Section: UK

Coronavirus: the blame game?

Alex Davison

The reason we were trying to keep infection rates down from the beginning has been to protect the NHS from becoming ‘overwhelmed’, with cases on top of the normal level of patients. But the truth is that the NHS is overwhelmed because it is underfunded in an ongoing effort to privatise healthcare and continue to bolster the pockets of the very richest not only in our own country but also the richest in the world.

Opinion

Unruly kingdom

Scott Hunter

In the other small corner, however, what is left of Scottish Labour is in a state of complete anarchy. They know that whatever they do, they lose face. If they support the ballot, there is the prospect of unleashing the wrath of Starmer, the withdrawal of support by Labour in England, and never getting on TV. If they boycott it, they become a laughing stock – once again, as in 2014, when the chips are down, the Labour Party is handmaiden to the Tories.

BREAKING

Farage’s new party gets its first councillor in Hartlepool

Yvonne Wancke

Reform UK, Nigel Farage’s re-incarnation of the Brexit Party boasted today that they had their first local councillor to date. This is none other than John Tennant in Hartlepool: former UKIP member, former Brexit Party MEP and one-time leader of Independent Union. No surprises really. So what is Reform UK exactly? Their website states that: […]

Recipe

Homemade yeti broth

Zac Wancke

The great thing about a recipe like this is, the more of one ingredient you have the more it will taste of that thing, and that’s never a bad thing!

Save the student!

James Robinson

“The lack of social interaction is really difficult. The practical elements of my research were limited by the laboratory being closed, and I lost out on valuable research time. To adjust my work schedule was really challenging, and I have found the entire process stressful.”

Singing to breathe : help at hand for Long Covid

Carol Westall

People with Long Covid will be taught the breathing techniques of top tenors to help them overcome symptoms in a new NHS England therapy. Imperial College and English National Opera (ENO) teamed together for this programme in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The programme uses the techniques used for singers to improve quality of breath and help manage the anxiety that breathlessness often produces. Singing is shown to help retrain breathing, so ENO Breathe is using lullabies and singing exercises to help improve those with shortness of breath.

Dance teacher in lockdown

Helen Wilson

“I’m just going to put you on mute because I can hear your tumble dryer”
I continue to dream of the day I can stand in a studio in front of my students and not worry about social distancing, appropriate ventilation and a virus that has brought my profession to its knees.

A fourth way?

Owain Gardner

“Europe’s role in this weird psychodrama [England’s obsession with World War 2/Dunkirk Spirit, post-imperial failure and all that that entails] is entirely pre-scripted. It does not matter what the European Union is or what it is doing…”

BREAKING

Job losses announced at Nissan, Sunderland

Louise Brown

Nissan announced today that 160 jobs are now at risk. They confirmed that they are starting a consultation process with office-based staff. Although they say it will not affect production, this news is in stark contrast to their positive statements of last Friday which led Boris Johnson to boast of the “fantastic news for the brilliant Nissan workforce”. Not so amazing for the office staff though as it turns out.

Ignored, marginalized, disbelieved: this is Long Covid

Carol Westall

The evidence given was compelling and heart wrenching. It showed a lack of belief from some people, sadly including teachers and health care professionals. Schools ask for proof of the illness but of course, there isn’t any. What do parents do with a new illness?

Call for treasury jobs to come to the Tees Valley

Jane Neville

“Our town centres are the beating heart of the Tees Valley’ local economy. They are our culture, leisure and retail hubs, and we should be doing all we can to promote increased footfall – especially as we look to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Why the voting age should be 16

Stephen Lambert

Other groups aren’t penalised for lack of knowledge or engagement in politics by being denied the vote, so it doesn’t make sense that 16 and 17-year olds should have to be ‘model citizens’ in order to gain he right to vote.

Size matters: what next for the UK?

Peter Benson

We all know that Scotland voted to remain in the EU and that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is determined to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence as soon as possible. But what of Northern Ireland which also voted to remain, could they also leave, and the UK really shrink in size?

Opinion

Seven parliamentary principles and the deadly sins

Nicola Tipton

The government needs to be made accountable and its proposals need to be properly scrutinised as a matter of urgency. We should be worried. Furthermore, the far-right mob mentality is becoming increasingly evident to all now. We have been far too complacent and taken for granted our hard-won freedoms, rights and democracy. What has happened in America should be a lesson to us all.

Wither Britain?

Robin Tudge

What does the British brand now deliver? We took back our blue (black?) passports from the EU, only to have them made by a French company in Poland, their import delayed by Dover border chaos, and far-right thug Steven Yaxley-Lennon, a.k.a. Tommy Robinson laughing that he has an Irish passport affording him freedom of movement – um, because the Brexit he sought has devalued the beloved British passport, robbing us of freedom of movement.

Opinion

Where’s Labour?

Scott Hunter

The response to Starmer’s recent statements indicate that there has been some kind of trade-off, whereby the price of unity is the absence of discussion, and an acquiescence over Starmer’s apparent preference for pragmatism. In reality that is a dangerous strategy.

Digital poverty

Peter Benson

The Good Law Project has also identified links between Computacenter, the company which has won contracts of at least £198m for the supply of these laptops and the Conservative Party. The founder of the company Sir Philip Hume and his wife have both made donations to the Conservative party with the latest being £100,000 for the 2019 General Election. Questions have also been raised on the price being paid for these basic laptops.

No jobs for the boys: the Northern Ireland experience

John Woods

The divided communities followed different paths after the Good Friday Agreement. The IRA opted for politics and disarmed, bar a rump of dissidents in remoter areas. Their communities always valued education and new opportunities were readily seized on. Loyalists were less fortunate as competition for ‘their’ state jobs increased and the automatic right to follow fathers into the shipyards vanished.

Are things really so rosy for the Nissan Plant in Sunderland?

Louise Brown

The reality remains, however, that although Nissan has the zero tariffs they wanted, there still remains other barriers to trade – namely custom checks which will raise costs, cause delays and ultimately make them less competitive. Every time the plant has to bid to make a new model there, this is when we will see the truth of how good the Brexit deal really is. Let us not forget the Sunderland Nissan plant did not win the bid to make their new electric car, the Ariya, there due to concerns about Brexit.

Boris Johnson’s family

Giuseppe Bignardi

When Stanley Johnson, Boris’ father, stood in front of the cameras to explain why he had applied for French passport, he said: “It’s not a question of becoming French. If I understand correctly, I am French! My mother was born in France, her mother was completely French as was her grandfather”.

Bridges and troubled waters: the effect of Brexit on Ireland

Judi Sutherland

I’m guessing Amazon will be thinking hard about starting up an Irish website and sourcing products from places other than the UK. We heard rumours in late December that they have been searching for warehouse space in Dublin. In the meantime, we’ve been advised that the best thing to do is to open an account with Amazon.de, which has an English language option. There is of course no reason why a product made in China for a Dutch company should have to go anywhere near the UK, but like so many companies that have hitherto treated the UK and Ireland as a single entity for trade purposes, Amazon seems not to have thought this through – yet.

Russians, Tories and the North East

Julia Mazza

Fedotov is former head of a subsidiary of Lukoil, Russia’s largest oil company. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently reported on a 2008 review by Russian state pipeline enterprise Transneft, of huge commissions charged by contractors during construction of the US$4 billion Siberia-Pacific pipeline. Fedotov was Chair of two companies thought to have benefitted – VNIIST and IP Network, but his name was never mentioned in the inquiry and no charges were brought. The review was revealed by opposition figure and Novichok survivor Alexei Navalny.

The memories that make me me

Peter Lathan

I’m standing below High Force on the River Tees, looking up at the most impressive waterfall in the North of England. It’s in full spate, crashing down both sides. I’ve followed the river down from Cow Green Reservoir, alongside the water as it races down Cauldron Snout, and I’m on my way to Middleton-in-Teesdale. A great riverside walk.

Opinion

Roads to re-entry Part 3: Beyond division – truth or surrender?

Colin Gordon

The existing Pro-European campaigning organisations are the available components of what should be a national, bipartisan civil society movement for UK re-entry to the EU. A collegiate and diverse movement with vigour and public presence may be more effective than a monolithic entity with homogenised messages and narrative.