This is the Haymarket, Newcastle. Nowadays it is a metro station at the end of a busy shopping street. As the name suggests this area was for many years the scene of a market selling hay and straw, a reminder of our agricultural past. Long ago but still remembered and timely to do so in […]
This is how comedy generally, and most particularly political satire, works: the people with no power lampoon, satirise, or rip the proverbial out of those who actually hold the power. It is a ‘punching up’ from below. The powerless show up the foibles, the hypocrisies, the failures of the powerful who have such influence and even control over their lives. The humour is found in the release of tension. The powerful are rarely, if ever, hurt by this – and when they are it’s usually because they are engaged in a practice so egregious that history will never be their friend anyway.
Ireland, although about one-fifteenth the size of the UK, is facing many of the same challenges. So it might be interesting to look at the different reactions and consequences of some recent events in Ireland, remembering the aftermath of similar events in the UK.
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.
The UK government has chosen not to renew or continue its relationship with the Creative Europe programme after the end of the calendar year. This is a move that is viewed as a retrograde step on both sides of the channel and doesn’t fit with the government’s own narrative about a close relationship with our nearest neighbours nor its tub-thumping global Britain rhetoric.
We must stress our patriotism, that we want what is best for this country. That does not mean giving in to others but instead working with them when it suits our interests. Europe is our biggest trading partner, and we have to work out ways of trading with them which suit both of us.
How do you start becoming an investigative journalist?
I’m scared. Not for myself, although I will be soon. No, this is for my son, my friends and neighbours and the future of our country. I’m not prone to wild conspiracy theories, but since the 2016 referendum I have felt that what is happening is symptomatic of a bigger game; something like Maze Runner, […]
The great British teenager swap has started: lots of excited young people moving to start their adult lives at university. How do they fit in with the local community?
The UK government has been repeatedly wrong on face masks and now is declining to disclose the details of how the PPE procurement money has been spent.
As the House of Lords takes its seats for the new session of Parliament, we can expect the 36 new peers to have their ‘formal introduction’ to the chamber over the next few weeks, after which they can take part in debating and passing legislation. The question is, how will the new Baroness vote? As […]
Watch out for the little things. Watch out for what people tell you when they don’t believe they’re saying anything in particular. Parliament came back on 1 September 2020 and I joined a group of protestors outside. This was part of the ongoing Stand of Defiance European Movement (SODEM) protests. On this day we joined […]
Local residents from the North East held a socially distanced protest in Hexham Market Place on Saturday morning. This was joining the other 3.5% events taking place across the country. The 3.5% represents the number of people it takes for peaceful protest to succeed and has quickly taken off as a movement primarily against the […]
In the last week coronavius cases have risen in parts of the North East, putting them into the government’s ‘red zone’ and causing fears over possible new local lockdowns.
A more questionable donation comes from a company called GBMW Ltd, whose sole director is former Stockton South MP, James Wharton. The issue around Wharton is the prominent place he holds in the recently published report on Russian interference in British politics.
We need to bring forward the date of achieving net carbon zero, if we don’t invest in more innovative renewable energy, if we don’t stop relying on finite resources for fuel then we will be responsible for over 100,000 people losing their homes and livelihoods in the Pacific Ocean.
One thing that I’ve found is that the wildlife, birdwatching, and photography communities are all incredibly friendly, willing to talk about what they’ve seen and to give tips; or to leave you be, if you just want some peace and quiet. The North-East really is a spectacular region, and I’m so happy to have made it my home after years down south.
I was working in Moscow in 1996-1997, and remember the utter destitution of the place, the old babushkas who’d won the war against the fascists stripped of their pensions and left to stand in two feet of snow, lined by the dozen outside metro stations, selling bootleg vodka.
The Channel asylum seekers are a composite group: many are escaping armed conflict or persecution. Others are escaping poverty or dreaming about a better life. There is no difference, in this respect, between them and the large number of British and European migrants that have shaped world history.
Do you know the story of the man who jumped off the top of the Empire State Building? As he passed open windows on his way down the people in the rooms heard him saying ‘so far, so good’. That story came to mind when I drove along the A69 and came across the ‘Give […]
Years ago (in the last century) I attended a conference at Lancaster University on arts and the environment where I met ‘artivists’ from Platform, a London-based collective of artists, educators and researchers who were undertaking extraordinary projects such as ‘Unravelling the Carbon Web’, which partly consisted of Platform members walking around all BP establishments including […]
Democracy is not democracy if the electorate does not have a chance to change its mind. I and many others were denied the opportunity to vote in the 2016 referendum simply because of our age.
Government A-Level debacle symptom of incoherent approach to data, and the opportunity this presents the North East
Everything about us is being stored as data and used in so many ways. This can be good for the services we receive as long as the government takes the right steps to protect us from misuse of our data.
This government made 11 U Turns on their own policies in the last 14 weeks. Whilst many of these have been welcomed, why did they get it so wrong in the first place? It does not inspire trust.
Cycling is a way of being considerate to your community, as it reduces pollution. And this is linked to another current issue: there are times when pedestrians and road users would be well advised to wear facial shields such as masks.
What is Democracy? Democracy is about giving the people a say. Not being told what to do, but having their views represented. The conventional way to do this is to have a parliament with people’s views represented by the candidate who gets the most votes in an election. Parliamentary Democracy In the UK, our parliamentary […]
There has been a rise of the far right in the last few years. Somehow it has become the new normal: acceptable and even respectable
We also have wider body language to help us decode how someone is feeling. For example, you don’t need to see someone’s mouth or even hear them speak to know if someone is bored. The fact their body is slumped over with their head in their hand tells us all we need to know!
The head of Ofqual, Sally Collier, has resigned today. This follows the turmoil around the A level and GCSE results this year. Originally A level students were given teacher assessments in place of exams. This was replaced by the use of a controversial algorithm based mainly on two key factors: the student’s prior attainment (in […]
As a kid in Italy in the late 1970s, I fell in love with a country called ‘Inghilterra’. This word translates as ‘England’, but at that age I was not aware of the four countries that make up the UK nor of the political issues amongst them. Inghilterra was the country of my favourite British […]