Over the last year we’ve published 961 articles, from a huge range of authors. So we were curious to know which of these have been our most widely read. Have they all been on the same theme, or have we broken the mould a little this year? Here we have our top ten for 2022.
Number ten: The Detriments of Brexit
In tenth place is our article introducing our free downloadable booklet entitled the ‘Detriments of Brexit’, published in June 2022. Leaving the EU was, and is, proving to be every bit as damaging as forecast – so we decided to publish a counterweight to the government’s ‘Benefits of Brexit’ propaganda booklet, drawing on the evidence of the damage already being done by Brexit. The article and booklet were produced by Anthony Robinson.
Number nine: The Digby Jones Index
Lord Digby Jones famously said before the 2016 referendum that not one a single job would be lost due to Brexit. Our index proves just how disastrously wrong he was. The index originally came from an article written in October 2020 which proved extremely popular, but which we subsequently developed into a permanent feature on the site. To date (updated 23 December 2022) we have recorded exactly 300 separate reports of jobs lost as a result of Brexit. This index is also maintained by Anthony Robinson.
Number eight: Liz Truss – a foot soldier for American economic and religious fundamentalists? by Ann Moody
Our government appears to be rapidly applying policy from an American right-wing libertarian playbook. In September, Ann Moody wrote that it no longer seems controversial to say that the upper echelons of the Conservative Party have been infiltrated by a members of hard-right pressure groups, largely funded by the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. Liz Truss didn’t last long, but the ideology is still very much in evidence.
Number seven: The National Trust goes to war: is Tufton Street planning a land grab? by Ann Moody
Back in October, Yorkshire Bylines was the first to highlight the battle raging at the heart of the National Trust, as members fought to save it from a group of anti-woke libertarians with a worrying agenda called Restore Trust. This made headlines for many weeks as other papers picked up on the story, resulting in the group losing the vote at the annual AGM. But there’s no time for complacency, because they will surely try again!
Number six: The Russia connection: defying gravity, reality … and treason? by Dr Pam Jarvis
In March, Dr Pam Jarvis asked why Gavin Williamson was being given a knighthood now. Williamson served as chief whip under Theresa May, then defence secretary until he resigned in 2019 following a leak from the National Security Council. Despite this, Boris Johnson made him education secretary and then, after a cabinet reshuffle, nominated him for a knighthood, which he was awarded in March 2022. Worryingly, the story became topical again later in the year when Rishi Sunak appointed Sir Gavin as minister of state without portfolio. Williamson resigned in November in order to clear his name, following various allegations of bullying. So why is he so hard to dismiss? A chain of events with a Russian connection might explain these baffling decisions.
Number five: Johnson returns from his Belfast train crash empty handed, by Anthony Robinson
In May, Anthony Robinson wrote that the prime minister’s (Boris Johnson, in case you’ve lost track) fruitless visit to Northern Ireland the previous day was forcing him into a corner of his own making. “There are few situations that an intervention by Boris Johnson cannot make worse. So it was with his visit to Belfast yesterday in a belated attempt to close the destabilising rift that he personally created through a combination of the Northern Ireland protocol and an ultra-hard Brexit. He went to urge the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to join the power-sharing executive, but came away empty handed. It was an absolute train crash.”
Number four: Harry and Meghan haters: time to face facts, you are being played, by Lisa Burton
In fourth place is a recent article from Lisa Burton, in response to the furore in certain quarters following the Netflix broadcast Harry and Meghan. For years right-wing tabloids have poured false poison and vitriol over anyone who dares challenge them, now the Sussexes are fighting back. Unsurprisingly, this article from two weeks ago is still going strong, as more people discover it and share their views!
Number three: Conservative Friends of Russia group disbands with immediate effect, by Lisa Burton
Also from Lisa Burton was this article in March, which highlighted the fact that after ten years of operation, the Westminster Russia Forum, formerly known as the Conservative Friends of Russia, had suddenly disbanded. Should this pro-Russia group have existed in the first place? And who exactly are these Conservative friends of Russia?
Number two: The Davis Downside Dossier
Our second most read article in 2022 was the Davis Downside Dossier, also maintained by Anthony Robinsn, which has now become the go-to resource for all those who are monitoring the impact of Brexit. David Davis, the MP for Haltemprice and Howden and one-time Brexit secretary, famously said there would be no downsides to Brexit only considerable upsides. It turns out he was wrong. Here we keep a tally – and it currently stands at 878 entries. For fairness, we’ve also listed the 23 benefits of Brexit, but overall it’s not looking good. We are currently publishing a series on the lessons learned as a result of Brexit, and in 2023 we plan to release this as a print version to give to Davis, along with the prime minister and anyone else we feel may benefit from learning some of these lessons. If you want to chip in to cover the cost of this, please feel free to make us a donation!
Number one: Boris Johnson having sex in the office: a case of misconduct in public office? by Helen Davidson
Oh dear! Well, it turns out the attention of our readers in 2022 was most captivated by the idea of our erstwhile prime minister (actually, he was foreign secretary at the time of the alleged event) having oral sex with his girlfriend (now wife) Carrie Symonds in his office in 2018. On 29 June, Private Eye published a report about these allegations and Helen Davidson asked whether the sex-in-the-office revelations would be added to the Met Police’s investigation caseload, or was this one for the parliamentary standards commissioner? Perhaps we should leave it there!
Looking forward to a slightly more uplifting 2023 we hope!