Section: UK

David Davis reveals he’s STILL clueless on Brexit after four years

Juvenal

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis, the man responsible for our withdrawal from the EU between 2016 and his resignation in 2018, has revealed once again that he simply does not understand Brexit. He is, as my mother would have said, as dim as a Toc-H lamp (Google it). The Haltemprice and Howden MP tweeted almost […]

Reclaiming populism, and why Johnson is more Caesar than Cicero

Alex Toal

Classics is often at the heart of Boris Johnson’s political brand, and particularly his admiration of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. In April of this year, he got in trouble with the historian Dame Mary Beard after misquoting the statesman, and previously he has referred to his use of Ciceronian rhetorical techniques.   Comparing ancient […]

Brexit: to boldly go where no VAT inspector has gone before

Anthony Robinson

The Times had an article about VAT last Thursday involving the actor William Shatner, otherwise known as Captain James T Kirk from the original Star Trek series. He was complaining that his company would have to stop selling Star Trek memorabilia into the UK because HMRC are insisting overseas sellers must register for VAT after […]

Education by gaslight

Dr Pam Jarvis

In a week that has been packed with outrage against the Johnson government, it might have been easy to miss the fact that not only have they voted against providing food for deprived children during the half term holiday, despite claiming heavily on subsistence expenses for themselves, they also backtracked on a promise to provide […]

Select committee slams government Brexit border preparedness

Anthony Robinson

The Tory dominated treasury select committee has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “raise a series of concerns” about government preparations for Brexit, “as a matter of urgency”. The seven page letter dated 22 October, from committee chair Mel Stride, is laced with thinly disguised criticisms about IT systems, infrastructure and basic guidance for British […]

AstraZeneca and Brexit: the hardest pill to swallow

Jane Thomas

It should be welcome news that the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been shown to work as planned, as reported by Sky News last Thursday. But in the light of Brexit it is somewhat bitter sweet. On 16 October, Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries […]

Mirror, mirror on the wall, is my face cream damaging my skin?

Dr Pam Jarvis
woman in black long sleeve shirt sitting on chair

Ever since The Who sung ‘hope I die before I get old’, baby boomers born between approximately 1946 and 1964 (the exact time frame depends who you ask) have been trying to push the clock back on ageing. As a late boomer, and therefore one of those who grew up with the L’Oreal “because I’m […]

Think no-deal is bad? A deal will not be much better

Anthony Robinson

Businesses in the UK are being urged to prepare for Brexit, but the misinformation peddled by the leave campaign in 2016 and since, is making the government’s task that much harder. Soothing words from the prime minister claiming we will “prosper mightily” after a no-deal Brexit, have led many to think that trading on World […]

POETS’ CORNER

Steve Pottinger: You Ask Me Where I Want to Live, My Love…

Jimmy Andrex

You Ask Me Where I Want to Live, My Love… by Steve Pottinger it can be the tundra, a desert, a forest, a boat high on a mountain or out on the coast an apartment, a terrace, a van or a castle, a tent, yurt, or igloo, it really don’t matter but it must be […]

UK Bishops defend the rule of law

Andrew Milroy

The headline “Top UK bishops slam ‘disastrous’ bill” reverberated around the world, making news in the media across the United States and Canada, in India, China, Australia even Korea and Japan. It was global news because the foundation of democracy, the rule of law, was threatened. Britain was proposing to fatally compromise her integrity and reputation […]

NEW AUTHOR

Deal or no deal: a difficult choice for Johnson

Brendan Donnelly

It is very difficult to predict whether the British government will be able to adopt any coherent position within the final Brexit negotiations that will be acceptable to both the EU and the Conservative Party. There are distinct political attractions for Boris Johnson in allowing a ‘no deal’ Brexit to occur by default, simply because […]

Brexit fear, apprehension and stupidity at the Daily Mail

Anthony Robinson

City editor Alex Brummer awarded the first Yorkshire Bylines ‘Turner’ prize Of all the newspapers in Britain, the Daily Mail, under brooding editor Paul Dacre, was front and centre of Brexit. Over the years it pumped a lot of malicious anti-EU invective into the debate, stirring up totally irrational myths about Britain somehow being subjugated […]

The King of the North speaks for us all

Jane Thomas

Today it was announced that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to update the Job Support Scheme, which replaces furlough in November. This will give support to Tier 2 businesses that have seen demand collapse without being formally required to shut. But as Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy […]

“Intensive” trade talks back on but EU red lines remain

Anthony Robinson

Johnson’s deadlines come and go like ships that pass in the night. There have been so many that the rules of supply and demand have reduced them to the political equivalent of junk bonds – worthless. The passing of the latest one last week was another sure sign that Johnson is not willing for the […]

Johnson’s f*** business policy is rolled out

Anthony Robinson

The prime minister and Michael Gove gave a briefing yesterday afternoon to 250 leaders of business groups, which attendees variously described as “terrible”, “disappointing” and “more of a lecture” according to the BBC. The prime minister appeared to be rolling out the four-letter word business policy first developed when he was foreign secretary in 2018. […]

Harsher sentencing proposals are likely to increase serious crime

Dr Stella Perrott

On 16 September, the government announced tougher sentencing measures for serious and violent offenders in the white paper, A smarter Approach to Sentencing, saying it will offer greater protection to the public and time served in custody would better reflect the seriousness of the offence. The proposals are in response to the Conservative’s manifesto commitment […]

A CONVERSATION

Britain’s downgraded credit rating: a straw in the wind?

John Cole

Ali was out for a walk in the Yorkshire Dales with her Uncle John. She was looking forward to picking John’s brains, because he was head of economics at a school in West Yorkshire and she’d recently started an A level in economics. “John” began Ali, “What do you make of Moody’s downgrading the UK […]

Proportional representation and minority rule

Andy Brown

One of the things about democracy is that you have to accept the result when you lose. We all know that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in the United States and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won the 2019 general election in the UK. Except, of course, for one tiny little point. In both of […]

The ‘internal market’ destruction of devolution

Natalie Bennett

Today, speaking in the House of Lords second reading of the internal market bill, my fellow Green peer Jenny Jones will be focusing on the aspect of the bill that has attracted the most attention – the insy, teeny, tiny (as the government would have you believe), breaking of international law. The rule of law […]

Britain “never asked for” a Canada-style free trade agreement

Anthony Robinson

From Boris Johnson’s statement on Friday we can see the developing narrative that the government intends to adopt in the coming days, as Brexit reaches its unhappy denouement. The prime minister said that from the outset we wanted “nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship” – shorthand for CETA, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement signed […]

British industry unites in last ditch plea to avoid no deal Brexit

Yorkshire Bylines

Calls for political leadership as firms said to face a “hat-trick of unprecedented challenges” British industry has come together to make a final desperate plea for the government and the EU to show political leadership as trade talks hang by a thread this weekend, with time, patience and trust fast running out. Both sides continue […]

Having a memory is now a weapon

Andy Brown
person holding covid sign

If there is one thing worse than Donald Trump, it is Donald Trump on steroids. Before his dreadful performance at the first presidential debate, he tried to insist on Joe Biden being given a drugs test to see if he was being artificially stimulated. After his illness he emerged with such a powerful cocktail of […]

Open letter to Boris Johnson

Sue Wilson

Dear Prime Minister, I thought I’d write to you, sooner rather than later, as I’ve little confidence of your remaining a resident of number 10 for too much longer. First let me reassure you as to the purpose of my correspondence. The last time I wrote to a sitting prime minister was just before I […]

Boris Johnson’s next job could be in can-kicking

Anthony Robinson

The prime minister’s latest deadline came and went yesterday with no free trade agreement in sight and the resolution agreed by the European Council not only ignored it completely but called on the UK to “make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible”. Last night his spokesperson at No 10 said Mr Johnson, “noted […]

Funding uncertainty looming large for many in the third sector

Jane Thomas

Yesterday was D Day, the deadline that Prime Minister Boris Johnson set for an agreement with the European Union (EU) on trade. But as reported in the Huffington Post on Wednesday, it seems that it has now slipped, leaving that absolute immoveable deadline as – well – moveable. Apparently, Johnson will make an assessment after […]

Brexit planning gets bogged down in Kent

Anthony Robinson

Yesterday, the Transport Select Committee took evidence from the leaders of various port and freight transport associations, and later from Rachel Maclean, under secretary of state at the Department for Transport. It was not an encouraging meeting. Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), believes that delays in Dover in January are […]

Secret Whitehall ministry uncovered

John Cole

Top investigative journalist Ivan Inckling has blown the cover of a government department that up to this point was unknown outside the top Civil Service and government ministers. This is the Ministry of False Economy (mission statement “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish”). This department is quietly mothballed if Labour is in power, but then swings into […]

Disorderly Brexit discouraged, says OECD report

Jane Thomas

A disorderly exit from the European Union’s (EU) single market without a trade agreement would have a “major negative impact on trade and jobs”, says a new survey published on Wednesday. We will face a double-whammy economic hit if the effects of the pandemic are coupled with the effects of a disorderly exit without a […]