Section: UK


Culture wars: the Brexit sellout for touring musicians that makes us all poorer

Jimmy Andrex

“t’s not just musicians who’ll suffer if they can’t tour Europe. It’s the sound engineers, the lighting engineers, the backline techs. It’s the caterers and the wardrobe assistants and the production managers. It’s the drivers of trucks and tour buses. It’s the companies they work for, it’s the mechanics they employ. It’s PA companies, and lighting companies. And it’s the businesses here, in the UK”

Starmer puts down markers for general election in latest speech

Jane Thomas

Jane Thomas analyses Keir Starmer’s latest speech and a change of tone from the leader of the opposition. “Starmer is right – in 2021 we need to write a new chapter, and we do need to build back better. But in the meantime we need to protect the most vulnerable and have a viable exit strategy for the awfulness that currently envelopes the country”.

Brexit: coming to a store near you very soon?

Anthony Robinson

Even the Daily Mail has finally woken up to discover the reality of Brexit, warning that supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables are being squeezed by Brexit red tape at our ports. The Guardian reports one leading business figure figure describing the new rule book as a complete “shitshow”.

Is Covid-19 turning us against vulnerable people?

Amy Holdsworth

Amy, a student from Yorkshire, describes how it feels to be one of those shielding for so long. “Understandably, people want to get back to normal. What is less understandable is that some are willing to throw others under the bus to get there.”

Veganuary: commercialised ethics

James Powell

Enthusiasm for veganism this January must not be perceived as a bad thing, it is a step towards a better world but, this article is a cautionary marker that not consuming meat is not enough. We must be more conscious of the global environmental impact of all the produce we consume. Veganism is not just a diet it is a worldview.

Bees and neonicotinoids: rapid action on the environment

Andy Brown

Instead of encouraging and properly subsidising farmers to move away from industrial production techniques that are ceasing to work, the government has chosen to stick with a failed strategy. It is now encouraging farmers to use the next generation of powerful insecticides and to keep on overdosing fields with chemicals fertilisers that wash off into streams and rivers.

A price worth paying for ‘free’ trade? (part 2)

Richard Carden

Former civil servant Richard Carden dives into just what sovereignty means, and what we may have to pay for it. “There will be some costs to our newfound sovereignty; economic costs already traced out here, and political costs in establishing impact on the international scene. “


A price worth paying for ‘free’ trade?

Richard Carden

As of now all we have succeeded in is recreating for ourselves the trade opportunities we were about to lose by leaving the EU. To claim these are new opportunities, as ministers have repeatedly done – what is that if not conscious and wilful deception of the uninformed public?
We are entitled to expect great things from the vast amount more time Defra will have to devote to British interests.

Forget back to normal – 2021 needs a new society

Andy Brown

Andy Brown looks at how the pandemic has already reshaped society, and what we can do to make these changes into beneficial ones. As people move out to the country, and the government steps in to prop up markets, maybe we need to be more imaginative about how we utilise this change for good.

The threat of no-deal was a hoax

Jon Danzig

Jon Danzig examines the idea that ‘no deal’ Brexit was only ever intended to be a threat, so that we’d be happy with whatever deal was agreed. It’s an old trick. Tell the people the worst-case-scenario looks probable, then sense the relief when it’s avoided – with something that’s also terrible, but not so terrible, so people don’t mind so much.

Baking for Epiphany

Meryl White

Meryl White’s latest recipe celebrates epiphany with a look at some festive recipes from around the world. Here she shares a recipe for Galette des pommes – apple tart.


The BBC, the right wing and the people

Pauline Allon

The BBC faces a rocky road ahead, with the Dowden enquiry and the appointment of the new chairperson – former Goldman Sachs banker, and Conservative Party donor. Richard Sharp. And Cummings’ departure will not make a difference to its survival, the damage has been done. The lies spoken and the criticism will continue.

Freedom of movement continues for the coronavirus

Jane Thomas

For a country so hell bent on taking back control of its borders, it appears that there are absolutely no controls for Covid-19, allowing this deadly virus the freedom of movement denied to so many of us now we have left the EU.

OK, we’ve left the EU, now show us the cake?

Anthony Robinson

Johnson has claimed his deal is from the patisserie shop but he seems to be finding it difficult to identify the cake we are going to have or how we will be able to eat it. There is still no indication of where Britain intends to diverge from EU rules.

Where no woman is allowed to boldly go?

Dr Pam Jarvis

Dr Pam Jarvis looks at how Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor has been treated differently to her male on-screen predecessors. While an advancement for gender equality in science-fiction, Whittaker’s character has been plagued with maternal stereotypes, gendering the treatment of the character in a role which had the opportunity to escape such shoehorning.

Book Review: How to Be A Liberal, by Ian Dunt

John Cole

John Cole reviews Ian Dunt’s book, How To Be a Liberal. The book stretches back as far as Aristotle to draw a history of liberalism over millennia, examines the personal lives of many of the early liberals, and offers advice for all readers to help create a better world.


Campaign against Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk gathers pace

Pete Wilkinson

The Sizewell drama has a long way to run yet, with huge issues at stake. This is an excellent opportunity to accept that nuclear power presents us with insurmountable problems of waste, siting and rapidly emerging health issues, and to shine a spotlight, yet again, on the depressing reality that nuclear power generation is inexorably linked to the nuclear weapons industry.


Leaving Erasmus: a missed opportunity for the young people of the UK

Dr Hywel Ceri Jones

Dr Hywel Ceri Jones was the EU Commission’s director for education, training and youth when Erasmus was founded in 1987. He argues that the Scottish and Welsh governments should now jointly call on the UK parliament to reconsider and reject the rationale for the damaging decision to leave the Erasmus scheme, putting first the future of our young people and the interests of the four nations.

Vaccine chaos as UK reaches the eye of the covid storm

Jane Thomas

The vaccine programme that was to form a central part of our route out of Covid-19 has been thrown into total disarray, following a series of chaotic government announcements. With its ‘mix ‘n match’ approach and delayed schedule, the government is no longer following the science.

2021: Brexit’s groundhog year

Anthony Robinson

The year is beginning as did the last one. A treaty signed and more EU negotiations ahead. This is Britain’s post-Brexit future as far ahead as we can see, as we learn to live alongside the world’s largest and richest single integrated market.

Reasons to be cheerful in 2021

Andy Brown

Way back in the summer of 1979 there was mass unemployment that was heading up towards three million, and the strident divisive politics of Margaret Thatcher were just about to be inflicted on the nation. Instead of staring at the negative, Ian Dury got together with his band the Blockheads and released one of the […]

In memory of Aunty T

Amanda Robinson

Why is this quasi obituary here? Well, the circumstances of Aunty T’s death were such that I feel that I must advocate for us all to protect those who are at risk from a Covid-19 death, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.