Section: Region

Westminster Accounts part 1: who is funding Devon’s MPs?

Rachel Marshall

On Jan 8, Sky News launched its new Westminster Accounts project with Tortoise Media. Together they have created an interactive database which makes the information reported to the Register of Members’ Interests more easily accessible so that we can really see who is receiving what sums and from whom, whether it’s in the form of […]

Medical crisis and moral injury – the state of the NHS in Somerset

Mick Fletcher

Although government seems to be in denial, it is clear that the NHS is in crisis – a consequence, in large part, of a decade of underfunding.  The impact on the service nationally has been logged in detail, with the Financial Times offering a series of particularly thorough analyses.   We wanted to find out […]

Letters to Sheryll Murray MP on strikes, the NHS and nurses’ pay

Carl Garner

Dear Sheryll Murray You have often used the term “democracy” in your replies to me when challenged over your abysmal record as our MP – at least in the replies that weren’t just copied and pasted from the Ladybird book of lazy replies for MPs, at any rate.  But, do tell me, can you prove […]

Turning a river nightmare into an achievable dream

Vicky Whitworth

Only 14 per cent of England’s rivers have good ecological status, and the government has just, incredibly, allowed itself another 36 years to clean things up. Yet all is not lost: local citizen scientists are joining together to save streams, brooks, and rivers, and to start action now. Vicky Whitworth shares a tale of hope […]

The stars are ours – the Save Dartmoor rally

Andrew Cooney

On December 11, 2022, with only a handful of days’ notice and on one of the coldest days of the oncoming winter, 400 people gathered for a rally to save access to Dartmoor for wild campers. They were the young and the old, locals and those who’d travelled considerable distances, wild campers and non-wild campers […]

Review of 2022 – part 2: the articles you may have missed

Editor-in-chief

For the second part of our review, here are some articles which were read by hundreds rather than thousands. We think you might have missed some of them! We are particularly anxious that the passage of time and the power of propaganda does not wipe our memories of some of the terrible people who have […]

Review of 2022 – part 1: most-read articles

Editor-in-chief
fireworks depicting 2022

Our top ten reads for 2022 in reverse order. In at number 10, but thankfully NOT one to have had a go at being in at Number 10 (ho, ho), it’s that delightful ERG-er and Brexiter Sherryl Murray: At 9, a still sadly relevant piece on the abandoning of the clinically vulnerable to Covid risks: […]

A not-so-merry Christmas from BCP Council

Adam Sofianos

As regular readers will know, it’s been a dramatic 2022 at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP). Our local leaders have nearly signed off for the holidays, and some may already be sitting in a dark corner, mumbling to themselves while nursing a litre-bottle of sherry. So this is a good moment to reflect on […]

Shores of South Devon exhibition

Michael Puleston

The Shores of South Devon (SOSD) Marine Interest Life Association held an art and photography launch event on Friday 25 November at the Maltings Taphouse, Newton Abbot. The Exhibition features local intertidal marine life, recorded and photographed on south Devon shores over the last three years, in the geographical area between the River Exe and the River […]

Take up your Pennon/South West Water shares!

Anthea Simmons

If you are a South West water customer, you should have received a letter offering a you a small sum of money or shares in South West Water’s parent company, Pennon Group. Being a shareholder gives you the right to attend the annual general meeting and ask questions of the board of directors. It is […]

All that glitters…

Plastic Free Axminster -

‘Tis the approaching season of glitter, foil and glue! We all like a spot of sparkle but if anyone wants to indulge with twinkly bits of glitter and plastic bits and bobs on cards and wrapping paper, recipients of the aforementioned, just please don’t put them in the recycling box! Why not put a nice […]

The Loder/police/sewage saga – the waters just got murkier

Anthea Simmons

More than 30,000 people have read the story of the police visit to two women, and if you haven’t – you can catch up here! Fran Swan, of Fishpond, and Beverley Glock, of Lyme Regis, had registered for a public meeting for Chideock residents, which was held on Friday 25 November. They had to give […]

The stars are for everyone

Andrew Cooney

Our rights are currently under attack as never before in my lifetime.  The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill so curtails the right to protest that it permits your arrest merely on the suspicion that you might carry out some act against the Establishment.  The Borders and Nationalities Bill makes it easier to strip someone […]

The future? It’s flinty!

Stuart Reynolds

BREAKING: a public inquiry is due to get underway at Newton Abbot Town Hall today into the controversial proposal to reopen the Bullers Hill Quarry at  Haldon, near Teignmouth. The site is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) as it contains outcrops of flint-bearing gravels. It is one of the few places […]

The UK fails to value our English language sector and students – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor Our exports are falling, farmers are discouraged from farming, fishermen from fishing, miners from mining, windfarms are blocked, and the London Stock Exchange has been overtaken by Paris. There is, however, still one profitable sector where the UK is genuinely a world leader – and Bournemouth is its second most important base. Publishing, entertainment, tourism, hospitality, […]

Hello South West Water! No more poo, please!

Sonia Rai

Having noticed the increase in sewage smells in their bay, Jovi and Sonny send a message to local water company, South West Water, to clean up their act. In 2021, South West Water intentionally discharged 680 hours of sewage into the River Lim – the equivalent to the whole month of February, 24 hours a […]

Sewage questions to MP prompt police home visits

Editor-in-chief

When I was first contacted with this story, my source asked me to listen and tell her whether I thought this story was at all weird. My immediate response on hearing what happened was “Bloody hell!”. I think that reaction will be shared by many readers and my comments on this incident are at the […]

Street democracy – a message from Tavistock for Geoffrey Cox MP

Simon Chater

Tavistock looked at its best this morning, its streets and buildings washed clean by overnight rain and gleaming under late November sun. Appearances are deceptive, though: a local told me the town was in decline, with shops closing and people increasingly resorting to food banks. In this it surely mirrors the fate of once prosperous […]

Poo plaque protest! Eye-catching demo in Totnes to tell the truth about the sewage scandal

Michael Puleston

Dozens of protesters gathered at the Totnes Conservative Club at Station Road. to protest at the sitting MP Anthony Magnall’s environmental voting record, particularly with regard to voting against an important Lords’ Amendment to the Environment Bill during November 2021. The lively gathering today was made up of many diverse groups including swimmers, recreational water users, kayakers, paddle […]

I saw the monster but couldn’t see the point

Mick Fletcher

On a cold, dull and windy day I went to Weston to see the monster. At a distance it looked disappointingly small, dwarfed by miles of empty sand and sea, but as I walked along the beach it grew until its full scale was apparent. So, too, was its oddity. The monster – a repurposed […]

Two cheers for democracy – the BCP leadership petition debate

Ian Lawrence

For the background to this story, please read: This summary is written particularly for the 3,081 people, including 2066 locals, who signed our petition of no confidence in the leadership of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. As a Facebook commenter noted: Brian Sutcliffe: This petition run by one resident on a Facebook site obtained 3000 […]

No more greenwashing, Barclays! XR action in Exeter

Michael Puleston

On October 29, there was an excellent turnout of activists at Bedford Square Exeter from local Extinction Rebellion groups (Exeter, Totnes and Teignmouth/Newton Abbot), co-organised by Exeter XR and Exeter Samba Band. The objective? To call out Barclays yet again: the dirty bank of Europe. Barclays remains the number one bank in Europe and number […]

Benefits on Trial: the calculated cruelty of the DWP

Neil Carpenter

Benefits on Trial is based on my work in Cornwall since 2012 as a volunteer advocate with adults who have a learning disability. In recent years, that work has increasingly concerned benefits cases: helping people with their applications for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); accompanying them to assessments; requesting reconsideration […]