Section: Region

How Totnes Conservatives picked their 2019 candidate…

Anon
Totnes Conservative Club

Dr Sarah Wollaston left the Conservative Party to join the LibDems, leaving a rock-solid seat-for-life for some lucky Tory. The Conservatives needed a new candidate for the election that was to come later that year. Would they pick another local candidate, known in the community? Anonymous reveals the ‘interesting’ selection process. In 2019 the fate […]

Speaking out, while we still can…

Tony Whitehead
Protesters at the Exeter rally against the Policing and Borders Bills

Reaching out across the seas Hold out our hands to refugees Make the world a better place To put a smile on everyone’s face Stop the bombing, join together International friends forever This poem by primary school children, read by Exeter’s Pete the Poet, opened a rally organised by Stop the War Coalition. More than […]

Latest dire warning from the IPCC report – what are we doing locally to counter climate breakdown?

Belinda Bawden
IPCC report cover

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report this week. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, described it as an “atlas of human suffering”. Alice Bell, co-director at the climate change charity Possible, wrote in the Guardian: “The key findings are bleak, if familiar. Climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly; many of the […]

Saving his own skin: Mr Mangnall and the squandering of leadership

Jim Funnell
Anthony Mangnall paper

In late February 2022, as bloody, terrifying war broke out in Ukraine and refugees fled their country, constituents across Totnes and South Devon received an unwelcome gift through their door: a four page newspaper full of puff pieces all about Anthony Mangnall MP. Produced by Mr Mangnall and his team, the headline cringingly announcing: ‘Anthony […]

From Frome to the front line

Richard Paul-Jones
Polish currency

“We don’t need stuff, we need cash” says the Mayor of Rabka Frome has a direct link to the war in Ukraine – and a way for you to help Ukrainians fleeing from the terror. Frome is twinned with three European towns. It is a four-way twinning, with representatives of three towns each visiting the fourth on […]

Cornwall stands with Ukraine

Tom Scott
Stand with Ukraine vigil, Truro

Speech made at the Vigil for Ukraine outside Truro Cathedral on 27 February. Thank you all so much for coming here today to express your solidarity with the people of Ukraine. These are very dark times for Europe and for the whole world. We’re seeing a peaceful, democratic nation under violent attack by a fascistic […]

Cornwall’s answer to Foster’s fruit picking offer

Jane Leigh
Ukrinian Cross Mylor Bridge

Torbay MP Kevin Foster may think it’s acceptable to view Ukraine’s beleaguered citizens as the UK’s fruit and daffodil pickers of the future (see The tweet heartless Kevin Foster didn’t want you to see – West Country Voices). But more than 100 members of the public gathered today at the Ukrainian Cross on a country […]

The tweet heartless Kevin Foster didn’t want you to see

Anthea Simmons
Kevin Foster MP for Torbay

I have written today about the government’s callousness towards Ukrainian refugees, cloaked in a nicey-nicey, flag-sporting charade of fake sympathy. The reality is that there is NO effort being made to offer sanctuary to men, women and children fleeing the war. Patel and now Torbay’s Kevin Foster have been gaslighting the British public, pretending that […]

XR urge Devon County Council to stop funding fossil fuel companies

Tony Whitehead

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a protest today [Friday 25 February] outside Devon County Hall in Exeter to highlight the county council’s continued investment in fossil fuels through its pension fund. XR rebels scaled scaffolding above the entrance to County Hall and lowered a huge banner emblazoned with “Stop Funding Fossil Fuels”. The […]

A little universe is destroyed: an unintended consequence of the countryside stewardship grant

Rebecca Gethin

You might have read about the government’s commitment to safeguarding wildlife and conserving the environment which is, according to Defra’s newly-published road map, to be “the cornerstone of the government’s new agricultural policy, based on the principle of paying public money for public goods, such as clean air and water, thriving wildlife, engagement with the […]

Tim Smit’s anti-Cornish rant: a riposte

Andrew George
Eden Project

Ed: In case you missed it, Tim Smit, of Eden Project fame, launched a bit of an attack on the Cornish (in a podcast) saying, amongst other things: “You feel, and I don’t, but you feel like saying ‘well if you were a bit more f- – -ing articulate you could speak up for yourself […]

Chris Loder: more jabbering parrot than soaring eagle

Sadie Parker
white tailed eagle soaring above Isle of Purbeck

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber,” Winston Churchill once said of blathering back-bench MPs. An eagle silenced by death in Dorset had erstwhile pork-pie plotter, Chris Loder, now shamefully returned to the back-bench Borstal of Boris-backers, jabbering on social media recently. It is not known how the rare young eagle came […]

Brexit’s impact on Bournemouth

Sarah Cowley
UK and EU flags on jigsaw puzzle pieces, held apart

Perhaps the journalist for Bournemouth Echo had guessed that Jacob Rees-Mogg was about to be handed the ‘exciting’ challenge of proving the advantages of Brexit. None seem to be immediately discernible. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report on 9 February, which revealed that “the only detectable impact so far is increased costs, paperwork […]

UK to miss emissions target by a mile: letter to Anthony Mangnall MP

Editor-in-chief

Dear Anthony On the Government’s own projections, the UK is set to miss the 6th carbon budget and our Paris commitment by a huge margin. We will be approximately 100 per cent over the 6th carbon budget! You have said that work is ‘underway’, but that work clearly falls far short of what’s required. You can see from the […]

“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 […]

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 […]

Brexit reality update: mussels arrive 30 hours late, many dead or dying

Julian Andrews

Last week in West Country Voices, I wrote about a Brixham-based, family-owned company which has – somehow – managed to continue exporting live mussels to the Netherlands, despite the many and varied obstacles placed in its way as a direct consequence of Brexit. I have no connection with this enterprise other than as a writer. […]

Conservative whips: bribes, bullying and blackmail

Sadie Parker
meme of Tory whips

William Wragg, Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs (PACA) Select Committee, made an extraordinary intervention at the latest meeting of the parliamentary body that scrutinises, amongst other things, the Civil Service. He began the meeting by reading a statement about the whips bribing, bullying, and even blackmailing Tory MPs to withdraw their letters […]

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 […]

“It’s business, Boris…but not as we knew it”

Julian Andrews
mussel fishing vessel

Imagine that you run an innovative, environmentally sustainable enterprise which employs your wife, your kids and ten local people. You’ve been in the business for over 30 years and you know exactly what you’re doing. You and your family have invested decades’ worth of emotion, aspiration, knowledge and money in it. You’ve won the industry’s […]