Austerity Has left councils At Breaking Point, Westminster Must Give Them The Money They Desperately Need
Theresa May claims to not have a magic money tree, but whenever she raids the back of the sofa she always comes up with the money she needs: there was the £1bn she found for Northern Ireland and then the £20.5bn for the NHS. Well now she needs to go back to that sofa and find the money for local government because without the resources they need councils are teetering on the cliff edge.Read more
Britain is currently both polarised and paralysed. Our entire political system has fought itself to a standstill. This weak and divided Tory government is in disarray over Brexit, and parliament is in stalemate.
Rees-Mogg and Johnson are doing all they can to pull us further towards a ‘no deal’ cliff edge – the type of Brexit that would run our economy into the ground, hit our public services even harder and ignite the bonfire of workers’ rights that Dominic Raab and his cronies could, until recently, only dream of. The sooner we get a Labour government, the better.Read more
This month, draft findings of the Electoral Commission’s investigation into Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit referendum campaign, were leaked, revealing Vote Leave of being guilty of breaking electoral law, on multiple accounts. They are expected to face the most hefty fines in the watchdog’s history. Then there was Cambridge Analytica, the disgraced big data company that was using misappropriated Facebook data to sell elections to the highest bidder and saw Facebook receive the maximum fine of £500,000. Then who could forget Nigel Farage's Leave.EU – the unofficial Brexit campaign bankrolled by the infamous insurance tycoon Arron Banks – which was recently found guilty of "multiple breaches of electoral law", fined £70,000 and referred to the Metropolitan Police for suspected criminal offences.Read more
This week the House of Commons will be asked to determine the type of Brexit our country seeks.
Will MPs back a sensible lords amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that instructs Theresa May to negotiate a deal keeping Britain inside the European Economic Area, or will we risk a bad deal such as a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement which would do nothing for our services industries and lead inevitably to a hard border in Ireland?
Or, worse still, will we allow the government’s profound incompetence to take us over the cliff edge into a "no deal" scenario, where tariffs and non-tariff barriers destroy the jobs and livelihoods of the very people we were elected to represent?Read more
The House of Lords has so far responded in a robust, rational and highly effective manner to the government’s EU withdrawal bill. But the most important test of the peers’ resolve is yet to come. On Tuesday an amendment to the withdrawal bill will be tabled in the Lords that, if passed by the Commons, would commit the government to keeping the United Kingdom in the European Economic Area (EEA).Read more
(Credit The Times News Syndication)
I remember my first flight to St. Petersburg in May 2005 as clearly as if it were yesterday. I was on my way to take up my post as Director of the British Council’s operations in St. Petersburg, and felt a palpable sense of hope, combined with a healthy dose of trepidation.
I was looking forward to improving my Russian and getting settled into my new life in St. Pete, as we fondly referred to it. But I was also wondering what the coming years had in store for me, given the parlous state of the bilateral relationship.
Equally memorable, but for very different reasons, was my flight out of Russia in January 2008.Read more
Since I first spoke out and called for FIFA to postpone and relocate the World Cup I’ve been met with a torrent of disgruntled tweets, many from Russian bots, saying “sport and politics don’t mix, leave the World Cup alone”.
While I can understand that sentiment, I’m afraid it is total nonsense. It is a cliché that allows us as fans and spectators, sports federations, owners, sponsors and administrators to relieve ourselves of any social or moral responsibility.Read more
We’ve all been there, right? A tricky week at work, so you decide to start a trade war with the whole world.
Having lost his longest serving aide, again chastising his “Mr Magoo” Attorney General, and it then becoming public knowledge that his son in law and senior White House adviser took half a billion dollars from senior bankers to help refinance his personal and business debts, Donald Trump decided to throw a dead cat on the table and announce blanket 25% tariffs on all US steel imports.Read more
As we mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, I, along with politicians from across the political spectrum, campaigners and people from all walks of life, are today taking part in Make Votes Matter’s hungry for democracy initiative, a 24-hour hunger strike to call for a new voting system, one that well and truly represents the diverse nature of Britain today. That is because we know, inspired by the suffragettes and their struggle for real democracy, that that fight isn’t yet over!Read more
From the moment Theresa May announced her intention to trigger Article 50, it’s been clear that we were in a race against time. But few seem to realize that we have less than two months in which to land the most important and complex deal in our post-war history.
The reality is that the British government has six weeks to decide on the basic model that will define the shape and nature of U.K.-EU relations for generations to come.Read more