Section: UK

White feathers for Tory cowardice

Beanna Olding

“We request that our elected representatives speak out about foreign interference in our democracy and take a stand against the government’s ongoing attacks on our democratic safeguards. Through peaceful means, we intend to hold all of them to account for their cowardice.” This is the message from Three Point Five Percent, a movement devoted to […]

Johnson’s approval rating among Tory party members nosedives

Anthony Robinson

The regular monthly survey of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home shows Boris Johnson’s satisfaction rating slumping into the bottom third of his own cabinet. The prime minister is not so much first among equals as nineteenth out of twenty-six. In a cabinet stuffed with mediocrities and incompetents he doesn’t even make […]

Rescuing the economy – the Keynesian way

John Cole
gold round coins

Just about everyone is aware of the huge increases in government spending in the last seven months, as the government bankrolls the economy in a world where many workers have been furloughed or made redundant. Not only has government expenditure increased, but the 20 percent reduction in economic activity means that tax receipts have fallen […]

Mum’s the word?

Dr Pam Jarvis
blue jeans

Childcare for working families is one of those perennial problematic societal issues, such as youth unemployment and domestic violence, which has not been created by covid but simply exacerbated by it, as it relentlessly picks at existing fault lines in our society. Antonia Bance, head of communications at the TUC, recently picked up the baton […]

Is there a way back to the EU?

Michael Hindley

As a Lancastrian European, let me begin by taking my hat off to ‘Leeds for Europe’ for recently getting the EU flag hoisted over Leeds Town Hall. However for any ‘rejoin’ campaign to gain traction, those who wish to have remained members of the EU must surely realise that even if Brexit proves to be […]

Logistics bodies starting to put up “distress flares”

Anthony Robinson

Freight industry trade bodies have written a joint letter to cabinet office minister Michael Gove calling for an “urgent roundtable meeting” to express growing concern about the state of nation’s preparedness to deliver a “functional operating border” for traders next year. In a Tweet, the FT’s Peter Foster characterises it as the industry sending up […]

The not-so-genius evil behind the stamp duty holiday

Andy Brown
building metal house architecture

One thing we have all learned in lockdown is that where you live really matters. Being told to stay at home in a lovely house in the country is not the same as being told to confine yourself in a shared damp flat at the top of a high rise in an inner city. So […]

The end of democracy or the big reveal?

Juliet Lodge

Something stinks and it’s not just the fish. Britain is rotting from its heart, as its democratic institutions and processes are eroded from within. It’s not just individual things, like cutting the number of days parliament sits, and thereby cutting the time available for MPs to make the government publicly accountable (we know that if […]

Why is Johnson so uniquely awful at PMQs?

Anthony Robinson

By consensus, even among right-wing commentators, the prime minister was systematically dismantled by Keir Starmer at yesterday’s prime minister’s questions (PMQs). It was his worst performance in a series where he has consistently struggled against the new Labour leader and former barrister. John Crace, in an excoriating piece for The Guardian, says many Conservative MPs […]

A glimpse down the Brexit rabbit hole

Anthony Robinson

As part of the check, change, go campaign to alert citizens and businesses about the huge adjustments coming down the track in just four months’ time, the Cabinet Office proudly tweeted last week about being “committed to growing the customs sector” as part of the preparations. We are committed to growing the customs sector for […]

Last past the post

Marcus Cain

The UK’s voting system, like many other elements of its democracy, is stuck well and truly in the past. The first past the post (FPTP) system currently used in Westminster and local council elections in England is profoundly undemocratic and the calls for it to be reformed and updated are growing louder and louder by […]

Democracy versus Botox

John Higson

On 19 August 2020 the BBC’s Today programme introduced an item about driverless cars with a 2016 recording of Justin Webb describing how he tried out such a vehicle on the M4. His breathlessly account was, more or less, “I’ve got my feet on nothing, my hands are on the steering wheel, but it has […]

The unholy alliance – it’s only economics keeping the UK united, for now

Charlie McCarthy

Scotland’s a small country, both in terms of its economy and population, though it’s big in ambition and vision. The country’s economic numbers are hard to bear for all those with independence ambitions. The journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil recently become embroiled in the independence debate following a response to a tweet from an independence […]

Failures of leadership: charisma vs delivery

Isabel Ralphs

In a political climate awash with polarisation and populist anger, it is big ideas that are the most likely ticket to electoral success. However, leaders elected on the basis of their ‘charisma’ and promises of big structural change have a tendency to neglect the finer details of governance and policy-making. In the UK, preoccupation with […]

Beyond lockdown: what now for schools?

Dr Pam Jarvis
alphabet class conceptual cube

The debate about returning to school continues in England, while Scotland’s schools have already returned. Boris Johnson claims that there is a “moral duty” for schools to fully re-open in September, but as ever, appears to be covering a lack of detail with his familiar, flowery rhetoric. Some media sources cite psychological problems in children […]

Trussed up farmers

Andy Brown

You have to hand it to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss. She can voice two contradictory ideas in one speech better than almost anyone else in the Cabinet. Even when speaking to Yorkshire farmers. So the front page of the Yorkshire Post on 28 August reported her giving an absolute re-assurance to farmers and consumers […]

The bigger picture beyond the exams fiasco

Mary Boothman
happy student throwing papers in air in park

Might the resignation of the chief regulator, Sally Collier – followed swiftly by the sacking of Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary to the Department for Education – draw a line under the exams debacle of recent weeks? I very much doubt it, nor do I believe they should have been the ones to take the hit. […]

Turning hate on itself: raising money for refugee charities

James Dart

On Thursday 30 July, Nigel Farage, having broken the rules of lockdown several times in preceding months to whip up anti-refugee hysteria on the south coast, turned up at the Bromsgrove Hotel in Birmingham to shoot his latest propaganda video in a desperate cry for attention. To date, the video has been seen by several million people […]

Boxed in Johnson given two weeks to save EU talks

Anthony Robinson

The future relationship talks are “reaching the end of the road” and a moment of truth is looming for the prime minister. The Times claims Johnson has been told that he has just two weeks to save the future relationship talks, with the EU refusing to “move forward” until Britain sets out its state aid […]

The housing and planning bill we should have had

Andrew Cooper

The Conservative government’s proposals in the business and planning bill have been justly criticised for being far too developer-friendly, to the detriment of the local environment, climate change, housing standards and local democracy. The bill panders to the interests of big builders and not those of millions of people who need low cost, secure housing […]

UK business survey: more than 80% unprepared for no-deal Brexit

Anthony Robinson

Just how well placed are UK businesses for Brexit on 1 January 2021? A Brexit readiness survey conducted among supply chain managers and published today has revealed a disturbing picture, with just 18 percent of UK businesses said to be prepared for a no-deal Brexit. The survey, with work carried out in July for Descartes […]

Brexit brings the end of an era for UK sellers on Amazon

Lisa Burton

Many may find it surprising to find out that over 50 percent of Amazon’s sales come from third-party sellers who use Amazon’s marketplaces to list and sell their products. Changes coming to Amazon’s European fulfilment services when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December will have a significant impact on many UK and EU sellers. […]

Nigel Adams – leapfrogging backwards

Juvenal

On the surface there is little to connect the son of a school caretaker from Goole with an old Etonian and former president of the Oxford Union. Yet Nigel Adams is one of the loyal band of lickspittles MPs who have stuck close to the prime minister through thick and thin. Johnson I assume, regards […]

Whoops democracy!

Carol Weaver
city view at london

Just like that! Magic! Now you see it, now you don’t. The sleight of hand of this government probably knows no equal. Our prime minister can even make himself disappear for long periods at a time – or indeed be in several places or states at a time, like a Schrödinger’s PM. Note the regular […]

Decade of discovery

Javed Bashir
shallow focus photography of magnifying glass with black frame

Part two of a three part series on social change. Part one – Decade of dissonance – is available HERE. One hundred years ago, there was World War One and the Spanish Flu that killed over 50 million people and infected a third of the world population. In 2020, we have a global pandemic with Covid-19 […]

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