Category: Coronavirus

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Regional round-up: Friday 23 October

Alex Toal

Tiers for fears This week was marked by an escalation in coronavirus measures as South Yorkshire was put into Tier 3, starting from Saturday. As cases rise across the region, York public health director Sharon Stolz had to deny that any move to Tier 3 was imminent in the city, and talks continue between West […]

If I cannot fly, then let me sing

Anne Vetch

Choirs and covid don’t mix. Before it was really a thing, we decided to halt rehearsals (for a short while we thought) until things became clearer. But droplets versus aerosols, social distancing, meeting in public areas and the rule of six soon made choral singing a thing of the past. A community choir of over […]

The King of the North speaks for us all

Jane Thomas

Today it was announced that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to update the Job Support Scheme, which replaces furlough in November. This will give support to Tier 2 businesses that have seen demand collapse without being formally required to shut. But as Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy […]

The North is now incandescent with rage

Jane Thomas
pexels-photo-3952238.jpeg

It’s time to take back control, before it’s too late. The sense that something is being done to us, not by us and not even for us, and the anger that this imposition evokes, is palpable today in South Yorkshire. As George Monbiot said in the Guardian, “if you are not incandescent with rage, you […]

Britain’s downgraded credit rating: a straw in the wind?

John Cole

Ali was out for a walk in the Yorkshire Dales with her Uncle John. She was looking forward to picking John’s brains, because he was head of economics at a school in West Yorkshire and she’d recently started an A level in economics. “John” began Ali, “What do you make of Moody’s downgrading the UK […]

Wakefield’s Tory MP demonstrates his contempt for the rules

Juvenal

Correction: The initial version of this article stated that Imran Ahmad Khan MP attended a party with Wakefield AFC on Saturday night. Mr Ahmad Khan has clarified to the Wakefield Express that it was an “initiation – not a party – and they sang some songs”. He has yet to explain why the Tier 2 […]

Manchester standoff

Jane Thomas

It used to be a Mexican standoff but now its nearer to home – in Manchester. Leaders in Greater Manchester, including Mayor Andy Burnham, have rejected a move to England’s tier 3 alert level (very high). At the heart of their resistance are demands for better financial support from central government. And as ever, it […]

Northern Lib Dems: PM must get a grip of coronavirus spread in the North

Javed Bashir

Today, Liberal Democrats from across the North of England, including four council leaders, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, and Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords Dick Newby, have written to the prime minister stating that the North has been “overlooked by a London-centric government”. The letter calls for a raft of measures to be implemented urgently to […]

Having a memory is now a weapon

Andy Brown
person holding covid sign

If there is one thing worse than Donald Trump, it is Donald Trump on steroids. Before his dreadful performance at the first presidential debate, he tried to insist on Joe Biden being given a drugs test to see if he was being artificially stimulated. After his illness he emerged with such a powerful cocktail of […]

Regional round-up: Friday 16 October

Alex Toal

Here’s a roundup of some of the top stories from Yorkshire this week. Covid catch-up The news that dominated the region this week was, of course, the pandemic. Tier 2 restrictions were implemented in South and West Yorkshire from Wednesday, and extended to York from Saturday. The news was unsurprising to many, with significant outbreaks […]

Disorderly Brexit discouraged, says OECD report

Jane Thomas

A disorderly exit from the European Union’s (EU) single market without a trade agreement would have a “major negative impact on trade and jobs”, says a new survey published on Wednesday. We will face a double-whammy economic hit if the effects of the pandemic are coupled with the effects of a disorderly exit without a […]

Council draws line in the sand on Covid-19

Jimmy Andrex

East Riding Council decided last week on a novel approach to communicate their 3 Steps to Safety message. In a climate where covid confusion reigns every time Mr Cummings goes for a spin in his Range Rover, they decided to use local sand artist James Brunt to get their message across. As you can see, James […]

Juggling time bombs: Covid-19 and Brexit

Amanda Robinson
blackboard with inscription and mask on black background

As the government announced a three-tier covid system apparently to be assessed by the rate of infection, even though there is no effective test and trace system for the UK, forgive me for concluding that the safest way forward for the UK is a government of national unity. Despite its attempts to deflect the public’s […]

#ThanksChancellor

Jane Thomas

We may be in the clutches of the worst public health crisis for generations, but there was something very British in the way that the public took to Twitter as Boris Johnson was making his statement on the latest restrictions. As the North was going into collective meltdown, and northern politicians of all persuasions were […]

Music, Covid and Brexit: can the show go on?

Alex Toal

Imagine an industry that contributed more than three times as much to the UK economy as steel and employed almost 200,000 people. Imagine an export that is beloved across the globe, and which helped sustain many through lockdown. Now imagine it being shut down for the entirety of the pandemic, even as most of the […]

It’s time for the North to take back control

Jane Thomas
city view at london

As we head for a second lockdown here in Yorkshire it’s hard not to reflect on the abysmal decision by the government to brief details of the lockdown to national newspapers before putting the measures to local leaders, or even members of parliament. Just when the government needs the North most, Boris Johnson appears to […]

The British Government: Bully Boys Inc?

Amanda Robinson

If you’ve read this article in Sussex Bylines by Ginny Smith, you will know that what triggers me into action is someone attempting to silence or ‘pick’ on another, particularly a group.  Last week Rishi Sunak told creatives to consider retraining. This is a man who worked for the investment bank Goldman Sachs after graduating, […]

Grim Up North

Jane Thomas

If ever there was a case for proper devolution – that is, a settlement with appropriate powers, decision-making, and accountability at either city or regional level – then news today that an announcement of further lockdowns for the North of England is expected within days has just made the strongest of cases. Despite gestures towards […]

Being human in the time of covid: heart and soul

Dr Pam Jarvis
silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky

Many, many words have been written and broadcast about the confusing nature of the government’s Covid-19 regulations, probably most succinctly and amusingly summed up by Matt Lucas in his introduction to The Great British Bake Off 2020. People are confused and many are angered by the constantly changing and hard-to-follow regulations for different areas, and […]

Shortages in supply chain “terrifying”

Jane Thomas

News that Roche has admitted that processing capacity has seen a “very significant” drop should ring alarm bells. They are the major provider of swabs and reagents to Lighthouse Labs, who are responsible for processing the majority of Covid-19 tests. This follows hard on the heels of the technical glitch that delayed the reporting of […]

Senior DBA responds to latest track and trace fiasco

Rob Tomkins

“It’s just not a database!” I have worked in IT for thirty years now, including many years as a senior database administrator (DBA) for some big businesses. Databases have been a passion of mine for years and always will be. As a child, I’d organise Smarties by colour for goodness sake. I take a lot […]

Sheffield coronavirus cases triple in a week: where does the buck stop?

Jane Thomas

As Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to his feet yesterday to explain to parliament, again, what had gone wrong with the government’s ‘world-beating’ system to defeat the virus, it emerged that the number of those testing positive for Covid-19 in Yorkshire had risen sharply.  According to Yorkshire Live, analysis based on Public Health England (PHE) […]

Chimpanzee politics 2020

Dr Pam Jarvis

What now for the American election, after the announcement that Donald Trump and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19? In many ways, this was a long time coming, given that Trump refused to wear a mask. But he was not alone in this among world leaders. He, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, […]

Home office evictions of asylum seekers to resume

Dr Stella Perrott

The government wrote to voluntary sector organisations on 18 September to say it is restarting evictions of asylum seekers in England and will consult with the devolved nations before starting them again in the rest of the UK. As reported in the Independent, “Individuals who have claimed asylum and had their cases refused will begin […]

A tale of two countries: a comparison of Trump and Johnson’s pandemic policies

Paige Yepko

Two political power heads, one ideology – both politicians possess a naïve and passive understanding of Covid-19, while testing and PPE issues have plagued both countries. Luckily, many state governors, as well as the first ministers of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, have had more freedom to enact their own policies that contradict their top […]

The circuit breaker has just fused the system

Jane Thomas

As the test and trace fiasco unfolds there is more unwelcome news: we may be two years off a mass vaccination programme for the whole country. The i reported yesterday that the mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK could be delayed for two years by the government’s failure to get to grips […]

Test and Trace failing to either test or trace

Jane Thomas

As if to confirm what most of us already know, tonight’s BBC Panorama programme, Test and Trace Exposed, will reveal the extent to which test and trace simply is not working. Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, is the programme’s on-screen reporter. Lee was hired as a clinical contract caseworker to […]

Young people: another convenient covid scapegoat

Isabel Ralphs

At a virus briefing earlier this month, Matt Hancock warned the UK’s young people “don’t kill your gran”, following a rise in Covid-19 cases in Spain and France that was attributed to young people socialising. His warning came just weeks after his own government had implored people to go out and “save the economy” by […]

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