The government’s Rwandan scheme reveals a worrying outsourcing of the delivery of our entire asylum system to another state. At stake is the proper care of vulnerable refugees, their mental health and an erosion of human rights for us all as the government seeks to enforce a system widely damned as shameful and inhumane.
Author: Vivienne Griffiths
Vivienne Griffiths is a retired teacher and academic. Her research focuses on teacher education, gender and equity issues. A lifelong activist for women’s rights and social justice, she is also an anti-war and pro-Europe campaigner. She is now Emeritus Professor of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, an English (TESOL) teacher and volunteer gardener in Brighton’s Preston Park.
Vivienne Griffiths gets a privileged peak inside Brighton’s new The Dance Space – an innovative multi-studioed building which aims to bring dance to all.
Over a hundred singers from Sussex and beyond took part in the Big Sing for Ukraine in Lewes Town Hall. Organised by the East Sussex Bach Choir, the music included Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time and Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man. Celebrated local soloists joined in later as the choir gave an informal performance to family and friends.
Highly bureaucratic and difficult to navigate sums up the process faced by those fleeing to the UK from the war in Ukraine. The Nationality and Borders Bill and plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are the latest examples of a hostile environment which turns refugees into criminals. Vivienne Griffiths argues that we need safe routes for all refugees.
Two weeks into Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, millions are fleeing the country in the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the second world war. EU countries are welcoming the refugees with open arms, offering automatic protection for up to three years without the need to apply for asylum. But what of the UK – is our government doing enough to help?
Whilst two in three people in high income countries have been vaccinated, only one in eight people have been vaccinated in low income countries. The Director of the World Health Organisation calls this a “shocking imbalance” and argues that “Vaccine inequity is the world’s biggest obstacle to ending this pandemic and recovering from Covid-19.”
From small beginnings 30 years ago, the Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods have grown into a thriving organisation making a real difference to the local woodland landscape
Over the past few weeks a number of scandals have rocked Westminster and Boris Johnson’s position as prime minister. Vivienne Griffiths examines the fallout of the ongoing furore and its impact on the Conservative government and its leader.
Boris Johnson’s government is mired in allegations of sleaze and corruption, and despite the PM’s protests, it doesn’t look as if they are going to go away any time soon.
Since ‘Freedom Day’ in July most people in England have become more relaxed about Covid precautions. But with cases rising, isn’t it time the government was less complacent and moved to greater restrictions under Plan B?
Free University Brighton offers its students learning outside the mainstream. And from the germ of an idea just under 10 years ago, it has grown into a success story, admired from around the world.
Government bungling together with Priti Patel’s inhumane Borders Bill and disastrous Home Office response have only served to hinder humanitarian efforts, both with the evacuation in Afghanistan and assisting asylum seekers here in the UK. Traumatised Afghan refugees who have barely escaped with their lives deserve kindness, compassion and support, not more hostility. Writer Vivienne Griffiths examines the horrifying events of recent days and offers practical advice for anyone iwanting to help refugees locally…
To celebrate the first anniversary of Sussex Bylines’ inaugural issue, we asked some of our key contributors to write a short piece on the subject of “What Sussex Means to Me”. From memories of being a student at the newly built Sussex University in the sixties while living in shabby digs in Brighton, to the […]
When Joni Mitchell’s album Blue came out in June 1971, the author Vivienne Griffiths, herself then an aspiring folk singer, had not long returned to the UK from an exciting year of travels in the USA. “Even now,” she says, “I only have to hear the opening chords of the songs, with their haunting music and evocative lyrics, and it conjures up this memorable time in my life.”
While some expressed moral outrage, most people were more upset by the hypocrisy shown by the Health Secretary in brazenly breaking the social distancing guidelines that he himself had set, especially when so many who have lost loved ones to Covid had stuck to the rules…. It was only the unrelenting outcry from MPs, the public, and the media, that finally forced Hancock’s hand into “doing the decent thing” and resigning.
Parents in one Brighton school have fought against their state primary being run by a private academy trust and there is mounting evidence to back their opposition.
When the Brighton Rockery came up as a project in 2000, Andy Jeavons, Preston Park garden manager, jumped at the chance. It was a daunting prospect, as at that stage the garden had not been touched for years and was “completely overgrown”. After the hurricane in 1987, “it went to rack and ruin”, as there was a lot of damage in all the Brighton parks and the Rockery was not a priority.
While nurses are offered a 1 per cent pay rise, multi-million pound Covid-related contracts have been awarded to “friends” of the government, often secretly and without going out to tender. Viv Griffiths reveals the cost of some of this cronyism and how it is being successfully challenged in the courts and even by the UK’s medicine agency (MHRA).
As International Women’s Day approaches on 8 March, Vivienne Griffiths remembers two of her aunts: Florence Rourke and Kay Williams. Both were remarkable women, in very different ways, and both had a profound influence on Vivienne’s life.
Kim Shamash told Vivienne Griffiths how the Brighton and Hove network sprang up just before the first lockdown. Within a week there were 42 areas with at least 3,000 people joining numerous area and street WhatsApp and Facebook groups to request or offer mutual support.
Following the military coup in Myanmar on 1 February, a growing civil disobedience movement has emerged, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to daily protest marches. Young people have been instrumental in mobilising opposition and ensuring global coverage of the demonstrations.
Since 18 January, all travellers to the UK from overseas must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test and quarantine for up to 10 days on arrival. Travel corridors have also been closed and the government is set to announce mandatory quarantine hotels. But why has it taken so long to introduce such measures?
Vivienne Griffiths turns the spotlight on the government’s decisions on re-opening schools. She exposes a predictable pattern of delays, U-turns and threats of legal action that jeopardise teachers’ and students’ safety, and cause anxiety and uncertainty among parents.
In December 2020, Boris Johnson announced the closure of the Erasmus project, which has enabled 9 million young people to experience studying or working in another European country, citing expense as one of the main reasons. This is short-sighted and mean-spirited.
It is time for the government to be called to account for its failure to follow proper contracting and employment procedures.
The EU is right not to trust the British government. False promises and outright lies about a trade deal have been dripped into the British public’s and EU’s ears by Brexiteers since 2016. Many of these promises have been quietly dropped in the intervening years, as the reality proved more difficult and ministers’ big claims have come to nothing.
Prompted by Boris Johnson’s refusal to sack Priti Patel despite a formal investigation finding evidence of bullying, Vivienne Griffiths recalls her experience of workplace bullying in higher education. Over a five-year period she experienced ongoing bullying from a senior colleague at her university, with significant impact on her professional and personal life.
US trade deal will usher in lower food standards, warns expert
Increasingly outlandish and inhumane plans to deal with the migrant ‘crisis’ have emerged from the Home Office in recent days. According to the Financial Times, home secretary Priti Patel explored plans to set up asylum processing centres in the South Atlantic. The plans appear to have been dropped only because of the impracticality of shipping […]
During lockdown, I narrowly missed being run down by a speeding van on an otherwise empty road, its driver giving me two fingers as I tried to slow him down. My angry reaction was: us older people are dispensable now. The feeling has been growing – fed by the enveloping Covid crisis. And I’m not […]