Section: UK

Suffer the children: Christmas UK, 2020

Dr Pam Jarvis

Dr Pam Jarvis summarises the anger within our schools over the government’s chaotic response to the pandemic. Many schools are now shut for Christmas, having just been told they’ll be responsible for delivering testing to schoolchildren in the new year. And this follows months of poor and inconsistent advice.

Cruel and costly revised asylum guidance

Dr Stella Perrott

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.

What ho ho ho! Festive chums!

Alistair Cowan

But now old Father Christmas approaches, smiling and ruddy – no he doesn’t have a temperature, and his indiscriminate appetite for milk, whisky, shortbread and chocolate is not indicative of a loss of taste – and it’s time for us to let loose, relax and have a jolly old jamboree. Much like pater allowed us when the nanny stopped weeping.

Are Christmas songs getting worse?

Alex Toal

Alex Toal looks into the failure of new songs to break into the canon of Christmas songs. Nothing newer than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” has become a classic, is it because of science, economics, or are modern Christmas songs just bad?

New petition calls for introduction of criminal sanctions on MPs who mislead us

Joel Baccas

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.

What now for England’s children? Controversial appointment may raise issues

Dr Pam Jarvis

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.

Actions speak louder than words for new MP Alexander Stafford

Juvenal

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.

Brexit: no trade-offs, no deal

Brendan Donnelly

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.

EU trade negotiations: beware the tall stories

Richard Corbett

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.

“Primarily drinking British gin”: admissions to an 18th century York asylum

Pen Hemingway

Pen Hemingway looks at the history of The Retreat, an 18th century Quaker-run asylum in York which pioneered treatment for the mentally ill. Hemingway writes about some of the patients admitted to the hospital, and how they were treated. “The Retreat may well have been a pioneer in terms of its treatment of its patients, but many of us will be grateful of being born in somewhat more enlightened days that allowed us to avoid ending up there.”

Arrest of Liverpool mayor: corruption, or something else?

Charlie McCarthy

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.

The nation awaits as Johnson decides what’s best for Johnson

Andy Brown

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.

Apple Latkes for the Festival of Lights

Meryl White

In every celebration, it’s customary to eat traditional recipes which have been passed down the generations. Hanukkah follows the same pattern with an amazing feast of foods to celebrate the Jewish ‘Festival of Lights’. Hanukkah is the Hebrew and Arabic word that means ‘dedication’ and it’s often called the ‘Festival of lights’, as a candle […]

Food boss: “Vulcan mind-meld” needed to make Brexit preparedness campaign work

Jane Thomas

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”.

NEW AUTHOR

Idiotic blunders and catastrophic confusion

Nicholas Jones

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.

Can we get ‘back to normal’ when normal was failing so many?

Andy Brown

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.