Section: UK

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Patel’s plans for offshore asylum centres plumb new depths

Vivienne Griffiths

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 […]

Sussex MPs fought the law – and Loughton abstained

Robert Ellson

The dark days for British democracy are coming in battalions at the moment, but Tuesday’s House of Commons vote on the Internal Market bill still stands out. MPs approved the bill by 340 votes to 256, despite fears that it could lead to the UK breaking international law. The bill is controversial because it contradicts […]

Let the children speak

Perpetua Kirby and Rebecca Webb

As many children in the UK come to the end of their first few weeks of schooling after the first Covid-19 lockdown, we are reminded of a very different time a year ago. Children and young people in Sussex, and across the world, were marching out of school and making their voices heard for action […]

Three little words to save democracy

Tom Serpell

Remember ‘Lock her up!’ and ‘Build the wall’? Surely not a manifesto for government yet the foundation for Trump’s victory four years ago. We live in an age of populism in which messages matter more than manifestos. Even backbench Tories are complaining that their leadership routinely bypasses them, parliament and democracy.  Rule by the people, […]

More Covid ageism … and the over-70s are fuming

Vivienne Griffiths

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 […]

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Amanda Robinson

Ginny Smith

The initiator of the LoveEU campaign (“a love letter to Europe”), a key figure in Women4Europe, the leader of the Release the Russia Report demonstrations in Westminster, and one of the founders of savedemocracy.uk, Amanda Robinson typifies the many passionate, committed and creative campaigners on the frontline of the battle to maintain the rule of law in the UK.

Dare we trust the UK government?

Amanda Robinson

True to form, the UK government has started their media PR machine and war-mongering rhetoric to blame their own ignorance and breach of International Law on the EU, so one has to ask: with so much hot air flying from the mouths of these Tories, can we trust the UK government to do anything to […]

Not Living The Dream: has the British dream of entrepreneurship failed?

Mo Kanjilal

Small firms are indispensable to the creation of jobs and of wealth Margaret Thatcher, speech to small business conference in 1984 Thatcher’s Britain claimed to be about creating a nation of entrepreneurs starting small businesses and thereby generating wealth and jobs. In her 1984 speech to the Small Business Conference she said, “you will see […]

Holes in the self-employed support scheme are swallowing millions of people alive

Mo Kanjilal & Allegra Chapman

When the government announced the furlough scheme for workers hit by the coronavirus lockdown, they initially forgot about the estimated five million self-employed people in the UK. After campaigning from several MPs and lobbying groups, they did announce a scheme for the self-employed, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), on 26 March. This caused temporary […]

Plumpton College joins call to Save British Farming

Robert Ellson

Plumpton College joined a national call to Save British Farming yesterday amid claims that the double-whammy of the government’s agriculture bill and a no-deal Brexit could drive one in three farms out of business by 2025. Local campaigners warned that smaller farms would be worst hit. Thanking Plumpton College for its support, Save British Farming […]

Coronavirus testing fails to deliver

Allegra Chapman

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you should get tested immediately and self-isolate until you’re given the all-clear. Although it’s not quite that simple. Getting your results is quite a testing process in itself. According to the WHO, 80% of Covid-19 cases are mild or entirely asymptomatic. I’ve had no cough, no fever, and my […]

Don’t blame Covid-19: educational testing has been broken for years

Vivienne Griffiths

The recent A-level debacle, which hit students from disadvantaged areas hardest, has been presented as an unprecedented set of circumstances because of Covid-19. But a report just published shows that the gap in educational attainment in terms of class and ethnic background has been growing steadily since well before the pandemic, largely because of poverty. […]

Movin’ On Up – why everyone is on the move

Mo Kanjilal

It seems that everyone is on the move. So many of my phone messages are full of Rightmove links and property photos. As the photos of kitchens, gardens and bathrooms start to merge into one, I wonder why is it that it seems like everyone I know has decided to move? Well, since March when […]

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Nick Davies

Ginny Smith

At a time when our Parliamentary democracy is under threat, those few courageous voices in the media and in public life who are prepared to come forward and expose corruption, wrong-doing and lying, sometimes appear to be the only upholders of our democratic system. This is the first in a series of articles that will […]

No real democracy until we Make Votes Matter

Josh Woolcott

On Saturday 22 August, thousands of activists and campaigners came together across the UK – in a socially distanced manner – for Make Votes Matter’s action day to call for change to the UK’s electoral system. Make Votes Matter, a cross-party grassroots campaign, seeks to replace the antiquated first past the post (FPTP) system with […]

VAT trail that led to Rishi’s half-price dishies

Rod Watson

Let me share a state secret with you. Somewhere in Mayfair is a six-star hotel where once a month a group of middle-aged men along with a couple of token women gather in its basement. They wear silk and ermine robes, eat exquisite food and sip the finest wine. This Body of Souls (BOS) consults […]

What’s the big deal?

Juliet Lodge

The government’s disingenuous drivel about being tough on the EU and getting world beating deals is enough to make anyone want to run a mile. And trade deals may seem to be unrelated to anything in our daily lives. But with just over 130 days until the end of the transition period, trade deals – or the lack of them – are about to become very relevant to all of us.

Cheated by the algorithm? How to fight back

Juliet Lodge

Your child has just got their A-level results. Are you happy as Gavin Williamson crowing on Twitter about how much better your child has done compared to their predicted grades? Or is your child devastated that their predicted high grades have been downgraded, stripping them of their university places at Oxford, Cambridge and many of […]

Tales from the Doghouse – every SPAD has his day

Viktor Vova

Juvenile, bed-wetting, ham-fisted Etonians never endeared themselves to John Bercow, nor to Dilyn whose aptitude for calling out the disgraceful, the corrupt and downright deceitful almost matches that of the former speaker. No surprise then that he scoffed when Len McCluskey suddenly woke up to employment figures and Keir’s popularity ratings soared just as rumours […]

Tales from the No 10 Doghouse

Viktor Vova

Gossip from Viktor Vova, the No 10 rat, a confidant of Prime Ministers’ pets from time immemorial.  As dogs go, Dilyn is pretty loyal even if he isn’t above slipping into Foreign office banquets to taste the nibbles. See all, hear all and say nowt – except when needs must, which is pretty much all […]

Poor people carry the can for the Covid crisis

Maya Evans

So are we, as Boris Johnson claims, ‘all in this together’? When our prime minister contracted coronavirus he was able to quarantine in a flat, have meals brought to his door, before being rushed to hospital when his symptoms got worse. The same options were not available to Kayla Williams, mother of three children, who […]

Arts in the time of Corona

Tamsin Shasha

Brighton has always had a flourishing arts scene and cultural history.  Including the Fringe, Brighton Festival is second only to Edinburgh Festival in terms of scope, size and ambition, and is the largest and most established annual curated multi-arts festival in England.  This year the Festival was due to celebrate its 53rd birthday with poet […]

2020 vision: an NHS doctor looks back in disbelief

Himmi Kari

It seems strange looking back on the first half of 2020 now. As the New Year fireworks popped, the atmosphere for most of us was one of celebration. Yes, there were undoubted obstacles to face, not least the definitive date for Brexit a month later, but a new year, let alone a new decade, symbolised a fresh start. At that point […]