The world’s media have gone into excited overdrive over the last couple of days with the announcement that US drug company Pfizer has developed an effective vaccine against Covid-19. Should we be celebrating? Or is our desperation for a vaccine and a ‘return to normal’ clouding our collective judgement?Continue reading “The Covid Vaccine: Keep the Champagne on Ice for Just a Little Longer”
The Second Wave: It Didn’t Have To Be Like This
As the second wave of Covid-19 infections breaks tumultuously over our heads, it’s disappointing that there’s still so much misinformation out there, and some of it is originating from places where it really didn’t ought to. But that’s just one factor in a complicated mosaic that has led us to this dismal outcome.Continue reading “The Second Wave: It Didn’t Have To Be Like This”
In the Eye of the Beholder? The Planning White Paper Has Big Risks for Local Democracy.
A shorter version of this post appears on the Sussex Bylines news website
Earlier this month, the government published ‘Planning for the Future’, a consultation White Paper on the future of the planning system, promising the biggest shake up since 1948 with a ‘fast track for beauty’ through the planning system. The proposals were immediately criticised by many, with the Royal Institute of British Architects branding them as ‘disgraceful’, and the Royal Town Planning Institute describing the White Paper as a ‘serious error’. So what exactly is proposed in the White Paper and how’s it different from the current planning system?Continue reading “In the Eye of the Beholder? The Planning White Paper Has Big Risks for Local Democracy.”
Cost of COVID: Councils Can’t Cope
A similar version of this article is also published on the newly launched ‘Sussex Bylines’ news website:
Dramatic cuts in income have left councils with big budget shortfalls, and no way to get the money they need to provide day-to-day services. Had the Covid-19 crisis happened back in 2010, there wouldn’t have been such a problem. Ten years of austerity have left councils in no fit state to cope.Continue reading “Cost of COVID: Councils Can’t Cope”
While The Sun Shines: Can We Avoid an Autumn Covid Outbreak?
Today, New Zealand declared the country to be free of the COVID-19 virus, and scrapped all COVID-related restrictions, apart from quarantine of overseas visitors. It’s not the first country to announce that it’s COVID-free, nor is it the largest. But it is significant in that it’s a country that’s broadly comparable to European and North American nations, and took an approach to tackling the virus that was very different from that of UK.Continue reading “While The Sun Shines: Can We Avoid an Autumn Covid Outbreak?”
Stay Alert: Bad News for Hastings?
The government has changed their advice from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay alert’. The original message was clear and straightforward; the new one is meaningless. Even ‘Get the Pandemic Done’ would have been better, although just as ambiguous as the original vote-winning Brexit slogan.Continue reading “Stay Alert: Bad News for Hastings?”
COVID-19: The Start of a New World Order?
There’s been a lot of talk about how things will be different after lockdown, with various commentators putting their own prognosis on how we’ll all be better people in a better world when all this is over. I did at first doubt it, whether this Coronavirus pandemic would make any difference at all, or whether we’d all have forgotten about it in a year’s time. That seems unlikely now – there will I believe be lasting effects, but it’s far from clear what they will be.Continue reading “COVID-19: The Start of a New World Order?”
Keir Starmer: A Blair or an Atlee?
Keir Starmer has secured an impressive victory as Labour Party leader, and has appointed his shadow cabinet and shadow ministerial team. But what does this mean for the Labour Party? Is it really an end to Corbynism? Does it mean a return to Blairism? And does it mean we can look forward to a Labour Government?Continue reading “Keir Starmer: A Blair or an Atlee?”
Poultry for Pleasure: All Part of the Family
Keeping chickens has been such an enormous pleasure. There’s something very relaxing about them, their movements, the noises they make, their behaviour … it’s a much more pleasurable experience than I’d expected. And of course, fresh eggs every day.Continue reading “Poultry for Pleasure: All Part of the Family”
Viral Origins: They’ve Been With Us Forever
While we’re all thinking about viruses, it might be interesting, to some at least, to consider how these things came into being in the first place, which in itself opens up some interesting philosophical questions.Continue reading “Viral Origins: They’ve Been With Us Forever”