Dr Stella Perrott outlines new changes to the asylum system which make it harder for those fleeing war to come to the country. The new system would look first if there was a “third country” which might accept asylum seekers, essentially gearing the system to send them elsewhere, in a cruel move likely to make lives harder for thousands.
Juliet Lodge looks at how the European Union is moving its docucmentation processes online with e-visas, and the challenges this presents. “So the new e-visa procedures illustrate the importance to successful policy implementation of ascertaining, anticipating and addressing potential concerns at the outset. “
The Lords environment sub-committee yesterday heard concerns about the increased paperwork, the lack of vets to sign off health certificates, and the impact on foodstuff with likely delays at the ports. Jane Thomas summarises what was said.
Local firms in Hull have launched the Hull Together survey, on behalf of Hull Council, giving residents a voice in the city’s affairs.
“Whether you were born in Hull or you’ve recently arrived in the city, your opinions, praise, concerns and grumbles about the issues that matter in your community – safety, employment, education, migration, integration and more – are needed to contribute to positive change.”
The government spin machine is cranking into gear to sell the UK-EU trade deal to Tory Eurosceptics who are suspicious of anything European, many of who prefer no deal at all. It threatens to be an impossible job.
This petition calls for the introduction of criminal sanctions on MPs who mislead us. It is not acceptable that MPs are able to mislead the public with written or unwritten statements especially when they have influence. Sign it and let parliament debate it. If anything, the end game should be just to make sure that an MP thinks before making a statement.
Jane Thomas looks ahead to Operation Capstone, a dry run for a no deal Brexit, and the problems facing the government. Already companies are bracing for a potential no deal, and Operation Capstone may well reveal significant gaps in the current preparations.
The pivotal role of chief negotiator Lord Frost is coming under scrutiny as the trade talks limp towards the abyss. Johnson is not a details man and there are concerns Frost has not always conveyed a true picture of EU red lines to the PM.
Dame Rachel De Souza has been a controversial character in the education world, since hitting the national press in an argument over whether she had received advance notice of OFSTED inspections. She has also been in the public eye over the behaviour policies, staff management policies and ‘strategic’ exclusions (particularly with respect to special needs) that operated within the schools that she oversaw as chief executive at Inspiration Trust, and for her close links with the Conservative Party.
Juvenal’s latest expose looks at Alexander Stafford, the new MP for Rother Valley. A compliant Conservative backbencher, Stafford has employed the language of culture wars to appeal to his base, while championing environmental reform to the more progressive media.
The last big sticking points between the EU and the UK are ideological and the most problematic as a result. It’s the different outlook between British consumer society and European producer society.
This is a political dilemma striking much deeper than the details of fish, governance or a level playing field, and deeply rooted in the incoherent nature of the referendum mandate. Brexit was spawned by the internal politics of the Conservative Party. Its forthcoming temporary denouement will inevitably be dictated by these same internal politics as well.
Outsiders attempting to gain a cost advantage on the back of workers, consumers or the environment, or getting unfair subsidies, will get short shrift. Former MEP Richard Corbett explains why the EU’s position has remained unchanged throughout the Brexit process. It is the same position is takes with all potential trading partners.
Charlie McCarthy looks at the news of Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s arrest. Anderson has been a prominent critic of the government, continuing in Liverpool’s long tradition of being a centre of resistance. McCarthy looks at the complicated dynamics of corruption in the city, and what Anderson’s potential resignation might mean.
Throughout this whole final saga of real Brexit negotiations we have only been able to be sure of one thing: whatever Boris Johnson does, will be in the best interest of Boris Johnson this week. That isn’t remotely the same thing as what is in the best interest of the British people. Either this week or for the next generation. Whichever faction of the Conservative Party gives Johnson the best chance of staying in power has been the true test of what policies he has championed.
We are entering the Brexit endgame. Johnson is under enormous pressure to accept compromises to avoid the catastrophe of a no deal Brexit while under the watchful eyes of hardline Brexiteers in the ERG who are suspicious of the prime minister’s record of betrayal.
With just about 14 working days to go to the end of the transition, a food trade organisation boss attacks the “chaos and confusion” surrounding the NI protocol and the lack of preparedness for new trading arrangements starting in January, saying “If you are still trying to negotiate a deal 14 working days before it actually is supposed to come into effect, even the most brilliant communication is not going to work … You would need a Vulcan mind-melt to make it work, if it’s going to work in time”.
Dr Stella Perrott reveals the lack of planning undertaken by both her own county council and by national government to secure food and medicine supplies in January. Having submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests and letters, she found a complete lack of preparation and little concern for the potential disruption.
Granville Williams looks at the assault on reality in both the UK and the US, and of the development of alternative media ecosystems for the far right. “The need for trusted, independent media to hold lying politicians to account has never been more urgent.”
Nicholas Jones surveys the ways in which Boris Johnson has squandered the support he enjoyed from the Tory press. Detailing the blunders made by the government, Jones demonstrates how Johnson’s honeymoon with the press was ended abruptly by the prime minister’s own mistakes.
Andy Brown questions the desire to get ‘back to normal’, looking at how this normal was leading the human race to catastrophe. Looking at our economic and environmental failures before the pandemic and our lack of collaboration and empathy during it, he shows how returning to normal simply isn’t good enough.
The prime minister’s pledge of unfettered access for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is proving as worthless as his many other pledges.
Sue Wilson follows up on her last open letter to the prime minister. “I also want to congratulate you on still being prime minister. I wasn’t sure that you would last this long when I last wrote, but I stand corrected. I’m very happy about this, as I really think that the Brexit to come – whether a hard deal or no deal – should have your name all over it. You deserve nothing less, especially as I know how you like to take all the credit.”
Economist and local councillor John Cole shows how “doughnut economics” ( a concept created by Kate Raworth) might be the key to our way out of the upcoming economic crisis. Referring to key scholars, and an exciting event by the York Green Party, he shows the flaws of neoliberal economic assumptions and how the doughnut could save us all.
The battered Brexit can took another kicking down the road last night as Johnson and von der Leyen, instead of making decisions, agreed to order their negotiators to carry on talking. Unless Downing Street gets real and very soon, we could get a no deal Brexit by default.
Former MEP Michael Hindley looks at the EU budget negotiations. With Poland and Hungary threatening a veto over conditions designed to limit their democratic backsliding, Hindley traces the history of the EU’s attempts to instill market democratic values and the current difficulties.
How fitting – and worrying for the ERG – that after almost five years of truth twisting and obfuscation the final concessions on the UK’s red lines are to be made by the slippery charlatan who bears most responsibility for the unholy mess that we find ourselves in.
The world is collectively, silently, holding its breath that the incoming Biden administration can return a sense of normality and decency, both to the United States and to the globe. Jack Walker assesses what Donald Trump’s presidency has meant for peace in the Middle East, and what the challenge this presents Joe Biden.
The government’s shambolic preparations for the UK’s post-Brexit borders after the transition period will lead to disruption and food shortages that could last for weeks or even months, say industry bosses.
An new poll shows that voters in the red wall are deserting the Conservative Party, with many returning to Labour. The two standout reasons given for their views by voters, were the government’s mishandling and lack of clarity over pandemic restrictions, and Dominic Cummings’ famed trip to Barnard Castle.