Juliet Lodge looks at what the UK education sector will lose from abandoning the Erasmus scheme and replacing it with the Turing programme. “Alan Turing, after whom the government’s scheme has been named, would probably not have approved of this act of what Nicola Sturgeon calls educational vandalism.”
We look at our fourv’People of the Year’ for 2020: telling the stories of Marcus Rashford, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
There are no recommendations for plague books, or books on Brexit, yet all of the books we recommend are very topical and touch on current anxieties about the environment, right-wing populism, religious and racial identity, mental health, and current politics and economics. There is also hope, warmth, optimism and practical suggestions. This is, by no means, a gloomy reading list!
Charlie McCarthy writes on the SNP’s opposition to the government’s damaging Brexit deal: “The alignment of international events and incompetence of Westminster leadership is a conjunction of forces that the nationalists in Scotland could only ever have dreamt of”.
Graham Avery looks at the impact of the Brexit trade deal on fishing in the UK. “It offers the British fishing industry a significant increase in quotas over a five-year period, but little hope of further increases after that.”
Labour MPs and peers need to be very careful about supporting a deal which will inevitably result in blue wall communities suffering extra hardships. The government has a comfortable majority and there is no compelling need for Kier Starmer to support the bill tomorrow. Labour should keep their hands clean and abstain.
Andy Brown looks at some of what we now know we will lose from leaving the EU on the terms negotiated by the government. “The best that can be said is that the UK dodged the bullet of no deal with one week to spare. As the Conservative Michael Heseltine said, the prisoner has escaped death row only to face a life sentence.”
Liz Truss claimed this week that at her comprehensive school in Leeds, she was taught more about racism and sexism than she was about English and maths. Daphne Franks, who also attended this school (as did her brother and her son) offers this response.
As Dr Stella Perrott outlined on Christmas Eve, reviews of disasters and serious incidents provide ample warning signs about the way Brexit is being handled. This is Jimmy Andrex’s take on her article.
WASPI women in Yorkshire have been let down by the government over state pensions: they tell us what they are campaigning for. “The plight of many WASPI women is desperate, with many struggling to work, pay the bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Shame on the courts and governments for not seeing the discrimination we have suffered, but shame on us if we give up the fight.”
Andy Brown looks at how humanity’s collective stupidity has peaked at the same time as its oil consumption. “The idea that the world needs to be managed with greater environmental sensitivity has much more traction with the young than the concept that we need to look backward and try to recreate a golden age that never existed.”
The closure of P&O’s Hull to Zeebrugge services marks the start of post-Brexit difficulties for Yorkshire, Lord Newby writes. The move shows just how important it is to ensure regional representation for Yorkshire, as the devolution project stagnates.
With suspicious timing, the government finally landed a free trade deal at the eleventh hour. Is it the freedom promised or has Boris Johnson negotiated Britain into a strait jacket and what will it mean for our future relationship with the EU?
Natalie Bennett offers her initial response to the news that a deal has been agreed with the EU. A deal that overlooks services, which represents 80 percent of our economy. A deal that highlights so much that we have lost.
Jimmy Andrex looks at what the last year has meant for the Labour Party, through the lens of the 5 stages of grief. The question is, which stage has the party reached?
Stella Perrott was a civil servant from 1996 to 2007 and has undertaken a number of inquiries and reviews following public sector failures. Here she assesses what we already know from previous inquiries into serious incidents, and what these lessons should be telling us about the lack of Brexit planning.
Andy Brown asks, is Boris Johnson on the way out? The PM’s irresponsible behaviour over the past year has led to an erosion of trust, which may well be irreparable. Now, having put parliament in an impossible situation, and taken the country to the brink of no deal – in order to negotiate a very bad deal – will he lose his job as prime minister?
“Doing more work on your car then, Tim?” “Nope.” “But – ” “Not this time.” “Quite a few modifications there, though.” “Yep.” “So…?” “Nothing to do with me, Steve.” “Really?” “I’ve learned my lesson…” “That’s great news, Tim.” “…and I’ve got an expert in.” “Music to my ears, Tim. Who is it?” “Spaffa.” “Spaffa??!!” “Yep, […]
Compare the European parliament with the UK parliament. The EU parliament has 705 members, all directly elected by the citizens of 27 European countries. The UK parliament, however, has two chambers – one with 650 elected members, and the other now with 837 unelected members.
In the first of our review series for 2020, Charlie McCarthy looks at the shocking rates of food poverty in the UK. The Trussell Trust predict that this winter will be their busiest period ever and have warned that their figures represent just the “tip of the iceberg, as many people will have been helped by other community groups”.
We have surrendered our sovereign control of football – a sport we invented – to UEFA and FIFA, foreigners imposing their diktats on us. It has always been a problem that matches are overseen by unelected referees, whom we can’t remove (even if the public clearly wants to), but things are going from bad to worse.
John Cole reviews Timothy Garton Ash’s recent article entitled “The future of liberalism”. If we seek to make the UK and the world more liberal, we are, however, batting against hostile bowling on a difficult wicket in fading light. Victory would gain for all a magnificent trophy. And there are no prizes for giving up.
Jane Thomas reviews the impact of the French blockade on UK ports, following the UK’s warning of a more virulent strain of Covid-19 now out of control in London and the South East.
As the clock ticks ominously down, the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has updated EU ambassadors on progress in the trade talks. He told them the latest UK offer on fish is unacceptable. It is a growing sign that Downing Street is making the final concessions needed for a deal.
Isabel Ralphs looks at the increase in waste being caused by the sudden nature of the new lockdown restrictions. Some charities, however, have been successful in turning this would-be waste into meals for those most in need.
For Brexiters the trade talks have always been about achieving a victory over the hated EU. The final high stakes game will be played out in Brussels with both sides intent on not breaching any red lines. But there can only be one winner, as Johnson will soon discover.
Boris Johnson staked what remained of public trust in him in the idea of ‘saving Christmas’. Now, Andy Brown writes, this has been lost. “Like so many rash bets, it hasn’t worked out. We’ve ended up with a cabinet full of boastful yet inadequate ‘yes men and women’, just at the time when the nation most needed quiet competence.”
Dr Pam Jarvis reflects on the meaning of the Winter Solstice, as we move from the shortest day and into the light. So, what of our duplicitous government, fractured nation and spoiled Christmas? As the New Year dawns, the time to silence, to uproot and to tear down will be coming to an end, and the time to speak, to plant and to mend will be coming around.
James Powell looks at the latest outbreak of bird flu in Northallerton, Yorkshire, and asks if we need to eat so much meat given the associated risks to ourselves, the planet, and the birds themselves. “A shift towards veganism no longer seems like a utopian ideal, but an effective measure in defending us from further pandemics”.
Charlie McCarthy looks into the decision to award an important new project to London-based Google-owned AI company DeepMind. The project is a significant one for the future of medicine, and may have consequences for a potential UK-US trade deal.