Section: UK

Inflation: the real cost of rising prices

Peter Benson

I renewed my household insurance on 31 July and it was a shock. The renewal price had jumped from £253.40 to £294.24, an increase of 16%.  My  attempt at negotiation failed: ”Mr Benson this is the final price after all the discounts”. Rising prices I have had so many prices rises in recent months. The car insurance […]

Global climate warming is no longer a risk: it is here and now

Neil Taylor

Polar ice loss is accelerating In a previous article I wrote about the importance of global ice in moderating the earth’s climate. Since that time, as predicted, things have become worse. The global albedo due to ice has reduced by more than 10% since 1980. In August 2020 Canada’s last arctic ice sheet collapsed, and […]


Vegan trifle: with gluten-free and low sugar options

Louise Brown

My friends and family have a variety of dietary needs which include vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and low-sugar for diabetes.  I have become used to adapting food for them at various events! This is one of my favourite desserts from childhood – trifle which can be adapted to suit different dietary needs with a quick version […]

It will not be long now…

Harry Gallagher

It will not be long now until dandelions have strangled the black ground beneath them and no traces remain save for the props and the poison filling up the cavernous belly of the carcass slain by a fortyfaced dragon bent on revenge. It will not be long now until nobody is left who remembers the […]


Daytime TV: Dead comedians’ channel

Peter Lathan

OK. Yes. I do watch a fair amount of daytime TV. I admit it. I never used to, but self-isolation / shielding / lockdown forced it on me. And it’s not all nightmare-inducing; some of it is fun. So what do I watch? Well, mainly Gold (or, as I prefer to call it, the Dead […]


The importance of place: 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 […]

Margaret Llewelyn Davies: With Women for a New World

Ann Schofield

Ruth Cohen’s biography of Margaret Llewelyn Davies (1861-1944) provides a warmly appreciative description of the life, politics, and activism of this outstanding woman. It also brings alive her genius, tenacity, and persistent abilities as a socialist, feminist, and leading activist within the Cooperative Movement. By all accounts, as Cohen records, Margaret Llewelyn Davies was good […]


Daytime TV: a command from on high

Peter Lathan

What a day! Early afternoon and thick black clouds full of rattling and rumbling thunder; lightening sharp and dazzling; hailstones as big as golf balls stotting off the ground and bouncing three feet into the air. And it’s dark, miserable, cold. God, if this is August, what’s December going to be like? There’s a hammering […]


Superstore: a fun yet emotional Netflix series

Katie Maughan

Superstore is one of Netflix’s most recent hits, a sitcom about the lives of a team of floor workers in a supermarket chain. With humour similar to that of popular series like Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn 99, the show turns a mundane day job into a hilarious series with relatable quirky characters. Grounded in […]

Fishy tales: a whale of a time with ORCA on the DFDS ferry

Dr Jayne Hamilton

A previous article in North East Bylines showed us the fantastic work of ORCA [Organisation Cetacea] supported by DFDS on their ferry route from Newcastle to Ijmuiden. The wildlife programme run by Organization Cetacea [ORCA] on DFDS’ King Seaways ferry, certainly made many a business trip memorable for me. There is enough to do for […]

Sharon Hodgson, MP urges veterans to have their say

North East Bylines

Today former Shadow Minister for Veterans, Sharon Hodgson MP, is urging local veterans across the North East to participate in the Labour Party’s consultation with veterans. They are being encouraged to participate in a survey so that their voices can be heard. As Shadow Minister for Veterans, Sharon developed the consultation, which will help the […]

Poetry Corner

I know a place

Jude Compson

I know a place where wildflowers dare to grow with purpose and candidly bare their sweetness to a host of keen bees. The heady scent borne on a light breeze offers up a most sumptuous fayre. Carve out the time to stand and to stare and drink in the beauty, beyond compare so precious and […]

Covid, mass trauma and regional unity

Connor Lamb

I remember that in the process of writing my diary entries, I had to recall memories recessed in the back of my mind for over a year. We often don’t think of traumatic memories as ‘trauma’. I briefly addressed the concept of mass trauma at the very end of the diary, so now it’s time […]

Travel to Europe is more complicated

Giuseppe Bignardi

The impact of Brexit and Covid As the number of holidays in Europe is increasing, we are coming to terms with the changes brought about by the end of the Brexit transition period and Covid-19. On arrival in Europe, we have to join the non-EU passport queue. One critical change is that British passports are […]


Oxford and Aylesbury: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

Brendan 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 third […]


Which former Labour leader could win now?

Dylan Neri

The Labour Party is as moribund as the Anglican Church. Both are founded on supposed fundamental truths, on the side of the Persecuted, the Poor, and the Weak, and on an unshakeable ideology grounded in the teachings of two of the most misinterpreted men in history (although Marx edges it, just.) Both privateered by the […]

APPG on Coronavirus: heartbreaking for key workers

Carol Westall

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus held an evidence session on Tuesday on the impact on key workers. Four key workers gave compelling and heartbreaking accounts of how Covid -19 was contracted whilst working. Part 1 of the APPG on Coronavirus Layla Moran, the chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said: “The harrowing evidence […]

Poetry Corner


Harry Gallagher

The hollowmen are here bumbling in the breeze, truth on yoyo strings, there and yet not there. Stickysmiley candymen painting panstick facts that washaway nightly onto hazy crazy paving. Battendown your boltholes, the goons are on the loose, reaching for the foreigner, the handshake, the noose. Ring them bells at midnight, their dolour dark and […]

Covid and me: another two days

Peter Lathan

Day 501, Friday, 16 July, 2021 – Where Has the Time Gone? Look through my Journal entries for the last couple of months and what do you see? My usual ramblings and meanderings? I’ve been a bit more testy than usual, perhaps? Probably. But really, not much different, eh? The mixture as before? TV, writing […]

Poetry Corner

Nobody goes unsaved today

Harry Gallagher

The ladies and gentlemen of the lifeboat crew will not check for skin colour before extending saintly fingers, risking all so a stranger may live. They know you cannot catch fear through the meeting of lips, the free donation of air to buy another second. The coxswain for today heard the shorebound wails of “All […]

Are the media fanning the flames of racial intolerance?

Peter Howarth

Did the media’s description of penalty ‘saves’ at the Euro 2021 football competition as ‘misses’ fan the flames of racial abuse? England lost the shoot-out, and when a loss occurs we English seem to need to have someone to blame. Blaming the England players for not scoring, rather than praising the Italian goalkeeper for his […]

Vegan low-fat butternut squash curry

Louise Brown

You don’t need meat or dairy in this tasty vegan curry which is not only easy to make but also low in fat. The ingredients are easy to find in any supermarket, even during this time of disrupted supplies to the UK Ingredients for vegan curry (serves 4) 1 large butternut squash 1 onion 2 […]

Poetry Corner

The watermelon

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

When we were young they just went to waste, a bit too exotic for council-estate tastes. From the tropics to the suburbs via Bookless & Co. we loved lifting them up and letting them go, smashing to the ground the sound made us smile, ruby entrails smeared on faces TISWAS style. Sitting on the doorstep […]

Confessions of a student during Covid-19

Connor Lamb

Dear Diary, I never thought I’d be writing to you, trying to wrap up the last 19 months in a bow. I wanted to write an article on mental health and students. Given how difficult it feels, writing it like this might be a nice change of pace. So here goes nothing. February 2020 I […]


Fear Street: a unique take on a horror series

Katie Maughan

Fear Street 1994, Fear Street 1978 and Fear Street 1666 are the movies that make up the newest horror trilogy to hit Netflix. Unlike previous series, the three movies were released at the same time, each part a prequel to the one before it. The series cleverly ties together characters from three different decades to […]

Poetry Corner

Boris just lies

Harry Gallagher

Dawn Butler, MP was removed from the chamber last week for saying that the Prime Minister: “lied to the House and the country over and over again”. It seems that you can be called out for exposing lies but not for telling them in the first place. Pigs live in sties, Yorkshire puds rise, wet […]


14 dead and nothing said: Uprising review

Ade JBones Van Vliet

Early in the morning of 18 January 1981, flames tore through a three floored combined house party at 439 New Cross Road, South London. 13 young black people lost their lives directly through the fire and the toll rose to 14, when a further party attendee tragically committed suicide, two years later.  Within six weeks […]

Just who are “The People” and who represents them?

Gareth Kearns

Last Wednesday, 21 July 2021, as I Joined with the SODEM team at the regular PMQs protest outside parliament, I was told in unequivocal terms by a Covid-denier that I didn’t represent “The People”. Just what I am to make of that? I’m sorry, “The People”, but I have never made any claim to represent […]

Flags for cash? Another U-turn from the government

Yvonne Wancke

Thousands of EU flags, notices and plaques are expected to pop up outside public buildings around the UK very soon. This is because the Westminster government is keen to receive eligible post Covid funding from the European Union. The Independent reports that: “Guidance issued to local authorities by the communities ministry this summer says the […]

Research? Can’t be bothered

Peter Lathan

I had this idea for an article for NE Bylines and so I started giving it some thought. After a while, though, I realised it was going to take a lot of research and that I couldn’t be bothered, so I dropped it. That’s one of the benefits of being retired and a pensioner, you […]