leave the EU. No one really knew exactly what ‘Leave’ meant at that stage.  The talk of complete separation […]

A troubled birthday for the NHS

Giuseppe Bignardi
The trade bill still includes the NHS in it. Our NHS is not for sale.

The NHS came to life on 5th July 1948. This year’s birthday celebration occurred at a difficult time, just after the first wave of coronavirus. Things are not going to get easier: there is already a huge backlog of elective and cancer care, as well as the risk of a second wave of coronavirus in […]

Stay Frosty

Neil Taylor
Ice melting by Jay mantri

We simply cannot ignore the greatest threat to us all. A lot has been said and written about humankind-generated, now often called anthropogenic, climate change. While many people are concerned about this, some are sceptical or deny its reality, preferring to think of it as a conspiracy and/or an anti-western/capitalist anarchistic plot. As an astronomer […]