Section: UK

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Bullying, gaslighting, and living with a shaky version of the truth

Mo Kanjilal
A young man sitting against a brick wall, head lowered onto knees, arms folded

Gaslighting is a way of control that enables bullying through manipulating the truth to make the victim doubt themselves. It makes you doubt your version of the truth. What happens when a whole nation is being bullied and gaslit? What happens when the population is living without trust in the truth?

How Covid has challenged political certainties

Tom Serpell

Political certainties have been jettisoned by a combination of Covid and Brexit. Tories traditionally hold the purse strings tight while Labour demonstrates a greater tendency to spend on public services but today, we’re seeing unprecedented levels of public spending increasing. Tom Serpell explores the implications for political loyalties.

Defending the rights of citizen journalists and campaigners

Rev Susie Courtault

While citizen journalists in the UK work to combat mainstream media bias, other countries arrest and torture the brave voices who speak truth to power. Susie Courtault examines the treatment of two women journalists, in China and Saudi Arabia, and fears for the future of human rights protection in the UK.

Johnson’s Brexit deal: For richer or for poorer?

Juliet Lodge

Juliet Lodge summarises reactions on Twitter to the last-minute Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU. With Boris Johnson’s early promise of frictionless trade abandoned, and parliament given just one day to debate the deal, what does the future hold for Britain’s relationship with its largest trading partner?

Cuts in aid: Johnson and Raab open another front in the culture war

James Joughin

Johnson’s government is resisting the warnings of five former prime ministers and implementing major cuts to Britain’s international aid budget. Such significant reductions are grim news for people in the world’s poorest countries just as we are seeing the first year-on-year increase in extreme poverty in two decades.

Lewes community action against food poverty

Ginny Foster

On Saturday 12 December, shoppers in Lewes responded to the problem of food poverty by donating an astonishing 7,002 items of food and household products, up from the 5,661 items collected at Halloween. Organised by Mark Perryman, the 12-hour effort included entertainment from many of the town’s gifted performers.

Last orders… what have they done to my local?

Rod Watson

Rod Watson traces the origins of inns and taverns from the Middle Ages through to the present time: coaching inns, gin joints, the Victorian pubs, the licensing laws and their subsequent liberalisation, the smoking ban and its profound effect on the trade – and the new gangster on the block, Master Covid.

Have we witnessed the death of the high street?

Mo Kanjilal

Is a day out at the shops gone forever? The fate of our high streets and the retail brands that drew us to them, is in the balance. Mo Kanjilal explores whether new and innovative brands, and a radical rethink about what to do with existing retail space, can bring our dying town centres back to life.

Hungry for action − an environmental protest fast

Venetia Carter

To highlight lack of action to address the climate emergency, Extinction Rebellion activist Venetia Carter is fasting for seven days. She passionately believes that the catastrophe of climate breakdown isn’t a problem that can be solved by the people of the future; it is the responsibility of all of us – the people of the present – here and now.

Brexit trade deal on a knife-edge: lies and U-turns have destroyed trust

Vivienne Griffiths

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.

Should people’s kindness excuse government from duty?

Tom Serpell

Dolly Parton; Bill Gates; Marcus Rashford, heroes all! Trussell Trust; Sussex Hospices; Help for Heroes, all saints. Or are they? Doing things for others is political activism which is as rewarding for those who do it as for those who may benefit. But much of it should not be happening.

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Peter Geoghegan

Ginny Smith

Peter Geoghegan, investigations editor for Open Democracy, has played a key role in exposing some of the fault lines in our present democracy. In this interview with Ginny Smith he explains what has influenced him, and what motivates him to shine light into the dark corners of UK politics.

A story of workplace bullying

Vivienne Griffiths

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.