Section: Economy

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Roast autarky and British sprouts

Rachel Marshall

As Covid choked the passageways between the UK and France at the end of December, there were increasing calls from farmers and politicians to “Buy British.” This is irritating because many of us do just that already; filling our fridges and store cupboards has for many years not been an either/or choice. But is this […]

We are going to have to monitor these politicians like hawks

Anthea Simmons

‘The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles from bondage [ … ] The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.’ George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell might have added that the Party also ensured that you only saw and heard the […]

Awards part two: some more good people, thankfully!

Anthea Simmons

Most dogged defenders of our food & farming standards: Devon MPs Ben Bradshaw, Luke Pollard and Dorset MP Simon Hoare stand amongst those who braved the government to demand standards be enshrined in law and not on the table in any future trade deals. (Devon MP Neil Parish almost made it into this select group, […]

People of the year part one: the good guys

Anthea Simmons

Humanitarian of the Year: Marcus Rashford. As an example of altruism, generosity of spirit, determination, focus and just plain being right, Rashford has become an icon of hope for the persistence of compassion and kindness in our communities. He tackled and outplayed Johnson at every (U) turn and scored powerful political goals. Visit his website […]

In a stew over fish…

Mike Zollo

From fish’n’chips to calamares In my childhood days, my experience of fish was usually limited to a somewhat greasy lump of batter, with a trace of white matter within it, presumably cod, accompanied by equally greasy, soggy chips. They were served in newspaper, liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Perhaps my palate-memory is rather jaded […]

Digital divisions and the Tower of Babel

Mick Fletcher

People often talk of the ‘digital divide’, a gulf that separates those with access to IT and social media from others who lack the means or the understanding to engage with it. Some go further and speak of ‘digital natives’, those who have grown up with new technology and assimilated its ways like a child […]

Goodbye to all that

Karol Kulik

As an American living in England for over 50 years, being neither a Brit nor a European, I’ve kept my views about the EU and the Brexit debate to myself… until now. Despite the last-minute ‘agreement’, I still find it incredibly sad to watch the British government and Brexit supporters turning their backs on the […]

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 […]

A ‘lifetime skills guarantee’ – great, until you read the small print

Mick Fletcher

The shameful gap between the soaring rhetoric of policy announcements and the sordid reality of what is implemented has become one of the defining features of this government. The headline examples are of course the ‘oven ready deal’ that took 12 months to get anywhere near the oven, and the ‘world beating’ track and trace […]

The complexity of Brexit delay and what to do about it

Jon Worth

This post was originally a Twitter thread by Jon Worth (@jonworth) on 15/12/2020. It has been adapted to turn it into a blog post. OK, it can be avoided no more. Understanding and explaining the complexity of Brexit negotiations right now is one of the most complicated conundrums I have faced. But this issue really […]

No deal takes UK back to the 70s and food anxiety

Robert Saunders

No apologies for reproducing yet another Twitter thread. Everyone should have the chance to read this. Ed The 1970s was a decade of serious anxiety about food supplies. Norman Tebbit, of all people, urged the government to consider rationing basic foodstuffs. That played a significant role in the decision to join the EEC, and raises […]

Wishy-fishy in a dishy

Des Hannigan

Much of the British attitude to fishing, and especially to foreign fishermen, is based on prejudice and ignorance. We need to see ourselves as others see us. Fishing, eh? Symbol of Brexit Britain! Sovereignty! Taking Back Control! Getting our moat back! It’s OUR ‘English’ Channel! It’s also La Manche according to those damned Frenchies over […]

Brexit’s impact on Plymouth: fishing, science and people

Ashley Beare

Where to start? There are literally so many areas of business and life that will be adversely affected. Here is a snapshot of a few, together with my thoughts: – Fisheries Deliberately focused on by the government on an emotional level whilst they are well aware that, in economic reality, fisheries account for 0.12 per […]

Farming after Brexit

Miles King

We left the EU in January 2020 and it’s now less than a month before the transition period ends.  Depending on how you look at it, we are once again a ‘sovereign state’ able to take back control and make our own decisions – as if we were not free to do so before. Or […]

Green industrial revolution or greenwash?

Miles King

Earlier this week I imagined, not altogether seriously, how Boris Johnson came to create his ten point plan for the climate, or the green industrial revolution, if you like. At the time, there was no detail other than the prime minister’s article in the Financial Times and a shortish press release. Now the government has […]

Hooray! We are taking back control…of GM

Simon Chater

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. There are precious few upsides to Brexit, but here’s one. We’re coming out of the EU’s dysfunctional system for regulating genetically modified (GM) crops! What do we know? It’s a quarter of a century since the first GM crop, a tomato modified to prolong its […]

2026: an irreverent look into the future

Devon Doodler

It is the Autumn of 2026. The general election of late 2024 produced historically low voter participation and resulted in no overall parliamentary majority for any single party. A Government of National Unity has now been formed, following a protracted period of bitter in-fighting amongst Tory MPs about the dire consequences of Brexit on the […]

People, Poverty, Power

Catrina Davies

Cornwall-based author Catrina Davies offers some tips for leading a better life on this beautiful planet – and for changing the broken system that is driving poverty and environmental destruction. Last Saturday I was on the BBC, talking to Simon Reeve about Cornwall and housing. Many of you have written to me about it, via email […]

“Complacency and nostalgia are the route to national decline.”

Antonello Guerrera

For those of you not on Twitter we are pleased to reproduce Repubblica journalist Antonello Guerrera’s helpful compliation of highlights from Sir John Major’s barnstorming speech, 9 November, Middle Temple. Thank you, Antonello. BREAKING. Sir John Major: “Complacency and nostalgia are the route to national decline” “We are no longer a great power. We will […]

The Government and the City

Saul Fineman

Historically, the City has leaned heavily to the Tories. In part, this was ideological with practitioners mostly believing in free enterprise capitalism, the small state and low taxes. In part, too, it historically reflected the background of most of its leading figures: male, privately educated and upper middle class. The frontier between finance and the […]

Lambs to the slaughter

Miles King

As we wait for what feels like the final slow-motion spin of the car as it hurtles inexorably towards the cliff edge, wondering if our heroes are going to escape from this seemingly impossible situation … again … no, stop there. Enough with the Hollywood imagery, the tired old metaphors. They just aren’t funny anymore. […]