Section: UK

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Updating the honours system

Bryan Manley-Green
Honours

‘The British honours system is a venerable way of honouring citizens for good work in society. It’s hard to disagree with the nation saying thank you in such a public way to someone who has made a positive difference and has been proven to be a great role model.

Melton Mowbray anti-racist, feebly

Michael Brooker
Racism

In 2020, Melton Borough Council came late to the debate of Black Lives Matter. Their hand was eventually forced by the apparently naïve postings of one of their councillors. Simon Lumley. In the midst of the George Floyd protests, Lumley had taken to twitter to post the hashtag, ‘white lives matter’.

Euro 2021 – it’s war (minus the shooting)

Richard Hall

Sport can be about harmless fun and exercise but argues it’s only when it gets competitive that it brings out the worst in people. He concludes “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.

Sunlit uplands? Not quite

J.E.S. Bradshaw

Sheep farming has had a higher profile in the last two years than for decades. Brexit negotiations and HMG’s increasingly frantic attempts to justify its ditching of 40 year-old, highly beneficial trade agreements have brought it to the front. Nothing has highlighted sheep farming more than the public current discussion of the proposed Australia deal. These are a few personal thoughts, from a very small-scale lowland lamb producer in the Midlands.

Review: James O’Brien, How not to be wrong

Jayson Winters

Many will know of James O’Brien from his national 10am to 1pm weekday radio show on LBC. To borrow one of his phrases, “depending on which football shirt you are wearing” you’ll probably either think of him as a champion of progressive politics or a patronising woke lefty.  But look back to when LBC was […]

Raising your voice

Liz Crosbie and Lyn Dade

RebootGB continue to work on their pledges following the last round of council mayoral Scottish, Welsh and one national by election to try and reshape the British political landscape, which seems not only stuck but regressive, and where votes too often don’t count. Liz Crosbie and Lyn Dade of RebootGB explain their aim to get […]

Safety first

Anna Girolami

The recent Queen’s Speech saw Her Majesty announce the arrival of the government’s Online Safety Bill, which has now been published in draft form. The much-anticipated bill has been in the pipeline since 2019 when Theresa May’s government brought forward a white paper as a response to the death of Molly Russell. Russell, a 14 […]

Midlands farming sold out: ‘it’s crass and it’s wrong’

Simon Ferrigno

Stanley has farmed 700 acres of land with his parents for the past 12 years in the region. The farm is a mixed arable and beef and mainly tenanted farm on which the family have native longhorn cattle, a breed that was classed as rare until recently. Stanley clearly loves his cattle, and talks with passion about the many dozens of native sheep and cattle breeds that hover near extinction. He fears a Free trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia, said to offer Australia zero tariffs and quotas, will tip these breeds over the edge alongside most of the people who rear them.

The Midlands After Brexit

Cliff Mitchell

Trade figures recently released for the first quarter of 2021 (1Q2021) provide worrying clues as to the impact of both COVID-19 and Brexit on the Midlands economy. One thing that is clear is that long-term planning has never been harder – previous economic trends have been blown out of the water by the pandemic lockdowns, the uncertainty of the transition period, and the confusion of post-Brexit trading.

Central Bylines ‘rona round up

Anna Girolami

Today sees the launch of step three of the government’s roadmap to get us out of lockdown. Today, I can go to a sauna (yeah..no), have a meal inside a pub (blessèd relief, it was snowing here last week) or stay overnight with my in-laws (I’m more likely to go for that sauna, to be honest). It all sounds wonderful. Our region has been in one sort of lockdown or another almost continually since November last year, bar a brief and lethal giddy spell over Christmas. It’s been hard but it’s worked – by the end of April, new cases, hospital numbers and deaths were all down, down, down.

The citizens who stayed

Alice Knight

I am lucky enough here in Derbyshire to have my post delivered by someone who came to England from Poland in 2005. He is courteous, friendly and helpful. I have often wondered what his impressions are of life in the UK, especially how he had been impacted by the Brexit experience.

“IDAHOBIT” day: progress for LGBT+ rights stalls

Bryan Manley-Green

t’s hard to believe that it’s just 31 years ago, on 17 May 1990, that the World Health Organisation finally declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. This important date was subsequently chosen as International Day Against Homophobia, which first took place in 2005.

Bringing European music to schools

Ann C Holland

In 1992 we lived and worked in Dorset. A beautiful count where I was Deputy Head of Lytchett Minster School.

Two of my colleagues were language teachers and together, we decided to create a European fortnight of theatre, music and food to celebrate the Union. Most of the staff and students got involved, and we produced several Spanish and French plays, held three concerts and hosted a Brazilian/Portuguese dance group who happened to be visiting Bournemouth.

If not now, then when? – Enough of the excuses

Joel Bates

In the early stages of the pandemic, excuses centred around its unexpected nature. The government was ‘doing its best’. Fast forward to the peak of lockdown one, suddenly making excuses was much harder than it had been. An enormous death toll, failure after failure, it was proving more difficult to defend the government’s actions, or rather, inactions.

It’s a gas, gas, gas

Anna Girolami

Anaesthetists, on the whole, have a chip on their shoulder. We are the single largest hospital specialty in the NHS and, in our own view, we pretty much run the place. Try having surgery without an anaesthetist, or a baby or a critical illness or a chronic pain issue or an intravenous dialysis line or.. I could go on, but you get the point. In essence, we (yes we, I worked as an NHS anaesthetist for ten years) provide the physiological bedrock upon which all other specialties have to stand to perform their work.

Boris’s Culture War

Stephen Wilmot

Since last summer Boris Johnson has established himself as a committed culture warrior. With his union jacks, his imperial nostalgia, his right wing appointments to media bodies and his denunciations of radical protest, he is clearly imposing an authoritarian nationalist agenda on the country. In effect he is recruiting the machinery of the state to shift Britain’s cultural centre of gravity to the right.