Section: Politics

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Will the electoral integrity bill reduce or increase democratic participation?

Sue Wilson

We’ve been patient, as the numbers of disenfranchised voters have grown. We’ve watched from a distance as major decisions about the future of the UK have been made without our involvement. Decisions that affect us deeply. It’s time to give us the voice we’ve so long been promised, and in time for the next general election. Even if the government might not like what we have to say.

Gardeners’ Question Time advises on tunnel vision

Martin Brooks

Alexander de Pfeffel seeks advice from the Gardeners’ Question Time panel and audience on his tunnel plans. “Visionary British infrastructure gardens have a great future, if only the woke gardeners, with the greatest respect to our friends and partners on the panel, weren’t so obsessed with making their doom-laden predictions that plants need to be cared for, fed, watered, protected from harsh conditions and warmly held in a loving lefty embrace if they are to survive.”

Sir Ivan Rogers: life after Brexit

Helen Johnson

Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK permanent representative to the EU, spoke yesterday of his optimism that the UK will eventually seek a closer relationship with the EU again. But he maintained this is not on the government’s agenda at all at the moment. Instead, he foresees a “bumpy” short-term future of “spiky” relationships.

Are we really ready to reopen schools?

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy explains Boris Johnson’s anticipated ‘big bang’ method of allowing children to return to school. He lays out the concerns from scientists and some school staff that he is rushing the process, perhaps risking an increase of the R number.

A new chapter for Labour, or a turning of the page?

Jane Thomas

At some stage, Starmer is going to have to acknowledge the damage that Brexit is inflicting to businesses, to a range of sectors such as the arts, and to different parts of the country. Some industries like fishing will never be the same. If, as he said today, this is a call to arms to diagnose the condition of Britain, then he has to recognise the symptoms and treat them – and that includes the negative impacts of Brexit.

Why it is in Labour’s interest to speak out on Brexit

Mike Buckley

Winning from Opposition is hard. Labour is entirely right to face towards the future and to have a laser-like focus on winning votes. But it should recognise that giving Johnson space to create a narrative that says the pandemic caused all the harm and Brexit is our ticket to a bright new future will only harm Labour’s chances.

First they came for the fish…

Jon Worth

Jon Worth asks, how bad does Brexit have to get before the government admits that it made a mistake? “However you look at it, this makes no sense. It’s no longer about whether or not you voted for Brexit, or voted for this government”.

Northern Ireland protocol: neither Armageddon nor nirvana

Jane Thomas

The fact that the Northern Ireland protocol – designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland – is being put to the test so early, is no big surprise. It was always going to result in additional customs checks somewhere, and those checks landed firmly at the Northern Ireland ports, for goods crossing from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Johnson the obsessed Dalek

Roger Winterbottom

Roger Winterbottom wonders whether Boris Johnson is an experiment in a new field in robotics and machine learning: Artificial Gormlessness. Can he pass the Turing test and convince us that he’s human?

The implications of Grenfell for homeownership: the right to buy, or the right to lie?

Andy Brown

People who have done all things that Conservatives traditionally value, have been put in an impossible position by a series of government decisions. Most of these people have worked hard, saved their money and after years of struggle finally got to the point in life where they can afford to buy a small place at the bottom of the property market. Only to find that their bills for insurance and for repairs have gone through the roof and the value of their home has collapsed.

Rising tensions over the Irish Sea border

Anthony Robinson

As the practical impact of the bureaucracy and red tape agreed as part of the NI protocol become clear for businesses and citizens in the province, there are worrying signs of tensions rising between London and Brussels.

Review of Biden’s first few days

Kerry Pearson

Kerry Pearson reviews Biden’s first couple of weeks in the White House. His focus has been on reversing Trump-era legislation, rolling out the vaccine, restoring multilateralism and increasing welfare benefits for those impacted by the pandemic.

Civil service unconscious bias training is not fit for purpose

Dawn-Maria France

Treating people with respect, and celebrating difference, makes economic and financial sense and adds value to any workforce. The DWP is a government department responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. Welfare is part of its remit, yet it is failing its own employees. Certainly, unconscious bias training for its civil servants appears to have largely fallen on deaf ears.

3rd Open letter to Boris Johnson

Sue Wilson

I look forward, with interest, to see what japes you might come up with next. Having a jester for a prime minister doesn’t always look wise, but it sure can be a lot of fun in these depressing times, so keep up the good work!

Welcome to Schrödinger’s Border

Steve Pottinger

Welcome to Schroedinger’s Border. This is the border in the Irish Sea which the UK government negotiated and which the UK government says doesn’t exist, and which is both there and not there as long as it’s kept in a box and nobody looks at it.

Johnson’s music-hall act leaves his audience cold

David Goff

Kenneth Branagh is to play the prime minister in a sky drama, set during the pandemic. I’d hesitate to give such an outstanding Shakespearian notes, but he may wish to dust off his copy of Twelfth Night. In the steward Malvolio, he’ll find an arrogant character convinced that cavorting about in an oafish manner, preferably while wearing an outlandish outfit, will win him the approval he desperately seeks.

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