Category: Co. Durham

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North East Bylines: an update in numbers, words and quotes…

Yvonne Wancke

“It’s nice to have a platform on which to share our articles. It gives us an opportunity to write on varied topics. Publishing in a formal or academic journal is often very time consuming. North East Bylines is ready to roll with quite a fast turnaround. The paper has been well received and this boosts our confidence together as a team!” Jayne Hamilton, writer

Why mental health should be a regional and national priority

Stephen Lambert

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists people with no history of mental ill-health are developing serious psychological problems for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Many are worried over job insecurity, social isolation and relationship breakdown. One in 10 children has a diagnosable mental health problem. There’s a compelling moral and economic case for dealing with mental ill-health among teenagers.

Is Britain returning to the Great Depression of the 1930s?

Stephen Lambert

Maconie argues that, 80 -years on, we’re going back to 1930s depression, deepening inequality in material condition and the growth of radical-right populism. It can’t be denied that we’re seeing a widening gulf between the north and south of England. Just as disturbing, we appear to be witnessing a big gap opening up between the cosmopolitan core cities of Manchester and Newcastle and nearby urban post-industrial and coastal towns where’s there much discussion about the ‘white working-class’ becoming marginalised, angry, left out and left-behind.

What next?

Sally Young

The North East, with its skills and industrial know-how should be at the forefront of a green revolution. As others have already advocated, it has the potential to become an international hub of carbon neutral technologies and wind-related energy sources.

Opinion

The North East is NOT (red) wall to wall Tory

Louise Brown

As for the red wall Tories who did get in, their seats could be fragile. We are yet to see any evidence of their promises to ‘level up’ the North East. This, along with a fall in popularity of the Conservatives due to the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis could mean blue could turn red again (or maybe yellow or green of course) in the next election.

Is Sunak leaving you out?

Peter Lathan

When, before the Chancellor’s statement, the Bylines editor suggested I wrote a commentary piece on government policy (i.e. change your mind every few minutes) as it related to theatre I said, “I wouldn’t dare write a political article – I suspect only every tenth word would be publishable!”

The North East’s last slave owners

Julia Mazza

The scale of slavery was matched only by the owners’ double standards. Like the anti-slavery campaigner James Mather of South Shields who, in a feat of moral contortionism, lodged a claim on behalf of his slave-owning wife, Grace Ainsley. He received £2,469 for 121 slaves at their plantations in Jamaica.

UPDATED

Don’t miss the Highlights

Christopher Wancke

Highlights Rural Touring Company puts on a programme of music, theatre and dance in Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria. How will this change and develop as a result of Covid-19?

Alternative ways to protest during ‘lockdown’

Louise Brown

In a similar vein displaying political art, music or poetry can grab people’s attention in real life and on social media. Likewise, a lockdown does not prevent us from wearing political messages on our clothes or masks to get the message out. If you are sharing such images or lyrics on social media be sure to tag in your local politicians.

Double Halloween horror show for the North East!

Louise Brown

The region is famous for its 1936 Jarrow to London march against unemployment and poverty. Although initially perceived as a failure, in subsequent years, this march was acknowledged by historians as a defining event of that decade.

Opinion

I don’t know what I am

Peter Lathan

Now, perhaps, there are just two classes – the public school, wealthy, grouse shooting, hunting, power-hungry class and their wannabes – and the rest of us, the shopkeepers and civil servants, barristers and baristas, blue-collar workers and teachers, doctors and lawyers et al.

BREAKING

Further Covid restrictions in the North East

Yvonne Wancke

The leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes said: “The evidence we’ve found from local testing is that it’s spreading in three main areas: in pubs, in people’s homes and in grassroots sports…[council leaders] have put together a series of requests to government for additional restrictions around these areas for a fixed period of time to try to prevent a damaging full lockdown.”

Opinion

Happy days!

Peter Lathan

Those were the days when the only heating in the house was the fire – and someone had to clean out the previous day’s ashes before laying and lighting it. And if the only hot water in the house came from the boiler behind the fire, then some poor soul – usually the mother – had to get up before everyone else to get that fire started.

Help! Where do I go?

Peter Howarth

If you live in America, to turn the lights on you flick the light-switch up; if you live in England, you push it down. One of the first principles of ergonomics is that is you design things so that they work in the way you expect them to. This is a basic psychological, or cognitive, principle but to achieve it you first have to know what is expected. Detractors say that ergonomics is just applied common sense, and while that is a good description, it also belittles a practice that aims to provide people with what they want, need, and expect.

Writers cramp and time travel

Richard Abbott-Brailey

“How do you deal with writer’s block?” This question is often asked of authors, screenwriters and playwrights but what exactly is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia. writer’s block is: “a condition… in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” I am an author of a published novel, […]

A little bit of kindness

Sally Young

At the beginning of March this year I met up with some friends in Sheffield. We had all been involved in a project on poverty some years ago; as often happens, we had become friends and had kept in touch over the years. We are all women aged over 60, from different places, different work […]

What a mockery!

Yvonne Wancke

Today it was announced that A-level and GCSE students in England would be guaranteed to achieve a grade which was no lower than their ‘mock’ grade. This begs a number of questions. Firstly, how accurate is a mock grade? Many of us have heard countless times the expression “it’s only the mocks”. As one Newcastle […]

Feeling sick in Barnard Castle…

Julie Ward
Dominic was here but spec savers was closed

On Sunday March 22nd I drove 20 miles from my home near Tow Law in County Durham, to Barnard Castle, not to test my eyesight but to take care of my aged father who had recently moved into sheltered accommodation so that he could be near to my mum who was in a care home, […]