Independent News

Does power corrupt? Or do those prone to corruption end up in power? It’s an age-old question answered by Dr Brian Klaas in his brand new book “Corruptible: Who Gets Power And How It Changes Us”. I was lucky enough to get a copy and read the book over Christmas. In the middle......
Help keep us free and holding corruption to account - please subscribe here! EXCLUSIVEANTHONY KLANThe Department of Finance was warned by one of its own staffers that waiving a $41,000 debt owed by a senior official was likely illegal and was the opposite of the “many examples” of recovering “Centrelink overpayments” - but it fully waived the debt anyway.The Finance staffer provided written advice that waiving the $41,073 debt - owed by a senior official of the nation’s media regulator - would “not be consistent” with the either the law “or the current approaches to such matters”.The Department of Finance, headed by Finance Secretary, Coalition appointee Rosemary Huxtable, approved the waiver regardless. That very s...
New Poll Shows Scale of Conservative Party’s Electoral Problem Under Boris Johnson Exclusive polling by Omnisis for Byline Times illuminates the scale of public distrust in the Prime Minister and his party ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Faith in Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has sunk across an array of indicators, with voters unwavering in their criticism of the Prime Minister, new polling by Omnisis commissioned by Byline Times reveals. Johnson has been subject to censure from voters and his own MPs, after he attempted to cover-up and avoid blame for several lockdown-breaking parties that were held in Downing Street during 2020 and 2021. The scale and depth of the public’s anger is evident from the Omnisis polling, with 78% of respondents saying that they don’t trust the Prime Minister. These percentages were particularly high outside the south of England, London and the Midlands. Some 82% of respondents in the north of England, 87% in Northern Ireland, 88% in W...
Trust in Government Worryingly Low as Lords Vote for ‘Assault on Democracy’ Elections Bill New polling shows that English voters lack faith in our democracy – with mistrust of democratic systems a key driver for far-right support ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Less than half (45%) of the English public feels that democracy is working well in the UK, with 77% of people saying that they don’t trust MPs, new polling reports today.  The data comes as the Government seeks to pass its Elections Bill which has been criticised for making it harder for people to participate in democracy. Fair Vote UK’s Kyle Taylor has called the bill an “assault on democracy“. The report, published by Carnegie UK, found that a third of the public surveyed believe that a loss of trust in Government is the biggest threat to democracy – with many people expressing concern about the impact of corruption, fake news and disinformation. The data was collected before the scandal of the Downing S...
Best of Bylines Network21 January 2022 Byline Times provides a guide to the top stories this week on its sister network of regional sites promoting local writers and citizen journalism ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Former Police Chief says Partygate Worse than Cummings’ Barnard Castle Trip Former Durham police chief Mike Barton has spoken candidly about the current Westminster row – so-called ‘Partygate’. Yvonne Wancke for North East Bylines Is Net Zero the New Brexit? As Conservative polling slides, the party’s factions fall to quarrelling. Net zero could be the cause that rescues them. Stephen McNair for East Anglia Bylines Of Potholes, Patronage and the Press: The Truth behind a Blown-up Scandal “Taxpayers’ money used to repair Lord’s driveway”, screamed the headlines. But the real scandal is how the media and politicians got it so wrong. Ginny Smith for Sussex Bylines Partygate: One More Nail in the Unio...
The Politics of PORRIDGE With inflation now at 5.4% and the cost of living soaring with it, the humble oat has become an avatar of moral virtue in a right-wing culture war, Sian Norris reports ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Is there a foodstuff that holds more political and social metaphors than the humble bowl of porridge?  From staple peasant food to the gruel demanded by hungry orphans; from a word associated with prison to an aspirational-detox-wellness-glowing-green-eating-clean-eating luxury (posh porridge for dogs now only £50 a bag!), porridge’s most recent incarnation is as a right-wing meme to attack those living in poverty and a way to fix the cost of living crisis.  The politics of porridge was in the spotlight again after the energy company OVO was forced to apologise for a blogpost that advised consumers to save energy by tucking into a bowl of hot oats. The company said it was “embarrassed” by its “poorly-judged advice”. The message that po...
The Upside DownGlass Act: The Substance that Enabled the Scientific Revolution John Mitchinson explains why gazing out of his window or at his computer screen brings him wonderment at an invention we spend little time observing ShareEmailTwitterFacebook One of the unexpected side-effects of Coronavirus-constrained life has been the amount of time I spend gazing out of my window.  The glass in my window is old and carries some imperfections that don’t spoil the view but do prompt thoughts about how much we take this miraculous substance for granted. We shouldn’t. The story of glass and its impact on our lives turns out to be surprisingly thrilling.  In 2002, the anthropologist Alan Macfarlane and historian Gerry Martin published a short intellectual hand-grenade of a book called The Glass Bathyscaphe, which told the story of how transparent glass enabled both the Renaissance and the scientific revolutions of the 17th Century and beyond. The story starts in...
A Broken StateA Visit to the Epicentre of the War in Afghanistan Francesca Borri reports from Sangin, a place scarred by the events of the past 20 years, and considers what the American legacy is for a country now in chaos ShareEmailTwitterFacebook The road has a sandy yellow haze that continues for hours, punctuated only by spots of grey – where a mine exploded or a bomb detonated. Then, suddenly, Google Maps blinks to show a place in the sea of dust: Sangin. Sangin has a population of 20,000, on paper, and is located in Helmand – the heartland of the Taliban and the epicentre of opium. In 20 years of war, it has been the bloodiest battlefield: it is here that Americans and Britons who rotated on the frontline had their highest death toll. In total, NATO lost 3,605 men, a fifth in Sangin. For each of them is a name, a picture, and a story. Of Afghan victims, there is not even a number. In 20 years, they were never counted. The road from Kabul to Kandahar – the count...
Britain’s Immovable InstitutionsThe Diversity Deficit in the Upper Ranks of the Army Sascha Lavin reveals new data about the lack of black representation in top army positions, and considers what this shows about modern Britain ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Only 0.4% of senior officers in the British Army are black, an investigation by the Byline Intelligence Team can reveal. A Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Defence found that, in April 2021, Lieutenant Colonel ranks and above were overwhelmingly held by white people (97%). Just four of every 1,000 positions in these upper ranks were held by black army personnel.  Black soldiers are over-represented in the army, but few are promoted to senior positions. Although black people make up 3.4% of the UK population, 6.7% of army personnel identify as black. Yet a new investigation found that only 0.4% of black soldiers held top army jobs. Publicly available Ministry of Defence data from 2018 showed that acro...
EOS is growing, but exactly how big is it and how much value is locked in the ecosystem? We decided to follow the money, and this is EOS news.
Credit: Bywire News, Canva
A new heritage project aims to celebrate the considerable cultural highlights of the communities surrounding Bury New Road, with a range of activities and content produced with the crowning glory of the project being the erection of a John Cooper Clarke statue on the corner of Bury New Road where he lived. Bury New Road is a commuter route for thousands every day coming into the city, with many seeing the stretch from the M60 junction in Prestwich to the city centre, as a polluted, congested and uninspiring route they have to navigate. Some potential posed the John Cooper Clarke statue could adopt. The Bury New Road heritage project aims to challenge the uninspired viewpoint held by many, by investigating the areas rich history, including links with: Friedrich Engels, Mark E Smith, John Cooper Clarke, the Chartists, Morrissey, George Best, the Jacobites, New Order, Graham Gouldman, Bobby Charlton, David Beckham, Nico and Bugzy Malone. The team behind the project say it is ab...
Johnson Threatened to Strip Local FundingWhile Deprivation Surged The Prime Minister used the vulnerable and the impoverished, already suffering due to the pandemic, as pawns in his self-preservation strategy, notes Sam Bright ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Boris Johnson’s Government is being accused of blackmailing MPs critical of the Prime Minister, by threatening to withdraw funding to their constituencies. Johnson’s regime is teetering on the brink of collapse, following revelations that more than a dozen parties were held in Downing Street and other Government departments during COVID-19 lockdown periods in 2020 and 2021 – with the knowledge and even the participation of the Prime Minister. This has resulted in harsh criticism from Conservative MPs – who have seen the standing of their party drop rapidly in the polls – and the defection of one MP, Christian Wakeford of Bury South, to the Labour Party. However, in an effort to quell the rebellion, it appears as tho...
The Hangover of Bullingdon Club Britain Peter Jukes explains why the ongoing scandal about lockdown-breaking parties hit the Prime Minister’s core appeal more than crony contracts, personal expenses or his handling of the Coronavirus crisis ShareEmailTwitterFacebook As someone who first voted in 1979, I’ve often warned my younger colleagues at Byline Times that – though it seemed insurmountable – Boris Johnson’s apparent lead in the opinion polls was his Achilles heel.  Understandably, they greeted this with some scepticism and I could never quite articulate the grounds for this paradox. But, two-and-a-half years into his premiership, it’s clear that Johnson vividly displays the problem of a populist prime minister who has no clear project or programme: he is completely dependent on the populace. Compared to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, or Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the political project built around our current Prime Minister was always as sketchy and vap...
Evergrande has been discussed at length during the GameStop saga. Many apes, both smooth and wrinklebrained, have pointed to Evergrande as a potential catalyst for a global economic crisis that could trigger… the MOASS. So I decided to get in tough with Dr Marco Metzler, who’s company bought Evergrande bonds to discover more......
There have been several disparate but converging forces operating within the UK over the past few years – a creeping authoritarianism, increasing polarisation and politicisation, and the pandemic and all it’s associated problems. The issue for me is that too often the first two are dismissed as irrelevant due to the pandemic, when......
Is the establishment collapsing? With Boris and Prince Andrew coming under major scrutiny after Partygate, I wanted to talk about whether the establishment might be on their last legs. The real question is will they suffer consequences! Back for round two is Klaudia Fior. Klaudia is a 23 year-old journalist & PR/advertising MA......
Austria is a country very close to my heart, so it has saddened me greatly to see what has become of such a wonderfully free place. It was my pleasure in this episode to get the time to speak to Austrian Bitcoin and privacy advocate Der Gigi – who has sadly left the......
Boris Johnson is Blackmailing Conservative MPs ‘Like a Mafia Boss’ Senior Conservative MP William Wragg calls on colleagues to report the Government to the police for its attempts to intimidate Boris Johnson’s critics in the party, reports Adam Bienkov ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Boris Johnson’s Government is attempting to blackmail Conservative MPs who are critical of the Prime Minister with threats to smear them in the press and withdraw funding from their constituencies, a senior Conservative MP has said. William Wragg, who chairs the House of Commons Public Administration Committee, said on Thursday that any MP facing “intimidation” from Johnson’s Government should now report them to the police. “The reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail,” he told the committee. He explained that “in recent days, a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the...
King of ChaosBoris JohnsonHas Delivered for Hedge Fund Donors As the media rightly focus on the PM’s alleged COVID rule-breaking, financial institutions quietly report pandemic profits, reports Tim Coles ShareEmailTwitterFacebook Boris Johnson’s term as Prime Minister has been the political equivalent of a smash-and-grab: NHS data sold to US tech giants; billions-worth of failed track and trace projects handed out to consultants and cronies; not to mention further billions awarded to friends and donors for the supply of personal protective equipment. With one of western Europe’s worst rates of COVID-related deaths, the human consequences of corruption have been painfully real. But as the media correctly focus on the alleged rule-breaking of the Prime Minister and his aides during lockdown, attention is diverted from financial news: that the same hedge funds that brought Johnson to power have profited throughout the pandemic. SUBSCRIBE TO FEARLESS, INDEPENDENT JOU...
Ted Reese is a Marxist and the author of: Socialism or Extinction, Humanising Production, and the upcoming book The End of Capitalism: The Thought of Henryk Grossman. In this podcast Ted and I talked through the left wing or “Marxist” case against more covid restrictions, particularly the vaccine passports. We talked about why......