Section: UK

A 3% pay rise is not enough for NHS England

Louise Brown

This week the government offered a 3% pay award for NHS England staff.  I have friends not in the healthcare sector who have been enquiring if this was a good thing because the government has clearly backed down from earlier in the year when 1% was proposed. Let us look at this deal in more […]


Raspberry jam: a taste of summer

Yvonne Wancke

You can’t beat the taste of homemade jam. Shop bought jam is just not the same. One of my favourites to make is raspberry jam. It really does have that taste of summer. Ingredients for raspberry jam 1.5kg fresh or frozen raspberries (I used frozen) 1.5kg sugar 1 tblsp commercial pectin (optional) Method Place raspberries […]


Corridor issues: 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 […]

Poetry Corner


Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

Not the Armitage poem, more a Beckett play, staged in rows like The Muppet Shows. Am in some kind of digital purgatorio – or Waiting Room – as it is known. Pondering background choices: Smart – bookshelves Witty – a pub Serious – black-framed Art Lockdown breach – Barnard Castle. Anything but the spare-room drums. […]

ORCA: protecting whales and dolphins

Emily Condley

ORCA is one of the UK’s leading whale and dolphin conservation charities dedicated to the long-term protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) and their habitats in UK and European waters. Founded in 2001, ORCA work to monitor vulnerable cetacean populations and help to protect threatened marine habitats. Working with governments, research […]


Dominic Cummings: made in the North East?

Julia Mazza

Cummings followed the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) with two easy, false arguments: the money spent on more politicians could be spent on doctors; and the Assembly would raise Council Tax. In hindsight it could be Brexit: The Prequel.

Education Committee Part 3: a widening learning gap?

Connor Lamb

The last time that we explored the education committee meeting led by Sir Kevan Collins, we explored the importance of parental involvement within education, the future of Ofsted and more about the education recovery package. This are a few of the highlights from the next twenty minutes. Further funding? Sir Kevan was asked if there […]

Poetry Corner


Kim My Linh Vu

Daydream is the concluding poem in a series of four poems written by international students at INTO Newcastle University Sailing through the endless sky, I saw stars twinkle in daylight. Or did the sun drop its chandelier? Diamonds, were scattered everywhere.   I woke up before dawn, bathing in honey sunshine. I ate ocean breeze […]

Ladyboys of Bangkok at Middlesbrough Theatre

Katie Maughan

The Ladyboys of Bangkok graced Middlesbrough Theatre on 12 July for an exciting night of music and glamour during their Flight of Fantasy 2021 tour. Due to social distancing, the show was split into multiple performances over a few nights. Audiences remained socially distanced and were required to wear masks. It was a different experience […]

Testing positive: a personal reflection

Peter Benson

I tested positive on Tuesday 13 July following a PCR test the previous day. However, I feel like I have dodged a bullet as so far, my symptoms have been relatively mild. I did a lateral flow test on Sunday 11 July just prior to the big England v Italy match and that was negative but I […]


Freedom Day: free to do as I want?

Gareth Kearns

Savid Javid was pinged. We all know what that means, so it was necessary for him to inform recent associates, and it would be necessary for said associates to also isolate. This is a few days before ‘Freedom Day’. These have been the rules for us all. They’re terribly inconvenient, that’s true, but we are […]


Another U-turn: Johnson and Sunak ARE self-isolating

North East Bylines

This morning it was announced that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak would not be self-isolating. Instead they would take part in a pilot scheme to test daily. However, after a somewhat tumultuous morning there has been yet another U-Turn. They will self-isolate after all. This comes after the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid recently tested positive […]

Online learning: a view from an international student

Harry Kyaw

I’m an international student at INTO Newcastle University. I study International Foundation in Business and Management course right from my home country Myanmar (Burma). During the pandemic period, schools, universities and colleges were forced to close by law. The transition in delivering education has made the students to study from their home and teachers to […]

Poetry Corner


Jinran Wang

Forget-me-not is the third in a series of four poems written by international students at INTO Newcastle University Every time a forget-me-not blooms A girl would stand on a hillside with a bunch of forget-me-nots Her eyes drifted expectantly through everything From the sunrise until the stars only hope to love the return   Her […]


Middle England: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

Brendan is a bear. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on his pilgrimage to every Anglican cathedral in England.. Initially Chris wasn’t that keen but soon found that his Celtic charm and ready wit opened doors around the country! Here is Part 1 of a different […]

The unfinished play in South Shields

Peter Lathan

In 2012 I was asked to direct a revival on my first play ever to get a professional outing (on tour in 1975, no less!), a version of The Mysteries, as a community production for the Customs House in South Shields. It featured amateur actors and choir with a professional production team and we performed […]

Unfair two-child limit hits 14,000 North East families

North East Bylines

Regional child poverty campaigners have renewed calls for an end to the government’s ‘two-child limit’, after figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions today (15 July 2021) show that almost 14,000 families – including at least 42,000 children – across the North East are now affected by the policy. The two-child limit The two-child limit […]

Blood cancer patient’s alarm at relaxation of rules

Carol Westall

Nic tells me, in response to the Government’s relaxation of Covid -19 rules and so called ‘Freedom Day’: “It’s hard to realize that you’re thought so little of in your society. We are dispensable.” Nic has blood cancer. She wrote to her MP: “I am writing to express my extreme concern and dismay at the […]


Now there’s a good sport: football and secular saints

Dylan Neri

In preparing for this article I promised myself that I would not mention Orwell. His brilliant and undervalued essay ‘The Sporting Spirit’ is the only analysis of the horrible collective psychology inculcated by international sporting events one need read. (But please do read on anyway.) And his ‘Notes on Nationalism’ are a handy and imperishable […]

Taking the knee

Harry Gallagher

These youngmen so heavy with a country’s hope,
legs shredded by the studs of high-footed politicians,
these torchbearers of the truth, their light
shaming the shade of cynics in corners.

Five great summertime films

Phil Coghill

What time is it? Summertime. From romantic dramas to rousing adventure stories, many a film has used the season as a backdrop. Here are five of the best: Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953) French comedian Jacques Tati directs and stars as the clumsy Hulot (cited by Rowan Atkinson as an influence on his Mr […]

Little England, where charity begins at Conservativehome

Scott Hunter

A vote in the House of Commons yesterday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reducing the UK’s overseas aid budget. This, it maintains is necessary on account of the unprecedented conditions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Figures published today by the BBC show that, while overseas aid amounted to £14.5bn in 2019, it is projected to […]

Dear Gareth

Anne Greaves

Dear Gareth, I’m not a fanatical football fan, I got into it fairly heavily during Euro 1996 and afterwards, then gradually lost interest again, partly because of all the money to be honest and then other things just took over. But every time a big competition comes round you find yourself getting interested again, and […]

Keep them poor, uneducated and hungry!

Peter Benson

I would like to hypothesis that the greatest success of this ten-year government is to keep the underclass in their place. That is as far away as possible from the elite. And poor, uneducated and hungry. We are run by the elite for the elite. Any other thoughts are pure fantasy. I think that it would […]

3 out of 10 key workers’ children in the North East live in poverty

Julie Ward

We used to think that poverty was something that mainly visited the unemployed, the homeless, those who were far from the labour market through a combination of bad luck and poor life chances. However the shocking phenomena of in-work poverty has been growing year on year even before the pandemic laid waste to the economic […]


Freedom Day or a responsibility to protect the vulnerable?

Carol Westall

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus held a live oral evidence session today on the impact the removal of restrictions on 19 July will have on schools, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and on the risks posed by long Covid. The ending of restrictions has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’. In the first […]

Why remove all social distancing and facemasks?

Giuseppe Bignardi

The number of Covid-19 infections has been increasing since the implementation of step 3 of the “roadmap out of lockdown” on 17 May. No other country with high vaccination rates has allowed the infection cases to rise so high. (see Table). The Prime Minister has a direct responsibility Boris Johnson carries a direct responsibility for […]

JournalPART 4

Covid and me: a year of shielding

Peter Lathan

Day 369, Saturday, 6 March, 2021 : A most unwelcome anniversary of shielding    One year to the day since my self-isolation/shielding/incarceration/call it what you will began. Could anyone in early March 2020 have imagined that we would be in a third lockdown a whole twelve months later? Could anyone have conceived what lockdown would mean for […]