Section: Politics

Goodbye Erasmus – hello nothing?

Alan Butt Philip

It was apparently a last-minute decision – taken unilaterally by Boris Johnson’s government and announced on Christmas Eve. The UK is pulling out of the EU’s Erasmus programme. This is the scheme, launched in 1987, which has enabled over three million European students to spend up to a year studying or working in another EU […]

100,000 dead. “We truly did everything we could”. REALLY?

Femi Oluwole

With 100,000 Covid deaths, Journalists better mention that Boris Johnson: Feb 2020 Said he wanted UK to have the loosest reaction to Coronavirus. Skipped 5 Cobra Meetings. March 2020 Told people to shake hands Allowed mass crowds May 2020 Denied the Stay Home order existed to save Cummings Seriously!? This was a #DowningStreetBriefing SPECIFICALLY on […]

Planning for the destruction of local communities?

Jo Garrett

Changes to the planning system could allow unscrupulous developers to do  serious damage to historic town centres – have your say before it’s too late! The government is currently consulting on several proposed changes to the planning regulations. Here in Penryn, Cornwall, these changes threaten our town centre, industrial areas and heritage. There are three […]

“Sleepwalking into a constitutional crisis”

Robert Saunders

The UK is sleepwalking towards a truly dangerous constitutional crisis, in which we no longer agree on how we make democratic decisions or on what constitutes a valid referendum. Its roots lie in the way that we use referendums – and time is running short to fix this. The referendum is now the most powerful […]

Pinching pupil premium – the Williamson war on poor kids continues…

Andy Jolley

Short thread on how DfE sneaked out a £250 million cut to school budgets in the middle of a pandemic and how it will impact the poorest and most vulnerable pupils. No publicity, no great public announcement as @educationgovuk cut a quarter of a billion pounds from its Pupil Premium budget. Pupil Premium (PP) is […]

Government gaslighting just stepped up a gear

Sadie Parker

No doubt you’ve seen the news that, unlike some of the other car manufacturers, Nissan has decided to stay in the UK. Phew! There must have been a collective sigh of relief in Sunderland that was so loud, it made the wings of the Angel of the North flap 13 miles away in Gateshead. Surely […]

No balm for business

Richard Wilkins

Until 1 January the full impact of Brexit on the UK its people and businesses was an unknown quantity. You could say it was a promise, a hope… even a mirage. Brexit could be anything you wanted because the details were not known. Indeed, even the broad outlines remained unclear as the government continued to […]

WCB online event: This Good Earth Q&A, 11 Feb, 8pm

Anthea Simmons

West Country Voices is delighted to invite you to a special Q&A event following the release of Robert Golden’s powerful and elegiac film – This Good Earth. The film’s director, Robert Golden will be joined by Professor Timothy Lang, Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London and Simon Holland, farmer […]

The anti-democracy and not-so-Unionist party

Sadie Parker
Johnson claiming no Brexit trade barriers

As democracy has been trampled under a tsunami of lies, scams and evasion of scrutiny this month, perhaps the Conservative and Unionist Party needs a new name? I’ll go first: the Anti-Democracy and not-so-Unionist Party. Here’s why… Boris Johnson can’t stop lying. To dismiss that with an exclamation of, “oh, but all politicians lie,” is […]

Coping with Covid-19 in a ‘pueblo blanco’

Mike Zollo

I’m afraid I am one of those people who feels ill whenever I am confronted with the jingoistic boastfulness, British exceptionalism and tribalism generated by Brexit.  It is especially sickening to see it amplified in any public statements made by the Government in connection with the pandemic. I have never been willing to be dragged […]

Is the penny dropping that Brexit means Brexit?

Anthea Simmons

Aww! Bless June Mummery for spotting that leaving the EU meant no more attendance of the meetings, but really! Poor LibDem Caroline Voaden, who like the other non Brexit-cultist MEPs, including Conservative Dr Charles Tannock, Labour’s Clare Moody and the Green’s Molly Scott Cato, tried frantically to explain what Brexit would do to fishing. We […]

Culture wars – the right wing’s crusade against ‘woke militants’

Eric Gates

“Those who oppose tyrannical ‘wokeness’ have right on their side, and with sufficient courage and resolve, patriots will prevent the imposition of their poisonous puritanism on us all”. So wrote Sir John Hayes in “Spalding Today” in his neo-Trumpist call to arms. HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Why we must all fight back against poisonous wokism […]

Fishermen! Your government is insulting you!

Anthea Simmons

You might want to watch this. This is the contempt in which this government holds you. The very same contempt it shows the hauliers, the NHS, the small businesses, the entrepreneurs who have been excluded, the exporters, the farmers…you name it. Watch this and see how you are treated. Is a one word answer to […]

The return of decency

Sadie Parker

I hadn’t meant to cry, but I couldn’t help myself. There were so many moments to pull on the heartstrings. Watching newly-promoted Eugene Goodman, the officer who had held off a braying mob just long enough to allow senators to escape from the Capitol only two weeks before, accompany Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris to her swearing […]

“It’s not MY fault”: the fishy blame game

Julian Andrews

The “whiffy-fish-to-the-EU” disaster story just goes on and on, doesn’t it? Or maybe that should read “no-fish-to-the-EU”. Most people must know now that those involved in fishing are angry – very angry – that their valuable seafood is not getting to customers in the EU on time, if at all. Many boats are laid up, […]

On digging a great hole

Canon Robin Murch

They say revenge is sweet even if it comes after many years. My happy day of revenge will come on Friday 22 January 2021. It has been a  long time coming – in fact, from 1956. In those days I was a young National Serviceman in the infantry and with others, we had to dig […]

Five local MPs back ‘Stop genocide trade’ amendment

Sadie Parker

In an otherwise disappointing round of voting on Lords’ Amendments (LAs) to the Trade Bill, during which Tory MPs yet again voted en masse to weaken parliamentary oversight of trade deals, there was one bright spot. Lords Amendment Number Three to force the UK to withdraw from bilateral trade agreements with any country the High […]

Quadruple cheese Brexit whammy

Anthea Simmons

“We managed to get a shipment through to Europe which took SIX days instead of ONE. Rejected because it’s no longer fresh. We’ve paid the carriage to send it out and we have to pay to ship it back. We have to bin the cheese. We have to refund the customer. We also LOSE the […]

Tory Trumpism is turning the UK into a sewer of fake news

Sadie Parker

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared anyone campaigning for free school meals during the February half-term-break to the Trumpist insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. He did so in a WhatsApp message sent to all Tory MPs at lunchtime on Sunday 17 January, explaining why he was whipping them to abstain from voting for or against […]

Hey, Anthony Mangnall MP! Are you spreading dangerous fake news?

Anthea Simmons

As MP for Totnes, your constituency includes the fishing town of Brixham, where some of the most valuable catches of shellfish are landed and exported to the EU. The fishermen there must be as angry about the Brexit deal as those up the coast in West Bay. Or the guys in Scotland, who are going […]

Fish – it used to be so easy…

Julian Andrews

Mention “Samways” to locals around the west Dorset town of Bridport and they’re most likely to tell you simply, “they’ve got that fish shop at West Bay”. They’re right about the fish shop, but Samways are a lot more than that. Clifford Samways started selling fish from a wooden barrow in West Bay in 1961 […]

Brexit trade problems: what’s gone wrong and can it be fixed?

Billy Melo Araujo

Billy Melo Araujo, Queen’s University Belfast Queues of lorries at borders and empty supermarket shelves confirm what most already knew: the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has increased trade barriers between the EU and the UK. So what problems are arising, and can anything be done to improve them? 1. Rules of origin Upon […]