Section: Politics

Why on earth is the government mucking about with our data privacy laws?

Mariano Delli Santi

Thursday 9 September, evening: the UK Government published their long-awaited proposal for a new UK data protection regime. The new framework is the peak of a journey which Open Rights Group has followed closely, starting from the National Data Strategy and down to the TIGRR report and the Digital Regulation Plan. We will analyse and react to Government consultation thoroughly, […]

The Ajax reconnaissance tank: the end of the line?

Canon Robin Murch

As a young National Service infantry soldier in 1957, nothing gave me greater excitement than riding on the deck of a Centurion tank at high speed across Salisbury Plain and witnessing their ability to hit a target almost a mile away while speeding across the grasslands.  I could not help but envy the tank crews: […]

Lying and liars are killing our democracy: help to make it stop

Anthea Simmons

Make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence “The Government should introduce legislation to make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence. This would mean that all MPs, including Ministers, would face a serious penalty for knowingly making false statements in the House of Commons, as is the case in a […]

A plan that wasn’t a plan and a promise that wasn’t a promise

Mick Fletcher

If you are thinking of laying bets on winners and losers in the next reshuffle James Heappey, MP for Wells, may be one to watch.  He is desperately loyal, not associated too closely with a current scandal, and, unlike some of his colleagues, can speak his lines clearly.  Most importantly, he can repeat official nonsense […]

A briefing note for POTUS: the United Kingdom after Afghanistan

Eric Gates

Eric Gates imagines a very necessary briefing for President Biden in the wake of the withdrawal from Afghanistan: Mr President With the main elements of the US drawdown from Afghanistan complete, it is perhaps appropriate to brief you on the impact that this has had in the United Kingdom. I appreciate that many Americans have […]

Boris Johnson’s “not a holiday” in the West Country

Tom Scott

Confusion reigns over whether or not the prime minister is currently on holiday in the west of England with his latest family. According to a Number 10 spokesperson, he is definitely not on holiday and is “continuing to work”. Whether or not this is government work was not specified. Perhaps he is labouring at his […]

Why pay rises won’t solve the Brexit staffing crisis

Russ In Cheshire

There SHOULD be pay rises in most sectors, including HGV. But pay rises won't solve the staff problem, and here's why. For arguments’ sake, imagine we give a 20 per cent pay rise to HGV drivers. This attracts 20,000 people from lower paid jobs. HGV problem solved (in a year or so) But… The industries […]

The Brexit-exacerbated blood bottle shortage: why your doctor may not be able to offer you the blood test you need. UPDATED

Anthea Simmons

About a fortnight ago we saw medics and commentators expressing concerns over shortages of blood bottles. Research indicated that this was a worldwide phenomenon created by the massive hike in demand as a consequence of the pandemic. Now it appears that Brexit is exacerbating an already difficult situation with supply chains interrupted by border issues […]

Raab got a suntan while troops were scarred by tragedy

Anna Andrews

Of all the distressing images coming out of the chaos and fear at Kabul airport, there was one which I found particularly moving. It was not one of those showing desperate Afghans clinging to the fuselage of a huge transport plane as it took off from the runway. It was not one of those showing […]

Send Botham Down Under? That’s just plain batty!

Anthea Simmons
Chappell and Botham cartoon

Liz Truss, the cheese obsessive who counts rollover trade deals as the sign of the dawn of a new era for ‘global Britain’ and crows about flogging a few stiltons to the famously-lactose intolerant Japanese has hit diplomacy for six with her gleeful appointment of Brexit-fanatic Botham as trade envoy to Australia. Ennobled for his […]

Hell or High Water?

Graham Hurley

The TV pictures from Kabul last weekend were apocalyptic: thousands of desperate Afghans converging on the airport, families and a handful of belongings crammed into their cars. Already refugees in the face of the breaking wave of Taliban at the city’s gates, many of them chose to spend the night parked up around the airport […]

Operation Enduring Freedom becomes Operation Disastrous Farce

Des Hannigan

Operation Enduring Freedom was the code name for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by allied western forces, chiefly American, which was followed by Operation Enduring Sentinel, and which ended last week in Operation Disastrous Farce. There is no humour, no satire, to be drawn from this, but there is contempt for both the Taliban’s extremism […]

“You cannot coordinate an international response from a beach” Why we must challenge this government’s behaviour

Anthea Simmons

The quote is from Sir Keir Starmer in today’s debate. The Afghanistan crisis, quite aside being an unimaginable tragedy for the Afghan people, has thrown up very serious questions about the competence, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and statesmanship of this government. We have to keep calling these abject failures out because they are failings that are […]

The great co-ordination

Graham Hurley

Gleichschaltung is one of history’s most sinister euphemisms. The word is German and it means ‘co-ordination’. Hitler and other architects of the Third Reich used it to build a totalitarian state that purged Germany of all opposition. From 1933 onwards, das Volk, the people, were urged to march in perfect formation towards a future that […]

It could all have been so very, very different

Anthea Simmons

For the purpose of this article, let us accept that the Conservatives are in power and were in power when some of the events referred to occurred. Readers may say “But what if it had been Corbyn or Starmer?”. Please set that alternative scenario to one side. I am looking at what was genuinely a […]

“The Politics of Climate Change:” – what can WE do?

Belinda Bawden
art work of politicians trying to avoid drowning in climate emergency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published on 9 August 2021 was clear: “Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying” The Guardian’s verdict on the IPCC report: “As a verdict on the climate crimes of humanity, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report could not be clearer: guilty as hell. The repeatedly-ignored […]

Horticulture: blighted by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

You may have already seen the story that Plants Galore in Newton Abbot, Plymouth and Exeter will be giving away £100,000 worth of stock because of Brexit.  WCB had also been sent a press release from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) about a recent visit by Brexit-backing MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, to […]

What about MY freedom of movement? Culture tests – part 2

Mike Zollo

In The culture test: Welcoming new citizens or a way to stop immigration? Part 1, we found that the culture tests for the EU countries considered so far appear to be designed to welcome prospective new citizens, whilst the UK test seems more like a method to stop immigration. I had hoped in this second […]

Climate emergency: a step change must be made NOW – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Every day on the television news and in the newspapers we see huge parts of the world on fire and other parts submerged beneath exceptional flooding. The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report makes it clear that this is undeniably the result of global warming caused by human activity. This report goes […]

Bring in the Army – or MACA

Eric Gates

Military Aid to the Civil Authorities is the set of situations in which military personnel can be deployed in the UK in support of the civil authorities. Like all large organisations, MoD operates in acronyms and this one is known as MACA. The use of military personnel is carefully prescribed so that it is very […]

Brexit: civil war by other means?

James Chater

Conflict is at the core of the UK’s historical development, and bad government is nothing new. Throughout the nation’s history the same perennial bones of contention keep recurring, and successive Westminster governments have failed to settle them. This is demonstrated once again by the way the continually unfolding Brexit fiasco has reopened old wounds. I […]