Summary of “‘It’s not a done deal’: inside the battle to stop Brexit”

On 1 February, the Labour MP Chuka Umunna formally announced the existence of the grassroots coordinating group, a regular Wednesday morning gathering of organisations, activists and sympathetic MPs. Two weeks ago, GCG members launched the People’s Vote, calling for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.
Launching in August 2016 with six staff, the campaign group aimed to “Seek common ground between voters on both sides” by advocating a Brexit so soft, one journalist dubbed it “The Mr Whippy of Brexits”.
“I said, ‘Look, I want to stop Brexit as much as anyone else, but the question is how?’ My very strong view was that seeking to divide the movement between whether you were pure no-Brexit or soft Brexit was totally unhelpful.”
One argument is that there was no form of Brexit on the ballot paper and that campaign promises have been broken.
“We think Brexit is being driven by elites,” says Tom Brufatto, chair of Britain for Europe.
Thousands of people have gathered outside the Art Gallery for the Great Northern March, one of several simultaneous Stop Brexit protests designed to show that opposition is growing around the country.
At Best for Britain’s barnstorms, activists are sternly told that things that galvanise remainers, such as flags and Bollocks to Brexit stickers, are counterproductive when it comes to swaying the unconverted.
The voices are diverse, but they all hit the same notes: new facts have emerged; the negotiations aren’t delivering what was promised; a people’s vote is a democratic necessity; Brexit is not inevitable.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is Loneliness a Health Epidemic?”

In light of these two trends, it’s easy to believe we’re experiencing an “Epidemic” of loneliness and isolation.
Surprisingly the best data do not actually show drastic spikes in either loneliness or social isolation.
The other data on loneliness are complicated and often contradictory, in part because there are so many different ways of measuring the phenomenon.
One reason we need to be careful about how we measure and respond to loneliness is that, as the University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo argues, an occasional and transitory feeling of loneliness can be healthy and productive.
Professor Cacioppo has spent much of his career documenting the dangers of loneliness.
Professor Cacioppo is one of the leading voices advocating for better treatment of loneliness.
When Britain announced its new ministry, officials insisted that everyone, young or old, was at risk of loneliness.
In places like the United States and Britain, it’s the poor, unemployed, displaced and migrant populations that stand to suffer most from loneliness and isolation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling”

The European Union, for its part, plans to propose a tax on plastic bags and packaging, citing the China ban and the health of the oceans among other reasons.
China had been processing at least half of the world’s exports of waste paper, metals and used plastic – 7.3 million tons in 2016, according to recent industry data.
“Large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials,” Beijing wrote to the W.T.O. “This polluted China’s environment seriously.”
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, which sent 80 percent of its recycling to China, Matthew Keliher, the city’s manager of solid waste, said he had largely found alternatives to accept plastic, except for the low-grade plastic film that is used to make shopping bags and for wrapping.
In Calgary, Alberta, which sent 50 percent of its plastics and 100 percent of its mixed papers to China, the material has been stockpiled in empty storage sheds, shipping containers, trailers and warehouses since last fall.
5,000 tons has been collected, Sharon Howland, the city’s lead manager of waste and recycling services, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Every year, Britain sends China enough recyclables to fill up 10,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, according to Greenpeace U.K. The United States exports more than 13.2 million tons of scrap paper and 1.42 million tons of scrap plastics annually to China, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has reported.
Too often, he said, manufacturers produce environmentally harmful products and then “Pass the buck” to retailers, who in turn pass it to local councils to pick up the tab to sort out the waste for recycling.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After Brexit, England will have to rethink its identity”

England’s national identity is undergoing a fast and furious overhaul.
Today’s England feels like a country that has fallen out of love with itself – mistrusting its elites, scornful of its media, and famously impatient with experts.
The only unique things about England, the qualities that are irrevocably its own, concern its landscape and history.
In 1941 George Orwell argued, in The Lion and the Unicorn, that even if England were to be conquered and overrun it would somehow remain England, an expression of its green hills and valleys, fields and hedgerows, squalls and rainbows.
“The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children’s holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal.”
It is possible that England will remain the driving force of a new golden age for a new global Britain, but it is equally possible that England will awake from the Brexit fever, gape in amazement, and wonder how such folly came to pass.
In the meantime we should note that England is by no means one thing.
We had better hope so, because one thing is certain: the imperious workshop of the world, the nation that seized those far pavilions, the England of Nelson and Florence Nightingale that place is no more.

The orginal article.

Summary of “No End in Sight to the Brexit Madness”

The slow-motion self-immolation that is Brexit continues for the U.K. Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Michel Barnier, the senior European Union official in charge of negotiating the terms of Britain’s departure, confirmed that British banks were set to lose their so-called E.U. passport, which currently enables them to offer services throughout the twenty-eight nations in the bloc.
“On financial services, U.K. voices suggest that Brexit does not mean Brexit,” Barnier said.
“Brexit means Brexit, everywhere.”
In the months after the Brexit vote, which took place almost a year and a half ago, “Leave” supporters used the fact that the U.K.’s economy continued to expand and create jobs to claim that the prophets of doom had been mistaken.
In September, May announced that Britain wanted to push Brexit back two years, until 2021, and said that it would abide by all the E.U. rules during the transition period.
At the end of last week, Donald Tusk, the E.U.’s President, said that, if Britain wanted talks to begin a new trade agreement that would preserve its access to the huge European market, it would have to make concessions in a number of areas, including the settlement of Britain’s financial obligations to the E.U.; the legal protections that would be afforded E.U. citizens living in the United Kingdom; and the future of the border between Northern Ireland, which is leaving the E.U., and the Republic of Ireland, which isn’t.
In his speech on Monday, Barnier, a former foreign minister of France, appeared to broaden the E.U.’s demands, strongly hinting that, if Britain wanted a favorable trade deal, it would have to abide by European regulations in many areas, even though it would no longer be a member of the Union.
The country is still in the grip of Brexit madness, and, sadly, there is no relief in sight.

The orginal article.

Summary of “No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore”

“After Brexit, no one is trying to help now. They’ve given up. Nobody on the Continent really cares that much about Britain anymore. Even worse, people feel the country will fall into the hands of Jeremy Corbyn and that will do more damage than Brexit itself.”
More chilling, perhaps, is the impact on countries less rooted than Britain once appeared to be.
The European country considered the most outward-looking and globalized is fractured by the backlash against the very model that made Britain strong.
There are many who see Britain as having suffered a sudden nervous breakdown, said Simon Tilford, an economist and deputy director of the Center for European Reform.
Rather than a vote for a global Britain and economic liberalism, Mr. Tilford said, Brexit was a vote for protectionism, and its political system now “Is deeply provincial and introverted at a time when Britain is supposed to be heading out into the world.”
Confused and divided, Britain no longer has an agreed-upon national narrative, said Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform.
“Global Britain, open Britain, generous Britain.” But now there is a competition between that narrative and the nativist one.
Mr. Grant, like others who have spent their careers watching British and European politics, predicts rough seas for Britain as it casts off nearly 45 years of intimate trade and legal ties with those annoying Europeans.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Britain and France Almost Merged Into One Country”

These two great symbols of patriotism and national independence made an incredible agreement: Britain and France should be united into a single country called the “Franco-British Union.”
The drama of that near-fusion can help explain the origins of European integration-and the reasons why Britain ultimately pulled away from the European Union in the decision we know as Brexit.
The document stated: “At this most fateful moment in the history of the modern world, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the French Republic make this declaration of indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in their common defense of justice and freedom against subjection to a system which reduces mankind to a life of robots and slaves.” This meant: “France and Great Britain shall no longer be two nations, but one Franco-British Union.”
The train would travel to the coast, and then the party would sail by ship to meet the French government and sign the Act of Union.
Britain was doomed, he said, and union would be “Fusion with a corpse.” Another minister concluded: “Better be a Nazi province. At least we know what that means.” Reynaud later wrote in his memoirs, “Those who rose in indignation at the idea of union with our ally were the same individuals who were getting ready to bow and scrape to Hitler.”
Britain and France might have extended the offer of union to other exiled governments like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, or Holland-and created a United States of Europe.
The war could have ended with three great powers: the USA, the Soviet Union, and the USE. In the collapse of the Franco-British Union, we can discover the seeds of the European integration project.
The champions of Brexit claimed to be defending Churchill’s legacy-even though Churchill had backed union with France.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Brexodus has begun. We EU nationals know staying on is too big a gamble”

Call it the Brexodus: well-educated EU nationals with the global job market at their feet turning their back on a country they had thought of as a good and safe place to make their homes.
Many know at least one EU national or family who have left already.
Most EU nationals have also become used – even immune – to the English superiority complex vis-a-vis Europe, and to the periodical insults by leading politicians and media figures.
If EU nationals kept all their rights post-Brexit they would end up with more rights than the local population, and find themselves under protection of a foreign court – first-class citizens in a country not their own.
EU nationals in the UK have first-hand experience of the British government and state.
Highly educated EU nationals know that they have highly sought-after skills – many of us are not in British jobs taken by Europeans but in European jobs done in Britain.
Once you realise, as an EU citizen, that there is going to be a Brexodus of fellow nationals back to your home country, it makes sense to get ahead of the herd and secure a job before the market is flooded by returning immigrants with your specific set of skills.
Many EU nationals simply cannot afford to wait and see whether it behoves the British people to treat us well.

The orginal article.