Category: Politics

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.

Another protest is possible and very necessary

Julie Ward

Fight For The Future has amassed an impressive list of speakers who have now embarked on a virtual tour of the UK, focusing on national and regional issues, whilst also aiming to mobilise ongoing resistance to the unfolding tragedy of Brexit. The tour arrives in Yorkshire and the North East on Saturday October 10th.

Can we expect a return to normality by March?

Giuseppe Bignardi

Speed of vaccination in Western countries may depend on whether access to an initially limited supply of vaccine is restricted to a few countries or whether there would be a wider and more equitable distribution of the vaccine from the outset. An initial high price for the vaccines would also be a barrier for lower income countries.

Social Care – whoever knew?

Sally Young

Social care should be about meeting the needs of people as best we can; not reducing personal interactions to financially viable, fully costed impersonal transactions. People are not cost units.

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.

Enjoy your breakfast!

Peter Benson

We may compensate with a coffee and croissant, or biscuits at 11am, or eat more for lunch as hunger pangs set in, but imagine if you are a primary or secondary school student and this option was not available. Can you learn while hungry? Can you sleep if you are hungry?

Opinion

I’ve got those lazy crazy lockdown blues

Peter Lathan

I’m also beginning to think that I am suffering from some bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome. I put my shoes on this morning (first time I’ve worn shoes or socks for months) and went out to start the car. Guess what? The battery is flat, not the teeniest, weeniest, tiniest suggestion of the smallest scintilla of a little sparklet, and, you know, I feel almost relieved at finding another reason not to go out.

Education and the thought police

Julie Ward

To prohibit learning about anti-capitalism is like trying to teach the history of the Civil War without mentioning Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads.

Opinion

Mind your language!

Nicola Tipton

Is this acceptable behaviour from a man elected to serve his country? The use of the word speaks volumes and does have at least a hint of feudalism. It demonstrates exactly how some of the elite, public school educated, think of the general public.

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

Patriotism or Nationalism?

Gareth Kearns

Today, people are quoting Johnson. No, not *him*, not the buffoon. I mean Dr Samuel Johnson. A particular quote. This one: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. And I see what that Johnson was getting at, but most of the people quoting him do not. As Johnson would have been the first to tell you, language evolves. Meanings become nuanced. Indeed, sometimes a new term, a new word, a new reference is required.

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.

Planting the seeds of revolt!

Jon Johnson

Food and animal welfare standards are lower in many other countries, meaning cheaper imports but based on the widespread use of hormones and antibiotics, chemical treatments and cruel factory-farming practices. “By scrapping our safeguards, we face the triple whammy of tariffs to export, the need to maintain the EU standards we currently operate in and cheap imports as well. It will mean ruin for huge numbers who are just getting by right now” said Mr Clarke, who farms crops and livestock near Bedale.

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!”

Opinion

Bucket Lists?

Mark Bell

Stop and think, please just consider; you cannot sum up the events of a life in a bucket; a finite volume. I believe everyone has to collect their own aqua vitae, learn how to make the bucket first and then drink from the memories, therein. There is no need to write a list; there is no need to consume more and more. If you have the chance to take on an adventure then take it, do it, but do not set out on this adventure with the desire to simply broadcast it.

Transforming our communities: transforming what and why?

Penny Grennan

This is where our hope lies, in our communities. Seven months ago there were many examples of unity and action. A time when we clapped for carers, walked round our gardens to raise money, helped people who were shielding, organised, cooked, shopped, and supported our front-line workers. These many hundreds of examples of community action demonstrate that there is an alternative. What’s more, groups and individuals are still supporting each other and those in need.

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.

Speaking truth to power : why solidarity between generations matters

Julie Ward

Every major crisis has profound consequences for the next generation. The financial crisis resulted in mass youth unemployment, Tory austerity devastated the youth service, Sure Start centres and child and adolescent mental health services, whilst hiking up university fees and creating mass unsustainable student debt.

Opinion

Boris’s border breakout?

Keith Macdonald

Scotland and the North East have so much in common that we should be able to find an acceptable legal basis to enable us to work together. The idea of recreating a barrier between us last seen 300 years ago fills me with horror but that is now in prospect.

Poor Boris

Peter Benson

Does the Prime Minister know what it is really like to be without enough money or a job, to have to borrow mid-month to survive till pay day or turn to a loan sharks or a charities to buy food, nappies, pay the bills or buy Christmas presents for his kids?

MP’s Oneweb investigation launches into a low profile orbit.

John Jacobson

If satellites collide, they can produce thousands of pieces of debris that can potentially hit other satellites, as occurred in 2009 when in an active U.S. satellite collided with an old Russian military satellite creating a large cloud of thousands of pieces of dangerous debris.

Make masks matter: imagine all the people…

Yvonne Wancke

Make Masks Matter aims to spread positive messages in our communities in a creative way, whilst also protecting each other. The idea is to wear a mask with a message, take photos and publish on social media. Lynne said: ”It’s easy to use a Sharpie permanent marker to write on a disposable or re-useable mask, working your message around the folds so that it is readable when the mask folds are opened while wearing it.

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.