Section: Region

What does ‘Cornish’ even mean anymore?

Joel Griffet

Old ideas of what it means to be ‘Cornish’ are dead, and cannot be revived. Moving forward, Cornish identity must be redefined to suit the modern age, unless enough people want to start going back down mines for work, and speaking only in Cornish. To talk of the good old days is to languish in […]

BCP Council – the death of scrutiny

Alex Mckinstry

Few BCP Council committees were more highly regarded than the Overview & Scrutiny Board (OSB), which tracked and challenged Cabinet policy, grilled the leadership, and benefited from a truly impartial chairman … Clearly it had to go. It was abolished under a proposal brought by the Council’s deputy leader, Philip Broadhead, on 10 May 2022. […]

Is BCP the most corruptible council in England?

Adam Sofianos

In 2020 the anti-corruption group Transparency International UK published a paper on the potential for corruption in English local authorities. Fifty key councils were assessed on how they manage corruption risks such as lobbying, oversight and conflicts of interest. One council was deemed by far the worst in England: Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole (BCP). Why was BCP Council […]

Make Votes Matter! June 11, Totnes

Editor-in-chief

Don’t miss this! As you will know, West Country Voices is a strong and vocal supporter of electoral reform – it’s essential for empowerment of citizens and engagement with the politics that affect our lives, no matter how much we may want to stay out of it or are bored or turned off by it. […]

Is Brixham in danger of being conned yet again?

Anthea Simmons

So many towns and villages across our region desperately need more funding to support the poor, the elderly and the young. Levelling Up funds strike many of us as a bit of pump-priming disguised as an ideological commitment to close the growing, yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots (the consequence of twelve years […]

Cornwall is dead. Long live Cornwall!

Joel Griffet

No one cares about Cornwall. Not even half of Cornwall cares about Cornwall. The Duchy doesn’t care about Cornwall. Westminster doesn’t care about Cornwall. The sooner we realise this the better. All politicians care about is power and doing the bare minimum they can, to cling onto popular support, and if we dare to complain, […]

Keeping Cornwall cleaner, one beach at a time

Jane Leigh

If you go down to the beach today, along with the usual sand and sea shells, you might find a tide of plastic pollution waiting to greet you. Considering the world’s addiction to throw-away plastic, that should come as no surprise. The material is cheap, long-lasting and versatile, and today plastic waste is found all […]

Calling all tractor enthusiasts! Conservatives desperate for a candidate to beat the LibDems in Tiverton and Honiton…

Anthea Simmons

Well, well! The ConservativeHome website makes for a fascinating visit. It seems applications are now open for a candidate to replace disgraced former MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish, in the upcoming by-election. Anyone interested in standing needs to apply by 18 May. William Atkinson, the site’s assistant editor, writes: “Though traditionally safe, the […]

Fear and loathing in East Dorset

Adam Sofianos

If you think your local government is chaotic, just take a trip to the Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole region.  BCP Council was only formed three years ago, but already we’re on our second administration, with possibly another change next year.  There’s been corruption fears, departments in special measures, budget scandals, and major concerns raised about everything from the […]

Dorset Council environmental decisions: moral and economic madness?

Sarah Cowley

Moral and economic madness? That is the charge being laid at the door of Dorset Council, by local environmental activists, who question whether the Council understands the realities of the climate crisis. Just six months ago, the UK hosted the UN Climate Change Conference (‘COP26’) in Glasgow, in November 2021. That conference concluded with a […]

Lib Dem landslide in Somerset – a sign of things to come?

Mick Fletcher

One fact shows the sheer scale of the Conservative defeat in the elections for the new Somerset County Council. The 61 Liberal Democrat councillors elected to the new unitary authority will form the largest group from that party on any elected assembly in the UK. Only the House of Lords – not of course an […]

Brixham Quay extension – is there a fishy whiff?

Editor-in-chief

With evidence building that so-called ‘levelling up’ money is being directed at places with Conservative MPs – and especially those at risk of losing their seats – you could not blame us for being a bit cynical about the rationale for the allocation of government funds. Our senses are now finely tuned to pick up […]

Immersive theatre at its most intense: To Refuge

Rachel Marshall

I just spent 45 minutes sitting in a bunker in central Exeter listening to sirens and bombs. This was Four Of Swords Theatre’s performance To Refuge, based around a work by Ukrainian playwright Elena Hapieieva: In the Bowels of the Earth. It was immersive theatre at its most intense. The performance takes place under The […]

Tory council leader Drew Mellor faces Vote of No Confidence tonight at Bournemouth/Poole/Christchurch Council

@Adam5of

It’s story time:A land politically divided. Run by a controversial Conservative group. Where public services are visibly failing, and accusations of cronyism are growing.No, not the UK. Welcome to the metaphor that is Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole Council.Let me begin… Tonight sees a vote of no confidence (VONC) in BCP council leader Drew Mellor. It’s the first VONC […]

The cost of living and the price of ideology

Tom Scott

New data from The Food Foundation shows 7.3 million adults went without food in April. Of these, 2.4 million had not eaten for a whole day at least once in the past month. Yet there is no shortage of food in the UK, or of money. This is not a ‘cost of living crisis’ but […]

Portreath-based charity raises money by recycling the ‘unrecyclable’

Editor-in-chief

Upcycle Kernow, a Portreath-based community interest company, has raised more than £2,000 by collecting “unrecyclable” waste from the community to be recycled.   The waste collected includes cheese packaging, bread bags, personal care and beauty products and packaging, oral care products, home cleaning products and packaging, biscuit and snack wrappers and much more. This waste is not included […]

Parish’s career perishes but other pests persist

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, When the ‘porn in the Commons’ story hit, I felt there was something odd about it. Even with as low opinion as I have of most of our Tory MPs, I couldn’t quite believe someone was sitting on those leather benches wantonly browsing PornHub. It felt far more likely that it […]

Fire service cuts: Ashburton area protection downgraded and more to follow

Tony Morris

Fire Authority stealth cuts put lives and property at risk, argues Tony Morris. Just a couple of years after Ashburton residents successfully fought to save their fire station, the Conservative controlled fire & rescue authority has stabbed them in the back. In a secret move, Ashburton’s properly equipped fire engine has been removed and replaced […]

Mass trespass outside Truro celebrates 90 years of the fight to roam

Tom Scott

Members of Cornwall Green Party went for a walk on Sunday around a greenfield site on the outskirts of Truro that is threatened by destructive housing development. The 18-strong group set out from County Hall, walking along a stretch of the old railway line that forms part of the Newham Trail before branching out across […]

“My small business is in ruins and I see no way out.” An update

Anthea Simmons

More than a year ago we published this article about two small businesses being ruined by Brexit. We now have an update from the second of those profiled – Steve Shovlar. Over to you, Steve. (Oh, and just to explain, ‘Sir’ Steve references the ludicrous award of a knighthood to Gavin Williamson, a serial failure […]

The man behind Operation Mincemeat

Mick Fletcher

The film ‘Operation Mincemeat’ released over the Easter weekend, tells the exciting story of a key event in the second World War. The Germans were tricked into thinking that an attack on Europe from North Africa would start in Greece rather than the more obvious route through Sicily. Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper called it “The most […]

Don’t miss the Tinners Moon Festival, Ashburton, Devon!

Anthea Simmons

We wrote about the wonderful Ashburton Arts Centre back in October 2020 and director Andy Williamson explained why the venue was so loved by performers. The Tinners Moon Festival, which had had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, is in full swing right now and you really shouldn’t miss the opportunity to […]

The strange case of the disappearance of Dorset’s wildlife cops

Ian Denton
Dorset wildlife police officer

In late January 2022, Dorset had a strong and healthy wildlife cop presence. Positive messages abounded far and wide…. However, by February 10, there was a severe climate change…. Storm Loder blew in from the west and wrought havoc across the land: By the next day, the wildlife team was unable to communicate further! On […]