Section: UK

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Growing up Catholic in the 1950s and 60s

Claire Hill

Growing up in post-war Britain, in a strict Catholic household, Claire Hill and her friends were given strict rules about behaviour and dating at her convent school, but sex (like the war) was never mentioned. Inevitably, rule breaking resulted.

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Let’s ditch the hostile environment: refugees need safe routes

Vivienne Griffiths

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.

NEW WRITER

Message to Starmer: think again about rejoining the EU

Colin Gordon

Pro-European campaigners have written to Sir Keir Starmer to urge him to moderate his hardline view and think again about rejoining the EU. In the light of recent polls and evidence that Brexit is not going well, Grassroots for Europe supporters are asking Starmer to consider the possible benefits to Labour of a more moderate standpoint.

NEW WRITER

Pride and shame: why I no longer feel proud to be British

Richard Haviland

“It’s some years now since I could say I felt proud to be British.” The British government’s sense of entitlement and lack of humanity towards refugees have changed Richard Haviland’s feelings of pride in being British to shame about what the government is doing: “I don’t hate my country, I just hate what they’ve done to it.”

Moral compass, pointing south: the Partygate fines

Alison Rees

Many of the public are content to continue with a PM whom they believe to have deliberately misled parliament and the public over Partygate, despite the thousands unable to say goodbye to loved ones during lockdowns. Alison Rees wonders what it will take for people to demand Boris Johnson’s resignation, when standards in public life have already sunk so low.

Bee bricks: constructive contribution or greenwash?

Ross McNally

Nearly half of Britain’s bees are designated as nationally or globally threatened. Leading factors include habitat destruction and the use of chemical pesticides. Ross McNally argues that the introduction of bee bricks into new buildings will not make much difference to bee survival; it’s more important to ban pesticides in gardens, streets and agricultural land.

Walking the dog – when is enough not enough?

Claire Hill

Claire Hill finds it a great comfort to walk in the countryside with her dog. It gives her time to think and here she talks about what’s important to her in life – including food, shelter, good healthcare and a decent government – and not forgetting earrings.

Marching with Ukraine: ‘Today we tell Putin he will fail’

Tamsin Shasha

Thousands gathered in the capital in a sea of blue and yellow. Tamsin Shasha describes the recent Stand With Ukraine march in London: “Our hearts soar. We are proud to be here. We are proud to challenge this government’s despicable response to the refugee crisis and their insistence on bureaucratic visas.”

Language matters!

Tom Serpell

We must call out lies and lazy language when it can cover up the truth or cause hurt and offence to others. With the language used in the new populism at play in this and a number of other countries, it is important we develop a new form of hearing-aid – one which can distinguish between excuses, lies, bigotry and truth.

Corruption is infecting our politics from the very top

Tom Serpell

In any other country, the buying of seats in the legislature, the donation of huge amounts of money to one political party in return for favours, and billionaire oligarchs purchasing property in the heart of the capital, would rightly be described as corruption. Why should Britain be treated any differently, Tom Serpell asks.

One year on: in search of Brexit benefits

Alison Rees

Brexit leaves us worse off, with UK-EU trade hit particularly hard. Many small businesses have ceased to import or export altogether. The government has consistently overpromised and overstated Brexit benefits. Unsurprisingly then, a recent survey found growing dissatisfaction with the EU-UK trade deal among both Remain and Leave voters.

Lacking humanity – Whitehall’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis

Vivienne Griffiths
Sign reading "No visas delivered in Calais", seen on the main information noticeboard at Calais youth hostel where Ukraine refugees are sleeping.

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?

‘No one is safe until everyone is safe’: Vaccine inequity

Vivienne Griffiths

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.”

Follow the money: the rise and rise of the Russian oligarchy in Britain

Ginny Smith

Following the deregulation of the City of London and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, former KGB operatives and spymasters with expert knowledge of Western economic systems looted billions from the Soviet state treasury and stashed it into accounts in Europe and the US. Ginny Smith traces the rise of the Russian oligarchy in Britain and exposes its reach deep into the British establishment, the City of London and our political system.

Is it time to rethink unsustainable road expenditure?

Vic Ient

In 2020 the Government approved an eye-watering £27bn for major road construction despite the rising costs of dealing with Covid. Here in Sussex several schemes are planned over the next 10 years by a government that seems hell-bent on encouraging travel by road – at the expense of bus and rail.

After Johnson: be careful who you wish for

Tom Serpell

The Conservatives may need to elect a new leader within weeks if Prime Minister Johnson, already precarious in his role, is removed either by his own hand or by his fellow MPs, if not by the Metropolitan Police. Nonetheless, could a weakened Johnson be politically more attractive in No.10 than any of the alternatives?

If your vote for change rarely matters, try this…

Robert Ellson

Does your voice get heard at elections? Probably not, unless you live in one of a few key ‘marginal’ seats. Robert Ellson reveals some shocking facts about our so-called democratic system – and why we need to fight for something better.

Nusrat Ghani’s brave stand opens the lid again on Tory Islamophobia

Mo Kanjilal

Highlighted by MP Nusrat Ghani’s description of the discrimination she has faced, Islamophobia remains deep-rooted within the Conservative Party against a background of supportive media headlines and the implementation of policies that discriminate against people of colour and ‘othered’ faiths. Is the Tory party setting itself up for a fall?

What’s the buzz? Don’t forget to tell the bees!

Ginny Foster

Our bees are once more facing an existential threat. The powers-that-be have given permission for neonicotinoids to be used to control aphids on sugar beet. The very existence of these pesticides is a sword of Damocles being held over our bees, other insects and our countryside.