Section: Politics

A plea to the region’s Conservative MPs: show you are not careless, callous or corrupt – don’t let Paterson off the hook. UPDATE: now with dire MP response!

Editor-in-chief

Some background ahead of an important vote in parliament on 3 November: in September 2019, The Guardian published their scoop on MP Owen Paterson’s breaches of parliamentary rules by lobbying for companies that he was paid to advise. To quote: The documents [detailing meetings and letters] raise questions over whether the North Shropshire MP has broken parliamentary […]

COPnes26: what’s on!

Editor-in-chief

COP26 is set to dominate the news over the next two weeks. Where does this leave our region and local communities? Totnes has started its own parallel environmental event to COP called ‘COPnes26’, continuing the town’s now well-established tradition of environmental and sustainability awareness. Here are some highlights: One of COPnes26’s roles is to enable community […]

I don’t want a Metaverse, I want a planet Earth

Clare Knight

I was surely not alone in feeling nausea and dread watching Mark Zuckerberg’s promo video for Facebook’s new incarnation (not to mention disgust at Nick Clegg trotting out insultingly complacent platitudes about regulation and data security). But disgust at the absolute sellout by someone who once seemed half decent is as nothing to the emotions […]

Can we afford this government’s blasé attitude to dirty water?

Sadie Parker
Sewage discharge given green light

By now there can be very few people who have not seen the headlines about the astonishing number of Tory MPs who voted down the Lords’ Amendments after clause 78 of the Environment Bill to require sewage companies to make improvements, and to demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage. […]

Insecure Brexiters: George Eustice

Peter Roberts

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne, Redruth & Hayle, and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The professional Cornishman stood for that famously green political party UKIP in the 1999 EU Parliament elections. He lost. He doesn’t promote his former affiliation on his website, of course, but if I were George Eustice […]

Five news stories this government would prefer you not to know about

Anthea Simmons

Here’s a collection of news stories that probably won’t be covered in any detail by the BBC or much of the mainstream media. We’ll try to put a selection together for you at least once a week. There’s no shortage of material with this government! Russian interference in our democracy: Remember the Russia report into […]

Living in a grown-up country. Spoiler alert: it’s not the UK…

Mike Zollo

When we arrived in Spain recently, we commented that it felt reassuring to be arriving in a ‘grown-up country’. It struck us as soon as we started our drive south, immediately becoming aware of the fact that everyone was wearing face-masks, as required in indoor public places; a high number of people show the same […]

The MPs in our region (all Conservatives) who voted to ALLOW raw sewage dumping…and those who voted against

Editor-in-chief

“Lords’ Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.” “Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustice recommended to his […]

Why I’m clanging for climate on 30 October

Tom Scott

At 6pm on Saturday 30 October, I’ll be standing on my doorstep banging a saucepan more often used for stews. Not because I’ve taken leave of my senses (yet) – it’s part of a big national action called ‘Clang for Climate’ that’s encouraging people in communities across the country to raise the alarm about the […]

Climate of lies

Tom Scott

The BBC’s new docudrama The Trick dramatises events around ‘Climategate’ – the hacking and subsequent false representation of thousands of emails between climate scientists, just before the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit. It’s an episode that can now be seen as a blueprint for a later – and even more devastating – disinformation operation. Writer Owen […]

Lord Puttnam’s important speech in full; by kind permission

Editor-in-chief

Shirley Williams Memorial Lecture. October 15 2021 19:00 POWER AND FEAR – THE TWO TYRANNIES Before I begin, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to the whole of the Amess family – what happened today is not just a tragedy for them but for all of us who believe that democracy must operate free […]

COPnes26: the parallel COP26 in Totnes keeping us informed, in touch and in action

Jim Funnell

COPnes26: 31 October – 14 November 2021 COPnes26 is a two-week series of planned events across Totnes, an opportunity for the town and wider community across our region to respond to the global climate crisis. Mirroring the international COP26 negotiations held in Glasgow during this same period, the town’s inclusive, conscious community will lead reflection […]

The unelected men who’ve scammed the country

Anthea Simmons
Lord Frost and Dominic Cummings

We’re all a bit tired of pretending that Brexit is fine/will be fine, aren’t we? There are even a few cracks appearing in the BBC’s propaganda wall. Plausible deniability is over. A Brexit-supporting Question Time audience can see it for what it is: a disaster. The government is turning itself inside out trying to spin […]

Johnson’s high-wage hype: a fake plan for a real crisis

Mick Fletcher
shot of HGV from a bridge

It is really hard to believe they are serious. A predictable shortage of labour because of Brexit, dismissed in the referendum campaign as ‘project fear’, has suddenly become part of the plan all along. Loyal Tories have apparently swallowed Johnson’s claim that crises in the supply chain show we are moving to a high-skill, high-wage […]

The horrors being smuggled into the Nationality and Borders bill: this is not right; this is not who we are.

Editor-in-chief

My eye was caught today by this thread from Colin Yeo, a barrister passionate about immigration law and a campaigner for the rights of all those who fall foul of this government’s hostile environment. He founded and edits the widely-read Free Movement immigration law blog and last year published Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System. Colin’s […]

Most of those who made catastrophic errors on Covid are still in charge, which does at least explain why so much is still going wrong.

Richard Murphy

The House of Commons and Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee have published their Report, Coronavirus: lessons learned to date, examining the initial UK response to the Covid pandemic. As the Committees report (and I reproduce this to give balance to what follows): Some initiatives were examples of global best practice, but […]

Thank you and goodnight: the Conservative Party conference…

Graham Hurley

Watching Priti Patel tossing chunks of glistening legislation to the rapt audience at the Tory Party Conference is to be powerfully reminded of feeding time at the zoo. The same Pavlovian flutter of audience hands at the applause lines; the same salivating eagerness for yet more blood, yet more political protein; the same smacking of […]

Pigs sacrificed on the altar of Brexit

Anna Andrews
Pig snout poking through fence

“…This government has always been quite comfortable with importing… more food from abroad – cheaper imports – and not worrying about our food security and producing at home here, and I think that philosophy is starting to show now…” (Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Producers’ Association, on the BBC’s Farming Today on 6 […]

Welcome to the Kingdom of Shambolica

Graham Hurley

As the Conservative party conference ploughs on, welcome to the Kingdom of Shambolica: 137,000 deaths from Covid (official figures), but probably a great deal more blowing over £37 billion on a test-and-trace programme that never worked properly an NHS on its knees and menaced with yet more privatisation growing evidence of dodgy Russian donors to […]

Le mot injuste…

Mike Zollo

As a lifelong linguist, I am only too aware of the power of language: its power to communicate or obfuscate, impress or offend, please or disappoint. Language is power. Years of study, experience and teaching language have blessed – or cursed – me with an acute sense of the value of language, and a feel […]