Section: Politics

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Yes, we have no bananas

Richard Hall

American presidents often like to use the first 100 days of their administrations to set the tone of their presidency. As we approach the 100th day of true Brexit (that is, the end of the so-called transition period, even if not all checks on imports are still being done), it seems reasonable to apply the […]

The Lost Opportunities List

Cliff Mitchell

Since 1 January 2021 the European Union has not stood still. It continues to offer new opportunities, funding and benefits to its citizens and businesses that we, in the UK, are now excluded from.

‘Extreme hoarders – Midland’s billionaires edition: part 1’

Joel Bates

In this first of two articles, we focus on four of the West Midland’s wealthiest billionaires. What is a billion? At this point, it is important to put a billion pounds into perspective. I do not want to give the impression that anyone who earns a high figure salary or does well for themselves doesn’t […]

The democracy myth

Cliff Mitchell

Staffordshire in the West Midlands has a population of over 1.1 million,  contains extremes of wealth, inner-city poverty and everything in between and is spread over historical market towns, rolling farmland, and post-industrial cities. Divided into twelve parliamentary constituencies, in the 2019 general election 40% of the Staffordshire electorate voted Conservative and all twelve constituencies […]

Changes to EU citizens’ rights should concern us all

Mark Vaughan

For decades, EU citizens had the right under EU free movement law to live their lives in the UK but now must ask for permission to continue to do so by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. From today, they only have 90 days left until the application deadline of 30 June, after which many […]

What do you mean, Reboot GB?

Liz Crosbie

In 2019, political processes and opposition seemed to have crashed. The idea of rebooting to counter the blue screen of death was born. Talks about a possible intervention began during the autumn of chaos 2019 when the Johnson/Cummings/Bannon/Alt-Right agenda became apparent. After the GE in 2019, things got serious. It was clear that the political […]

We need to talk about Serco

Anna Girolami

In 2019 Serco was found to have “engaged in quite deliberate fraud against the Ministry of Justice.” It had already repaid £68.5 million to the government in overcharges and was subsequently fined £19.2 million for fraud and false accounting over its electronic tagging service. It also had to pay the Serious Fraud Office’s costs of £3.7 million. It still has the contract.

Latest news: East Midland MP banned from China

Anna Girolami

Today, the Chinese government has announced sanctions against a number of UK individuals and organisations – including MP for Harbrough, Neil O’Brien who leads the China Research Group and advises the Prime Minister on policy. These sanctions are a tit-for-tat response to similar sanctions brought against a number of Chinese officials four days ago by […]

Is Northamptonshire County Council the worst run council in recent history?

Stewart Tolley

Northamptonshire is not somewhere you would expect to make world wide news. Yet in 2018 the New York Times (more used to doing an exposé  on Donald Trump’s finances than reporting on English local government) reported the headline ‘As Austerity Helps Bankrupt an English County, Even Conservatives Mutiny’. The legendary incompetence of the Conservative run […]

Where are you on rejoin?

Cliff Mitchell
Where are you on rejoin? Cliff Mitchell For many of us, it is axiomatic that leaving the EU was a huge mistake that will damage our country and diminish our rights as citizens. Our future, we believe, must be as part of the EU so we can work together to address the very real and massive issues we face nationally and internationally. The UK has the potential to be a real force for good in the world but not if we continue down a path of right-wing populism and English exceptionalism. Some argue that now is not the time to campaign to rejoin the EU: it’s too soon, people have had enough of Brexit, we’ll be branded as sore ‘Remoaners’, we have to be patient, it’s going to be a long process to persuade public opinion of the case for rejoining. Others argue that if we believe our future lies with the EU, we should say so now, loudly and clearly, giving like-minded people a rallying voice and hope for a better tomorrow. Experience of street campaigning over recent years does suggest one thing: being crystal clear about your own position leads to a much more constructive debate with those who disagree. Your arguments are easily undermined if your position is unclear or ambiguous. Arguing for a People’s Vote for example was unconvincing and easily dismissed if you were unwilling to be clear about your own position on remain versus leave. It’s also hard to be passionate about an ambiguous position. The Leave campaign was successful based on stirring people’s emotions rather than presenting data and rational argument and there is still plenty of passion generated by Brexit just waiting to be channelled. Can that passion be sustained over a long, steady campaign for gradual, closer alignment with the EU? Will it burn itself out in a short rejoin now campaign that may not be successful? If we believe in the UK as a constructive partner in the biggest peace project in history, in working together with diverse people to make the world a better place, that the UK belongs at the heart of the EU, but we don’t say so, are we being dishonest and even unprincipled, leaving like-minded people feeling isolated? We are not politicians, probably don’t want to be, and shouldn’t try to be. We don’t have to adjust our position based on double guessing how our political opponents will respond to our next ten steps – leave that to the politicians, that’s their job. What we can do is be a voice for the huge number of ordinary people who are, like us, devastated at what has become of our country. Hope and a vision for a better future are in short supply right now. Why are we not providing that? Do we not understand how powerful that could be? We have a populist government committed to nothing except their own control of power, whatever that takes. But they are unbelievably incompetent and politics has never been so unpredictable. Brexit is an unfolding disaster, not the success Johnson and co. predicted or claimed, and populism around the world is not on the rise as Brexiteers expected – thank you Joe Biden, in particular. The Johnson government has, as a result, been wrong-footed and weakened. Right-wing populists, by definition, listen and pander to popular opinion. If popular opinion is that we would be better in the EU, then populist politicians like Johnson will listen. Our challenge is to channel public opinion to a shared rejoin position and we can’t do that if we remain silent or our stance is ambiguous or nuanced. Perhaps we are also trying to be too smart. For most of us it’s not our job to be politicians and we are not equipped with the Machiavellian skills required of that role. Remember the simplistic, emotional messages used so successfully to win the Leave campaign? Our message as individuals does not have to be the same as the messages from the main political parties, or even the main pro-EU campaign groups. But we should be clear and uncomplicated Ideally, we should all align behind a common, grassroots message. Most can agree that life will be better for all of us, for our country, and indeed the world if we rejoin the EU and take back our place as a force for good – and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so. So whether you think we should campaign to rejoin now, or take a more cautious, step-by-step approach of gradually moving closer to the EU, make your position clear and principled – that way you are much more likely to persuade others of the way forward. /ENDS

For many of us, it is axiomatic that leaving the EU was a huge mistake that will damage our country and diminish our rights as citizens. Our future, we believe, must be as part of the EU so we can work together to address the very real and massive issues we face nationally and internationally. […]

Rewarding the ruthless: capitalism and psychopathy – a perfect marriage?

Den Cain
Capitalism and Psychopathy

Climate change is hurling the planet towards oblivion, yet investors continue to finance “dirty” industries. Politicians introduce only relatively minor measures to address the crisis. Industrialists push ahead with environmental destruction in the name of profit – in spite of the fact their own children and grandchildren will be among those to bear the most severe consequences.

Don’t let the Tories stop dissent

Richard Hall

Have you ever organised or joined a demonstration over something you felt strongly about? If the new Policing Bill being rushed through Parliament this week comes into law, in the future you could find yourself facing a jail term of 10 years if you do.Why? The reasons are set out by Chris Daw QC in […]

In terms of the monarchy, there is a way we can have our cake and eat it

Stewart Tolley

It has not come as a surprise but with the recent revelations about the monarchy, the republicans are having a field day.  #Abolish the Monarchy soon began to trend on twitter. Republic, the main lobby group for UK republicans tweeted with glee: “The monarchy has just been hit by its worst crisis since the abdication […]

The conversation men should have with each other

Simon Ferrigno

When I was 16, I witnessed a sexual assault. At school, of all places. This was in the 1980s, early on. I knew this was wrong but I had no idea how to deal with it. There were several of us around, mostly male. Most of us were probably as uncomfortable as I was. A slightly older boy grabbed a young woman who was passing by, touched her, pushed her. Laughing. Said she was asking for it.

Whisper who dares

Anna Girolami

We will have no recourse when the police silence us. No-one will have to resign or explain.


11 days ago, Sarah Everard disappeared in Clapham at about 9.30 pm. She was walking home from a friend’s house.

Why the Electoral Reform Movement Needs Nigel Farage

Stewart Tolley

Like many of my fellow Britons, I love a good pub quiz. I think back fondly to the pre-pandemic era when I was able to see my friends weekly for a chance to name obscure capital cities or try and eke out a song title from listening to music over a crackly speaker system. My […]

There’s something about Nadine

Anna Girolami

In this week’s furore over NHS pay, Nadine Dorries is front and centre again. Whenever the government needs someone to loudly defend the indefensible (in that tricky two day gap between announcement and U-turn), they invariably send Nadine over the top.