Section: UK

Brexit reality bites in Somerset

Richard Wilkins

The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a new trade deal which came into force immediately the transition period ended on 1 January. The guesswork has finally come to an end and over the next few months and years we will start to fully understand the implications of leaving the EU, and our […]

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 […]

This sting cannot be sugar-coated

Anna Andrews

Bees are good.  We all know that, don’t we.  Bees are good.  Pests are bad.  Farmers need to kill pests so they can grow our food and they use pesticides to do that.  So why would they want to use pesticides which kill bees? Many chemicals which kill pests also kill bees and other insects […]

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 […]

Have your say! Letters to the editor

Anthea Simmons

Would you like to express a view on one of our articles? Add to the information? Give us a different perspective? Then, please, do email us! Tell us who you are and where you come from and if you have a particular expertise in the relevant field add that, too. We may publish your letter […]

Out of the Single Market, out of the Customs Union: Brexit pain gets real

David Henig

How to make sense of the increasing number of UK-EU trade disruption stories? In short – outside of a single market product checks and people working restrictions are inevitable. And outside a customs union you will have tariffs and / or rules of origin. Detail: The UK decided to leave a Customs Union. Within that […]

Trump and ‘Britain Trump’

Tom Scott

The US president’s descent into lunacy and fascistic violence holds a lesson for the UK. It was not so hard to predict that Donald Trump’s rage at having lost the US election would lead inexorably to violence, and I was one of several to do so a few weeks ago. The story is not over […]

Hope and horror

Anthea Simmons

I had begun an article on the confirmation of more hopeful signs for democracy in the USA coming from the run-off elections in Georgia…and not because Democrats won, but because the long hard effort to secure voter engagement right across the electorate had paid off. I will return to the subject, because there are important […]

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 […]

From Churchill to Asquith – Johnson’s tribute act is no joke

Robert Saunders

Quiz question: of which prime minister was it said, “the P.M. never moves until he is forced, and then it is usually too late”? Answer: H.H. Asquith in World War One. It’s a parallel that tells us something, I think, about Boris Johnson’s current predicament. Asquith was a lifelong Liberal – the last man to […]

The disinformation pandemic

Tom Scott

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Dr Matthew Lee, a young medic working at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, tweeted a video of the scene that confronted him when he stepped out of the hospital after completing a late shift in A&E. As he described it: “Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge […]

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 […]

The Potemkin hospitals

Tom Scott

With desperate frontline NHS staff warning that the health service is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 admissions, it appears that the government’s much vaunted Nightingale hospitals were built largely for PR purposes – yet another example of government by vacuous gesture. The news that the government’s flagship Nightingale hospital at London’s […]

“A bad Brexit deal done by bad people in a bad way” Dr Philip Lee

Editor-in-chief

This short but powerful thread from former Conservative MP, Justice minister and part time GP Dr Philip Lee warrants sharing far and wide. “This is a bad #Brexit deal done by bad people in a bad way. It doesn’t have the public’s explicit informed consent. It bears little relation to Vote Leave’s promises in 2016. […]

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 […]

The Turing scheme – does it address the loss of Erasmus?

Professor Paul James Cardwell

Some details about the #turingscheme as a replacement for #Erasmus are now out. Here are my initial thoughts, from an institutional and education perspective more than costs. First, setting up a scheme to run in 2021 is difficult and especially for those already in degree programmes who were due to go on Erasmus placements (language […]

A pinprick of hope

Vicky Rosier

It was bright when we drew up outside the Eastway Clinic at Sunday lunchtime. Since I don’t drive and the buses are infrequent, I’d allowed us the privilege of getting a taxi. And, on balance, taking a taxi involving greater proximity to one masked driver probably involves no greater risk than sitting on a bus […]

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 […]

Trump pardons, Johnson ennobles – the swamp deepens

Anthea Simmons

It is impossible to shake off the sense that decent people, on both sides of the pond, are being brazenly trolled by their corrupt and mendacious leaders. “Look what I can do!” Trump and Johnson seem to say, “and there’s not a darned/damned thing you can do to to stop me.” Trump’s sick execution spree […]

Case for closure of Teignmouth hospital “not credible”

Editor-in-chief

Press release 20 December 2020 Save Our Hospital Services Case for closure of Teignmouth hospital ‘not credible’ says Devon CC Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee A special Spotlight Review meeting took place on 14 December to consider Devon CCG’s recent consultation on closing services at Teignmouth Hospital. Its report to the CCG states: “Members […]

Our thanks and a message to you, dear reader

Editor-in-chief

First of all, a big thank you for reading and sharing our articles. We’ve only been going five months, but 360,000 people have paid us a visit and that’s fantastic. We are all doing this for love. Love of truth. Love of justice. Love of our country and of our fellow denizens of this precious […]