Category: World

EU covid response: solidarity in action

Professor Juliet Lodge

Can the UK afford to ignore what the EU is doing on Covid-19? Or will it gradually try to join in with its ambitious plans for the future? Opening pubs at 6am was another U-turn for the government. But it didn’t deflect attention from it casually letting drop that the UK would participate in EU […]

Black Lives Matter and the Benin Bronzes

Charlie McCarthy

The message to those in similar positions of influence remains simple. Be the change you want to be. Use you influence, move the British Museum into the twenty-first century. By changing the dialogue and presenting British history from the viewpoint of the colonised as well as the colonisers, you could make it an even more interesting place to visit.

Knock-knock: Amazon calling

Andrew Milson

A reader’s story. In January, one of their vans got stuck in our lawn. Properly stuck. So stuck they had to wait several hrs until a truck arrived to winch them out … Knock-knock it off Amazon. Sort out your app.

Who pays the Tory Party piper?

Charlie McCarthy

Large donations to the Conservative Party and the delayed publication of the Russia report are harming our democracy. Politics costs money, lots of it. ‘Short money’ is the UK state’s attempt to fund our politics and ensure opposition to the government exists in our democratic system. The opposition political party receive £16k per seat and […]

US healthcare: “Profit-driven corporate model is failing”

Anthony Robinson

A former vice-president of Cigna, an American health insurance company based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, has launched a stinging attack on the US private healthcare system, comparing its dire performance during the pandemic with that of Canada’s mainly publicly funded and universally available arrangements known as Medicare. Using Twitter, Wendell Potter has admitted that his company previously […]

Katyn: Russian war crime denial again?

Jan Ledóchowski

On 7 May, a plaque to the victims of the Katyn massacres was removed from the wall of the former NKVD building (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in Tver, a city 110 miles northeast of Moscow. Victims’ families protested and the Polish community in the UK wrote to the Russian ambassador in London, but there […]

Are you being gamed by the algorithms?

Jimmy Andrex

I can dance, I can dance in my new lockdown pants! Are your pants giving you hot, sticky torture? Looking for that ice silk feel from a unique rhombus vent design? Me neither, but Facebook appears to think I need lots of pairs of elasticated shorts. I can barely find my bubble of benign bigotry […]

Is modern factory farming any better than the slave trade?

Richard Sadler

Last Friday Regan Russell, an activist who’s been campaigning for animal rights since 1977, died when she was hit by a lorry transporting pigs to slaughter. It was a searing hot day and, like countless times before, she’d been feeding the terrified animals water through the slats in the side of the lorry trailer as […]

EU considering suing China over Hong Kong’s national security law

Clarissa Leung

The European parliament is considering taking legal action against China in the United Nations’ highest court – the International Court of Justice. This is in response to China’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong and its position that the Sino-British Joint Declaration is an invalid ‘historic document’. A draft resolution on […]

Time to drop the silly shibboleths

Richard Corbett

One of the more ludicrous aspects of the ongoing standoff between the government and the EU is the announcement by Michael Gove that, for reasons of “national sovereignty”, it will not countenance the EU having an office in Northern Ireland.  Yet, the USA has a fully fledged consulate in Northern Ireland. So do China, India, Poland […]

The hypocrisy and incompetence of the US and China

Clarissa Leung

“A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven; hands have no tears to flow.” (Dylan Thomas) Government buildings and police stations set ablaze, multinational businesses wrecked with bricks, enraged protesters on the streets being tear-gassed and shot at by police officers. Are these the symptoms of the 2020 pandemic? I’m not talking about the […]

New travel quarantine rules too late for UK

Jane Dawson

Home Secretary Priti Patel, this week confirmed that almost all arrivals to the UK will be expected to isolate for 14 days. Three months into the lockdown, introducing a quarantine period now is too late. Back in March when the prospect of a UK lockdown still seemed the stuff of fiction, I was working in […]

Stop gaslighting the US protesters

Beanna Olding

Full disclosure. I am a white British woman benefiting white privilege. Ever heard of the term ‘racial tone policing’? I hadn’t until a few days ago, nose buried in Layla Saad’s fantastically eye-opening book Me and White Supremacy. Racial tone policing is the act of taking offence when a person of colour talks with emotion […]

George Floyd: one week on

Sam Slater

A man died on the streets of a major American city whilst being restrained by police officers, pleading that he ‘couldn’t breathe’. Onlookers watched, horrified and powerless until he was motionless. That man was Eric Garner, a 43-year-old accused of selling cigarettes without a tax stamp. The video of his homicide at the hands of […]

Dealing with a racist USA

Charlie McCarthy

A new challenge for the UK, an old problem for the USA. One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of Minneapolis Police, America is again at war with itself, with many cities resembling scenes last seen in history books recounting the civil liberties struggles of 1968. We are the […]

Johnson’s ignorance will cast a long shadow over Ireland

Anthony Robinson

The British government grudgingly published a command paper on the Northern Ireland protocol last week, in response to pressure from the EU to set out the detailed steps the UK is taking to implement the withdrawal agreement signed in January. The paper reveals just how much is still unresolved, with both sides relying on the […]

Build back better: culture after covid

Natalie Bennett

“Build back better” is a phrase, and a hashtag, that’s being increasingly used in reference to an approach to societies learning to live with the threat of coronavirus for the foreseeable future. It’s a phrase that acknowledges that going back to the old ‘normal’ is not just impossible, but actively undesirable. Our societies were racked […]

UK-EU talks: UK’s real negotiating position revealed

Anthony Robinson

The third round of talks on the future relationship closed yesterday with very little progress on the substantive issues but with the first real glimpse of the UK’s true negotiating stance.  Our chief negotiator David Frost told reporters afterwards: “The major obstacle to this is the EU’s insistence on including a set of novel and […]

Trade: the strange paradoxes of Britain’s new trade policy

Anthony Robinson

For many Brexiters striking, preferential deals under our own trade policy was the whole raison d’être for leaving the EU. Yet paradoxically they seem perfectly happy to trade from next January with what is easily our largest and closest market without any deal at all. It makes no sense does it? Free trade deals are […]

Trump launches Operation Warp Speed

Clarissa Leung

Fear “America first”, not Covid-19. “Don’t ask me, ask China” retorted the US President Donald Trump in a press conference on Monday after being challenged by Weijia Jiang, the Asian-American White House correspondent of CBS News, who questioned his “America leads the world in testing” statement and competitive approach to fighting Covid-19. In times of […]

Refugees at the mercy of Covid-19

Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott considers the plight of refugees in the coronavirus outbreak and the need for an internationally agreed approach to the disease. During a crisis our concentric circles of attention and empathy shrink, first to family and friends, and then to our local communities as we struggle to make sense of what is happening and […]

Border realities dawn over the Irish Sea as storm clouds gather

Anthony Robinson

There is a growing and increasingly tense row developing between the UK and EU over arrangements for implementing the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement, threatening plans for entry points into the province becoming a de facto EU border.  Britain appears to be dragging its feet and going out of its way to be […]

Have you heard about Ractopamine in animal production?

Pauline Allon

It’s understandable that British farmers want to export their products to Europe, America and the rest of the world. Already, some 40% of our lamb is currently exported to Europe and the National Farmers’ Union has warned that 25% or more of UK farmers could go out of business in the first year of Brexit […]

Brexit negotiations during a pandemic lockdown

Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott considers the impact coronavirus is already having on the UK and EU’s attempt to forge a Brexit deal and the implications for the future. David Frost the UK’s Brexit negotiator reassures us by tweet, almost on a daily basis, that the Brexit negotiations are progressing well. This is in spite of Michael Barnier […]

COVID-19 crisis: UK dogma vs EU solidarity

Professor Juliet Lodge

Why isn’t the COVID-19 crisis presided over by a committee of the wise, people experienced in international politics and crisis management? The easy answer is blinkered attachment to confrontational party politics and the associated dogma. The evidence from our closest European neighbours shows that collaborative, consensus-seeking politics works. The Dutch government called on a previous […]