Section: UK

Abandoning Erasmus: another act of vandalism?

Professor Juliet Lodge

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.”


Books we enjoyed reading in 2020

Yorkshire Bylines

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!

The SNP calls it right: “the emperor has no clothes”

Charlie McCarthy

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”.


Labour needs to insulate itself from a bad deal

Yorkshire Bylines

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.

Be careful what you wish for: the reality of Brexit

Andy Brown

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 and “my comprehensive school”

Daphne Franks

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.

Yorkshire’s women against state pension injustice

Castleford and Yorkshire Women Against State Pension Injustice

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.”


Peak stupidity and peak oil use

Andy Brown

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.”


Brexit: the year-end review

Anthony Robinson

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?


Labour 2020: the five stages of grief

Jimmy Andrex

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?

Brexit: learning from disaster inquires

Dr Stella Perrott

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.

The end of the affair: will Britain now fall out of love with Johnson?

Andy Brown

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?


“He’s following the science, mate”

Steve Pottinger

“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, […]

Is it time for a football Brexit?

Richard Corbett

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.

No prizes for giving up: the case for a rebirth of liberalism

John Cole

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.

Here comes the sun 2021: the darkest hour will soon have passed

Dr Pam Jarvis

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.

DeepMind and the future of medicine in the UK

Charlie McCarthy

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.