Category: Social issues

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The £20 UC cut: the final straw?

Valerie Huggins

At the beginning of August, the headline in the Guardian stated “Johnson faces rebellion over ‘intolerable’ hunger and poverty in home counties”. Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire (and lead Brexiter) was apparently shocked by the crisis in food insecurity after a study by Sheffield University researchers revealed that his constituency is one of […]

The housing emergency in Totnes (and beyond): Sandra’s story, part 1

AtmosTotnes

When we say Atmos will build 62 truly affordable homes, and that Totnes is experiencing a housing emergency, it is easy to lose sight of the human stories behind that. So @SaputoInc, we’re going to tell you one of those stories. Let’s call our teller ‘Sandra’… It matters that you hear her story, Saputo Inc. […]

Was the mass murder in Plymouth terrorism? A letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, Re: Let’s not mince words: the mass murder in Plymouth was an act of terrorism I worry society is becoming too quick to judge and that we are too easily convinced we are right on every issue (having tapped into the opinions of people ‘like us’ on social media). During the Brexit campaign […]

An archbishop who prioritises English nationalism above honesty and social justice: latest recruit to the culture wars

Clare Knight

Meet the latest culture wars ‘warrior’, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the second most powerful cleric in the land, admired by none other than that living embodiment of Christian values, Nigel Farage. Since we appear to be returning to a Henry VIII-style era, with a much-married autocrat dominating the political stage empowered by the eponymous powers of […]

Mental health provision : a heart-rending story

Chris Morrison
girl alone, depressed

There is a lot to unpack in this story. We had just finished watching dramatic scenes on @TheBlock 2017 (#renovators highly recommend!), getting all tucked up into bed, when I heard a young woman crying outside our window. Living in a town centre, this sort of thing was not unusual. She was on a video […]

Garden villages – are they as green as they seem?

Mick Fletcher

In August 2018 the government set out proposals for the creation of ‘garden communities’, intended to tackle the chronic shortage of housing in the UK and raise the standard of building development.  The name consciously harks back to the ‘Garden City’ vision of Ebenezer Howard but also reflects one of the stock cliches of property […]

The Police freeze out Patel

Anthea Simmons

The Police Federation of England and Wales have announced that they no longer have confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel. Patel-watchers will be wondering which of her many egregious acts, opinions or policies brought the Police, at long last, to the realisation that she is not deserving of anyone’s confidence. Was it because they suddenly […]

Trans rights: let’s build bridges, not walls

Tom Scott
Icon symbolising division

The issue of trans rights is being used by the right as a wedge to divide the left. And, as the resignations of Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley as Green Party co-leaders show, the left has fallen headlong into this trap. This is an article I really didn’t want to write, prompted by the decision […]

The fish rots from the head

Anthea Simmons

First of all, I must apologise for yet another article about football. I don’t even like it that much. I certainly don’t know anything about the actual game from a technical point of view. But, like it or not, football has come to be something of a focal point for our nation’s values and outlook […]

Gareth Southgate: the best of us

Sadie Parker

Whatever the result of the final of the Euros, Gareth Southgate has already won. To rise to the heights of playing for England, only to miss that penalty against Germany in the EUFA Euro 1996 semi-final, but to then pick himself up, continue to play for his country for a further 8 years, until becoming […]

The UK’s shameful hostile environment is persecuting hope

Mike Zollo

“As I approached one of the drowned corpses on the beach, that of a young lad, the mobile phone in his pocket began to ring; I guess it was his mother or girlfriend ringing to ask if he had arrived safely …” The words of a Spanish Red Cross worker dealing with bodies washed up […]

Helping the police with their enquiries

Mike Zollo

Police interpreting: racism and xenophobia ‒ hardly a new phenomenon The southwest of our country has always attracted many Europeans, and not just tourists: many work in our schools, hospitals, hotels and restaurants, for example… and one mustn’t forget the language students who attend language schools in so many of our towns and cities. They […]

Racism is a pandemic and we are not handling it well.

Anthea Simmons

I was in two minds as to whether to put out the article below in the light of the publication of the Sewell Report. We will cover the report in full very shortly…urgently. Its message, if the extract below is anything to go by, must not get a hold on the popular consciousness. This is […]

Hey, Jean! Meet genealogy!

Sadie Parker

A woman called Jean caused a stir when she phoned in to LBC and told David Lammy, the UK’s Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, that he wasn’t English. He was born here, grew up here and all his sensibilities are English, but that doesn’t count, according to Jean. He can […]

They were women with flowers

Anthea Simmons

I don’t think I’ll be the only woman who’ll be crying herself to sleep tonight. Lord knows, there has been enough to cry about in the past few years and especially the pandemic months; yet, somehow, tonight’s appalling scenes were the last straw. What have we come to? They were women with flowers and candles […]

The royal row and tabloid tyranny

Mick Fletcher

Good drama can hold up a mirror to the world and the real-life drama unfolding around the British royal family certainly does. What it shows reflects very badly on aspects of our culture, particularly the sheer toxicity of much of the tabloid press. Less obviously at the moment, it also has a serious message about […]

Flag of convenience

Mike Zollo

“A poke in the eye! That’s what you’ll get, so I’ll take your sticks away before you hurt one another!” Imagine a little 6-year-old boy, so excited at holding his very own flag for the first time. As we lined up in the school yard ready to troop off to the venue at which hundreds […]

The Tory MP and a £20bn stealth tax on business

Mick Fletcher

I tend to think of Robert Halfon as a decent sort of chap who just got into bad company and so ended up as the Conservative MP for Harlow. He styles himself as representing the working-class Conservative voter and probably has more genuine sympathy with that group than many of his colleagues, who seem suddenly […]

Gavin must go; but that’s only the start

Mick Fletcher

No part of this government comes out of the Covid-19 pandemic well, and the staggering death toll is the tragic summation of a whole raft of failures. Probably the most expensive of these failures in terms of financial cost and, more importantly, human life, is ‘Test and Trace’ on which the Department of Health has […]

Digital divisions and the Tower of Babel

Mick Fletcher

People often talk of the ‘digital divide’, a gulf that separates those with access to IT and social media from others who lack the means or the understanding to engage with it. Some go further and speak of ‘digital natives’, those who have grown up with new technology and assimilated its ways like a child […]

The Turing scheme – does it address the loss of Erasmus?

Professor Paul James Cardwell

Some details about the #turingscheme as a replacement for #Erasmus are now out. Here are my initial thoughts, from an institutional and education perspective more than costs. First, setting up a scheme to run in 2021 is difficult and especially for those already in degree programmes who were due to go on Erasmus placements (language […]

A ‘lifetime skills guarantee’ – great, until you read the small print

Mick Fletcher

The shameful gap between the soaring rhetoric of policy announcements and the sordid reality of what is implemented has become one of the defining features of this government. The headline examples are of course the ‘oven ready deal’ that took 12 months to get anywhere near the oven, and the ‘world beating’ track and trace […]

Hunger games

Oliver Patrick

Not content with fiercely resisting calls to provide our poorest children with free school meals twice this year, the conservative government is charging headlong into a Brexit that risks all our school children going hungry in Brexit Britain. On Tuesday 17 November 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) released guidance on how schools should prepare […]

Protected characteristics or political playthings?

Florence MacDonald

I am a teacher and over the past month I have become increasingly aware of shifts in what is deemed acceptable for people to say and do in certain rôles, through interference from the government and, now, from the BBC. Phase 1 It began in early October with news of new educational guidance ‘Legal threat […]