Section: UK

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 […]

Hancock hauled over the coals by UK Statistics Authority

Anthony Robinson

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been rapped over the knuckles by Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority for providing figures on coronavirus testing that “are still far from complete and comprehensible.” In a letter dated 2 June, Sir David said the purpose of providing statistic was firstly to help understand the pandemic […]

This is no way to run a pandemic never mind a county

Jane Thomas

Government initiatives over the last seven days have been rather like the 82 bus – none for ages and then more than you can wave a stick at. Schools reopened. Outdoor retail such as markets and car showrooms in England allowed to open. Restrictions adjusted for those currently shielding. And people can now meet in […]

Brexit will take us from coronavirus to omnicrisis

Anthony Robinson

Coronavirus is first and foremost a health crisis but it will soon become an economic one – with the cost of Brexit about to be added. The Social Market Foundation (SMF), an independent think tank, yesterday launched a report that lays out the devastating impact of wilfully boosting a natural crisis with a man-made one. […]

Government announces (EU) funding for high street businesses

Jane Thomas

With the wealth of government initiatives in the last seven days, one can be forgiven for missing the announcement by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke of a £50 million pound fund to help kick-start high street businesses and other public spaces, such as beach fronts and promenades. The announcement was made on 24 May, with […]

What is wrong with this country?

Hecate

Something is rotten to the core when others no longer call the UK ‘plague island’ in jest, but take steps to shield their own countries from UK holiday makers: Greece was first, and Spain looks set to follow. You’d have thought that anyone would pause, look at what successful countries are doing and follow their […]

Ex Tory MEP breaks ranks to demand an extension to the transition period

Anthony Robinson

A former Tory MEP has called on Boris Johnson to extend the transition period, warning that leaving the EU without a trade deal together with the impact of coronavirus would be “catastrophic” for the economy. Struan Stevenson, writing in the Scottish daily The Herald said it “makes sense” to have longer for the transition talks because […]

The legend that is Van-Tam

Louise Houghton

The daily coronavirus briefing has morphed into a propaganda show, with the government now using every opportunity to trail a good news story to distract us from the reality of their incompetence. Saturday night’s show was no exception and the culture secretary Oliver Dowden warmed our hearts by announcing that a third of all remaining […]