Category: Opinion

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A broken budget and a delusional chancellor

Andy Brown

After a decade of peddling a badly flawed set of economic policies, the latest Conservative Party chancellor has had to ditch many of his most deeply held convictions in the face of the economic and social realities of a genuine crisis. Yet he remains stubbornly determined to ensure the country persists with a hugely damaging Brexit at the worst possible of times.

Cummings jumps ship, leaving Johnson tethered to the mast of Brexit

Anthony Robinson

News that Dominic Cummings will be leaving Downing Street before the end of the year has been followed by a typically fawning piece from James Forsyth at The Spectator, the political magazine where Cummings’s wife works as a commissioning editor. Forsyth has frequently been a mouth piece for Cummings in the past, so it was […]

In praise of (once) great men

Ray Kershaw

We like to think the best of men, especially when they’re gone. Indeed, there are some people, and I confess I am one, so empathetic that had avuncular Adolf been cruelly impaled, lynched, poisoned or otherwise bumped off – or (perhaps even worse?) democratically removed – before fulfilling his life’s destiny of annihilating millions, and […]

The BBC’s ‘impartiality’ gag

Shahid Sahid

Every now and again, the BBC bizarrely includes stories in radio bulletins about its inner workings. When they do, it’s always interesting to contrast what is said publicly, with BBC insider perspectives. A radio report last week, about BBC staff being told that disciplinary action, or even dismissal, could follow if they share biased social media, […]

Failure to learn from Grenfell will cost lives

Andy Brown

One of the reasons that cynicism has entered politics quite so strongly in recent years is the way most politicians respond to serious problems. The pattern is all too familiar. A horrible disaster strikes. It is announced that an inquiry will be organised to get to the bottom of the issues and make sure it […]

The US election and Brexit: not as separate as you might think

Jon Worth

It should not have come to this. The European Union had hoped a future trade deal with the UK would have been signed and sorted by mid-October, when EU leaders were meeting at a European Council in Brussels. But that deadline, like so many others in the Brexit process, came and went; meaning EU negotiator […]

Should we use criminal law to get public compliance with covid?

Amy Ramswell

With another lockdown in England starting on Thursday, covid is well and truly back with a bang. It is sweeping the streets, crashing the Test and Trace system and even being carried into parliament by MP Margaret Ferrier. A virus doesn’t spread itself, as the government has repeatedly exclaimed when lambasting young people for house […]

Norky’s ramblings: more mills of the sixties

Peter Norcliffe

True stories from ‘Norky’ who comes from Scapegoat Hill, a small, isolated farming village, high on the Pennines in West Yorkshire. Textile mills had been allowed to run down before I started working, mainly through lack of investment, and cheap foreign imports. The management no doubt assumed, as did the management of many other British […]

Reclaiming populism, and why Johnson is more Caesar than Cicero

Alex Toal

Classics is often at the heart of Boris Johnson’s political brand, and particularly his admiration of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. In April of this year, he got in trouble with the historian Dame Mary Beard after misquoting the statesman, and previously he has referred to his use of Ciceronian rhetorical techniques.   Comparing ancient […]

Norky’s ramblings: mills of the sixties

Peter Norcliffe

True stories from ‘Norky’ who comes from Scapegoat Hill, a small, isolated farming village, high on the Pennines in West Yorkshire. After the Norman invasion of 1066, there was an immediate and obvious separation of society into a two-tier structure: the ruling class who spoke French and the rest. Then, as the ruling class from […]

A tale of a three Yorkshire teachers

John Cornwell

‘Billy’ was something of a school treasure, but when I was in his history class in the fifties, he was well past his best. He had gone straight from his school’s sixth form in Bradford to serve on the Western Front and was badly gassed: an experience that left him with a permanent, persistent cough. […]

Our future: transport

Hugh Goulbourne

Hugh Goulbourne is seeking nomination to be the Labour Party’s candidate for the West Yorkshire mayoral election. West Yorkshire cannot wait for Westminster any longer; our mayor must do things differently! As the government dithers and delays further on plans to extend HS2 to Leeds, it is critical that leaders in Yorkshire are not distracted […]

An extraordinary Yorkshireman: Reginald Farrer

Graham Avery

Ingleborough Hall at Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales was the family home of Reginald Farrer (1880–1920). Here he created the Craven Nursery, to which he sent back alpine plants from his expeditions in the mountains of Europe and Asia. At the age of 14, he had already published a note in the Journal of Botany […]

The “taking back control” slogan is starting to wear thin

Yorkshire Bylines

Can there have ever been an emptier slogan in the history of political campaigning? Blaming others for its own mismanagement has become the defining characteristic of this government. A concerted attack on EU ‘intransigence’ in an effort to shift responsibility to Brussels for the chaos that a no-deal Brexit will bring in just 66 working […]

Norky’s ramblings: episode 8

Peter Norcliffe

True stories from ‘Norky’ who comes from Scapegoat Hill, a small, isolated farming village, high on the Pennines in West Yorkshire. You can catch up on his ramblings so far via his author page. The war took a different turn for my father in 1943. He had served on the Scillonian for about a year, plying between […]

The disastrous reign of King Dom, the “dart throwing chimp”

Anthony Robinson

Those who voted for Johnson in the belief that inside the clown was a serious-minded politician trying to get out, are slowly being disappointed as his government staggers through a parade of fumbling incoherence, from one disaster to the next. The near constant succession of missteps, U-turns and policy mistakes are not even punctuated by […]

Lord of lockdown in thrall to vindictive innuendo

Hecate

The prime minister was in a bad mood. His settee was full of children’s plastic toys and when Gandalf’s staff spiked his rear as he sat down to savour his Coco Pops before bed, his satanic retaliatory reflex kicked in. He ordered a national lockdown to teach everyone a lesson and kill two birds with […]

Norky’s ramblings: episode 7

Peter Norcliffe

True stories from ‘Norky’ who comes from Scapegoat Hill, a small, isolated farming village, high on the Pennines in West Yorkshire. You can catch up on his ramblings so far via his author page. In the months following the end of the Second World War, millions of military personnel were returning to their homes, at […]

Democracy versus Botox

John Higson

On 19 August 2020 the BBC’s Today programme introduced an item about driverless cars with a 2016 recording of Justin Webb describing how he tried out such a vehicle on the M4. His breathlessly account was, more or less, “I’ve got my feet on nothing, my hands are on the steering wheel, but it has […]

Turning hate on itself: raising money for refugee charities

James Dart

On Thursday 30 July, Nigel Farage, having broken the rules of lockdown several times in preceding months to whip up anti-refugee hysteria on the south coast, turned up at the Bromsgrove Hotel in Birmingham to shoot his latest propaganda video in a desperate cry for attention. To date, the video has been seen by several million people […]

The housing and planning bill we should have had

Andrew Cooper

The Conservative government’s proposals in the business and planning bill have been justly criticised for being far too developer-friendly, to the detriment of the local environment, climate change, housing standards and local democracy. The bill panders to the interests of big builders and not those of millions of people who need low cost, secure housing […]

Our future: towns and cities

Hugh Goulbourne

Some of you may have been watching the BBC’s programme on the regeneration of Manchester (Manctopia) with a mixture of horror and fascination. Here on this side of the Pennines I think we can do things better, in a way that includes local people and is fair to all. Our towns and city centres are […]

If not an algorithm, economic background will determine grades

Jacob Taylor

The A-level results fiasco is just the tip of the educational inequality iceberg, one which extends even beyond the issue of private and grammar schools, but is nevertheless exacerbated by it. Underlying the broad inequalities we find in our education system is one key ingredient: socioeconomic inequality. We must now quickly learn the lesson that […]

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