Section: UK

Reopening schools: Scotland vs England

Charlie McCarthy

A different response to reopening schools in Scotland may bring about more lasting changes and a more balanced experience for pupils north of the border. Will England step up to the mark? John Swinney, the Scottish government’s education secretary, has said it is “unlikely” that Scottish schools will return to normal next year. With schools […]

Marcus Rashford asks the government to find its humanity

Jane Thomas

Today in an emotional open letter Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has called on the government to reverse a decision not to provide free school meal vouchers during the summer. The footballer, who has raised nearly £20m through FareShare, a charity that helps fight hunger and food waste, has written to all MPs […]

EU parliament turns the screw in deadlocked talks

Anthony Robinson

This weekend the EU parliament officially published the report that was partly leaked to The Guardian recently. It backs Michel Barnier and the EU mandate to the hilt, increasing the pressure on Boris Johnson on the eve of his teleconference today with the three EU presidents. The 137-page report has been drafted by MEPs and […]

The mental health crisis in nursing

Linda Sage

In the first eight months of 2019, NHS nurses took nearly 1,000,000 days off sick with mental health issues. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the suicide rate for nurses is 23 percent higher than the national average, with women nurses in particular at high risk. During this Covid-19 crisis, the […]

Time to drop the silly shibboleths

Richard Corbett

One of the more ludicrous aspects of the ongoing standoff between the government and the EU is the announcement by Michael Gove that, for reasons of “national sovereignty”, it will not countenance the EU having an office in Northern Ireland.  Yet, the USA has a fully fledged consulate in Northern Ireland. So do China, India, Poland […]

Before freedom of movement

Juliet Lodge

It didn’t used to be like this: buying tickets online to travel from Leeds to Amsterdam via Brussels by train with just a passport and euros. Back in the day, we needed travel agents to source tickets well in advance, book Channel or North Sea ferries, point us to the ticket counters in the different […]

Johnson’s next “oven-ready” deal will be another turkey

Anthony Robinson

As the government tries to “distance itself” from the political declaration and “fix the defects” in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), Johnson’s next oven-ready deal has all the signs of turning out to be another turkey. The reason the WA is not quite right apparently is that they didn’t have enough time last year, according to […]

Trade deals could mean more dangerous pesticides

Anthony Robinson

A new report suggests British consumers post-Brexit could be exposed to larger amounts of more toxic chemicals at the same time as farmers here face a double whammy of low-cost imports produced to a lower standard and the loss of access to the lucrative EU single market. The Pesticides Action Network UK, a charity campaigning […]

Absinthe-induced fantasy island

Hecate

It’s hard to say precisely when the government sold its collective soul to the devil. But it was way before Theresa May did her Faustian dance in the shadow of Cameron, busily bent on decimating decency with indecent speed. Not a shred of honesty remained by the time the government and BBC repeatedly displayed an […]

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.”

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