Skirmish at sea between French and Jersey fishermen highlights the dysfunction and discord in the post-Brexit trading relationship.

The EU and UK are turning up the heat in their latest battle over fishing rights (Image by gen hyung lee from Pixabay)

The deal the European Union and United Kingdom agreed on and signed at the eleventh hour last year was a compromise — but not just between the positions of the two sides in the negotiation. It was also a compromise between two scenarios: the deal falling apart, and the deal being fully completed.

It is choc-full of future dates for negotiation and re-negotiation, and mechanisms for potential change. It is characterised by what is generously referred to as “constructive ambiguity” in the world of international agreements and negotiations. …

‘Net zero’ is a useful organising principle for climate action. But some companies are using it to kick the can and avoid decarbonising.

Image by C Morrison from Pixabay

‘Net zero’ has become one of the most important terms in debates about climate change. Though it has been used in niche climate discourse for many years, it is since the Paris climate conference in 2015 that it has been elevated to celebrity status.

There it was used to organise emissions targets for countries, providing clear direction to the world’s efforts to coordinate action on climate change. And it was useful to these efforts because of the simple yet effective goal that it expresses:

Greenhouse Gases Emitted - Greenhouse Gases Sequestered = 0

‘Net zero’ is a good aim. It…

The Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit deal is causing shortages and violence in the region. Here’s how it can be fixed.

Image by veve from Pixabay

Every version of the world where the UK left the EU is worse than every version of the world where the UK remained in the EU.

The UK could either have had true independence to make its own trade deals, meaning huge economic loss, disruption to supply chains, and trouble in Northern Ireland, or left the EU but not its regulatory institutions, causing little real damage but leaving the UK without a vote on laws which affect it.

The UK and EU went for the former: they have regulatory disalignment as a result of the Withdrawal Agreement and the trade…

The current social care system is plagued by poor standards and low funding. But even if we fix these problems, there’s another lurking ahead.

The British social care system needs reform.

On that, almost everyone can agree. There is simply not enough funding in the system, nor good enough provision, nor sufficient staffing levels. Ultimately, though, most problems in the sector flow from funding, and, in particular, the mechanisms through which the social care sector is funded.

But where the NHS has a simple funding mechanism, and is thus a simple institution with basic flaws, we might shed the most light on the social care system by recognising that it is not really a ‘system’ at all. …

The stakes of the climate crisis have never been higher — and now they’re staring us in the face.

Image by sippakorn yamkasikorn from Pixabay

Over the last 5 years in politics, decades have happened. Politics — both global and national — has moved at break-neck speed. Populism rose from the ruins of the financial crisis, and was blunted by the cruel, complex reality of a pandemic.

In such a rapidly-changing political climate, the pace of change in the atmospheric climate was forgotten — and, at times, denied. But just as politics underwent a rapid evolution, so too did the state of the natural world. What before was known merely as climate change, is now a climate emergency.

We offered respite to our planet last…

The NYT’s Visual Investigations Team does vital work — verifying information and bringing clarity to chaos. We need more of this type of journalism.

Image by Fajrul Falah from Pixabay

Protests, riots, conflicts: chaotic situations are vacuums of information. There’s little conventional reporting on them, because they’re so difficult to cover properly.

And what information does come out is via social media. It’s difficult to verify, especially for the layperson trying to work out what’s going on as they scroll through Twitter, and laden with misinformation and disinformation: edited or old photos, and videos captured in other places and at other events.

There are techniques to identify misinformation and narrow down the mass of material into what is real and what is not, of course. Through reverse image searches, you…

The government seems keen to reinvent social care — but it’s not yet clear how. Here are the key decisions they have to make.

If the early rhetoric of new Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid is anything to go by, the Tories’ manifesto commitment to reform the social care system is, for the first time, back at the top of the government’s priorities.

The Secretary of State told MPs on Monday that his goal, beyond ridding the country of the current coronavirus restrictions, is to find “a long-lasting, sustainable solution to the social care challenge that this country faces”.

In the 2 years that Johnson has been at the helm of the government, we’ve heard this very same message a number of…

There’s panic about a double-mutation variant of coronavirus spreading in India and beyond — but what does this variant actually mean?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Throughout the last month, the world has looked on in horror as India has racked up the world’s highest death tolls at any point in the pandemic during a devastating second wave. At the peak of the epidemic in India, new daily cases soared above 400,000, and over 4,000 Indians were — and still are — dying every day from coronavirus.

The rise in cases in March and April which led to this was fuelled by a new variant that had originated in India sometime in late November 2020, but that had not picked up much traction until February 2020…

A more informative lens for the Israel-Palestine conflict could help to reduce tensions, reveal the truth, and pave a way forward.

Image by RJA1988 from Pixabay

I don’t intend to discuss the events of recent days at length. I’ll mostly leave that to people far better placed than me to dissect exactly what’s happened, but here’s a very basic potted summary of the flare-up between Israel and Palestine.

The violence started a couple of days ago over a land dispute between the two countries in East Jerusalem. In the predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli settlers, who claim this neighbourhood is a part of Israel, are working to displace the roughly 70 Palestinians there. The residents staged a protest, the police turned up, the resident…

But we’re turning immigrants away.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The last half-decade has seen two decades of rising populism come to the fore of global politics. The unfounded resentment of immigration which was an unwelcome undercurrent to much of our politics following the 9/11 attacks and the financial crisis has become a key issue, driving voters towards the populist radical right.

Bolsonaro, Trump, Modi, Johnson, Orban — you know the names, you know what they stand for. Every one has embraced a nativist ideology that rejects multiculturalism, immigration, and refugees as a scourge on society, the source of economic stagnation, and a parasitic force.

It is all too simple…

Dave Olsen

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