Section: UK

EU “to call Johnson’s bluff”

Anthony Robinson

It is being reported that the EU is getting ready to call Johnson’s bluff. Bloomberg say the EU has no plans to offer any concessions to the UK ahead of next week’s 15 October deadline set by the prime minister. This follows Barnier’s visit to Berlin yesterday where he met with Angela Merkel and German […]

Senior DBA responds to latest track and trace fiasco

Rob Tomkins

“It’s just not a database!” I have worked in IT for thirty years now, including many years as a senior database administrator (DBA) for some big businesses. Databases have been a passion of mine for years and always will be. As a child, I’d organise Smarties by colour for goodness sake. I take a lot […]

Sheffield coronavirus cases triple in a week: where does the buck stop?

Jane Thomas

As Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to his feet yesterday to explain to parliament, again, what had gone wrong with the government’s ‘world-beating’ system to defeat the virus, it emerged that the number of those testing positive for Covid-19 in Yorkshire had risen sharply.  According to Yorkshire Live, analysis based on Public Health England (PHE) […]

For the chancellor, charity begins at boarding school

David Goff

What’s your favourite charity? Oxfam? Amnesty International? Maybe you keep your spare change closer to home, helping out the Air Ambulance or the Big Issue seller. Either way, the financial accounts of Eton, Harrow or Yorkshire’s own Pocklington School are unlikely to be high on anyone’s list of deserving causes. Rattling a collection tin for […]

Quarantine quadrille: remembering the foreign travel allowance

Ray Kershaw

Quarantine here, quarantine there; quarantine maybe, maybe quarantine not. A game from Alice in Wonderland? Can you, can’t you, can you, can’t you, can you … well, can you bleeding go or not? Another fine mess you got us into, Johnson (slap!). But is there method in this misery? A Cummings world-beating wheeze (for once […]

Cummings vs Ferrier: why the left’s fragmentation is its strength

Alex Toal

“If only the left could be more united” – a dozen columnists lament each year, whilst proposing Lib-Lab electoral pacts, progressive alliances, or a “new En Marche-style centre party to unite the left”. The political fragmentation of the British left is often cause for concern, particularly when faced with the monolith that is the Conservative […]

Brexit: the Digby Jones Jobs Lost Index is launched

Yorkshire Bylines

Note: This article has proved so popular that Yorkshire Bylines has now added it as a permanent feature and we will continue to update the index as the impact of Brexit begins to make itself felt across the country. See it HERE. As before if you know or hear of jobs being lost and attributed […]

Up in front of the beak? Or the break-up of the Union?

Juliet Lodge

In a month’s time, the UK could be before the European Court of Justice for breaching the withdrawal agreement. Yesterday, the EU commission president sent a letter of notice to the UK, starting infringement proceedings against us. This states the EU’s view that, by unilaterally trying to change the terms of the agreement signed last […]

Is this the week that reality came knocking at Number 10?

Anthony Robinson

As the trade talks continue in Brussels, Britain’s desperation to enter the so-called “tunnel” is becoming all too clear. The Guardian reports that the UK government has this week tabled no fewer than five new draft negotiating documents containing legal texts on fisheries, the level playing field, law enforcement and judicial cooperation, civil nuclear cooperation […]

Home office evictions of asylum seekers to resume

Dr Stella Perrott

The government wrote to voluntary sector organisations on 18 September to say it is restarting evictions of asylum seekers in England and will consult with the devolved nations before starting them again in the rest of the UK. As reported in the Independent, “Individuals who have claimed asylum and had their cases refused will begin […]

News from the Alps: Switzerland and the EU

Graham Avery

“We want free movement with the other Europeans!” That’s the message that Swiss voters sent to their politicians in a referendum a few days ago, when the idea of scrapping their agreement with the EU on free movement of persons was rejected by 62 percent. During the British debate on Brexit we heard a lot […]

A tale of two countries: a comparison of Trump and Johnson’s pandemic policies

Paige Yepko

Two political power heads, one ideology – both politicians possess a naïve and passive understanding of Covid-19, while testing and PPE issues have plagued both countries. Luckily, many state governors, as well as the first ministers of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, have had more freedom to enact their own policies that contradict their top […]

The circuit breaker has just fused the system

Jane Thomas

As the test and trace fiasco unfolds there is more unwelcome news: we may be two years off a mass vaccination programme for the whole country. The i reported yesterday that the mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK could be delayed for two years by the government’s failure to get to grips […]

Gove travels to Brussels to begin the climb down

Anthony Robinson

The fact that Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is accompanying Lord Frost, chief UK negotiator, to Brussels this week for the ninth round of talks says everything. Gove is said to be representing the UK at more “joint committee” talks about still unresolved issues on the Northern Irish border but make no mistake, crunch time […]

Test and Trace failing to either test or trace

Jane Thomas

As if to confirm what most of us already know, tonight’s BBC Panorama programme, Test and Trace Exposed, will reveal the extent to which test and trace simply is not working. Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, is the programme’s on-screen reporter. Lee was hired as a clinical contract caseworker to […]

The “taking back control” slogan is starting to wear thin

Yorkshire Bylines

Can there have ever been an emptier slogan in the history of political campaigning? Blaming others for its own mismanagement has become the defining characteristic of this government. A concerted attack on EU ‘intransigence’ in an effort to shift responsibility to Brussels for the chaos that a no-deal Brexit will bring in just 66 working […]

Young people: another convenient covid scapegoat

Isabel Ralphs

At a virus briefing earlier this month, Matt Hancock warned the UK’s young people “don’t kill your gran”, following a rise in Covid-19 cases in Spain and France that was attributed to young people socialising. His warning came just weeks after his own government had implored people to go out and “save the economy” by […]

Loathe it or hate it, lockdown 2.0 is around the corner, and it’s the government’s ideology of crisis-management that’s to blame

Alex Toal
serious young ethnic lady in medical mask standing near window and looking away on street

Get your hair cut and stock up on yeast: if you’re lucky enough to not be one of the ten million Britons already under increased coronavirus restrictions, then you are likely to join that number soon. Whilst the prime minister emphasised that he was “deeply, spiritually reluctant” to infringe on people’s freedoms in his announcement […]

Teetering on the brink

Anthony Robinson

Yesterday marked 100 days to the end of the transition period and the beginning of an omni-crisis for the government. Coronavirus is once again on the rise, threatening a second peak over the winter, with 6,208 new cases reported, virtually the same as at the height of the pandemic in May. At the same time, […]

Farming protest planned for Northallerton tomorrow

Charlie McCarthy

For generations, sheep and cattle farmers have shaped the upland Yorkshire landscape we all cherish. Now many traditional farmers, so vital to the fabric of our rural communities, are at risk of being put out of business. Uplands farmers – particularly sheep and beef cattle farmers in the Yorkshire Dales and on the North York […]

Thousands face winter of homelessness as eviction ban ends

Natalie Bennett

Yesterday (Wednesday) the House of Lords debated motions expressing its – and many others’ – grave concern about the plight of many facing the threat of a winter of homelessness, with the Covid-19 emergency eviction ban ended. It was noted, in the dry, formal terminology of such things, that the legal change “will permit evictions […]

The disastrous reign of King Dom, the “dart throwing chimp”

Anthony Robinson

Those who voted for Johnson in the belief that inside the clown was a serious-minded politician trying to get out, are slowly being disappointed as his government staggers through a parade of fumbling incoherence, from one disaster to the next. The near constant succession of missteps, U-turns and policy mistakes are not even punctuated by […]

Lord of lockdown in thrall to vindictive innuendo


The prime minister was in a bad mood. His settee was full of children’s plastic toys and when Gandalf’s staff spiked his rear as he sat down to savour his Coco Pops before bed, his satanic retaliatory reflex kicked in. He ordered a national lockdown to teach everyone a lesson and kill two birds with […]

Going to Europe next year?

Sue Wilson

On 18 September, the newly merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office launched a public information campaign for post-Brexit travellers to Europe – Going to Europe next year? The campaign is designed to “help British travellers prepare for changes when visiting Europe from 1 January 2021”. Any new government campaign usually warrants a catchy new slogan, […]

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