Category: Policy

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Rugby league and the civil rights icon

Jimmy Andrex

Sunday 22 July 1972. Reigning Olympic 200m champion Tommie Smith is going through his pre-race stretch routine on a humid afternoon. A thunderstorm, which will later bring the racing to a halt, hangs around like the teenage boys who are hoping for an autograph. But this is not the Munich Olympics, or even a warm-up event. […]

Proposals for a North Yorkshire executive mayor

John Harris
brown bridge on green grass field near mountain

Once Yorkshire had three ridings – then we had four short-lived county councils – now the government offers us four executive mayors. Those who promote the concept of One Yorkshire are going to have to persuade themselves that four mayors is a step in the right direction. In due course perhaps a more sympathetic government […]

Sex workers further marginalised during pandemic

Isabel Ralphs
silhouette of woman during sunset

Lockdown has pushed some women in our local communities even further into the shadows, as the government fails to account for the unique needs of marginalised women, leaving sex workers, ex-offenders and the female homeless poverty-stricken and highly vulnerable.

Russian influence in the UK: is this the ‘new normal’?

Charlie McCarthy
st basil s cathedral

The first act of the newly formed international security committee (ISC) under the leadership of former Tory Julian Lewis, was to publish the long awaited Russia report. It is important to remind ourselves of the primary aims of the government when considering our relationship with a potentially hostile power such as Russia. The government’s aim […]

Lords call for government food strategy to protect food security

Natalie Bennett
assorted sliced fruits in white ceramic bowl

Last night after 8pm, some 16 hours into the debate of the 321 amendments to the agriculture bill, with Lords huddled over their laptops in remote parts of the country, you’d have to be a keen political wonk to have still been attached to Parliament TV. But Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick described this part of […]

Levelling down: councils face bankruptcy as funding dries up

Jane Thomas
coins and a piggy bank

It may have been the last day of term for our MPs, but they went out with a bang. Monday night saw Conservative MPs, having whined about wanting to take back control, give most of it straight back to the executive. A Tory backbench attempt to give parliament a definitive say on post-Brexit trade deals […]

Why forced labour thrives in the UK

Dr Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott explores the continuum between poorly paid employment and exploitative or forced labour and how race and gender underpin workplace exploitation. She discusses the weaknesses of the current regulatory framework and how the government’s ‘hostile environment’ supports the conditions for exploitation

Hunting Johnson: rule breaking, populism and animal cruelty

Liz Webster
brown and white fox on green grass

There is a virulent theme running throughout Boris Johnson’s life and ascent to the top job as prime minister. His carefree and clownish approach to life has assured him enormous popularity. To his fans he is the Uncle Buck they always wanted – clumsy, clutzy, naughty but nice Boris Johnson who makes people laugh and […]

Symbols and cynicism: Britain’s cultural war

Jacob Taylor

Symbols are the cultural and political currency of the day. From the Thursday evening clap-for-careers, rainbows in the windows, taking the knee, or toppling statues – the political battlefield in Britain is by some being turned into a cultural war in which image takes precedence over substance. Symbols are important, they allow us to represent […]

God’s own county comes good

Jane Thomas

News that Boris Johnson has proposed moving both Houses of Parliament to York while the Palace of Westminster is refurbished will be met with glee by Yorkshire devolutionists. In a letter seen by The Times the prime minister casts doubt on the £4bn renovation project that was agreed in 2018. Esther Webb, reporter for the […]

Minister demands local government restructure despite the current crisis

Andy Brown

Every reasonable person understands that government is harder than opposition and making choices between competing priorities in the middle of a crisis can be challenging. Deciding on whether to prioritise the NHS or care services, how to open up the economy whilst keeping people safe and how to cope with the pressure of rushing through […]

Artists rain on Dowden’s Glyndebourne parade

Jimmy Andrex

Culture secretary enthuses about champagne picnics while artists try to work out how to make a living. Forget the grassy knoll, 9/11 or the outbreak of WWII. Can you remember where you were when Oliver Dowden announced that “music lovers can attend Glyndebourne this summer”? This writer still has lacerations of the throat from choking […]

A perfect storm for predatory marriage

Daphne Franks

In May, I wrote an article for Yorkshire Bylines about how my mother, age 91, was found after her death to be married. A man 24 years younger had married her secretly, five months earlier. Although she lived next door to us, none of her family or friends knew of the marriage. Even my mother […]

York MP seeks to deregulate gene-edited crops without scrutiny

Claire Robinson

Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, has proposed an amendment to the agriculture bill that will deregulate the gene editing of crops and foods. He suggested the amendment in a letter at a late stage of the bill’s progression through parliament, when it was being discussed in the House of Lords – thus bypassing the […]

Defending our regional media

Granville Williams

Here’s a thought. Barry Hines’s novel, A Kestrel for a Knave, wouldn’t exist without the BBC. In particular without the key role of Alfred Bradley, a Leeds-based producer for the BBC North region based in Woodhouse Lane, Leeds from 1959 to 1980. Bradley fostered distinctive Northern talent on The Northern Drift – realists like Alan […]

Katyn: Russian war crime denial again? (updated article)

Jan Ledóchowski

On 7 May, a plaque to the victims of the Katyn massacres was removed from the wall of the former NKVD building (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in Tver, a city 110 miles northeast of Moscow. Victims’ families protested and the Polish community in the UK wrote to the Russian ambassador in London, but there […]

Covid-19: the Achilles’ heel of the world’s populist leaders

Marc Limon

The rise of populist leaders around the world, with their particularly Orwellian brand of post-truth politics, has been one of the defining geopolitical trends of the past five years. From Trump to Orban, Bolsonaro to Johnson, and Erdogan to Modi, these politicians have seemed to carry all before them. Yet perhaps they have finally met […]

It’s parliamentary democracy, but not as we know it

Lord Newby

Faced with a government that combines incompetence and ruthlessness in equal measure, preventing damaging public policy decisions won’t be easy. But the only alternative to letting them get away with things is to do nothing – in parliament or outside it. For many of us that is simply unthinkable.

Government approach to Brexit legislation lacks scrutiny

Jacob Millen-Bamford

The government is looking at a ‘to do’ list longer than the River Don, with its 31 December deadline looming ever closer. To tick things off this list it is pushing through legislation that specifically empowers its ministers to avoid extensive scrutiny. In the process, it is excluding elected MPs (be they the new ‘red […]

The fracturing of the union

Jane Thomas

Something quite profound was published at the weekend that largely went unnoticed in England. Maybe some people were just nursing the mother of a hangover while others were just thankful that Super Saturday was over. But what’s happening in Scotland should be one of the biggest political stories in Britain right now and it’s barely […]

Farmers need access to good research and reliable advice

Natalie Bennett

Farming requires a huge number of skills and a vast amount of knowledge, all of which needs to be continually updated and revised as the environment – physical, legislative and market – changes. If you think about what the job description of ‘farmer’ involves, it runs the gamut from pharmacology to mechanical engineering, animal behaviour […]

Will museums and galleries reopen soon?

Jane Dawson

The cultural sector has been one of the hardest hit parts of the economy during the last few months. This is mainly down to the mixed revenue streams they have been forced to adopt, as public money was cut and cut. Many smaller galleries and museums are now facing insolvency.

Black Lives Matter and the Benin Bronzes

Charlie McCarthy

The message to those in similar positions of influence remains simple. Be the change you want to be. Use you influence, move the British Museum into the twenty-first century. By changing the dialogue and presenting British history from the viewpoint of the colonised as well as the colonisers, you could make it an even more interesting place to visit.

Democratic accountability and the pandemic response

Vicky Seddon

The government has steadfastly refused to inform, consult, plan or coordinate with local authorities and regional health structures in dealing with Covid-19. Instead, ministers have worked with their pals in the private sector, putting ideology before the nation’s interests.

Civil service – reform or destruction?

Dr Stella Perrott

On 28 June Michael Gove, cabinet office minister, delivered the Ditchley Foundation’s annual lecture entitled the “privilege of public service”. It generated considerably more interest than would normally be expected for a speech on civil service reform to a rather obscure think tank, as it followed accounts of Dominic Cummings’ determination to come down on […]

Has Yorkshire’s “devolution dash” stalled?

Jane Thomas

At a devolution summit held in Leeds earlier this year Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry talked of a “devolution dash” across Yorkshire, with a deal for West Yorkshire to be followed with ones for East Riding and Hull, and North Yorkshire and York. The West Yorkshire devolution deal – worth £1.8bn and covering Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, […]

Who pays the Tory Party piper?

Charlie McCarthy

Large donations to the Conservative Party and the delayed publication of the Russia report are harming our democracy. Politics costs money, lots of it. ‘Short money’ is the UK state’s attempt to fund our politics and ensure opposition to the government exists in our democratic system. The opposition political party receive £16k per seat and […]

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