Section: UK

Exiting Erasmus is an avoidable mistake

Dr Hywel Ceri Jones

Dr Hywel Ceri Jones, who helped found Erasmus, explains why abandoning it was such a mistake in the government’s pursuit of a global Britain. “With its global interests in view, the closest UK involvement in Horizon and Erasmus is an obvious and necessary investment. It makes little economic or policy sense to join one but not the other.”

Juliet Lodge

With all the conflicting stories circulating about the various Covid-19 vaccinations, will you, or won’t you, go and get immunised when you get the call? Weighing up the pros and cons isn’t exactly easy.

New solar power global opportunity for the UK

Charlie McCarthy

Researchers at Oxford University department of physics have developed a new world-beating solar panel using the semiconductor perovskite. Perovskite is a semiconductor that can transport electric charge when light strikes the material. Oxford PV, an Oxford University spin-off, has spent more than a decade working on improving the efficiency of solar technology.

When it’s no longer right to roam

Andrew Leach

Buried away in the Conservative Party’s election manifesto in 2019 was a promise to “make intentional trespass a criminal offence”. And now, in the middle of a grossly mismanaged pandemic, when a need for the big outdoors has arguably never been more important, the government is beginning to act on this particular pledge, meaning even less of the UK’s land could be available to us than is currently available.

Monolingualism: the thorn in post-Brexit Britain’s side

Oliver Lawrie

Oliver Lawrie looks at how our lack of knowledge of other languages will impede us in the post-Brexit world. “Fewer than 3,000 students sat A-level German in 2018. That’s about 5 percent of the number of people who would attend one average football match in the UK.”

How fragile is our democracy?

William Wallace

Conservative moves to reduce local government to an implementing agency for central government are undermining local initiative and local community. Liberals passionately believe in local democracy, as the necessary foundation for an open and fair society. Can we stick that on a leaflet and push it through doors this spring?

Global warming: we have no time to lose

Charlie McCarthy

“The human family is standing on the beach watching a tsunami approaching. The big issue is … can we do anything to stop it?” Charlie McCarthy reviews what the evidence is saying on global warming and why we need to listen to the experts and be led by the science.

Wishful thinking: the government’s strategy on defeating Covid-19

Andy Brown

During the Second World War, one of the messages that was regularly repeated was that: “Careless talk costs lives”. In the war against covid that should read, “Wishful thinking costs lives.” As I write, the United Kingdom has the third highest death toll per head from Covid-19 in the entire world. In recent weeks the […]

“Don’t you forget about me”

Dr Pam Jarvis

It’s just over a month since my brother died, and it still sounds weird to write or to say that. He didn’t have covid, he had cancer. But the whole situation of his final illness and funeral were hugely complicated by the pandemic.

Sweet treat for Burns Night

Meryl White

Meryl White provides a Prune and Whisky Tart recipe and an invitation to an online Burns’ Night event. Let’s stay safe at home and celebrate Burns’ Night by raising a toast to this famous Scottish bard and maybe try out Fiona’s recipe. Slainte Mhath! Happy Burns Night!

Medical professionals concerned as government vaccine strategy gambles with lives

Andy Brown

It takes some arrogance to believe that you know more about how to deploy a vaccine than the manufacturers of it. It also takes supreme self-belief for the leaders of one country to insist on following their own untested theory when the rest of the world seems to think it is a good idea to read the instructions on the vial and follow the science.

Yorkshire vaccine rollout takes a hit

Jane Thomas

Without an effective test, trace isolate programme – and with the abject failure to deal with what happens at our borders to stop the international flow of the virus – vaccination is our only way out of this. And that is why any delay to roll out OR compromise of efficacy is concerning.

Covid vaccinations and health passports: jabs for freedom?

Juliet Lodge

A covid passport is not the only or even the most important answer to getting back to some form of normality. And as long as the UK’s covid rates remain the worst in the world, we are likely to be blacklisted. Restrictions against travellers from areas where high infection and death rates continue will not be lifted anytime soon.

Are you in line for the covid jab?

David Holden

Health inequalities are systemic. The government has not prioritised Covid-19 jabs for all people with intellectual disability. Nor does it prioritise those at home, their family carers, or peripatetic agency carers going into several different homes daily, and often wearing the one set of PPE provided for the day.

Learning in the time of covid and beyond: a reflection

Dr Pam Jarvis

Education specialist Dr Pam Jarvis looks at how a strict view of education is letting down children during the pandemic. With civil servants enforcing traditional methods of teaching in this period, Pam reflects that we need a broader view of how to teach.

Has Robert Jenrick nothing better to do than fan up culture wars?

Alex Toal

Jenrick must have solved looming crises in housing, local government debt, and cladding, Alex Toal writes, given his obsession with statues. The minister has been borrowing tactics from one of his predecessors, Eric Pickles, in preventing communities in having a voice about their public space.

Brexit reality hits for British imports

Steve Pottinger

Steve Pottinger speaks with people on the ground as British importers struggle with the reality of trade outside of the European Union. “Given the lengthy negotiations which preceded this treaty, it’s hard to imagine much goodwill in the EU if and when it comes to helping dig the UK out of a hole it’s chosen to jump into. The implications of that are profoundly worrying for us all.”

Withdrawing the benefit lifeline will leave many adrift

Jane Thomas

Jane Thomas looks at how scrapping the universal credit uplift of £20 a week would have the biggest impact in the poorest towns in England. “The promise of levelling up is receding not growing – and unless the chancellor changes tack, the opportunities for our poorest will be swept away.”

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