Category: Opinion

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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 […]

Norky’s ramblings: episode 6

Peter Norcliffe

In 1890, my great grandparents Joseph and Eliza Senior took the whole family to Sagan in what was then Germany (now Żagań in Poland). This is where a Yorkshire mill owner called Oldroyd set up a textile factory (which is still running today, now in local Polish ownership). He took a skilled labour force with him fro

A case for school-led political education

Beanna Olding

Twitter wars; they’re everywhere. Even if you are not on Twitter, you’ve probably still seen a fair few. And even if you haven’t directly seen the venomous, back-and-forth, 280-character limited attacks, I’ll wager that you’ve read the news articles denouncing or encouraging them. It seems that the debate around whether or not these Twitter wars […]

Counting on the shock of the new

Andrew Leach

Being in government is like playing with Lego. Or at least it seems to be, judging by the number of times things are taken apart before being triumphantly put back together again. Allied to which is a collective amnesia. It appears that when you’ve been in power for over a decade, it’s fine to forget […]

Scots welcome the “crime minister”

Hecate

Joy oh joy! The prime minister grabbed his rubber ring, stuffed his budgie smugglers into his pocket and flip-flopped around the room, packing his case ready for his hols. Briefly stopping to douse his joss sticks, slap on some self-tan and check the latest Tory sex scandals, he did a press-up to celebrate his success […]

Smash ‘n grab apps

Hecate
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In the land of smash ‘n grab, the prime minister packed the final box of champers and truffles to send to his chums. This was the signal to pop off on their hols now he’d finished playing whack-a-mole with public services and outsourced just about every public contract and asset he could lay his hands […]

Lord Dom of Mordor

Hecate

Never, never apologise! Sorry? The word isn’t in the prime minister’s lexicon and he wasn’t about to start by wiff-waffing around with apologies at prime minister’s questions before the hols. He’d thrown a cordon sanitaire around him and his crew. He was fed up with clapping the NHS, ready instead to clamp them for not […]

Dad dancing at 6am

Hecate

Dad dancing to YMCA after a pint of wallop and a whiskey cider chaser at 6am to test-drive independence day had left the prime minister feeling decidedly razzled. It was all Jabber-the-Raab’s fault for sending their Uber to Soho’s Old Compton Street instead of Chequers. It was an easy mistake for someone so geographically challenged […]

Fit as a butcher’s dog

Hecate

Having escaped, down but not out, from another prime minister’s questions, Johnson breathed a sigh of relief and made a dive for the exit … If you’re out-gabbed by that “left-wing agitator”, you know your number’s up. Mark Sedwill had an uncanny knack for saying stuff the PM really didn’t want to hear. So did […]

Pants on fire!

Hecate

This was the week of the great cover-up that didn’t work. There weren’t just bats in Big Ben’s belfry but sloth-sized rats running amok in the Commons. Prime ministers’ questions had become just an ad break in a very British farce masquerading as democracy. The prime minister understood neither the concept nor the practice. Hit […]

A romp in the park

Hecate

The week before the 4th birthday of the Brexit referendum hasn’t been a walk in the park for Tories escaping lockdown. The now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t prime minister has proved he can remember things after all. After schoolchildren demonstrated how to keep him at arm’s length, he got Father’s Day done and ducked for cover when Prince William’s […]

Bottom-beating Blighty

Hecate

Mid-summer’s eve and the former Australian prime minister’s verdict on UK trade deals couldn’t have been more apt if Bottom had uttered it. Had Malvolio pranced into a Cabinet meeting cross-gartered, no one would have blinked either. The president of the USA didn’t know the UK had nuclear capabilities. The UK foreign secretary, renowned for […]

A very Tory Eton Mess

Hecate

And a very blasé tiger in the tank. After the click-and-collect school of government had run out of bait, it was perhaps unsurprising that the blancmange-like prime minister claimed to have been inspired by an email about bubbles from a constituent. Wedded to his ear-buds and never one to ponder risk and impact assessments, he […]

Absinthe-induced fantasy island

Hecate

It’s hard to say precisely when the government sold its collective soul to the devil. But it was way before Theresa May did her Faustian dance in the shadow of Cameron, busily bent on decimating decency with indecent speed. Not a shred of honesty remained by the time the government and BBC repeatedly displayed an […]

Pandemic, protests and prejudice

Amy Holdsworth and Chris Onuoha

Chris Onuoha, 22, medical student Amidst the ongoing pandemic, we are reminded yet again that systemic racism is a serious problem in the world we live in today. The murder of George Floyd and many other black men and women before him should not be swept under the carpet, should not be treated as a […]

Who gave the “bloviating beshagged puddingbowl” permission to trash the UK?

Hecate

Asking for the great British public. In Belgium, King Leopold II’s statue was taken down as part of the global response to #BlackLivesMatter. In Belgium, the prince who went on a lockdown-breaking jaunt to Spain was fined over €10k. But in barmy Britain, the public was told to get over the lockdown-breaking Barnard Castle affair […]

The myth of meritocracy

Grace Pritchard

I’m working-class and I’d like to stay that way. Looking across a smoky room at my Nanna buffing the dance floor of our local working men’s club, St. Johns Terrace. Sodden beer mats, cheesy eighties music on repeat. This is her third job of the day. This is one of those stand-out memories from my […]

The hypocrisy and incompetence of the US and China

Clarissa Leung

“A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven; hands have no tears to flow.” (Dylan Thomas) Government buildings and police stations set ablaze, multinational businesses wrecked with bricks, enraged protesters on the streets being tear-gassed and shot at by police officers. Are these the symptoms of the 2020 pandemic? I’m not talking about the […]

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