Category: Politics

Opinion

Full of sound and fury, signifying something….

Gareth Kearns

There is an old philosophical thought experiment that you will have heard of. It goes like this – “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This old chestnut persists because it so beautifully demonstrates how language and meaning can impact upon how […]

North East People

Shared goal to strengthen sporting links

Jane Neville

MWFC partnership Middlesbrough Women Football Club has teamed up with Teesside University to help support players from grassroots towards future footballing careers. The University currently runs a Football Association Girl’s Regional Talent Club (RTC), which helps to identify talented young players, while the University’s women’s football team currently competes in the second tier of the British […]

Find the missing millions

Stephen Lambert

To some experts, the most troubling trend is the drop by up to 40 per cent in the number of ‘attainers’ – teenagers at college or sixth form who are mean to join the register prior to voting age. A generation is in danger of missing its first taste of democratic participation, and perhaps never acquiring the habit of voting. This year’s local, Mayoral and Police and Commissioner elections could have a major influence on young people. The outcome could impact on job prospects, apprenticeships, climate change and finding somewhere affordable to live.

Poetry Corner

Reclaim the night

Harry Gallagher

She came in peace to reclaim the night,
with her sisters, a candle and a thimble of hope,
which wept itself out under flashing blue lights.

The ‘big conversation’ for young people on Teesside

Daisy Windsor

Youth have been hit hard by the pandemic with hospitality and retail suffering more than any other sector in the lockdown, their traditional first steps into employment. And Jessie is eager to help them make up lost ground once the economy starts to reopen.

“Step by step towards rejoin”

Andrew Adonis

My platform as Chair will be ‘Step by Step Towards Rejoin’. Nothing less than rejoining the European Union is either acceptable or practical as our ultimate goal. For Britain’s security, prosperity and influence as a nation we must be full participants in the world’s largest free-trade bloc that lies on our doorstep. But accomplishing this politically in the current climate must be achieved in stages. That is not to be tentative – as anti-Brexit parties and politicians have been over the last year – but to bring as many people as possible with us on this journey.

North East People

Universities and vacations

Jim Walker

Jim Walker in Red Square 1957 My brother John was at Trinity College, Cambridge so it was assumed that, after my national service, I would follow him there or go to Oxford. My mother, who was the parent who decided such matters, of course thought that she knew about Cambridge but wanted to find out […]

Poetry Corner

Worth

Harry Gallagher

Striplight eyed, Eve tumbles out
to mourning’s waking arms,
home to bed’s hollow belly,
the longnight’s deadweight
gushing from her soul
into the pillow’s soft shoulder.

Opinion

Can the North East do a Biden?

Julia Mazza

The Republicans weren’t just beaten by a superior presidential election campaign, but with a four-year grassroots fight to weaken their authority and prevent the Trump agenda from becoming law. With some adjustments we can copy their game plan.

Hakuna Covid! A country of concern

Kim Sanderson

Farida Saidi documents the agonising detail of this political and personal saga on her blog Prayer and Science Tanzania, from the perspective of a Tanzanian living abroad. In one post, her joy that President Magafuli acknowledged Tanzania had a Covid problem was soon dashed by his subsequent mixed messages and over-reliance on another three days of prayer. She supports both prayer and a scientific approach, explaining that clear Covid-19 symptoms are still being explained away as “pneumonia”.

UPDATED

#No to Hassockfield

Julie Ward

The hashtag for this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March is #ChooseToChallenge. This hashtag is also behind the rallying cry of a new campaign #NoToHassockfield which has been established in response to the announcement by the Home Office of the creation of an Immigration Detention and Removal Centre on the site of the notorious […]

Happy international women’s day: Hassockfield detention centre? No thanks!

Wendy Bond

I’m also pretty sure that Priti Patel & co have no knowledge of the rather long history of sanctuary in the holy places of Northumberland and Durham. And I think they can have no idea how many people in the North East belong to and support the modern Sanctuary organisations. These refuse to accept that people can be treated like trash and instead offer a warm welcome, in many very practical ways, to the large numbers of people being ‘settled’ here into temporary accommodation while they wait in anxiety for a decision on whether they can be ‘granted leave to remain’ and be allowed to become members of society here.

Rishi Sunak’s budget ignores the NHS and social care

Giuseppe Bignardi

The government has failed to put together a plan to rescue the social care sector, despite Boris Johnson’s claim in 2019 that he would fix the crisis in social care “with a clear plan we have prepared”. The NHS also needs extra funding to deal with the huge backlog of non-Covid health needs. Rishi Sunak made no mention of either social care or improved NHS funding in his budget statement.

Crap for our carers?

Scott Hunter

The government’s pay award of 1% to NHS staff has received widespread condemnation for its parsimony. There has been further condemnation that workers in the care sector continue to suffer low pay and poor working conditions.

Poetry Corner

1% and a round of applause

Harry Gallagher

For all the zipped-up body bags,
for carrying your country without pause,
for tending all those beds,
for tending to our dead
you get 1% and a round of applause.

A 1% pay rise: the worst kind of insult

Louise Brown

The government have delivered a huge blow to NHS staff by proposing a 1% pay rise for those working in England next year. This includes a whole array of workers such as nurses, doctors, paramedics, porters, cleaners, physiotherapists and Occupational and Speech and Language therapists. These are the people who have put their lives at risk continuing to work on the frontline over the last year while watching so many of their colleagues become ill or die from Covid-19. Remember they did this during periods when sufficient PPE was not always available and until very recently, without being vac

Opinion

Histrionics and persistence: Brexit is looking bad

Gareth Kearns

They’re desperate. They’ve been found out. They’re currently riding the unwillingness of their readers, and Brexiters generally, to accept that Brexit is now revealed to be a lie because so many of those very readers are complicit in facilitating that lie, and the consequences for the country are so grave. It’s a particularly potent brew of complicity because it was notions of patriotism and loyalty –in themselves perfectly fine sentiments – that were harnessed and weaponised to spur normal people into this betrayal of country and kin.

“Fair is foul and foul is fair”: lessons from the Bard Part 2

Nicola Tipton

Dunsinane becomes darker than hell itself. The porter declares, “But this place is too cold for hell. / I’ll devil-porter it no further.” Scotland is also increasingly described metaphorically as sick and diseased – just as the UK is, once again, being dubbed ‘the sick man of Europe’. The nation hosts a nightmare Covid-19 scenario, the economy is in a grievous state, and our national debt is eye-wateringly high.

Where’s the steel, tech and green industrial support in yesterday’s Budget?

Jane Neville

The budget missed a golden opportunity to spark a Tees Valley green revolution with targeted investment in future technologies. Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour’s candidate in the looming Tees Valley mayoral election, has joined Ed Miliband to flag up a missed chance to reshape manufacturing, rebalance the economy and prepare Britain for a low carbon world.  Shadow Business minister and former […]

A bright blue future for the Tees Valley?

Scott Hunter

The surprise inclusion of Darlington at the last minute, makes you wonder just what the strategy was. The press and social media response to yesterday’s announcement has been predictable – Sunak picks a site thirteen miles from his own constituency. It’s not so special; there are government departments in other parts of the country, even Treasury ones. And so on.

National service, secret service

Jim Walker

In 1954 all young men had to do two years of national service.  Unless you deferred it (to become an apprentice or go to university) you went straight from school, as I did.  It was a prospect that few relished.  But few went on to have quite the experience that I did. If you joined […]

Opinion

Digital friendships: taking back control?

Peter Benson

The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on millions of people all around the UK and globally. Demand for mental health service is rocketing in every corner of the world and just easing off on your mobile phone is not the sole solution but it’s a great start.

Budget 2021: what we already knew but hoped we wouldn’t need to hear

John Jacobson

In the days before Budget Day, 3 March 2021, various government ministers and the Chancellor continued to give little previews, some tantalising titbits of what might be in the upcoming Budget. It made it seem, as was noted on Radio 4 Tuesday’s PM ‘more like Budget Week’ than Budget Day. Such was the fervour that […]

A missed opportunity for North East children in today’s budget

Daisy Windsor

Today’s Budget was a really important opportunity for the Chancellor to acknowledge the child poverty crisis we have in this country – and to set out a long-term, sustainable plan to tackle this growing problem so that all children and young people in places like the North East can thrive….

“Dammit man, what are we fighting for?”: a paltry £400m ascribed to Arts regeneration in The Budget

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

In real terms £400m is a proverbial drop in the ocean and so our cultural capital as a society is in real danger of ultimately being lost to those who can afford it, be allowed to contribute to it and therefore own it. Without arts or culture our worldview narrows – because they give us the vital experience of knowing thoughts beyond those in our own heads and famously enable us to ‘walk around in someone else’s shoes’ (To Kill a Mockingbird).