Section: UK

Daniel Hannan: Britain’s misleader-in-chief?

Anthony Robinson

Daniel Hannan is not a man you would necessarily trust to give you the truth about anything. He is on record in 2016 saying that, “absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market”; since when, he himself never stops telling us that’s precisely what we should do. The former MEP and […]

A Predatory Marriage

Daphne Franks

Three days after my mother’s death in March 2016, the phone rang. It was her GP. He sounded worried. “Daphne, did you know your mother was married? Because your mother’s man-friend’s here with a marriage certificate. It says they were married five months ago.” The shock hit me like a punch in the stomach. During […]

The Cygnus Report on pandemic flu preparation – ignoring the advice

Dr Stella Perrott

Following publication of the number of care home deaths due to coronavirus, much media attention has focused on the government’s response to concerns raised in 2017 in the Exercise Cygnus report(published by the Guardian on 7 May 2020). The report highlighted potential difficulties for the care home sector in a flu pandemic. Stella Perrott considers […]

Computer model used to develop government Covid-19 strategy allegedly “unusable for scientific purposes”

Anthony Robinson

Explosive allegations have been made by a programming ‘expert’ that the underlying code of the program used by Imperial College in London to model population behaviour in response to different Covid-19 measures, was itself deeply flawed and regularly produced different outputs when given the same inputs. The work at Imperial, done under professor Neil Ferguson […]

Dilemma for early years practitioners when schools reopen

Dr Pam Jarvis

Vigorous discussion has now begun about how to organise the back to school process, with questions raised about full-time or part-time attendance, and which age groups are to return before others. One important concern that has not yet hit the headlines is the issuing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to those who work with very […]

Outcry over downgrades to safeguarding rules

Don Lodge

At a time of national crisis, emergency measures have to be hurriedly put in place; new priorities emerge and regulatory systems have to be adjusted. This is all an essential part of good leadership. But what if these crisis-inspired ‘shortcuts’ remain when normal life resumes? There are worrying signs that this may happen in areas […]

Detecting the fake news virus

Connor Ohalloran

A guide to spotting fake news – COVID-19 edition In an inter-connected world with a captive, susceptible and vulnerable audience – and in this climate of uncertainty – disinformation and fake news thrives. Our natural tendency to share helpful information is exploited by a proliferation of disinformation pollution, seeping into our information bloodstream. Disinformation is […]

PPE: the truth about your personal protection

Peter Robinson

The phrase ‘personal protective equipment’, or PPE, was unfamiliar to many before the current crisis. Builders wearing hard hats and high visibility vests were familiar, as were police officers wearing stab vests and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus. These sights are unlikely to raise comment. But now we see members of the public in gloves and […]

Border realities dawn over the Irish Sea as storm clouds gather

Anthony Robinson

There is a growing and increasingly tense row developing between the UK and EU over arrangements for implementing the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement, threatening plans for entry points into the province becoming a de facto EU border.  Britain appears to be dragging its feet and going out of its way to be […]

We need to discuss the way out of lockdown

Juliet Lodge

The Government’s reluctance to discuss an exit strategy from Covid-19 suggests it’s trying to hide something, yet again. The public is getting fidgety and wants to know what strategies might surface. But we also want to protect our loved ones and prevent the collapse of the NHS. It’s not unreasonable to expect that when these […]

Face masks: Government U-turn by public demand

Nigel Young

Prof. Nigel Young explores how public ethics are influencing government coronavirus policies. The Government’s justification for recent sudden policy changes has been the public’s demand for action. This appears to be their preferred option when the policy would potentially have been unpopular if enacted by decree. So, rather than ‘following the science’, the Premier League’s […]

The two-party system is strangling our democracy

Sam Slater

The British Parliament, long held as a bastion of government – which inspired enlightened thinkers such as Montesquieu and is the framework for other parliaments worldwide – needs an overhaul. The first past the post (FPTP) electoral system is the rot. It promotes and reinforces our two-party system; two complacent, comfortable, mainstream parties that fail […]

Watch out for Boris Johnson’s imminent Churchill impersonation

Martin Brooks

The stage is already being set by this discredited prime minster and his government. They are positioning themselves as victorious leaders of the country’s emergence from our disastrous encounter with the Covid-19 virus. Moreover, they are already using the pandemic to argue for the UK’s isolation from the rest of the world, by holding to […]

Coronavirus: is it becoming the Brexit argument continued by other means?

Anthony Robinson

Brexit continues to be the unseen thread that runs through everything happening in this country, even coronavirus. The pandemic has somehow become a proxy for Brexit and for some people it is the continuation of the European campaign by other means. Brexiteers are clearly worried about the impact Covid-19 might have on the government and […]

We have the Government we deserve

Helen Davidson

Even before Covid-19 has finished wreaking havoc across the world, commentators and politicians have started to point fingers and apportion blame for the crisis. So far in the dock we have the Government (primarily Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock), China, the World Health Organisation, the NHS, No 10 political advisors (particularly Dominic Cummins) and the […]

Lockdown cooking across the North-South divide

Meryl White

Pots away! As a nation, why did people suddenly panic-buy pasta and pizza? I remember reading that some people think these are the key ingredients for the famously healthy “Mediterranean diet” – so perhaps that explains the empty supermarket shelves? But if the aim was to boost our immune systems, why haven’t we heard more […]

When did the NHS become a charity?

Richard Sadler

Today, the formidable Captain Tom Moore – the new celebrity of the coronavirus crisis – will open the Nightingale hospital in Harrogate, having raised an astonishing £26m for NHS Charities Together doing laps of his garden with a mobility walker. The event will be watched by millions of TV viewers. Then on 30 April – […]

Have you heard about Ractopamine in animal production?

Pauline Allon

It’s understandable that British farmers want to export their products to Europe, America and the rest of the world. Already, some 40 per cent of our lamb is currently exported to Europe and the National Farmers’ Union has warned that 25 per cent or more of UK farmers could go out of business in the […]

Home education in a pandemic – how we de-schooled almost overnight

Charlie McCarthy

School’s out for summer – or is it out for longer? In the space of just one weekend we de-schooled our country. What does this mean for the future of education? In ‘De-schooling Society’ (1971) Ivan Illich, the philosopher critic of the institutions of modern culture, put forward a series of suggestions for learning for […]

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