Section: Politics

Why pay rises won’t solve the Brexit staffing crisis

Russ In Cheshire

There SHOULD be pay rises in most sectors, including HGV. But pay rises won't solve the staff problem, and here's why. For arguments’ sake, imagine we give a 20 per cent pay rise to HGV drivers. This attracts 20,000 people from lower paid jobs. HGV problem solved (in a year or so) But… The industries […]

The Brexit-exacerbated blood bottle shortage: why your doctor may not be able to offer you the blood test you need. UPDATED

Anthea Simmons

About a fortnight ago we saw medics and commentators expressing concerns over shortages of blood bottles. Research indicated that this was a worldwide phenomenon created by the massive hike in demand as a consequence of the pandemic. Now it appears that Brexit is exacerbating an already difficult situation with supply chains interrupted by border issues […]

Raab got a suntan while troops were scarred by tragedy

Anna Andrews

Of all the distressing images coming out of the chaos and fear at Kabul airport, there was one which I found particularly moving. It was not one of those showing desperate Afghans clinging to the fuselage of a huge transport plane as it took off from the runway. It was not one of those showing […]

Send Botham Down Under? That’s just plain batty!

Anthea Simmons
Chappell and Botham cartoon

Liz Truss, the cheese obsessive who counts rollover trade deals as the sign of the dawn of a new era for ‘global Britain’ and crows about flogging a few stiltons to the famously-lactose intolerant Japanese has hit diplomacy for six with her gleeful appointment of Brexit-fanatic Botham as trade envoy to Australia. Ennobled for his […]

Hell or High Water?

Graham Hurley

The TV pictures from Kabul last weekend were apocalyptic: thousands of desperate Afghans converging on the airport, families and a handful of belongings crammed into their cars. Already refugees in the face of the breaking wave of Taliban at the city’s gates, many of them chose to spend the night parked up around the airport […]

Operation Enduring Freedom becomes Operation Disastrous Farce

Des Hannigan

Operation Enduring Freedom was the code name for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by allied western forces, chiefly American, which was followed by Operation Enduring Sentinel, and which ended last week in Operation Disastrous Farce. There is no humour, no satire, to be drawn from this, but there is contempt for both the Taliban’s extremism […]

“You cannot coordinate an international response from a beach” Why we must challenge this government’s behaviour

Anthea Simmons

The quote is from Sir Keir Starmer in today’s debate. The Afghanistan crisis, quite aside being an unimaginable tragedy for the Afghan people, has thrown up very serious questions about the competence, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and statesmanship of this government. We have to keep calling these abject failures out because they are failings that are […]

The great co-ordination

Graham Hurley

Gleichschaltung is one of history’s most sinister euphemisms. The word is German and it means ‘co-ordination’. Hitler and other architects of the Third Reich used it to build a totalitarian state that purged Germany of all opposition. From 1933 onwards, das Volk, the people, were urged to march in perfect formation towards a future that […]

It could all have been so very, very different

Anthea Simmons

For the purpose of this article, let us accept that the Conservatives are in power and were in power when some of the events referred to occurred. Readers may say “But what if it had been Corbyn or Starmer?”. Please set that alternative scenario to one side. I am looking at what was genuinely a […]

“The Politics of Climate Change:” – what can WE do?

Belinda Bawden
art work of politicians trying to avoid drowning in climate emergency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published on 9 August 2021 was clear: “Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying” The Guardian’s verdict on the IPCC report: “As a verdict on the climate crimes of humanity, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report could not be clearer: guilty as hell. The repeatedly-ignored […]

Horticulture: blighted by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

You may have already seen the story that Plants Galore in Newton Abbot, Plymouth and Exeter will be giving away £100,000 worth of stock because of Brexit.  WCB had also been sent a press release from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) about a recent visit by Brexit-backing MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, to […]

What about MY freedom of movement? Culture tests – part 2

Mike Zollo

In The culture test: Welcoming new citizens or a way to stop immigration? Part 1, we found that the culture tests for the EU countries considered so far appear to be designed to welcome prospective new citizens, whilst the UK test seems more like a method to stop immigration. I had hoped in this second […]

Climate emergency: a step change must be made NOW – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Every day on the television news and in the newspapers we see huge parts of the world on fire and other parts submerged beneath exceptional flooding. The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report makes it clear that this is undeniably the result of global warming caused by human activity. This report goes […]

Bring in the Army – or MACA

Eric Gates

Military Aid to the Civil Authorities is the set of situations in which military personnel can be deployed in the UK in support of the civil authorities. Like all large organisations, MoD operates in acronyms and this one is known as MACA. The use of military personnel is carefully prescribed so that it is very […]

Brexit: civil war by other means?

James Chater

Conflict is at the core of the UK’s historical development, and bad government is nothing new. Throughout the nation’s history the same perennial bones of contention keep recurring, and successive Westminster governments have failed to settle them. This is demonstrated once again by the way the continually unfolding Brexit fiasco has reopened old wounds. I […]

The happy little trucker

Mr Rushforth

Why is this man smiling, you may ask? Is it because of his new hat? No, says our great portrait artist, Mr. Rushforth, it is because he is none less than Andrew Bridgen, the Honourable Gentleman for North West Leicestershire, who recently and single-handedly divined the cause of the nation’s intractable haulage crisis. Given Mr […]

An archbishop who prioritises English nationalism above honesty and social justice: latest recruit to the culture wars

Clare Knight

Meet the latest culture wars ‘warrior’, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the second most powerful cleric in the land, admired by none other than that living embodiment of Christian values, Nigel Farage. Since we appear to be returning to a Henry VIII-style era, with a much-married autocrat dominating the political stage empowered by the eponymous powers of […]

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 […]

Williamson’s Latin in schools wheeze…just another feles mortuus?

Valerie Huggins

I wake up to yet another ‘dead cat’ announcement from the hapless Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson: “Let them learn Latin” he declares in a £4m Latin Excellence pilot scheme to teach the language in 40 schools. It is not unreasonable for all those concerned in the difficult task of creating and maintaining an education system […]

Vocational exams and educational vandalism

Mick Fletcher
trainee plumbers

Government policy, even when wrong, can usually be understood.  Recent proposals for ‘chain gangs’ of offenders in high vis jackets for example might make no sense in terms of reducing crime but are explicable as an appeal to authoritarian voters.   Expert advice was clear that the privatisation of the probation service was doomed to failure, […]

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 the Devil did he do it? A Catholic marriage of convenience

Chris Tehan

Is Boris Johnson a Catholic? A few weeks ago, West Country Voices published a couple of excellent articles by Sadie Parker, focused on the matter of Boris Johnson apparently being a Catholic. The fact is that he does not correspond in any way to what I would consider a Catholic; he has merely adopted this […]

When two tales go to war, one point is all that you can score…

John D Turner

Early in 2016 Boris Johnson wrote two reasoned articles on Brexit, one for and the other against, but only offered up the one for publication. He wrote the two articles to determine which campaign would give him the best chance of getting into Number 10. One has to give him credit for taking a reasoned […]

Dealing with disappointing data – a guide for aspiring autocrats

Mick Fletcher
Carnical models of Putin and Kim Jong-Un

Even the most authoritarian of regimes feel the need to pretend that they enjoy popular support. Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-Un, for example, routinely claim to have won huge majorities in elections that were quite clearly rigged. In a similar way, UK politicians whose actions show scant respect for democracy, work hard to give the […]