Section: UK

UK economy takes a massive dive

Jane Thomas

Figures from today’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) report make grim reading and show that economic recovery for the country is going to be a long, slow haul. The 20.4 per cent fall in the UK economy in April is the largest since records began. All sectors have experienced historic falls, with manufacturing and the […]

No Auf Wiedersehen Pet

Juliet Lodge

It’s weird how the prime minister constantly has to refer to ‘this country’. When other leaders do press briefings, they don’t keep reminding their people about the alleged greatness of their nation. One wonders whom he’s trying to convince. Himself? The public isn’t fooled; in fact, it’s pretty fed up and angry. Even the farmers […]

Is Boris beginning to get that haunted look?

Anthony Robinson

As calls for an independent inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic grow, is Boris Johnson beginning to acquire that haunted look? At his press conference on Wednesday he looked particularly uncomfortable being asked about Britain’s appalling mortality rate compared with other countries and only offered the weak line that it was too early […]

Senior Tory launches broadside at Johnson and Cummings

Anthony Robinson

How many people have heard of Tim Montgomerie? Not that many I suspect but he is known as one of the most influential Tories outside the cabinet. He founded the website Conservative Home and co-founded, along with Ian Duncan Smith, the Centre for Social Justice. The dry-as-a-bone Tory Brexiter has launched a devastating broadside at Boris […]

Tea politics

Andy Brown

At a time when good news is in short supply, I was heartened this week to see Yorkshire Tea tell a customer who made racist remarks that they didn’t want them to buy their product. I was even more heartened when that customer announced that that was fine because they’d just switch to PG tips […]

Barnier: the EU wants a deal “but not at any cost”

Anthony Robinson

The EU is about to become our biggest competitor, make no mistake. Michel Barnier gave a speech to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) plenary session yesterday, reported in typically hysterical and erroneous fashion by the Daily Express as Michel Barnier CAVES: EU now ready to offer ‘compromise’ after UK threats of no deal. […]

Pandemic, protests and prejudice

Amy Holdsworth and Chris Onuoha

Chris Onuoha, 22, medical student Amidst the ongoing pandemic, we are reminded yet again that systemic racism is a serious problem in the world we live in today. The murder of George Floyd and many other black men and women before him should not be swept under the carpet, should not be treated as a […]

Who gave the “bloviating beshagged puddingbowl” permission to trash the UK?

Hecate

Asking for the great British public. In Belgium, King Leopold II’s statue was taken down as part of the global response to #BlackLivesMatter. In Belgium, the prince who went on a lockdown-breaking jaunt to Spain was fined over €10k. But in barmy Britain, the public was told to get over the lockdown-breaking Barnard Castle affair […]

Freight boss tells Gove: “don’t patronise us”

Anthony Robinson

The simmering row between road hauliers and the government burst into the open yesterday when the chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation told Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, “don’t patronise us.” Shane Brennan had just become aware of Gove’s comments in front of the future relationship select committee on 27 May. He tweeted his […]

In the British Empire, black lives didn’t matter

Charlie McCarthy

Tearing down the statue to Edward Colston is an historic moment for Bristol and a much needed history lesson about the British Empire for the rest of the UK. The video clip of the toppling of his statue has demonstrated to us all how aggrieved members of the black community, and many other people, feel […]

Dover-Calais and the chaos to come

Anthony Robinson

Peter Foster, public policy editor at the Financial Times has been to Dover to find out how prepared they are for leaving the single market and the customs union at the end of the year. His article is “Dover-Calais post-Brexit trade plagued by uncertainty.” The government apparently promised to publish a plan in March, entitled […]

Local plans, local lockdown – or Mexican standoff?

Jane Thomas

Another week, another raft of measures from the government to combat Covid-19, all sending conflicting messages. On the one hand, we have new quarantine arrangements for those arriving into the UK, despite a growing backlash from aviation chiefs and MPs warning it would be “devastating” for the economy. On the other hand, some of the […]

The government is flying blind on trade

Anthony Robinson

On the Irish border issue the government failed to reconcile three irreconcilable positions, one of which was always mutually exclusive to the other two. Leaving the customs union without establishing a hard land border, or a sea border, was always trying to square an impossible circle, as they finally had to admit. This is why […]

Yorkshire campaign groups call on MPs to extend Brexit transition

Yorkshire Bylines

“One crisis at a time, please!” The chairs of 13 pro-European campaign groups from across Yorkshire have written to our region’s MPs to call for the Brexit transition period to be extended. In their open letter to the Yorkshire MPs, the groups stress that this is, “not an attempt to thwart Brexit. We simply want […]

Barnier raises concern at UK backtracking

Anthony Robinson

The fourth round of future relationship negotiations, which took place by a series of video calls, ended yesterday lunchtime. At his press conference Michel Barnier made his now familiar announcement that once again there was “no substantial progress.”

Dirty weekend anyone?

Hecate

Kicking off summer with a weekend of super f*ckwittery, the big yellow Tellytubby announces he’s off on a squelchy ‘charm offensive’ to the EU27, presumably complete with 14 days self-quarantine on his return.

Difficult conversations to have while we still can

Julie Barnes

“Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.” Michael Landon At the start of lockdown, Robert Peston, TV journalist, wrote an article reminding us that in these strange times of the coronavirus, we are being confronted with questions that we rarely want to face. How do we want to die […]

Poke it and it wobbles

Hecate

It was one of those days. C4 Dispatches had revealed the turpitude, disdain and incompetence of the government over Covid-19, doing its best to ensure the UK’s daily death rate was still higher than the combined total of the 27 EU member states. Barry Gardiner had taken the knee in a socially undistanced George Floyd […]

CBI: British firms “not remotely prepared” for no-deal “hammer blow”

Anthony Robinson

Carloyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned the government that many firms in Britain are not “remotely prepared” for a “chaotic change” in EU trading relations in seven months’ time. Writing in Politico, she says many firms are fighting to keep their heads above water through the present crisis […]

Why the UK does not have Jacinda Ardern as its prime minister

Dr Stella Perrott

Measured by the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths, countries led by women have done better than other comparable countries led by men. In the advanced economies Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand), Tsai Ing-wen (Taiwan), Sanna Marin (Finland), Mette Frederiksen (Denmark) and Angela Merkel (Germany) have been praised for their management of the crisis. The US, […]

The government is gambling with Nissan and Sunderland

Anthony Robinson

This morning’s BBC report carrying a warning from Nissan’s chief executive, Ashwani Gupta, about the plant being viable only if we secure a tariff-free trade deal with the EU reveals what a huge risk the government is taking by threatening to leave on WTO terms. The EU’s ten per cent tariff would spell the end […]

Chlorinated chicken is just the tip of the iceberg

Pauline Allon

During the 2016 referendum campaign, senior Leave figures promised a UK-US trade deal as one of the major prizes of Brexit. This is now the ambition of the UK government. But an investigation by Unearthed has revealed that a powerful lobby group, representing US chicken producers, is working with allies in Congress “to demand that […]

Cummings is far from the genius that he thinks he is

Anthony Robinson

Dominic Cummings has acquired a reputation as something of an intellectual super-being, his oversized forehead seeming to be growing through his thinning hair and giving him the appearance of possessing a brain so huge it’s trying to burst out of its bony shell. Unfortunately, looks can be very deceptive.  The great ‘forecaster’ was recently caught […]

Lords committee lambasts government mishandling of the NI protocol

Anthony Robinson

The House of Lords European Union committee yesterday released a blistering report into the government’s shambolic management of the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed last October by Boris Johnson. In the introduction peers condemn the handling of the implementation process with this claim: “On the Government’s part, there was a series […]

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