Author: Sadie Parker

International woman of mystery Sadie Parker once got caught up in a revolution in a small African nation, fell 450m down a mountain in the land of the Vikings, was whisked away to secret meetings in the Sahara, questioned by the secret services of a cold, hostile state (you know the one), and accidentally gate-crashed a wedding in central Asia in her bicycle shorts… She’s now leading a calmer life, dividing her time between Poole and Paris.

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Trading the orchard for an apple

Sadie Parker

Department for International Trade (DIT) tweets are easy to distinguish from those of other government departments by their exuberant use of emojis. “Good to speak to my counterparts from across the EEA EFTA states about our live negotiations on a new trade deal,” tweeted junior trade minister Ranil Jayawardena after the meeting on February 25th. […]

50 days on: Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Sadie Parker

Saturday 20 February was the 50th day since Boris Johnson’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) came into effect. Anyone expecting it to settle all questions, or even most of the details, of how we will do business with the EU from now on will be mightily disappointed. The proverbial expression of something being ‘as full […]

You can’t lie your way to Mars: the cosmos, awe and wonder with Ann Druyan

Sadie Parker

“Touchdown confirmed,” a woman’s voice announced over the public address system. “Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the sands of past life.” The NASA control room erupted. Staff were on their feet, their arms raised in a victory ‘V’, whooping and hollering. The only difference between this and past scenes […]

Valuing the feminine: the ‘Virgin’s Promise’

Sadie Parker

One of the things that makes life worthwhile is the opportunity to keep learning something new. The first week of the London Screenwriters’ Festival online has been what I’d call a ‘chocolate mousse’ learning experience – intense, exquisite and deliciously inspirational. Every session has been brilliant, and some have been a revelation, like Tales of […]

Is our democracy toast? Part 2 of the double-barrelled piece

Sadie Parker
Rees-Mogg standing in front of a burning forest with democracy fishing agriculture, food e-commerce and financial service all burning down

Fishers feel betrayed. Boats are in dry-dock, fish markets are bereft of trade, and five-generation businesses are facing bankruptcy. No Brexiter politicians are posing with them now. No Brexiter politicians are even listening to them now. Similarly, agri-food businesses, no matter how well prepared they were, are seeing the fruits of their labours spoiled, at […]

Devon MP Anne-Marie Morris keeps Gove on his toes

Sadie Parker

A study by the Association for Computational Linguistics (AMACL) found that those who are ‘excessively polite’ are considerably more likely to betray peers or comrades than those who are not very polite. In short, overly polite people are the most likely to be potential backstabbers. Now, who does that remind us of? Michael Gove is […]

Jackie Weaver for prime minister?

Sadie Parker

I first became aware of Jackie Weaver when Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent at the Financial Times, put up a poll asking the public, “Who do you want as PM [prime minister]?”. The four choices were Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson, Ed Davey and Jackie Weaver. Keir Starmer was winning comfortably, but Jackie Weaver was in […]

Does anyone know Russell Crowe? THE Russell Crowe?

Sadie Parker

If you’re not on Twitter, you may have heard terrible things about it. Indeed, it can be a very toxic place, especially UK ‘political’ Twitter, which is a maelstrom of Johnson’s Trumpist pronouncements, amplification by his forgiving fans and robust rebuttals from lovers of truth. Except every now and then something wonderful happens. I remember […]

Vaccine ‘wars’? What on earth is going on?

Sadie Parker
globe, syringes like missiles doing battle

“EU vaccine war explodes,” screamed the Daily Mail in its first edition. Then hours later its headline had changed to “EU Jabs Climbdown” as it accused the EU of performing a ‘screeching U-turn’. Wait. What? There had been a war and it was all over eight hours later? What on earth was going on? It […]

Government gaslighting just stepped up a gear

Sadie Parker

No doubt you’ve seen the news that, unlike some of the other car manufacturers, Nissan has decided to stay in the UK. Phew! There must have been a collective sigh of relief in Sunderland that was so loud, it made the wings of the Angel of the North flap 13 miles away in Gateshead. Surely […]

The anti-democracy and not-so-Unionist party

Sadie Parker
Johnson claiming no Brexit trade barriers

As democracy has been trampled under a tsunami of lies, scams and evasion of scrutiny this month, perhaps the Conservative and Unionist Party needs a new name? I’ll go first: the Anti-Democracy and not-so-Unionist Party. Here’s why… Boris Johnson can’t stop lying. To dismiss that with an exclamation of, “oh, but all politicians lie,” is […]

The return of decency

Sadie Parker

I hadn’t meant to cry, but I couldn’t help myself. There were so many moments to pull on the heartstrings. Watching newly-promoted Eugene Goodman, the officer who had held off a braying mob just long enough to allow senators to escape from the Capitol only two weeks before, accompany Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris to her swearing […]

Five local MPs back ‘Stop genocide trade’ amendment

Sadie Parker

In an otherwise disappointing round of voting on Lords’ Amendments (LAs) to the Trade Bill, during which Tory MPs yet again voted en masse to weaken parliamentary oversight of trade deals, there was one bright spot. Lords Amendment Number Three to force the UK to withdraw from bilateral trade agreements with any country the High […]

Tory Trumpism is turning the UK into a sewer of fake news

Sadie Parker

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared anyone campaigning for free school meals during the February half-term-break to the Trumpist insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. He did so in a WhatsApp message sent to all Tory MPs at lunchtime on Sunday 17 January, explaining why he was whipping them to abstain from voting for or against […]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Britain’s Tartuffe

Sadie Parker
Jacob Rees Mogg appearig to pray, with further image of him sporting devil's horns in background

When I was at university in the US, a pre-med student, thinking that all Europeans were into high culture, decided to take me to the opera to impress me. That was a night of firsts: our first date, our first opera and our first encounter with the unforgettable character of Tartuffe. I say ‘our’ first […]

Dark Wednesday: Trumpism has also stained and frayed British democracy

Sadie Parker
montage of Johnson and Trump pictured together

Judging by the liveliness of social media platforms well into the night, as 6 January rolled into 7 January on the European side of the Atlantic, half the UK was glued to CNN – watching agog as insurrectionists invaded government offices in Washington D.C. They stormed the Capitol building, the heart of American democracy, equipped […]

All eyes are on vaccination, but testing failures must not be forgotten

Sadie Parker

In my own small way, I was caught out by the closing of the borders the weekend before Christmas. Matt Hancock ran around Britain’s TV and radio studios telling stunned presenters and audiences that Covid-19 was “out of control” in London and the South-East. That’s the modern-day equivalent of screaming it from the rooftops. It […]

Who is to blame for the Brexit we are getting?

Sadie Parker

You might be surprised to discover that, according to a clutch of pro-Brexit pundits, it is Remainers who are to blame for the inglorious Brexit we’re about to receive. Odd how a rash of articles spinning this premise suddenly appeared one after another in a very short timeframe. It’s almost as if they’re all in […]

Brexit is the UK’s Tulip Mania

Sadie Parker

When I went to work in a Dutch company at the start of my career, I was given a copy of Charles Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”. Remember the “dot.com bubble”? The delusions recounted in Mackay’s book are similar, only more colourful, ridiculous and harmful. My personal favourite is tulip mania, […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 4

Sadie Parker

Rejoice! Lockdown is almost over – sort of. I was hoping this would be a universal moment of ‘euneirophrenia’: the feeling of contentment that comes from waking up from a pleasant dream. Sadly, for those exiting lockdown to enter into tier three, it probably won’t feel all that much different to being in actual lockdown. […]

In defence of Carrie Symonds

Sadie Parker

“Had Carrie pulled the plug before Bozzie said something she didn’t approve of?” This was the casually misogynistic sentence Daily Mail journalist Henry Deedes threw into his write-up of Boris Johnson’s technical difficulties while participating in a parliamentary debate from splendid self-isolation. Deedes has form when it comes to casual misogyny. When describing Angela Rayner’s […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 3

Sadie Parker

Well that didn’t last long. Here we are, back on the ‘sorry-go-round’ – trapped in a repetitive cycle of depressing actions or events. There were glimmers of good news. Hope of a vaccine, and even of vaccines, plural. Lewis Hamilton became the most successful Formula-1 champion ever, raising the spirits of Britain’s sports fans. The […]

Bullies on top in anti-bullying week

Sadie Parker

This government doesn’t do irony, does it? Hypocrisy? Yes! In spades! Sadie Parker goes a bit deeper into the Patel Bullygate scandal. Ed The Anti-Bullying Alliance was all ready to go with an impressive package of events, resources and merchandise in support of anti-bullying week, which this year fell on 16-20 November. Their aim: to […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 2

Sadie Parker

What an extraordinary week the first week of lockdown turned out to be. We have become so used to catastrophe with this ‘camorra’ of a government (a group united for nefarious or traitorous ends), that this week’s ‘eucatastrophes’ (sudden fortuitous events) will have come as a surprise. Perhaps you became a ‘mouse potato’, spending far […]

Spats, I’ve had a few… And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Sadie Parker

Is the fat lady really singing for Dominic Cummings? Twitter is sceptical. First there was euphoria. Then a 90’s movie reference to Gwyneth Paltrow’s head being in the cardboard box Cummings carried out of No.10 Downing Street, in what looked like a very stage-managed way. (The movie was David Fincher’s neo-noir, Se7en, by the way. […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 1

Sadie Parker

Hello lockdown, my old friend; I’ve come to walk with you again. How are we all feeling? You may have awoken early in a state of uhtceare (pronounced uht-kay-ara; the ‘h’ is as in ‘loch’), an Anglo-Saxon expression for the ‘sorrow before dawn’ when you lie awake in the darkness and worry about the day […]

Is the Conservatives’ ‘holier than thou’ act on antisemitism credible?

Sadie Parker

The findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on antisemitism in the Labour Party have set social media ablaze. According to the report, the Labour Party is responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act (2010) relating to (1) political interference in antisemitism complaints, (2) failure to provide adequate training to those handling […]