Category: Politics

Experts… Let’s phone a friend!

Kirsty McTear

A nation state and its international relations are in many ways as complicated as the workings of our modern mobile phone, perhaps even more so. The interactions of one policy may have far-reaching consequences for other branches of government not directly related to the original policy.

Mandatory face masks in Scotland

Giuseppe Bignardi
Nicola Sturgeon wore this face mask by Slanj Scotland that supports the Homelessness Charity Shelter Scotland.

Divergence from Boris Johnson appears to have reduced the number of infections in Scotland As from the 10 July 2020 the wearing of face covering inside shops is mandatory in Scotland. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has not refrained from being seen wearing a face mask, unlike the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson […]

Absolute ‘socially distanced’ Cabaret in Sunderland

Helen Wilson
Absolute Cabaret perform socially distanced in care homes

If someone had told me four months ago that Absolute Cabaret would be putting a show together without actually seeing each other in person until the day of the show, rehearsing everything online and then not being able to get closer than two metres to each other on the day of the show, I would […]

Good Neighbours in Byker

Yvonne Wancke
Byker Mutual Aid banner

The beginning of lockdown saw a huge number of Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups spring up around the country. One of the first such groups to get started in Newcastle was Byker, an area close to the city centre. I talked to Silvie Fisch, local resident and group member to find out more. “The group was initiated […]

Farmers and tractors against No Deal

Richard Henson
Campaigner with Don't pander to low food standards placard

Prior to the 2016 referendum, the National Farmers Union (NFU) recommended their members vote to remain in the European Union. In spite of this, 53% of farmers were more swayed by the Leave campaign and voted to leave the EU. No one really knew exactly what ‘Leave’ meant at that stage.  The talk of complete separation […]

Jacob Young’s bad hair day

Scott Hunter
Jacob Young MP's Haircut

Redcar and Cleveland MP tweets out a joke about his new haircut, and gets back more than he bargained for. It’s turning out to be an entertaining week for Redcar MP Jacob Young. It started last Saturday with him getting his first bought haircut in three months. He was so pleased with it that he […]

A troubled birthday for the NHS

Giuseppe Bignardi
The trade bill still includes the NHS in it. Our NHS is not for sale.

The NHS came to life on 5th July 1948. This year’s birthday celebration occurred at a difficult time, just after the first wave of coronavirus. Things are not going to get easier: there is already a huge backlog of elective and cancer care, as well as the risk of a second wave of coronavirus in […]

Stay Frosty

Neil Taylor
Ice melting by Jay mantri

We simply cannot ignore the greatest threat to us all. A lot has been said and written about humankind-generated, now often called anthropogenic, climate change. While many people are concerned about this, some are sceptical or deny its reality, preferring to think of it as a conspiracy and/or an anti-western/capitalist anarchistic plot. As an astronomer […]

It is not a choice between saving lives and saving the economy

Giuseppe Bignardi
Doctor wearing a mask

The Westminster government has announced the reopening of more venues, the end of shielding for vulnerable individuals and the reduction of the safe distance from two metres to ‘one metre plus’. Are these the right measures and is this the right time? A recently published study (The Lancet, 1st June 2020) has shown that reducing the […]

The state of our leaders

Robina Jacobson
Kanchenjunga South Peak, India

We need state leaders from state schools  Sixty-five years ago, Joe Brown a twenty-four-year-old plumber from Manchester, was invited to join the first successful expedition to ascend Kanchenjunga. He was told that all equipment and expenses would be funded by the expedition; all he needed was £20 pocket money. Brown said later: “I couldn’t tell […]

Parler with trolls

Joanne Oliver
Warning Trolls sign

‘New’ Twitter gives voice to the same old bots and trolls I am interested in politics because everything we experience is political. We are living through a pandemic where each government has handled it differently, their politics and priorities determining their choices. Looking at the statistics we can see whose methods have worked well and […]

A mirror to ourselves

Kirsty McTear
An Ape

I don’t know about you, but I have never been too keen on monkeys and apes. I have of course watched them on wildlife documentaries and seen them in zoos, but they have never been my favourites. There is something about them which I find off-putting, quite simply put: they are just a bit too […]

Weaponising plague as a cover for an abominable Brexit

Richard Corbett
Manufacturing plant

The manufacturing regions of the north of England are particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of the COVID19 lockdown, with thousands of jobs at stake. These very same regions would also suffer the most in the event of failure by the Westminster government to secure a post Brexit deal with the EU before the end of the year. Two simultaneous economic […]

Exit from lockdown abuse

Lesley Anne
violence-against-women

Lockdown exit must consider the lives lost through fatal domestic abuse Lockdown is a relatively new concept in modern pandemic management; it is largely untested, and its implications and unintended negative consequences unplanned for. As the government debated and delayed the inevitable, a significant proportion of the female population, one in four of us, living […]

North East at the gates

Peter Benson
Sunderland woman holding a "No Deal = No Nissan" placard.

North East voices heard loud and clear at the Gates of Parliament  The stark reality of the consequences of a No Deal Brexit was laid bare by demonstrators from the North East, who took their message to the gates of Parliament on a sweltering Wednesday 24 June, as MPs gathered for Prime Minister’s questions.  The […]

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, […]

Mutual aid and solidarity in Alnwick

Yvonne Wancke
The Alnwick community larder, in an old BT phone box.

An interview with an activist If you take a walk in the centre of the pretty market town of Alnwick, Northumberland, you may stumble upon a community larder, in an old BT phone box…. It is clean and tidy, there is a good supply of well organised and presented food, and you can find hand […]

Bounce back with Boris

David Taylor-Gooby

Boris is trying to cheer us all up. There are announcements that we can go back to things we used to do, and most importantly for many people, go on holiday. But we have also had some gloomy news lately. Health professionals are laying into the government about their mishandling of the pandemic. The editor […]

From garden bridge to Sandwell Bridge

Penny Grennan
Hoover Dam

Building on failure Boris Johnson has just revealed his equivalent to Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal, except that there is no ‘new’ money and, ‘What is the Deal’? Many have pointed out that renovating the Sandwell Bridge is not the same as building the Hoover Dam, see above! However, like the promise to build forty new hospitals, things are […]

Acting apart

Davey Hopper
Hopper in Arbuthnot and Pals adventures in Oz.

I’m an actor, writer and director. How has the coronavirus pandemic affected me? I lost two national tours and four productions at a local theatre. I was worried about my financial situation; I think like most self-employed creative people, my whole life has been living from job to job with nothing much in the savings […]

Brexit and Covid-19 – a marriage made in hell

Keith Burge
Containers ready for export

Football clubs across the North East have played a crucial role during the current pandemic: supporting foodbanks, doing community outreach, and perhaps most valuable of all, ensuring that the spread of the virus is contained by not giving fans any possibility of gathering in large numbers to celebrate success. And whilst cheap jokes, such as those, […]

Here comes the sun….

Caroline Hoile
Man enjoying the sun.

Sunshine and warm weather undoubtedly cheer the spirits and gladden the heart; that ‘it’s great to be alive’ feeling, making everything seem alright within the world.  Gladdening the heart is sorely needed in 2020 as, to date, we have watched with horror as the Covid-19 virus has spread rapidly and stealthily around the world, infecting all […]

The radio show that chuffin’ could!

Ben Chambers
Sixteen Million Rising advert image

It’s the Friday before the next episode of ‘Sixteen Million Rising’ (the Pro-European radio show I make) goes live and I’m checking my inbox for submissions. Once I have sorted out the emails which inevitably elude my spam filter – one which must have been designed by the same team responsible for the UK’s “world […]