Section: Economy

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Johnson’s gin palace

Eric Gates

So now we know that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has drawn the short straw for building the Prime Minister’s latest vanity project. The good news is that, notwithstanding the regular damning reports of its performance, Defence Equipment and Support does know a bit about acquisition and programme management. There are no other departments that […]

The UK cannot afford Sunak: he is a massive threat to our well-being

Richard Murphy
Chancellor Rishi Sunak laughing

It was claimed in the Guardian yesterday that Rishi Sunak had written to the prime minister to ask for a relaxation in Covid travel regulations. He had. The populist in No 11 was trying to out-popularise the populist in No 10. You could not make up the scale of Covid recklessness on display when debate should be […]

How to change the future?

Robert Golden
young people demonstrating

This artice came out of West Country Byline’s recent online event on the true cost of cheap food. You can listen to the session here: A list for change We are ordinary people facing the huge wealth of the 1 per cent and the power of the state in an assumed democracy which is in […]

On the frontline: the safety of shop workers is being ignored – again

Vicky Rosier
smashed bottle of red wine n supermarket aisle

Shop workers go unnoticed by much of society. They toil away mostly unseen in the background so that the rest of us can get our groceries, ready meals, beers or clothing in well-stocked, pristine-looking stores. They work for some of the big, long-established companies in the UK – Sainsbury’s, Asda, Next, M&S, John Lewis, WH […]

Bulging bins and empty shelves – the Brexit dividend

Mick Fletcher
Rubbish in the street

It was all so predictable.  Ending the free movement of UK and EU citizens and making the UK a less welcoming place for EU nationals was always going to lead to labour shortages in key sectors.  Government were warned repeatedly but didn’t listen; or perhaps just didn’t care.   They can’t avoid it now. One of […]

Has it come to this? Agreeing with Baroness Thatcher (over Nissan)?

John D Turner
nissan logo on the side of a building

Baroness Thatcher would have been appalled. She would want to know why a Tory government, yes a Tory government of self-proclaimed free marketeers, was writing out a blank cheque in the name of the UK taxpayer to give to a successful, profitable Nippon car company and a Chinese Communist Party-owned firm. My politics are centre […]

Somerset binmen and Brexit: a story of waste

Mick Fletcher

Somerset residents have been warned by Somerset Waste Partnership that continued staff shortages will mean delays and interruptions to rubbish collection services across the county. The contractor, Suez, is struggling to cope with a lack of staff to drive their bin lorries and has called on people to be patient while they attempt to recruit […]

The return to roaming charges in Europe – letter to the editor

David Love

One of the numerous benefits of being in the EU was the fact that you could move seamlessly from Britain to mainland Europe, and you would not pay any extra charges on your mobile phone beyond what you were already contracted to pay. Roaming charges on moving to another EU country had been abolished. Before […]

Truss is no support for cheese

Anthea Simmons

Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they will inherit Liz Truss’s vision of the earth. Trade secretary Liz Truss is famous for her obsession with cheese. Unfortunately this zeal does not translate into recognition of the damage done to the UK’s cheese businesses by Brexit. Instead, it manifests itself in maniacal enthusiasm for miniscule trade deals […]

Johnson’s ‘new dawn’ Australia deal is a load of (dangerous) bull dust

Anthea Simmons

Johnson wrote an effusive letter to the Conservative party faithful on 15 June begging them to share the news of the Australia deal far and wide. He was no doubt trying desperately to distract from the Johnson/Delta variant Covid-19 failure which could cost thousands their lives and the revelation of institutional corruption in the Metropolitan […]

British farming: the end of the Brexit illusion

Nick Tolhurst

We still do not know the final details of the Australia trade deal signed off by cabinet last week – but what we do know is the ‘shape of the deal’. Australia is to obtain tariff and quota free access to the UK market in agricultural goods – with domestic farmers protected by having this […]

Minister makes fishy suggestion on water quality

Tom Scott

Recent remarks by fisheries minister Victoria Prentis suggest the government is pressuring the Food Standards Agency to change its water quality assessment for the Fal estuary and other waters used by shellfish producers.  Cornwall Green Party has described this suggestion as “frankly outrageous”. On Wednesday 12 May, the DEFRA minister responsible for fisheries, Victoria Prentis, […]

Gunboats at the ready

Shev Fogarty

I wrote this as an overview for my non-Jersey friends on Facebook, as I thought that the morning headlines of gunboats being dispatched to St Helier might have surprised and alarmed them, happening (as it appeared to) out of the blue. Firstly, it is important to know that Jersey and the other Channel Islands are […]

Putain de Brexit (or is that Putin…?)

Anthea Simmons

“Look how the gods smile upon me”, gloated Johnson as he gave the order to send two naval patrol vessels to menace French fishing boats on the eve of local elections and the by-election in Hartlepool. After all, the Falklands War had been absolute catnip for Thatcher supporters! Nothing like another excuse to put out […]

Brexit…out of fashion in Somerset

Richard Wilkins

It would be fair to say that businesses in Somerset are now really starting to feel the effects of Brexit and our new trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world. From all the businesses I have spoken to so far the effects have ranged from bureaucratic nightmares with unnecessary paperwork and […]

Phone masts, freedoms and high finance: a tangled tale

Mick Fletcher

There is often more than one side to a story. Our aim at West Country Voices is to give a balanced account of issues while avoiding distortion through what is known as ‘false equivalence’. It is a disservice to readers, for example, to give equal weight to the views of medical experts and unqualified anti-vaxxers […]

Liz Truss in the naughty chair

Sadie Parker

I am bent double, cringing as I write this. So much going on. The bombast expended on a football super-league by a prime minister who offered to sell Newcastle United off to some Saudi royal as a sweetener in a dodgy deal. The revelations of Johnson offering to fix a billionaire Tory donor’s tax —shocking […]

Abandon hope all youth who grow up here

Sadie Parker

“Am I gonna sit here and say that Brexit is perfect, and your generation is gonna reap the benefits? No, I’m not, because you’re not, frankly, at the minute, and I can see that. We’ve got work to do…” So said Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, addressing an audience of under-30-year-old […]

“DEFRA says get over it”: Brexit threatens to wreck Devon mussel business and DEFRA don’t much care

Julian Andrews

“DEFRA says get over it”, according to Nicki Holmyard, talking to West Country Voices, and describing the response from the department for environment, food and rural affairs since live shellfish exports to the EU collapsed in January 2021. Nicki is Communications Director of the Brixham-based aquaculture firm Offshore Shellfish Ltd, which – in common with […]

100 days of Brexit: the impact on animals

Anthea Simmons

We are such a nation of animal lovers that we barely stopped to consider the ramifications of Brexit on pets, equestrian sports, showing and breeding, and swallowed all the reassurances about food and animal welfare standards with barely a murmur. Not many of us stopped to consider the impact of a US trade deal on […]