Section: UK

OPINION

Is Sir Keir Starmer really “worthy but dull”?

Andy Brown

Andy Brown, Green Party councillor on Craven District Council, reviews the recent speech from Sir Keir Starmer and regrets the lack of leadership on issues like Brexit and how to bring progressive parties together to achieve their aims.

NEW AUTHOR

Providing a National Care Service

Hasnain Khan

England’s adult social care system has long been in need of reform but successive governments have struggled with how to design and in particular fund a system that provides quality care, is fair and is palatable to the electorate.

Reopening schools: view from year 11

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy looks at the reality of opening schools, with personal testimony from a teenager affected and professional evidence from the scientific community, to show just how how difficult both home schooling and reopening schools are.

Will the electoral integrity bill reduce or increase democratic participation?

Sue Wilson

We’ve been patient, as the numbers of disenfranchised voters have grown. We’ve watched from a distance as major decisions about the future of the UK have been made without our involvement. Decisions that affect us deeply. It’s time to give us the voice we’ve so long been promised, and in time for the next general election. Even if the government might not like what we have to say.

Slaying the five giants: time for a new Beveridge

Jane Thomas

As the pandemic continues to inflict untold misery on families and communities in this country, the true cost and scale of the economic impact is becoming more apparent. It comes on the back of years of austerity, and decades during which the welfare state has been gradually eroded. Perhaps it’s now time to revisit the aims and principles that led to its creation, and look again at the Beveridge Report.

Gardeners’ Question Time advises on tunnel vision

Martin Brooks

Alexander de Pfeffel seeks advice from the Gardeners’ Question Time panel and audience on his tunnel plans. “Visionary British infrastructure gardens have a great future, if only the woke gardeners, with the greatest respect to our friends and partners on the panel, weren’t so obsessed with making their doom-laden predictions that plants need to be cared for, fed, watered, protected from harsh conditions and warmly held in a loving lefty embrace if they are to survive.”

NEW AUTHOR

Sir Ivan Rogers: life after Brexit

Helen Johnson

Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK permanent representative to the EU, spoke yesterday of his optimism that the UK will eventually seek a closer relationship with the EU again. But he maintained this is not on the government’s agenda at all at the moment. Instead, he foresees a “bumpy” short-term future of “spiky” relationships.

Are we really ready to reopen schools?

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy explains Boris Johnson’s anticipated ‘big bang’ method of allowing children to return to school. He lays out the concerns from scientists and some school staff that he is rushing the process, perhaps risking an increase of the R number.

A new chapter for Labour, or a turning of the page?

Jane Thomas

At some stage, Starmer is going to have to acknowledge the damage that Brexit is inflicting to businesses, to a range of sectors such as the arts, and to different parts of the country. Some industries like fishing will never be the same. If, as he said today, this is a call to arms to diagnose the condition of Britain, then he has to recognise the symptoms and treat them – and that includes the negative impacts of Brexit.

A pandemic in waiting: when will we act to prevent the next one?

Andy Brown

The conclusion should be obvious. We need a heavy rethink about how we treat wildlife and how we obtain our food. Not just because this is the morally right thing to do, but because our current consumption models are putting lives at risk. Sooner or later there will be another pandemic. Sooner is more likely than later. Once again it will spread easily across the planet via mass plane travel.

Why it is in Labour’s interest to speak out on Brexit

Mike Buckley

Winning from Opposition is hard. Labour is entirely right to face towards the future and to have a laser-like focus on winning votes. But it should recognise that giving Johnson space to create a narrative that says the pandemic caused all the harm and Brexit is our ticket to a bright new future will only harm Labour’s chances.

Who’s looking at your digital information?

Professor Juliet Lodge

Digital identity cards are supposed to confirm who we say we are in specific contexts. Now the government wants to revise its guides and link up our personal information in ways that allow information to be shared by various organisations wanting to check our personal details.

Let’s have some flippin’ fun with pancakes

Meryl White

Flipping ‘eck – it’s Pancake Day today, so let’s use ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs before the beginning of Lent and 40 days of fasting leading to Easter. Well, that’s the tradition, which goes back for centuries.