Section: UK

Misleading statements from Conservatives about refugees and asylum seekers

Dr Stella Perrott

Following recent criticisms of Home Office refugee policies, particularly in respect of the small boat crossings of the Channel and the death of a Kurdish-Iranian family, a number of people have written to their MPs expressing concern. Some replies have already been received. The answers are broadly similar and conform to Home Office ‘lines to […]

Biden’s victory doesn’t help Johnson’s options on Brexit

Anthony Robinson

Joe Biden’s victory in the USA has been widely welcomed and comes at a crucial moment. It may have a significant impact on the current EU-UK trade negotiations. The president elect is no admirer of Brexit, or Boris Johnson the living embodiment of it, once describing him as a “physical and emotional clone of Trump”.   […]

Government turning a blind eye to wildlife crime

Natalie Bennett

The UK is known as a nation of animal-lovers, yet it’s a terrible place to be a wild animal (or plant or fungus). For ours is one of the most nature-deprived countries on the planet, the “green and pleasant land” a pure fiction. Chief responsibility for that lies with the supermarket and multinational-dictated food system […]

Will climate migration pressure get governments to save the planet?

Beanna Olding

“By 2050 – if no action is taken – there will be more than 143 million internal climate migrants.” The World Bank’s Groundswell project has provided even more reasons to reduce your carbon footprint – as if there weren’t enough already. The impact of climate change on humans is an increasingly better known area of […]

Nigel Adams’ local party in £10,000 government “bailout” row

Juvenal

Nigel Adams finds himself in The Huffington Post after a freedom of information request (FOI) showed that his Selby and Ainsty Constituency Conservative Association got £10,000 from the government for his Tadcaster office. The money was for business rate relief, part of the government’s support for businesses and self-employed people during the coronavirus shutdown. According […]

The BBC’s ‘impartiality’ gag

Shahid Sahid

Every now and again, the BBC bizarrely includes stories in radio bulletins about its inner workings. When they do, it’s always interesting to contrast what is said publicly, with BBC insider perspectives. A radio report last week, about BBC staff being told that disciplinary action, or even dismissal, could follow if they share biased social media, […]

Johnson’s high-risk bid has failed

Jane Thomas
brown hourglass on brown wooden table

A new report on Brexit, from the Institute for Government, shows that business readiness is our biggest problem as we leave the European Union (EU) and that delays at the GB–EU border are now inevitable in January. Even if a deal is reached at this late hour it will be no magic bullet, as most […]

Are we witnessing the death of the events industry?

Robert Francis

Measures introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, have until now prevented mass unemployment and kept many businesses afloat. However, not everyone is equal when it comes to a place in the lifeboat. Many self-employed, for example, have not been given a seat – as highlighted by the campaign group #ExcludedUK. And despite creating […]

Failure to learn from Grenfell will cost lives

Andy Brown

One of the reasons that cynicism has entered politics quite so strongly in recent years is the way most politicians respond to serious problems. The pattern is all too familiar. A horrible disaster strikes. It is announced that an inquiry will be organised to get to the bottom of the issues and make sure it […]

The US election and Brexit: not as separate as you might think

Jon Worth

It should not have come to this. The European Union had hoped a future trade deal with the UK would have been signed and sorted by mid-October, when EU leaders were meeting at a European Council in Brussels. But that deadline, like so many others in the Brexit process, came and went; meaning EU negotiator […]

Should we use criminal law to get public compliance with covid?

Amy Ramswell

With another lockdown in England starting on Thursday, covid is well and truly back with a bang. It is sweeping the streets, crashing the Test and Trace system and even being carried into parliament by MP Margaret Ferrier. A virus doesn’t spread itself, as the government has repeatedly exclaimed when lambasting young people for house […]

Female referees: blowing the whistle on discrimination

Georgia Lambert

A Women in Football survey recently reported that two-thirds of women working in football have been subject to gender discrimination, with only 12 percent of these cases being reported. In a 2014 study, titled ‘The Experience of Former Women Officials and the Impact on the Sporting Community’, researchers from Trinity University aimed to “explore the […]

Unrest in the Tory party is driving a wedge between Cummings and Johnson

Anthony Robinson

How long can the prime minister’s senior adviser cling on? There is a growing rebellion in Tory ranks against the latest lockdown measures, with leading Tories including Sir Desmond Swayne and Iain Duncan Smith in the vanguard. Even the chair and vice-chair of the powerful backbench 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady and Charles Walker, have […]

Yorkshire isn’t ready for two national emergencies at once

Jane Thomas

The one thing this pandemic has shown us is how much we rely on our emergency services – not just the NHS, but all those who are keeping us safe during these Covid times. So, news that one of our key emergency services – the fire service – has shed more than a thousand workers […]

Stay at home instruction to the country

Jane Thomas

Today’s news that Downing Street is understood to be considering a month-long form of lockdown is no big surprise. But this latest move is already generating a reaction – from those who urged the government to move faster and earlier, to those who do not want to see further restrictions for fear of untold harm […]

Brexit is about to be brutally mugged by reality

Anthony Robinson

Dr Anna Jerzewska is the founder and director of Trade & Borders, a consultancy business advising on the complex issues of international trade. On Thursday she held an all-day webinar with customs authorities from Belgium, Holland, France and Ireland.   Among the issues discussed were the traffic management problems raised by Brexit and for which […]

What the Rishi Sunak attack ad missed out

Juvenal

An attack ad was recently aired against Chancellor Rishi Sunak, criticising him for his wealthy lifestyle, hedge fund background, and public relations team. It was warmly welcomed across the Twitter left. This may not be the most popular opinion, but I think that it was a bad attack, mostly because it was short-sighted. Attacking a […]

No-deal Brexit may be best for Boris, but not for Britain

Amanda Robinson

While it could be argued that any rational prime minister would have requested an extension to the transition period in July 2020, so that Britain could avoid the double-whammy of Brexit and Covid-19 in winter 2020, I suspect Boris Johnson is content to proceed with no-deal Brexit. This is because it may benefit those who […]

Getting an effective covid vaccine is just the first step

Juliet Lodge

We have been warned about the logistical problems we will face when the transition period ends on 31 December and we formally leave the EU single market and customs union. We know there will be supply chain problems affecting imported goods, including food and medicine. But the logistical nightmare doesn’t stop there and covid vaccine […]

Prisons inspectorate sheds light on broken immigration system

Dr Stella Perrott

If the home secretary wishes to mend the broken asylum system, she might usefully start with improving the systems and processes directly under her control. In her speech to the Conservative Party conference earlier in October, Priti Patel spoke of a “broken” immigration system blaming “activist lawyers” for the Home Office’s failure to return asylum […]

Algorithms for housing: a formula for failure?

Andy Brown

Algorithms don’t have a great reputation after the exams fiasco of the summer. So, you might think that the UK government would have become just a touch nervous about relying on them quite so naively in the future. In a reasonable world, ministers might have learned that that computer programmers can’t write mathematical formulae that […]

David Davis reveals he’s STILL clueless on Brexit after four years

Juvenal

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis, the man responsible for our withdrawal from the EU between 2016 and his resignation in 2018, has revealed once again that he simply does not understand Brexit. He is, as my mother would have said, as dim as a Toc-H lamp (Google it). The Haltemprice and Howden MP tweeted almost […]

Reclaiming populism, and why Johnson is more Caesar than Cicero

Alex Toal

Classics is often at the heart of Boris Johnson’s political brand, and particularly his admiration of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. In April of this year, he got in trouble with the historian Dame Mary Beard after misquoting the statesman, and previously he has referred to his use of Ciceronian rhetorical techniques.   Comparing ancient […]

Brexit: to boldly go where no VAT inspector has gone before

Anthony Robinson

The Times had an article about VAT last Thursday involving the actor William Shatner, otherwise known as Captain James T Kirk from the original Star Trek series. He was complaining that his company would have to stop selling Star Trek memorabilia into the UK because HMRC are insisting overseas sellers must register for VAT after […]

Education by gaslight

Dr Pam Jarvis

In a week that has been packed with outrage against the Johnson government, it might have been easy to miss the fact that not only have they voted against providing food for deprived children during the half term holiday, despite claiming heavily on subsistence expenses for themselves, they also backtracked on a promise to provide […]

Select committee slams government Brexit border preparedness

Anthony Robinson

The Tory dominated treasury select committee has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “raise a series of concerns” about government preparations for Brexit, “as a matter of urgency”. The seven page letter dated 22 October, from committee chair Mel Stride, is laced with thinly disguised criticisms about IT systems, infrastructure and basic guidance for British […]

AstraZeneca and Brexit: the hardest pill to swallow

Jane Thomas

It should be welcome news that the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been shown to work as planned, as reported by Sky News last Thursday. But in the light of Brexit it is somewhat bitter sweet. On 16 October, Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries […]

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