Category: United Kingdom

A Faux Pas Too Far

Peter Burke

Boris Johnson excelled himself by comparing the UK and Ukraine. Whatever was he thinking? Is he really so indifferent to world opinion? Another take on this affair

Irish Anniversaries

Philip Cole

This year the Irish, South and North, are celebrating four key anniversaries of events that have shaped their shared island.

Not a Welcome Bill

Lizzy Price and Peter Burke

Without the right to protest, would we have ever had universal suffrage, would the Berlin wall ever have come down, would apartheid in South Africa have come to an end, would civil rights legislation have happened in America, would people have been able to mark their opposition to the Iraq war or to Brexit, would inequality or climate change be such ubiquitous and necessary talking points?

FOUL! Football, Racism and Language

Martin Griffiths

Following continued online racist abuse from “humanity and social media at its worst,” footballer Marcus Rashford said on Twitter: “I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it [screenshots of abuse]. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated.” Dare we hope, that eventually these diverse, beautiful colours will […]

Legal Action launched to Save Stonehenge

The Editor

The news that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has green lighted a major expressway through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) has bewildered, outraged and shocked people across the country and around the world.  The independent panel of planning inspectors for the A303 road scheme by Stonehenge concluded that the massive infrastructure would cause “substantial harm” […]

Brexit and the Rise of Dual Citizenship

Melissa Chemam

In addition to the disorderly handling of Covid-19, the UK is experiencing the worst economic crisis since the 1970s. With job opportunities dwindling, an increasing number of graduates and skilled workers tell me they are considering leaving the country. The phenomenon is made worse by the consequences of Brexit. The outcome has prompted tens of […]

The rotting foundations of Downing Street…

A reader writes...

Dear Editor Downing Street was built by a dodgy speculative builder called George Downing who Samuel Pepys – the famous diarist – described as a “perfidious rogue”, deceitful and untrustworthy. Downing built the terrace of houses on soft soil with shallow, rotten foundations – which fits with Downing Street’s current tenants. The foundations of the […]

‘Sir Humphrey’ is knifed as ministers blame anyone but themselves

George Richmond

Whilst the ‘Sir Humphrey’ image of the civil service is one that has frequently gained accolades from those in politics – including Margaret Thatcher – it is the politicians giving those accolades who should be at the centre of public concern as regards the way government operates: for them ‘Yes, Minister’ seems an accurate depiction […]

Parliament’s committees are where our democracy is alive and well

Colin Gordon

One of the mortifying ironies of Brexit is that the UK enjoyed a reputation until very recently as high-grade mentor and exemplar in practices of good government and governance. UK jurists had largely invented and written the European Convention of Human Rights; UK officials had a large part in designing the constitutional basis of the […]

Few believe government claims schools are safe to reopen

Barbara Morrison

In a few weeks, some nine million children across the UK are expected to return to school. The government remains adamant that all years will return, and has produced a labyrinthine set of measures which they insist will reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission; the Prime Minister has meanwhile written of “a moral duty” to […]

Months of lockdown have cleaned our planet: let’s keep it that way

Hazel Pennington

Can we make something really positive out of the global tragedy of Covid-19? We are in a climate emergency. We have to make big cuts in our carbon emissions. Transport powered by fossil fuel is a massive contributor to an individual’s carbon footprint. During the lockdown, largely thanks to car use plummeting, our air was […]

Bristol rises – new city, bright future

Melissa Chemam

Summer is finally at its height, and with it Bristol seems again to be embracing a feeling of optimism. After an unpredictably hard start to the year and the worst crisis in decades, its businesses want to start over, its restaurants, pubs and shops are reopening, and art galleries are back with a thrilling programme […]

Johnson follows Trump’s lead with attacks on our democracy

Paul Ryder

When the outgoing Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor Sir Mark Sedwill confided to a colleague in reference to the Johnson-Cummings duo now leading in Downing Street that “they really want a presidential system”, it was a comment which needed to be taken seriously. The presidential system operating in the United States is supposed to […]

The new health and care visa: an exercise in cosmetic rebranding?

Peter Walsh

Last week, the Government published further details of its new ‘points-based’ immigration system, to be introduced from 1 January 2021, assuming no extensions to the Brexit transition period. Under the new system, freedom of movement will be no more, and EU citizens wishing to come to live in the UK will be subject to the […]

Germany will not pander to UK folly

Dr Helmut Hubel

The British government appears determined not to prolong the interim period for negotiating a trade deal with the EU, and equally determined to leave the Union at the end of 2020, with or without an agreement on future relations. The second half of this year will therefore see the endgame in the EU-UK relationship. Germany […]

Data grab gives the unelected Cummings total control

Mark Huband

Aside from its narrow victory at the 2016 Referendum, the VoteLeave campaign will be remembered for two things. The first is the law-breaking, abuse of data and massive infringement of personal privacy with which it became associated during and after its campaign to secure victory. Second, it will be remembered for the way it precipitated […]

Neuws from elsewhere…

Philip Cole

Philip Cole provides our regular look at how Europe is reporting on itself…and on us… This bulletin: the Coronavirus pandemic Germany calls for solidarity Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has appealed to Germans to show solidarity with the EU and accept a higher level of indebtedness to help finance the reconstruction fund. ‘The fund cannot […]

Paradise is a Cheltenham industrial estate

Guy Maughfling

In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little nameBy chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the samePrince: Sign O The Times At the end of January I was on a conference call in a hotel room in Prague discussing the logistics for a six month […]

So, what really happens if there’s ‘no deal’?

Hadrian Cook

‘Resilience’ is an interesting word. I am used to hearing it deployed in connection with the climate crisis, particularly as it affects low-lying communities vulnerable to flooding, the word implying a capacity to recover from a catastrophe that may seem intractable due to social, environmental, and economic trauma and stress the crisis may cause. In […]

Colston’s fall marks the beginning of the future

Eric Gates

In the aftermath of the slave-trader Edward Colston’s impromptu swim in Bristol’s Floating Harbour on 7 June, the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, set the tone of what the city authorities intended to do next, when he said: “We’ll retrieve the statue and take it to one of our museums where it will be assessed […]