Section: Region

West Country radical? : a celebration of Paul Robeson in Devon

Helen Beetham

Most of us know the West Country as home of the Tolpuddle Martyrs and their struggle for trade union rights. It is less well known that Dartington Hall in Devon is where the Labour Party manifesto Let Us Face the Future was written. This set the direction for the 1945 Labour government, founding the NHS […]

A small step for Shepton, but a step change for active travel

Mick Fletcher

On a cold March morning, a small crowd gathered in Shepton Mallet to mark the opening of a very short section of cyclepath. To an outside observer it will have seemed a pleasant but unremarkable event – a welcome addition to local infrastructure, but not much more. In fact, it could prove quite significant. A […]

The campaign to save the 136 mature trees on Plymouth’s Armada Way UPDATE: a scene of devastation

Ali White Founder, STRAW Plymouth

The trees planted to symbolise Plymouth’s ‘rebirth’ after the devastation of WWII have been torn up, chopped down and destroyed overnight. Luke Pollard MP: Overnight Plymouth’s Conservative council chopped down nearly 100 trees in the city centre. It’s a scene of environmental devastation and utter council vandalism. I’m appalled at the actions of the Tory […]

The Teignbridge ‘Newton Abbot says no’ scandal

Stuart Reynolds

Here’s the story so far in the Teignbridge – “Newton Abbot Says No” scandal. It’s really quite a shocker! Basically a “complaint” was made about the conduct of two councillors on Teignbridge Council. The councillors represented the South Devon Alliance. I’ve never met any of this group, but basically they were born out of the […]

A state of denial

Richard Paul-Jones

As the Conservatives continue their race to the bottom it is clear that they are in denial. They deny that Brexit was an act of stupidity and wanton self-harm. They deny that Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng caused a disaster. They will deny that ‘Levelling Up’ has died in a ditch. And they will deny […]

Important corrections to Anne Marie Morris’s ‘newsletter’

Anthea Simmons

Newton Abbot MP, Anne Marie Morris, has released her weekly column. It was so packed with untruths and gaslighting statements that it just had to be unpicked. “The UK has been an independent nation for three years this January”. Hmm. It was already an independent nation, actually. Think the word you are looking for, Anne […]

Greenwashing on the Somerset Levels? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to you in order to highlight what I perceive to be a greenwashing issue regarding the Somerset Levels. I was under the impression that following the Dutch N court case, the Somerset levels were protected from any additional phosphate discharge due to either their unfavourable condition or that they are […]

Funding for hedges!

Editor-in-chief

Funding to pilot a project involving the Lyme area community in the creation of the Great Big Dorset Hedge has been approved by Lyme Regis Town Council. Julie Leah from Charmouth, who is one of the coordinators of the project on behalf of Dorset Climate Action Network, said: ‘We really appreciate the Town Council’s support […]

Countdown to chaos: the incredible rise and fall of Drew Mellor

James Bean

A controversial and chaotic political reign ended last week, as Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) leader Drew Mellor resigned after two years in the hotseat. His leadership was littered with scandal and leaves the fledgling council on the verge of bankruptcy, less than four years after its formation. His reversal comes just 80 days before […]

Is it a job-seekers’ market? Bournemouth Jobs Fair

Phil Lucas

Brexit has been blamed for creating a shortfall in workers across many sectors, so it should be a good time to be looking for work, or to boost over-stretched pay-packets. The Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth hosted a ‘jobs fair’ at the start of February, giving employers a chance to showcase opportunities to interest potential new […]

A quiet burial for Tory failure in Somerset

Mick Fletcher

Somerset’s politicians can’t sneak anything past Mick Fletcher when it comes to further and adult education… Tucked away at chapter 12, in a document only of interest to specialists in further education, is evidence of another quiet failure of Tory dogma. In a routine administrative update from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) two […]

Somerset local councillor offers FREE air monitors to local businesses

Editor-in-chief

A Somerset County Councillor is on a clean air mission. “I’m keen to learn the lessons of the pandemic” says Councillor Oliver Patrick, “and one of those lessons is that airborne diseases like Covid spread easily between people indoors where ventilation is poor.” Oliver’s clean air campaign began in September when he started raising money […]

Are you turning up the heat on plastic?

Plastic Free Axminster -

The UK consumes 79 million ready meals every single day with a market value of nearly £4bn. In the UK, 86 per cent of adults eat ready meals, and 3 in 10 eat ready meals at least once a week. If you have surveyed the range of ready meals in the freezers or in the […]

Boo to poo!

Michael Puleston

A protest took place at Teignmouth Back Beach on January 28 as part of the Dirty Water nationwide protests. This was a collaborative effort involving Extinction Rebellion and a broad range of campaigning groups and highlighted the ongoing pollution of our seas and inland waterways. As our MP wasn’t able to accept our invitation to […]

Stop the ‘turd trucks’ polluting our rivers and beaches!

Editor-in-chief

Local campaigners against the importing and dumping of sewage into the Exe estuary took a blue plaque to their MP Simon Jupp’s office in Exmouth on Saturday 28 January to highlight the shocking state of our bathing waters.  ESCAPE (End Sewage Convoys And Poollution Exmouth), Transition Exmouth, Plastic Free Exmouth, Tidelines, Women Swimmin’ and TEDS swimming group joined […]

Raw nerves: challenging Leave voters in a rural community

Simon Chater

Note: Names have been changed to protect identity. Ed. After seven years of abuse and apathy, I’ve called time on my local campaign against Brexit. Beyond the bubble They call it reaching “beyond the bubble”. The key to successful campaigning, say social media experts, is to win over new groups of supporters beyond those naturally […]

Open the windows to shut the door on Covid-19

Oliver Patrick
one window open in an office block

Oliver Patrick, Somerset County Councillor (Coker Division) explains why clean air, indoors and out, should be a priority for legislators. This week I built my 20th Corsi-Rosenthal Box (below) using the funds donated through my GoFundMe. Fifteen of these DIY air filters have gone into schools and Early Year Foundation Stage settings in the Yeovil […]

Roads aren’t the only things falling apart under this government…

Simon Oldridge

There must have been a time when the Conservative party stood for conserving things, for responsible stewardship and avoiding needless waste. I know for sure that’s what Conservative friends of mine believe in. Business-like decision-making, investing in our future. But like many Tory voters, my friends now feel abandoned by a party stripped bare of […]

Ukrainian Christmas in the UK

Alan Wilson

The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gave special dispensation for Ukrainian refugees to celebrate Christmas on 25 December instead of on the customary date, so here in Somerset we treated our guests to an authentic English Christmas meal of turkey with all the trimmings, crackers, carols, and stockings. Our tradition of kissing under mistletoe […]

We need a new Right to Roam Act

Guy Shrubsole

We are grateful to Guy Shrubsole for permission to reproduce this thread: If we’re to restore wild camping rights on Dartmoor, we need a new Right to Roam Act – and a government willing to pass it. New legislation is how we defend and extend public access to nature – anything less won’t cut it. […]

Wild camping on Dartmoor – what next?

Editor-in-chief

The judge’s decision on the right to wild camp on Dartmoor has cause upset and outrage amongst walker, climbers, nature-lovers and Dartmoor-lovers from across the country. On Saturday, people will be coming together to protest the verdict. We predict that this will be a very big event indeed and we will be there. You must […]