Section: UK


Whisper of the Heart: heart-warming moments from Studio Ghibli

Katie Maughan

Whisper of the Heart is a romantic movie from the renowned Studio Ghibli that portrays two young people following their artistic passions and falling in love. The film represents artists starting out in their fields, who wonder if they have the skills to make it as artists. Artists’ dreams Other Studio Ghibli movies have explored […]

Reading Festival: an interview with an activist

Yvonne Wancke

Festivals are a traditional part of the great British summer. After over a year when it hasn’t been possible to host or attend festivals, some tentative steps have been taken in 2021 and festival goers have once more enjoyed a few days of camping, great music and the time to chat, discuss and meet new […]


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

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 […]

“Help! I need somebody”: a problem of Brexit economics

Peter Benson

Employers all around the UK must be humming the words of the iconic Beatles song in total despair. Chronic labour shortages are holding back economic recovery, causing rapid inflation and damaging businesses in virtually every sector of the economy. It beggars belief that a Scottish farmers co-operative has had to throw away 3.5 million heads of […]


Sweet and sour tofu (vegan)

Louise Brown

This is a quick and easy dish to make that I normally serve with tofu to make it vegan but can also be served with meat such as pork or chicken.  Use half-spoon to reduce the sugar content.   Much cheaper and healthier than going to a takeaway for it and hardly any extra effort! […]

‘Keep the lifeline’ of £20 UC increase urge Kenton councillors

Stephen Lambert

The UK government should retain the £20 increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which has been a lifeline to thousands of households across the city for people struggling to afford the essentials. Charities, health care professionals, foodbanks and councillors across the city are backing the Keep the lifeline campaign and are calling on […]

The Wonderful Everyday in short supply: from Ikea to rubbish collections

Peter Benson

More national brands are announcing supply problems caused by the lack of HGV drivers, on top of Tesco and Iceland. Adding to the list in recent days are Ikea, Coca Cola, Costa, Gregg’s, Wetherspoon’s, McDonald’s, KFC and many more. The reality is that virtually every corner of the economy is being impacted. This is from supermarket […]

Poetry Corner

The fancy mice

Harry Gallagher

‘Fancy Mice’, I found out today are just domestic rodents, which I feel confident saying is a missed opportunity. How much better it would be if The Fancy Mice were instead a manufactured pop group circa 1973. They would sing falsetto over cheesy backing tracks they’d never heard, before the soft clunking of a studio […]

North East HistoryPART 3

A breakthrough: lighting in North East mines 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Throughout the history of coal mining, various methods of lighting had been tried out, some of them safe, others highly dangerous, none of them really effective. During the 18th century, for instance, parts of Merton Colliery were ‘illuminated’ by the faint but secure light of fish skins, while in Hebburn Colliery, before the invention of […]


Hangover for Wetherspoon’s boss as beer runs out!

Peter Benson

It must be the biggest disaster ever for a pub to run out of beer and suffer staff shortages all at the same time. Tim Martin, boss of the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s, cannot be getting much sleep these days as his die-hard love of Brexit costs his business trade. Wetherspoon’s is yet another high-profile business […]


Is Houchen heading for Westminster?

Scott Hunter

The minds of many Twitter followers yesterday were exercised by an article in  Prospect Magazine profiling Ben Houchen, which they were alerted to by the Politico Morning Briefing. Another article, to which that Briefing also provided a link, seems to have attracted much less attention. This is unfortunate, as the two go well together. It […]

Poetry Corner

Spa at Portavadie

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

On shingled shores of Loch Fyne Reflected through rock pools of time, Spewed from the bowels of the planet Titan’s marbles slung in granite Cushioned amid bruised heather, Cirrus sweeps as a feather Over Arran’s caldera looming large; An old god, re-forged. Gentle tides abandon jellyfish In this wild petri-dish, Shrinkwrapping surrounding shells, water evaporates […]

“New hospitals”: more spin from the government

Peter Benson

The current government has brought new meaning to the word ‘dishonesty’, as in creating a false illusion that something is real when it clearly is not. In good old-fashioned language it’s a bare faced lie. And as such we need to call it as it is. This has been likened to adding a garden shed to your […]

Poetry Corner

What’s for dinner today?

Harry Gallagher

There are foodless holes on my regular strolls around supermarket shelves, the wheels on my trolley having come off, and the folly is we did it to ourselves. We looked back rosily at war, at Normandy and Agincourt and opted for more strife. Now the irony is endless; we sit here friendless as driverless lorries […]

Your Name: an emotional and memorable animated film

Katie Maughan

Your Name is a stunning animated movie from director Makoto Shinkai that tells the story of two teenagers who find that they are swapping bodies frequently. They find a way to make the strange lifestyle work by keeping in contact virtually and guiding each other through their daily lives. Things get more complicated when they […]

North East HistoryPART 2

Accidents in the North East coalmines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Many accidents were caused by falls of stone or of coal, men falling down shafts, the use of gunpowder for blasting, and breakages of the winding ropes which were used both for raising coal to the surface and for raising and lowering the miners to and from the mine. Accidents were numerous, so numerous in […]

Poetry Corner

The fires of London

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

The baker’s shop, an oven, a single ember, Igniting something from nothing. Heat from hot, from not, Room zero becomes inferno. Freezing-fire from an old Hotpoint A cold spark of faulty friction A random lightning strike In the tinder box of unrest. Two smouldering summers, centuries apart. One city consumed by fiery rage. Pudding Lane […]

Another country: a year away from England

Judi Sutherland

I’ve been quiet for quite a while from my new home in Ireland. We’ve been buying a house and settling in, which was a lot of work, and getting vaccinated (my car died in a plume of smoke as I drove to the vaccination centre – I don’t want to talk about it). It turns […]

APPG on Coronavirus: Workforce, well-being and NHS capacity

Carol Westall

The latest APPG Coronavirus oral evidence session on workforce, well-being and NHS capacity was held on Tuesday. Question: how will the NHS survive winter? “The problem is so extreme that up to 70% of the NHS working population are considering a career change over the course of the next 12 months” This was a startling […]

Poetry Corner

Letter from the Express to its readers

Harry Gallagher

When will it dawn on you we are anything but friends? Still, 75p says you’ll stick with me until the bitter end. Were you hoping that my gloss would grub off on your sleeve? You’re as foreign to me as the refugee I spit on as they leave. Just because our target’s placed on someone […]


Border anniversaries: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

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 […]

North East HistoryPART 1

Dangerous jobs in the North East coal mines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Without coal, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would have been impossible, The steam engine could not have operated without it; the iron industry demanded it. Coal was in fact at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. In this North East History series, Audrey Marshall takes a look at the issues of safety and eventual legislation for […]


Campaigning methods for pro-Europeans: positive or negative?

Colin Gordon

Hope and fear are both powerful forces, in politics as in life. Often, they are two sides of a same reality. We hope for life and health, and fear illness and death. We hope for peace and security, we fear war and disaster. We hope for plenty, we fear poverty. People selling a product or […]

McDonald’s: I’m no longer “lovin’ it”

Peter Benson

The food shortage crisis engulfing hospitality sector has now claimed a new high profile scalp, Mc Donald’s. The tabloids are reporting  that customers of Mc Donald’s are fuming and furious with the lack of milk shakes and bottled water. There are also multiple reports on social media that North East based Greggs is also suffering from […]