Section: UK

Stay at home instruction to the country

Jane Thomas

Today’s news that Downing Street is understood to be considering a month-long form of lockdown is no big surprise. But this latest move is already generating a reaction – from those who urged the government to move faster and earlier, to those who do not want to see further restrictions for fear of untold harm […]

Brexit is about to be brutally mugged by reality

Anthony Robinson

Dr Anna Jerzewska is the founder and director of Trade & Borders, a consultancy business advising on the complex issues of international trade. On Thursday she held an all-day webinar with customs authorities from Belgium, Holland, France and Ireland.   Among the issues discussed were the traffic management problems raised by Brexit and for which […]

What the Rishi Sunak attack ad missed out

Juvenal

An attack ad was recently aired against Chancellor Rishi Sunak, criticising him for his wealthy lifestyle, hedge fund background, and public relations team. It was warmly welcomed across the Twitter left. This may not be the most popular opinion, but I think that it was a bad attack, mostly because it was short-sighted. Attacking a […]

No-deal Brexit may be best for Boris, but not for Britain

Amanda Robinson

While it could be argued that any rational prime minister would have requested an extension to the transition period in July 2020, so that Britain could avoid the double-whammy of Brexit and Covid-19 in winter 2020, I suspect Boris Johnson is content to proceed with no-deal Brexit. This is because it may benefit those who […]

Getting an effective covid vaccine is just the first step

Professor Juliet Lodge

We have been warned about the logistical problems we will face when the transition period ends on 31 December and we formally leave the EU single market and customs union. We know there will be supply chain problems affecting imported goods, including food and medicine. But the logistical nightmare doesn’t stop there and covid vaccine […]

Prisons inspectorate sheds light on broken immigration system

Dr Stella Perrott

If the home secretary wishes to mend the broken asylum system, she might usefully start with improving the systems and processes directly under her control. In her speech to the Conservative Party conference earlier in October, Priti Patel spoke of a “broken” immigration system blaming “activist lawyers” for the Home Office’s failure to return asylum […]

Algorithms for housing: a formula for failure?

Andy Brown

Algorithms don’t have a great reputation after the exams fiasco of the summer. So, you might think that the UK government would have become just a touch nervous about relying on them quite so naively in the future. In a reasonable world, ministers might have learned that that computer programmers can’t write mathematical formulae that […]

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 […]