UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

What now for Britain’s “special relationship” with Washington?



“He might not  have been the easiest of allies, but an ally he has been.”

That’s the verdict of the Daily Telegraph in an editorial to mark President George W. Bush’s farewell tour of Europe.

Despite concerns over issues such as Iraq,  the economy and extradition treaties, Bush was “never disloyal or ungrateful”, the paper said.

He acknowledged Britain’s unparalleled support after the Sept. 11 attacks, the newspaper noted. And Bush backed Britain over Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestine roadmap, the paper said.

Reaction to Brown’s 42-day detention vote victory


armedpolicemanlondon-tobymelville.jpg Gordon Brown may have won the 42-day detention vote, but the victory was ”hollow”, ”shameful” or “tactical”, depending on which newspaper you read. 

Under the headline “Westminster for Sale”, The Times said Brown had humiliated parliament with a victory secured through bribery and bartering.

Who’s worth more: a squaddie or a traffic warden?


dannatt.jpgGeneral Sir Richard Dannatt says men and women in the armed services deserve above- inflation pay rises.

He argues that at the moment an individual soldier gets paid less than a traffic warden, and a failure to address this state of affairs would affect motivation.

A policeman’s lot


police.jpgA policeman’s lot is not a happy one, sing the officers in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance”.

Judging from views expressed by many delegates who gathered in Bournemouth for the Police Federation’s annual conference, it is a refrain that is appropriate for Britain’s bobbies today.

Media’s views on the abortion vote


embryo1.jpgAs MPs prepare to vote on cutting the time limit for abortions, the Daily Mail says the current system “shames our nation”.

Foetuses are being aborted at a late stage in their development when they would have had a good chance of survival outside the womb, the Mail says in an editorial.

Is hybrid embryo research “monstrous?”


embryo.jpgThe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which MPs are debating today and on Tuesday allows the creation of four types of human-animal hybrid embryos for the purposes of research, including Cytoplasmic hybrids, created by transferring the nucleus of a human cell into an empty animal cell.

This is the main type of hybrid embryo that scientists want to use — because of a shortage of donated human eggs — to create embryonic stem cells to find cures for conditions like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

MPs and the “John Lewis” list


bigben2.jpgHow much should MPs be allowed to keep confidential?

The High Court has ruled that Members of Parliament must disclose details of expenses claimed for second homes and the location of those properties.

House of Commons authorities had sought to block the publication of second-home expense claims for 14 current and former MPs — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Brown: asset or liability? Candidate would rather not say


gbrown22.jpgThe Labour Party knew Tony Blair had to go when he became an electoral liability.

Less than a year into the job, where does Gordon Brown stand in terms of this all-important marker?

Candid Balls ramps up Labour row


balls1.jpgEd Balls had intended, by briefing political journalists on Monday, to take the media focus off personality and put it back on policy. Instead, he turned up the heat on an internal row with a bit of character assassination of his own.

In retaliation for Frank Field’s attack on Gordon Brown’s personality, Balls effectively accused him of acting dishonourably in his fight for compensation for those who have lost out from the abolition of the 10-pence tax band.

Should cannabis be back in Class B?


cannabis1.jpgThe government has decided to tighten the law on cannabis, reinstating it to a Class B drug, because of fears over the high-strength skunk variety now prevalent on the streets.

Cannabis was downgraded to Class C — which includes substances such as anabolic steroids — in 2004. That meant possession of the drug was treated largely as a non-arrestable offence. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended it should stay as Class C.