Section: World

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Johnson never intended to stick to the withdrawal agreement

Anthony Robinson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with President of the European Parliament David Sassoli for a meeting at Downing Street.

In what may be regarded as the ultimate in bad faith, last October – as the UK and EU teams were engaged in intensive final negotiations in Brussels – Johnson is alleged to have taken legal advice about repudiating the withdrawal agreement even before the text was completed. He was never committed to keeping the […]

US election 101: everything you need to know

Jack Walker

Tuesday 3 November will see incumbent President Donald Trump of the Republican Party square off against former Vice-President Joe Biden of the Democratic Party in the 2020 presidential election. There are a number of differences between elections in the United States and those in the United Kingdom, so read on for everything you need to […]

Will the Sochi summit herald the end-game for Lukashenko and Belarus?

Stephen Davis

Russia’s President Putin and Aleksandr Lukashenko, the self-proclaimed victor of Belarus’s disputed election of 9 August are meeting today (14 September) in Sochi, in a bid to agree how closure can be brought to the accelerating demands of the Belarusian people for the incumbent president to go. Despite a campaign of intimidation and brutal violence […]

The apple of my eye

Meryl White

This has to be one of the best apple pie recipes I’ve ever tasted, so when my neighbour passed me a large bag of apples, it gave me a perfect excuse to bake it. The recipe comes from a Dutch friend of mine, Cobi, who told me that there are many different versions, but this […]

Brexit stage set for showdown, as EU vice president reads Gove the riot act

Anthony Robinson
Vice President Šefčovič

Following hard on the heels of the government’s announcement on Tuesday that it intends to break international law by allowing the UK internal market bill (UKIM) to supersede parts of the withdrawal agreement, EU Vice President Maroš Šefčovič flew to London earlier today. In a meeting with Michael Gove, he read him the diplomatic equivalent […]

Johnson now heading for his own Suez moment

Anthony Robinson
Boris Johnson in Downing Street

In 1956, prime minister Anthony Eden conspired with France and Israel to invade Egypt and recover control of the Suez Canal, which had been seized by president Nasser. It was an act of monumental hubris and Britain was eventually forced to withdraw under pressure from the USA and Russia. It was a seminal moment and […]

How will Covid-19 affect Europe’s beloved Schengen?

Kerry Pearson

“The risk we are facing is the death of Schengen.” Emmanuel Macron to EU leaders, 26 March 2020 As if Brexit was not enough to disrupt the harmony of the EU, Covid-19 poses a huge threat to European free travel. The ‘Schengen Area’, set up thirty-five years ago, is the passport-free EU zone that spans […]

The end of democracy or the big reveal?

Professor Juliet Lodge

Something stinks and it’s not just the fish. Britain is rotting from its heart, as its democratic institutions and processes are eroded from within. It’s not just individual things, like cutting the number of days parliament sits, and thereby cutting the time available for MPs to make the government publicly accountable (we know that if […]

Covid-19: four scenarios for our future

Jimmy Andrex

What might the future living with Covid-19 actually look like? STAT magazine, an online journal for health professionals based in Boston, Massachusetts, asked eminent epidemiologists for their best (informed) guesses as to how things might pan out: “Will it always have the capacity to make us so sick? Will our immune systems learn — and […]

Trussed up farmers

Andy Brown

You have to hand it to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss. She can voice two contradictory ideas in one speech better than almost anyone else in the Cabinet. Even when speaking to Yorkshire farmers. So the front page of the Yorkshire Post on 28 August reported her giving an absolute re-assurance to farmers and consumers […]

Brexit brings the end of an era for UK sellers on Amazon

Lisa Burton

Many may find it surprising to find out that over 50 percent of Amazon’s sales come from third-party sellers who use Amazon’s marketplaces to list and sell their products. Changes coming to Amazon’s European fulfilment services when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December will have a significant impact on many UK and EU sellers. […]

The fight for democracy in Belarus continues

Stephen Davis

The stand-off between the official ‘winner’ of Belarus’s rigged presidential election, Aleksandr Lukashenko, and the growing coalition of opposition groups has been continuing this week in Minsk and other towns and cities throughout the country. While the opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has begun to set up a broad-based coordination council to oversee a peaceful transition […]

Assault on our food and healthcare: double whammy from the USA

Martin Brooks

With a US trade deal, the UK faces the doubly damaging prospect of the arrival of both American food and American healthcare products and services. The combination threatens the nation’s health and the NHS’s wellbeing. This is a variation of the good old American win-win, but while America wins both ways, we lose twice. The […]

Norky’s ramblings: episode 6

Peter Norcliffe

In 1890, my great grandparents Joseph and Eliza Senior took the whole family to Sagan in what was then Germany (now Żagań in Poland). This is where a Yorkshire mill owner called Oldroyd set up a textile factory (which is still running today, now in local Polish ownership). He took a skilled labour force with him fro

Escalating crisis in Belarus

Stephen Davis

One week after the election that, according to the regime, saw Aleksandr Lukashenko re-elected for a sixth term, the political crisis continues to escalate. On the morning after last Sunday’s vote, the main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, lodged a complaint at the offices of the Central Electoral Commission in Minsk, challenging the result which gave […]

BREAKING

Brexit backing billionaire plans to open new car plant – in France

Anthony Robinson

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the chemical company Ineos and Britain’s richest man, plans to open a car plant in France to build the successor to the 4×4 Land Rover Defender which was discontinued in 2016. Ratcliffe, who was a supporter of Brexit, reportedly moved to Monaco in 2019 in order to avoid paying £4bn […]

Belarus: disputed victory for ‘Sasha 3%’

Stephen Davis

There were no surprises in yesterday’s presidential election in Belarus with the ‘resounding victory’ of the incumbent, Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has been elected for the sixth time to the office of president of the former Soviet republic. While none of his previous victories could have been described as ‘free and fair’ by western standards, this […]

Corporate control of Britain’s farming after Brexit, and why it matters

Pauline Allon

According to Greenpeace, a small number or US companies control the food industry worldwide, reducing farmers’ say in what is grown and how to grow it and leaving little choice for the consumer. This is industrial agriculture. The US Department of Agriculture defines factory farming as a system that houses more than 1,000 cattle, 2,500 […]

“The GMO lobbyist will see you now, minister”

Martin Brooks

The UK is under immense pressure to sign up to US demands on the regulations applying to GMO (genetically modified organisms), as part of the US-UK trade deal. One look at the USA’s commercial commitment to GMO tells you why. GMO technology, often developed by US companies, is embedded in US farming practices and hence […]

New UK Magnitsky-style human rights sanction regime

Marc Limon and Louis Mason

An important step forward for accountability On 6 July the UK became the latest country to join the growing ‘Magnitsky momentum’ by passing the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations, allowing the government to sanction alleged perpetrators of the gravest forms of human rights violations. Introducing the regulations in parliament, the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, […]

EU banking watchdog tells British banks: Check, Change and Come – to Europe

Anthony Robinson

As the British government launches its advertising campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period, with the inevitable three-word slogan “Check – Change – Go”, the European Banking Authority (EBA) had a message of its own to Britain’s financial institutions. In a lengthy and uncompromising statement published yesterday on its […]

Three emergencies at once

Andy Brown

Many people think that we have a major environmental emergency on our hands called climate change. That is, of course, quite wrong. We have at least three major environmental emergencies going on and none of them is remotely under control. One of the worst of those crises is the proliferation of plastic waste. If, repeat […]

BREAKING

Reuters: “Barnier confident Brexit deal with Britain possible”

Anthony Robinson

Reuters reported within the last half hour that sources in Brussels are claiming Michel Barnier, in a closed-door meeting with national envoys this morning, “expressed confidence” that a deal between the UK and the EU can be agreed. Barnier’s comments are said to be in sharp contrast to the most recent downbeat assessments that he […]

Trump’s presidential legacy – a redundant constitution

Isabel Ralphs

Last week, Donald Trump signed an executive order to send federal troops into Portland, in yet another attempt to clamp down on the free speech of his opposition. This is only the latest in a string of events over the last four years that have violated the very principles on which the United States’ constitution […]

Polish government accused of risking “a serious breach” of the rule of law

Wiktor Moszczynski

In the October 2015 elections for the Polish parliament, the Law and Justice Party (PiS) won an outright majority with an ambitious Poland First programme of so-called “good renewal”, which included a generous social welfare programme and a desire to overturn their predecessors’ social and economic policies. PiS is ultra-nationalist and socially conservative, opposing (indeed reversing) […]