Section: Politics

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 […]

Anti-vax cranks and Putin’s mafia state: an unholy alliance

Tom Scott

How is it possible that thousands of people in our country are persuaded to assemble in Trafalgar Square to applaud anti-vax cranks and far-right extremists such as Piers Corbyn and Katie Hopkins? What kind of delusional mania brings people to cheer the malignant, attention-seeking narcissist Kate Shemirani as she calls for doctors and nurses to […]

Dominic Cummings: is my enemy’s enemy my friend?

Sadie Parker

It’s the classic logic riddle: You are at a fork in a road on the border of two lands. Two guides stand guard at the fork; one always tells the truth, the other always lies. They know that one way leads to a land of comfort and safety, the other to danger and death. You […]

Make noise for PR! Make Votes Matter summer day of action

Laurie Taylor

Local residents in Totnes will join hundreds of people across the UK on Saturday 31st July to make noise for Proportional Representation (PR). PR is about the seats in Parliament being proportionate to the number of votes. From singing to banging drums or pots and pans, people will be out in force to break the […]

The guff Johnson writes to his fanbase: a litany of lies and vacuities

Anthea Simmons

It’s bad enough lying to your enemies and the uninformed or indifferent, but lying to your friends and supporters is a whole new level of degeneracy. Reading Johnson’s latest email to the party faithful illustrates once again the man’s facility for falsehood. “Two years ago today, when I became Prime Minister, we got straight to […]

Levelling up? Freedom Day? The dark reality behind sloganeering populism

Phil Syrpis

The debate about ‘levelling up’ prompts this summary of the Johnson government. The Johnson government excels at ‘sloganeering populism’: ‘Get Brexit Done’, ‘Global Britain’, ‘Freedom Day’… and now ‘Levelling up’. The rhetoric projects energy and is meant to show a governmentt devoted to ‘the people’s priorities’. Behind the rhetoric, one might hope for some substance, […]

The Police freeze out Patel

Anthea Simmons

The Police Federation of England and Wales have announced that they no longer have confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel. Patel-watchers will be wondering which of her many egregious acts, opinions or policies brought the Police, at long last, to the realisation that she is not deserving of anyone’s confidence. Was it because they suddenly […]

Meet our Prime Monster

Anthea Simmons
caricature of Boris Johnson with text "Because the dead can't vote

If there is anyone out there who still believes that lovable rogue Boris Johnson has done his best, poor man, in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, we suggest they read this. .@BorisJohnson: “It’s only over-80s who’ll die.” 🏴‍☠️ Tomorrow’s @DailyMirror. Reminder of @BorisJohnson‘s record with care homes. 🏴‍☠️ @BorisJohnson 🧐 🏴‍☠️ Originally tweeted […]

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 […]

Devon has a message for Johnson and Javid: get your hands off our NHS!

Anthea Simmons

The government’s health and social care bill passed its second reading with barely a murmur from the mainstream media, much less any proper public scrutiny. Amongst a number of proposals which open up the NHS to private health providers is the carving up of the NHS into 42 ‘integrated care systems’ (ICSs). One of these […]

Trans rights: let’s build bridges, not walls

Tom Scott
Icon symbolising division

The issue of trans rights is being used by the right as a wedge to divide the left. And, as the resignations of Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley as Green Party co-leaders show, the left has fallen headlong into this trap. This is an article I really didn’t want to write, prompted by the decision […]

James Heappey MP – an officer but not quite a gentleman

Mick Fletcher
MP James Heappey

I have disagreed with my local MP James Heappey on many issues over the years but never before had occasion to doubt his courage. After all he has seen active service in Afghanistan and Iraq and being on the front line in those areas undoubtedly took guts.  Courage is about more than fighting, however, and […]

The cruellest cut

Danny Chambers

When even Theresa May, the person responsible for the Windrush scandal and the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy, thinks your foreign policy agenda is inhumane, it should give you pause for thought. “Fewer girls will be educated, more girls and boys will become slaves, more children will go hungry and more of the poorest people […]

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 […]

Kleptocrats’ playbook: the seven ‘D’s

Robin Alexander
man holding stolen gem

You may have seen a recent article and video by the brilliant journalist Jon Danzig, titled: Boris Johnson is asked: “Did you sack Matt Hancock?” He replies: “Here’s a story about a bus.” It features the inadequate attempt by Chris Bryant MP, in a select committee hearing chaired by the insidious Bernard Jenkin MP, to […]

The fish rots from the head

Anthea Simmons

First of all, I must apologise for yet another article about football. I don’t even like it that much. I certainly don’t know anything about the actual game from a technical point of view. But, like it or not, football has come to be something of a focal point for our nation’s values and outlook […]

Gareth Southgate: the best of us

Sadie Parker

Whatever the result of the final of the Euros, Gareth Southgate has already won. To rise to the heights of playing for England, only to miss that penalty against Germany in the EUFA Euro 1996 semi-final, but to then pick himself up, continue to play for his country for a further 8 years, until becoming […]

A dangerous masquerade

Anthea Simmons
Johnson outside No. 10 on a giant St George flag

If England win tonight, you just know that Johnson will muscle (!) in to claim credit. I have a vision of him, having been woken up by a sharp poke in the ribs by Carrie, shambling towards the dais, hellbent on snatching the trophy from Kane’s hands. The worst foul you’ll ever see at Wembley. […]