Following a dramatic surge in Covid infections and hospitalisations, the Northern Ireland Executive has introduced a raft of new restrictions. The most significant of these are the extension of the half-term break in schools to two weeks and the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants – except for takeaway and delivery – for a month. This raises the threat of further large-scale redundancies in the sector, unless there is an immediate emergency intervention.
The Sunday Times recently revealed that the Tories are to scrap proposed changes to the gender recognition Act which would have allowed trans people to have their gender recognised through self-identification. This will come as a blow to all trans and gender non-conforming people in the UK. Instead of the proposed changes, “protections” will be brought in to “safeguard” female-only spaces, such as changing rooms and toilets, reflecting the bogus myth that the right for trans people, particularly trans women, to self-identify could be abused by cis male sex offenders to allow them to access these spaces.
Membership figures for the Labour Party haven’t been released since January 2020, but anecdotally it seems that people are flooding out. Firstly, when Keir Starmer was elected leader, many left and contacted groups like Socialist Alternative about joining a ‘real socialist’ organisation. Since then, there have been instances of waves of people leaving, such as after the leaked report showing the sabotage of the 2019 election by Labour Party officials, and more recently after the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey as Education Secretary.
Arlene Foster announced that by reducing physical distancing for children from 2m to 1m, all children would be able to attend full-time from September. This was branded “unrealistic and undeliverable” by Graham Gault, the NI Vice-President of the National Association of Head Teachers.