Section: Region

Tory corruption: defending the indefensible

Sadie Parker

The past week has been Parliament Week. Boris Johnson couldn’t possibly blow it up the way he blew up Anti-bullying Week last year, could he? Back then he undermined a massive government anti-bullying campaign for schools by refusing to fire Priti Patel as Home Secretary after she was found to have bullied her staff. What […]

The COP26/COPnes26 edition. Two weeks which will shape our future

Editor-in-chief
Gaia by Luke Jerram, art installation

The next two weeks are absolutely critical for the planet and West Country Voices will be featuring articles on the climate crisis, the conference and the parallel event being run in Totnes with our support. We will be watching closely to see if this government lives up to the green credentials it so frequently claims […]

A plea to the region’s Conservative MPs: show you are not careless, callous or corrupt – don’t let Paterson off the hook. UPDATE: now with dire MP response!

Editor-in-chief

Some background ahead of an important vote in parliament on 3 November: in September 2019, The Guardian published their scoop on MP Owen Paterson’s breaches of parliamentary rules by lobbying for companies that he was paid to advise. To quote: The documents [detailing meetings and letters] raise questions over whether the North Shropshire MP has broken parliamentary […]

COPnes26: what’s on!

Editor-in-chief

COP26 is set to dominate the news over the next two weeks. Where does this leave our region and local communities? Totnes has started its own parallel environmental event to COP called ‘COPnes26’, continuing the town’s now well-established tradition of environmental and sustainability awareness. Here are some highlights: One of COPnes26’s roles is to enable community […]

For peat’s sake – restoring Dartmoor’s peatlands

Tony Whitehead

Peat is an accumulation of slowly decaying plant matter formed in cool wet conditions. It is a remarkable substance and one of the most important stores of carbon on the planet. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), globally the remaining area of near-natural peatland (more than three million km²) contains more […]

Insecure Brexiters: George Eustice

Peter Roberts

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne, Redruth & Hayle, and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The professional Cornishman stood for that famously green political party UKIP in the 1999 EU Parliament elections. He lost. He doesn’t promote his former affiliation on his website, of course, but if I were George Eustice […]

Sidmouth Science Festival 8-17 October

Colin White

Fancy a bit of post-lockdown educational fun? Why not give a Science Festival a try? Think of Sidmouth and what springs to mind? The Regency architecture, perhaps? The wonderful rock formations and colourations of the Jurassic Coast? Or maybe the gorgeous, flamboyant, mad turmoil that is its famous annual folk festival? How about the Sidmouth […]

Helston residents rally to defend the hedgerows of Hospital Cross

Tom Scott

Helston Town Council and the Downsland Charity have failed to allay concerns over the sale of a wildlife corridor to developers. Last month, West Country Voices reported on a tangle of conflicting interests that has enmeshed Helston Town Council and a charitable trust that is meant to be acting in the interests of residents of […]

Will Gove junk Jenrick’s planning ‘reforms’ or can we expect more of the same: builders and developers first, locals a very distant second?

David Knopfler

Robert Jenrick, the MP for Newark and former housing minister, lost his cabinet post under something of a cloud, after being caught failing to declare a secret meeting between himself and a clutch of property developers in the Enterprise Forum. He was clearly not entirely happy with his demotion, firing off a thinly veiled slingshot […]

Heaven is a boggy bit of Devon

Steve Haworth

Swapping scouse for pasties, misguidedly dissing Dartmoor and a stroll up the Cowsic. When I was 28 work took me from Merseyside to Cornwall: I traded a lively metropolis with easy access to the mountains of Wales and the north west, for the dramatic, breathtakingly-beautiful coastal scenery and pristine sandy beaches of the West Country. […]

Fyshy business – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear EiC Many thanks for Anthea Simmons’ pair of enlightening pieces on Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh. Having cast my line into the Register of Members Interests, I caught a couple of interesting minnows which supplement her arguments. The first article suggested Mr Fysh felt he had acquired some expertise in epidemiology and virology. Well he’s […]

Marcus Fysh talking codswallop. Part 2

Anthea Simmons

MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh is on fire at the moment. He’s become an expert epidemiologist and virologist in the space of a few days and now he is acting like a business development exec for private healthcare insurance companies. At first it seemed as though he and Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris were […]

Marcus Fysh talking (potentially dangerous) codswallop. Part 1

Anthea Simmons

MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh has miraculously become a medic – and an epidemiologist and virologist to boot. Perhaps he’s piloting a new government strategy aimed at filling the shortages in experienced staff across a whole range of sectors whereby an individual has only to express a nodding acquaintance with a subject or a function […]

Trust issues emerge over the sale of greenfield land in Helston

Tom Scott

A tangle of conflicting interests raises questions over how developers have managed to push forward plans to build a new supermarket and a McDonald’s on a wildlife corridor on the outskirts of Helston in Cornwall. In 2019, Helston Town Council declared a climate emergency and announced that Helston was becoming an ‘Earth Protector Town’, a […]

English language teaching: a troubled future?

Conor Niall O'Luby

The pandemic The ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ (TEFL) sector has for decades played a vibrant cultural and economic role across the UK, not just in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) area. The spring and, especially, the summer seasons, used to see large numbers of foreign students arrive to study English, make new […]

The Möbius strip of government Covid-19 guidelines

Jane Stevenson

The south west now has some of the highest Covid-19 prevalence rates in the country. We run a small manufacturing business in Cornwall, and I am updating our business Covid-19 protocols so have the unenviable job of trawling through the government guidelines. It’s been like circulating on a Möbius strip. First up, when to isolate. […]

Everything we love is at stake at COP26

Tom Scott
Gyllingvase Beach

So many of the things we hold dear in our communities and local environment are threatened by the accelerating climate emergency. Tom Scott writes of one spot in Falmouth that’s close to his heart. As Cornish beaches go, Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth is pretty modest – without the thundering surf and miles-long stretches of sand […]

The housing emergency in Totnes (and beyond): Sandra’s story, part 1

AtmosTotnes

When we say Atmos will build 62 truly affordable homes, and that Totnes is experiencing a housing emergency, it is easy to lose sight of the human stories behind that. So @SaputoInc, we’re going to tell you one of those stories. Let’s call our teller ‘Sandra’… It matters that you hear her story, Saputo Inc. […]