Section: UK

Page of 9

Just not cricket

Anna Girolami

Today is 4th May, we are deep into spring. This year’s county cricket season is three weeks’ old and Derbyshire is already languishing at the bottom of their group. Despite Covid-19, despite the Big Bash League, despite the razzamatazz of the Indian Premier League*, cricket remains the quintessential game of the English summer. The gentle […]

Vaccine Fog

Lindsay Neil

The vaccine environment is a complex mixture of commercial and political interests, investment in novel science and technologies, substantial commercial profit, collapsing national economies and geopolitical reputations in the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Thus creating ‘Vaccine Fog’.

The downgrading of our right to protest

Central Bylines Team

In yet another ‘dialogue de sourds‘ with my MP, I recently emailed them about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSCB) currently going through Parliament. As so often, the reply I received was deeply unsatisfactory. But more than unsatisfactory was their use of language.  Distortion, deflection and (mis- or re) direction are employed to […]

Carrie Antoinette’s Dead Cat Diary

Central Bylines Team

Carrie Antoinette’s position at Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) improved when, after eight weeks of cohabitation, she started having children. She became increasingly unpopular among the people, however, with the Liberal elite accusing her of being profligate and harbouring sympathies for England’s perceived enemies—particularly her Friends in Russia.

Reading the room: the European Super League fiasco

Richard Hall

The European Super League is no more. Like the famous Norwegian Blue parrot, it’s bereft of life, expired and ceased to be. I’d like to imagine those behind it were thinking of it as a welcome and imaginative idea that would raise morale after a year of Covid lockdown. Instead, they were hit with a […]

Not so super now

Tom Pratt

In 1972, Pink Floyd recorded ‘Money’, a razor sharp satire about wealthy people. Fifty years on, the lyric “Think I’ll buy me a football team” has never been more current. This week, the birth and death of the planned European Super League (ESL) shone a spotlight on how the pursuit of wealth has corrupted the […]

‘Extreme hoarders – Midlands billionaires edition: part 2’

Joel Bates

Last time we brushed elbows with four of the West Midland’s top wealthiest as outlined by BirminghamLive’s Midland’s affiliated billionaires list. This week, we’ve got our eyes set on the final four in the hopes of helping them stop their billionaire hoarding ways. We now know what a billion pounds looks like. We’ve learned the […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

A threat to treasured rights

Jenny Kartupelis

1951: Right to roam the countryside enshrined 2021: Rights under threat In 1951, the Peak District was the first area of the UK to be designated as a National Park; it lies primarily in Derbyshire, and therefore officially in the East Midlands.  But walking here, you don’t feel in the ‘middle’ but ‘above’.  Striding along […]

Adapting to life as a business in a third country: Aztec Oils

Simon Ferrigno

The post-Brexit transition period continues to hurt businesses across our region, with many losing orders and/or moving operations elsewhere to reduce the friction, costing our region future jobs and growth. In this new interview, we talk to Mark Lord of Aztec Oils, a specialist lubricant oil company based in Bolsover, Derbyshire, founded in 1995. It […]

European Movement Conference: 27th March 2021

Kate Warsop

On 27th March, the European Movement (UK) Conference took place, using a virtual platform to bring together thousands of delegates, activists and decision-makers to discuss key issues, three months on from Brexit. Kate Warsop, committee member for European Movement Derbyshire reports. Caroline Lucas opened the conference with a call to renew democracy and create a […]

Will environmental progress go into reverse?

Simon Ferrigno

A number of years ago, I shared a stage with designer Katharine Hamnett and journalist Miranda Sawyer, talking about cotton, the environment and greener alternatives. This was made possible by financing from the European Union’s DG Development, the type of funding that no British donor then did. Our job? Raising awareness among consumers and businesses […]

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 […]

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. […]

Remembrance of Empires Past

John King

Video 1 There are very few things I share in common with Brexiters but a weakness for harking back to the past may be one of them. I love steam railways, 1930’s songs and classic cars. Click on the video above for a nostalgic journey back into Britain’s lost empire. “Bye bye Britannia” was written […]