Section: UK


History’s a funny old thing

David Keys

History is a funny old thing. It really does have an uncanny and disturbing habit of repeating itself. By turning its back on its continent, and by preferring the company of its empire, back in the 1930s, Britain became the naive joint midwife of the murderous mayhem of World War II. And today, the direct […]

Winter is coming

Sally Young

October will be a month of dread for too many people in the United Kingdom. It is when six million of the poorest households will lose £20 a week because of benefit cuts. The Job Retention Scheme, better known as furlough, comes to an end. On top of this, the fixed cap comes off energy […]

Poetry Corner

Project Here

Harry Gallagher

We can’t afford the heating and petrol’s being rationed suddenly telling the truth seems terribly old fashioned. The food isles are half empty, we’re all going on a diet, now Project Fear is Project Here those baying voices are quiet. Their vivid sunlit uplands, so alluring years before, are now as distant as the stars […]

Industrial action ballot by Stagecoach drivers

North East Bylines

More than 800 drivers and engineers at Stagecoach North East have called ‘time’ on the management’s ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics on pay and will be holding a ballot for industrial action, including the option to strike, Unite the union said today (Wednesday 22 September). The ballot for strike action and industrial action short of strike action opens […]

Remembering and celebrating the Greenham Women’s Peace Camp

Ann Schofield

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp at the American Military Base in protest against 96 new nuclear cruise missiles to be based there. It was marked by an anniversary walk by women in late August with a weekend of festivities and memorials to women who attended the camp. […]

Poetry Corner

Cultural exchange

Judi Sutherland

Milo said it had to be a Pilsner dry as a saint’s bones, so we invited Tomasz, the Czech craft brewer, who brought yeast through Heathrow in a plastic bag. We used pale malt, a complicated mash, Saaz hops (minty, grassy, herbal); ran a slow fermentation, then we lagered it cool in the tank for […]

Audio articleBOX SET

Middle England: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear (8 parts AUDIO)

Chris Humble

Brendan McBear is a bear. He would describe himself as a New Monastic Celt when he’s not too busy taking the mickey out of The Big Eejit or BE – his companion and sometime mentor. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on pilgrimage. This is their […]

Energy crisis sparks food and beer shortages amid local job losses

Peter Benson

We must not downplay the seriousness of the current energy crisis. Higher gas and electricity prices on top of other price increases are a real problem. There is a potential for blackouts and job losses. Whilst the government says there is no scarcity of energy at the moment, winter is coming. Why is there an […]

Take a hike, BBC2: interview with Angus

Phil Coghill

BBC 2’s brand new series Take a Hike begins this month. The series consist of five episodes Monday to Friday each week, with five new participants every week walking across parts of England. Each hiker hosts their own episode where they choose the location, hoping to show the best walks the UK has to offer. […]

Trade Unions in the 21st century: the fall and slow rise

Stephen Lambert

In the opening decade of the 21st century, the key change for trade unionism in the UK have been high unemployment, the growth in part-time, flexible, zero-hours contracts and a widening chasm between secure full-time work and badly-paid insecure jobs. An important effect of this divide is that during and after the 2008 financial crisis, […]

Sharon Hodgson, MP shows support for Second Hand September

North East Bylines

Sharon Hodgson MP is proud to join Oxfam this September in taking a stand against the fast fashion industry.  Second Hand September The #SecondHandSeptember campaign is celebrating looking fashionable in re-used and re-loved clothes. Both Sharon and the team at Oxfam are concerned about the environmental damage that fast fashion (mass produced clothes often at […]

Brexit isn’t working: protest at the Tory Party Conference

Joe White

On 3 October the Conservative annual party conference starts in Manchester. As delegates begin to arrive on 2 October, Grassroots for Europe groups from around the country and locals opposed to the Brexit deal will be there to give them the welcome they deserve and put Brexit at the front and centre of the agenda. […]

Climate Justice Rally in Newcastle this weekend

Julie Ward

After a summer of record temperatures, forest fires and devastating floods across the world, all eyes and ears will be focused on Glasgow as the world’s leaders prepare to meet for COP26 in November. There are huge expectations and high hopes, but also a lot of hype, plenty of political posturing, and far too much […]

Early Day Motion: a backbench MP’s petition

Richard Henson

A year or so ago I wrote an article bemoaning those who seemed to see democracy as a General Election only experience. However, just because one party has a big majority, the matter of representing the people continues on a daily basis. Early Day Motions The level of ignorance about the Parliamentary system was brought […]

Welcome to developers’ world with Houchen and Dorries

Scott Hunter

One day into the job as Culture Secretary and Nadine Dorries has aleady signed the death warrant of the Dorman Long Tower, symbol of Teesside’s industrial past, unique example of brutalist architecture, and source of copious amounts of scrap metal for those authorised to take it away. Only last week, Historic England, assigned it grade […]

Less cash in your pocket: more costs and tax rises yet to come

Peter Benson

The expression ‘triple whammy’ does not adequately describe what is ahead for all of us, much less cash in our pockets in the months to come. And the North East is often hit particularly hard. So many prices are increasing: fuel and energy prices, travel, council tax, National Insurance, roaming charges and inflation. Universal Credit […]

The voice of children on Covid, vaccination and inclusion

Carol Westall

Involve me Talk to me Help me understand These are words I read from the summary slide from the new NICE guidelines for babies, children and young peoples experiencing healthcare. This was developed in consultation with young people. I heard these words in a webinar, Vaccination in Children: Evidence, Ethics, and Equity, given by the […]


Cruella and how she came to power…

Katie Maughan

Disney’s prequel to the classic 101 Dalmatians, Cruella tells the story of how one of the most evil Disney villains came to power. The movie takes us to the fashion scene in 1960’s London, where Estella is making her debut as a designer. Orphaned and with a unique style, Estella catches the eye of the […]

Gove’s comments on northerners: the Westminster attitude towards our region

Lauren White

Michael Gove is remembered by different people for different things. Some recall his infamous line, “people have had enough of experts”. Some recall Gove’s removal of American literature from the English GCSE curriculum, meaning age-old traditions of reading anti-prejudice novels such as To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men were slashed. What a […]


Dominic Raab is no longer Foreign Secretary

Yvonne Wancke

Dominic Raab has been dropped as Foreign Secretary in the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle today. He is said to be ‘very angry’. It’s not long since the furore that surrounded the Foreign Secretary about Greek holidays, phone calls (or lack of them) and the Afghanistan situation. When the Prime Minister supported Raab on the same […]

Cabinet reshuffle: change is in the air

Dylan Neri

Nostradamus predicted many things, but if you go back through his wild and eclectic predictions you will find no mention anywhere of a UK Cabinet reshuffle. Its nature is quantum mechanical; it cannot be predicted with any certainty, and only a fool would try. But when asked about the rumours of potential change during yesterday’s […]

North East MPs sign Dawn Butler’s motion

North East Bylines

Dawn Butler, MP has tabled an Early Day Motion on the subject of the erosion of ministerial code. The text of the motion is below. “That this House believes that trust in the ministerial code has been eroded by the actions of the Prime Minister; further believes that the Prime Minister should no longer be […]

National Insurance increases: ‘levelling up’ for the North East?

Yvonne Wancke

This week the government voted to increase National Insurance contributions in order to fund social care. National Insurance contributions are set to rise by 1.25 percentage points. Whilst initially this may not seem a lot, it is worth noting that for anyone earning between £10,000 and £50,000 a year, it actually means an increase of […]


Green tomato chutney

Yvonne Wancke

A friend recently very kindly gave me a whole load of green tomatoes and marrows. It was the perfect time to have a go at making green tomato chutney. Here is my recipe. Ingredients for green tomato chutney 1kg green tomatoes 1kg marrows/ big courgettes 350ml vinegar (I used white wine vinegar) 300g white sugar […]


Has Roy Chubby Brown become a champion of free speech?

Scott Hunter

Things were looking fairly encouraging for entertainer, Roy Chubby Brown, last week. After his show at Sheffield City Hall was cancelled by the City Council over concerns that his humour did not coincide with their values, a petition was set up to protest the ban. By the time it was reported in Gazette, on 7 […]

Climate crisis: time’s running out

Liyanah Riyaz

Since the UN’s 2018 special report on global warming (released when I was 13) gave humanity a climate crisis deadline, lowering emissions has become a priority of many governments around the world. However, 12 years quickly turned into 11 years, which fell into 10 years with the distraction of a deadly pandemic. I am now […]

Hartlepool singer driving 700 miles to play biggest shows of his life

Daisy Windsor

BBC Introducing and Radio X featured artist Michael Gallagher, from Hartlepool, will be embarking upon a 700 mile round trip to play two UK festivals at opposite ends of the country less than 24 hours apart. This is the first festival season Michael is involved with and was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity […]

Support needed for touring musicians say artists at the Last Night of the Proms

Louise Brown

This Saturday thousands of musicians and artists gathered outside The Royal Albert Hall on The Last Night of The Proms to show solidarity and raise awareness to the plight of our touring arts industries, many of whom are now facing ruin since leaving the European Union. David Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Featured Artists Coalition […]

Social care: now we know

Sally Young

Eleven months ago I wrote an article for North East Bylines called ‘Social care: whoever knew’. The title was written in ironic font. This week the government unveiled its plans for social care in England. There are numerous controversies within this relatively short document, that has been eleven years in the making. It includes the […]