Section: Region

The Chairman’s tale

Eric Gates

As chairman of a small parish council, I have watched the recording of the Handforth Parish Council meeting with concern. Perhaps I am fortunate that the ethos of the council on which I serve is to represent the community; party politics are not evident. I know that we all have our own views on subjects, […]

Cornwall: climate emergency or business as usual?

Tom Scott

In 2019, Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency – but you wouldn’t guess it from some recent developments. Cornwall Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in January 2019 was accompanied by similar declarations by numerous Cornish town and parish councils, and was warmly welcomed by environmental campaigners. It seemed local councillors had finally grasped the […]

Iconic Somerset cider business hit by Johnson’s trade deal

Richard Wilkins

The first thing people ask when they find out you are from Somerset is “how much cider do you drink?”  The apple-based drink is synonymous with our county. It has imprinted itself on our culture, forming much of our history and traditions. For instance, wassailing is an ancient West Country cider festival which ensures a […]

Cornish gems – a box set of articles

Editor-in-chief
Cornish tin mine on the coast

In case you missed them, here’s a collection of articles from Cornish writers or on Cornish (or Isles of Scilly) subjects. Please share! You are our distribution network! If you have a story to tell, please get in touch: cornwall@westcountryvoices.co.uk; devon@westcountryvoices.co.uk; dorset@westcountryvoices.co.uk and somerset@westcountryvoices.co.uk Look out for box sets from Devon, Somerset and Dorset!

Gav’s latest whoopsie cost £425m and a Cornish school is not happy

David Hencke

Company predicted “successful business performance” on the back of feeding poverty stricken children The spectre of poor children going hungry during the Covid 19 crisis is something the government have had to be put under pressure to remedy – notably by Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer. But now it has emerged that even when […]

The clerk’s tale

Anna Andrews

With the appalling behaviour of some Handforth Parish Councillors having gone viral, parish councillors and clerks all over the country must be cringing with embarrassment. The councillors in question should be ashamed. They have brought into question the whole principle of democratic representation at grassroots level, and all parish councils are now in danger of […]

Seesaw Corona war

Terry Riordan

As a retired microbiologist I’ve watched events over the last year with horror and anger. Following the recent excellent Debunking Covid Myths by Emma Monk and the inimitable piece by Femi Oluwole, I want to discuss some grey areas and the significance of new developments, and suggest how we move forward. In many ways the […]

After the flood…

Anna Andrews

On 22 January, after Storm Christoph hit the UK, George Eustice said on camera that 70 homes had been flooded. Given the pictures of inundated towns across England and Wales, this figure seemed something of an understatement, with the Daily Telegraph, amongst others, reporting a figure more than five times higher: Storm Christoph: Around 400 […]

Between Two Worlds

Doro Williamson

Doro Williamson is 11, and lives with her parents on the southern edge of Dartmoor, Devon, UK. This poem was written while schooling at home, as part of her English work, assigned by her year 6 teacher after looking at alliteration and juxtaposition. Between Two Worlds The liminal lockdown kept us at homeFraying our tempers […]

Does anyone know Russell Crowe? THE Russell Crowe?

Sadie Parker

If you’re not on Twitter, you may have heard terrible things about it. Indeed, it can be a very toxic place, especially UK ‘political’ Twitter, which is a maelstrom of Johnson’s Trumpist pronouncements, amplification by his forgiving fans and robust rebuttals from lovers of truth. Except every now and then something wonderful happens. I remember […]

Sunshine smile and soul food from Syria

Anthea Simmons

“I say to fellow immigrants ‘put in to this country. Do not take out. Put in.’” Khaled Wakkaa has been living in Exeter since March 2017, when he arrived from war-torn Syria and years in refugee camps in Lebanon, with his wife Dalal and young daughter Lemar (now joined by a little sister born in […]

Beeswax and bloomers

Mike Zollo
Woman in jeans, back view with anti Brexit stickers on pockets

Continuing Mike Zollo’s article on Devon companies hit hard by Brexit red tape. You can read part 1 here. Gilboy’s Beeswax I have been in business restoring antiques for 27 years. Over the past five years our business has been fortunate to change and evolve from a local service to an international e-commerce business. We […]

Control the media, control the message, control the masses

Anthea Simmons

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”― George Orwell There have been rumours circulating for some time now that Paul Dacre, former editor of the Daily Mail and still editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail Group, will be confirmed as the new chair of Ofcom. He is […]

Vaccine ‘wars’? What on earth is going on?

Sadie Parker
globe, syringes like missiles doing battle

“EU vaccine war explodes,” screamed the Daily Mail in its first edition. Then hours later its headline had changed to “EU Jabs Climbdown” as it accused the EU of performing a ‘screeching U-turn’. Wait. What? There had been a war and it was all over eight hours later? What on earth was going on? It […]

Misinformation costs lives, David Warburton. Spread facts, not fiction

Emma Monk

On 8 January, MP for Somerton and Frome David Warburton gave an interview to the Somerset County Gazette containing a great deal of misinformation. Short of a small link to a fact-checking website in the middle of the article, his views were printed uncontested. Is it right for an MP to be given a platform […]

Bikes, beeswax and bloomers – all b*ll*xed by Brexit. Part 1 -bikes

Mike Zollo

Back in 2000, Totnes was absorbed with the romantic phenomenon of a ‘world-beating’ local product: the catamaran Team Philips, the largest yacht ever built, designed to break the record time for sailing around the world. Like many Totnes families, we helped to sponsor it, and our names were among thousands painted on the hull. As […]

Gardening for wildlife: get ready for Spring!

Anna Andrews

The hours of daylight are slowly beginning to increase again and nature is responding to the lengthening days: spring is not all that far off. In February while the trees may still be stark and leafless, look really closely at the branches and you will almost certainly see the buds, the promise of this year’s […]

Teignmouth Hospital: the trail of failure and betrayal just got longer

Editor-in-chief

Scrutiny – not a word that this government either likes or, being charitable, understands. Scrutiny. It’s essential for a healthy society. It is essential if citizens are to have any trust in their public servants and institutions. Scrutiny, trust and truth have all been damaged in the course of the past few years and their […]

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 […]

The ballast of Swanage

Valery Collins
Wellington Clock Tower, Swanage. Deep blue sea, blue sky, cliffs in the background

To many, Swanage is a traditional, old-fashioned English seaside town, a place to wander along the sea front enjoying the murmur of the waves. Some may notice the old tram tracks embedded in the concrete and ponder their significance as they pause on the Stone Quay. Purbeck Stone Brings Prosperity to Swanage During the 1830s […]

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 […]