Section: Politics

The value of being citizens of Europe

Jon Danzig
young man face painted with EU flag

It was 30 years ago today – 7 February 1992 – that the Treaty of the European Union was signed by 12 EU member states in the Dutch city of Maastricht. The treaty was fully debated and democratically passed by our Parliament in Westminster – as were all the treaties of the EEC/EU during our […]

A brush with Boris

Rachel Marshall
Johnson on Room 101

In the early 2000s, I was strolling over a zebra crossing near Highbury Corner, in London, on my way home from work when I was almost hit by a bicycle. I immediately recognised the rider: it was Boris Johnson, and he was chatting away on his mobile phone while cycling right at me. Furiously I […]

Never again? It is happening again

Jon Danzig

Genocide is not a thing of the past. Jon Danzig’s powerful and intensely personal account is a wake-up call for us all. After the Second World War, during which many millions were systematically, industrially, gruesomely murdered in the worst genocidal crime against humanity, the earnest, global, unison cry was, ‘Never again’. Those two words summed […]

So Johnson ‘got Brexit done’. Is that really anything to boast about?

Sadie Parker

The two-year anniversary of Brexit day on 31 January, coupled with Johnson’s lamentable popularity ratings (not so much sinking as drowning), have prompted Number 10 to unleash a flurry of misleading pro-Brexit propaganda. The aim appears to be to rally Brexit supporters with images of the Union Jack linked to positive words like “freedom” and […]

“You don’t speak for me!” A letter to Sheryll Murray MP

Nicola Tipton
Sheryll Murray

I have long been incensed by politicians, particularly members of the current government, claiming they know what the ‘public’ want and the ‘people’ think. The Prime Minister is an expert at this: perhaps the only thing he has expertise in, along with lying and hiding in fridges. I can’t think of one single occasion when […]

The ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’: a swindle and a perversion

Tom Scott

George Orwell would have understood the government’s abuse of the English language all too well. Tom Scott draws the parallels. In his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language, George Orwell observes:  “The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another […] […]

The Sue Gray report: write to your Conservative MP now

Editor-in-chief
caricature of Boris Johnson with text "Because the dead can't vote

Today we watched a desperate and despicable display of faux contrition, empty excuses and insultingly evasive answers from Johnson. Sue Gray’s ‘update’ made it crystal clear that rules have been broken which means that Johnson has repeatedly lied to the House and to us. Twelve of the sixteen parties are now under criminal investigation. Twelve. […]

We need a Great Reform

Richard Murphy
neon sign reads 'Let's change'

“We witnessed an attempted coup this week. A prime minister, who has very obviously broken the law on many occasions and who holds the people of this country in contempt, sought to stay in power aided and abetted by his party and the police.” Richard Murphy sets out the case for radical reform. The charge […]

MPs supporting a liar – why? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief
House of Commons chamber, empty.

Dear West Country Bylines, I have this to say to Sheryll Murray after she stood up to heap praise on Johnson at PMQs: Boris has now said he will stay and “fight on”. Who exactly is be fighting? Is it the bereaved families he laughed in the faces of by holding more parties in lockdown […]

Trying to do more with less: austerity lives on in Devon

Julian Andrews
elderly woman in window looking out

As government continues to shift the burden for services (and the blame for their shortcomings) onto councils, whilst cutting their budgets, Julian Andrews explains the impact on Devon’s budget and inhabitants. “The age of irresponsibility is giving way to the age of austerity”, said David Cameron in 2009. Shortly afterwards, then-Chancellor George Osborne announced cuts […]

Johnson may yet fight an ugly rearguard action

Richard Murphy
cartoon poster of Johnson , middle finger raised

Political speculation abounds on whether Johnson can survive. It is apparent that the consensus is that he cannot. But let me offer a word of caution. The assumption is being made that a man who has refused to comply with every convention in life that governs good behaviour will do the honourable thing and step […]

Democracy in Danger event report

Editor-in-chief
taped mouth marked with red x

This is a record of our well-attended Democracy in Danger event on Thursday 20 January. Unfortunately the tape was not running for the introductions and so I paraphrase in this summary. Molly Scott Cato, (Greens) talked about her work to research and then to raise awareness of the rise of fascism in the UK. She […]

We need radical political change – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, The Conservative party has clearly been in power for too long and has too much power based on significantly less than half of the votes cast in the last general election (an 80 seat majority based on securing a mere 43.6 per cent of the ballots cast in 2019). The recent […]

How to engage with power and make a difference

John Timperley
laptop open on desk

The success of a liberal democracy is dependent upon active, informed, citizens engaging in debate. We can all make a difference. We all must make a difference! There are many ways our voices can be seen and heard: How to contact your MP, Select Committees, the Lords, Councillors MPs Find your MP: https://members.parliament.uk/members/commons Here’s a […]

Social feed 5: virtual reality

Babe
Pig with muddy snout

A satirical commentary on the pigswill we’re fed by an MP’s social media. Feasting at the trough: ‘Babe’ BREAKING NEWS: The Conservative Party has made a significant investment in Facebook’s Metaverse. First amongst Devon MPs to stake his claim to a piece of alternative reality is, of course, the Captain of Complicity, the Superman of […]

Starmer’s beer: A case of malicious false equivalence

Sadie Parker

This weekend (16/17 January) we have all been given a stunning lesson in the strength of the Conservative Party’s propaganda machine. Hemmed in by his lies, his popularity plummeting faster than a spacecraft re-entering earth’s atmosphere and hurtling towards the sea, Boris Johnson called in favours from mainstream broadcasters, three major newspapers, and his pet […]

Closed minds, broken politics

Barbara Leonard
meme: waiting for Sue Gray

Last week I wrote to my local MP Robert Syms. I explained the great sadness and upset I felt had been caused by the revelations of casual disregard of the Covid rules by those responsible for imposing them. While my family had been prevented from seeing dying relatives and attending funerals, they partied on. Back […]

What happens to the Tories now?

Richard Murphy

We know that Boris Johnson’s days in Number 10 are numbered now. We can’t be sure how many there still are. That his tenure will end well before the time of the next election is, however, seemingly certain. But my question is, so what? What then for the Tories, and us. The Conservative Party is […]

Last chance to stop the Police State Bill

Tom Scott

The Labour Party has finally said that it will oppose some of the extremely dangerous amendments to Priti Patel’s Policing Bill in the House of Lords. But others look set to be waved through by the official opposition, unless it shifts its stance before the key votes on Monday. Tom Scott explains. The first protest […]