Section: UK

NHS in danger: box set

Editor-in-chief
NHS rally banner

As a former banker is put in charge of NHS England, Sunak meets US healthcare giants in California, the health and social care bill opens the gates wide for private providers to grab more business and the poor staff are brought to their knees by the mismanagement of Covid, the NHS is under attack like […]

Why I’m not returning to teach in Covid-stricken schools

Jane Stevenson
Teacher masked in classroom

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has asked former teachers to return to schools hit by the Omicron wave. Cornwall-based Jane Stevenson explains why she’s not answering this call from a government that has shown no concern for the health and wellbeing of school staff or the children they teach. I am a qualified science teacher who […]

Farming: the great betrayal

Sadie Parker
meme of Boris Johnson against map of North Shropshire and a tractor

Various reasons are given for the Liberal Democrats’ stunning by-election win in Leave-voting North Shropshire on 16 December. In Helen Morgan, they had a strong, local candidate who fought a vibrant, positive campaign and was able to inspire tactical voting by members of other progressive parties, notably Labour. The Conservative candidate, impressive on paper, was […]

Gnasher strikes again!

Mike Zollo
cartoon of cyclist being chased by a dog

If there’s one thing that’s just as divisive as Brexit, it’s the ‘cat/dog’ schism. OK, I’ll admit it: I’ve always preferred cats, and over the 50 years or so we’ve had our own home, we’ve usually had one or more moggy sharing our space. As for dogs, I’d be the first to admit that I’ve […]

Telling tales

Anna Andrews

With the author’s grateful acknowledgements to ‘Louise’ and ‘Don’ (not their real names) for their personal insights into the North Shropshire by-election. “It was as if they had no real concept of democracy in action.” So says Louise, talking about the North Shropshire by-election in which the LibDems (Liberal Democrats) won such a stunning victory. […]

Farewell, Frosty. Please don’t come back.

Mr Rushforth
Cartoon of Lord Frost

What was that he said about Brexit? “I’m very pleased and proud to have led a great UK team to secure today’s excellent deal with the EU. Both sides worked tirelessly day after day in challenging conditions to get the biggest & broadest trade deal in the world, in record time.” Or something like that. […]

Liz Truss: the free market ideologue now ‘negotiating’ Brexit

Tom Scott

This 2019 article is from Tom Scott and Molly Scott Cato’s Cabinet of Horrors blog. It remains extremely pertinent, especially so given Truss’s move to ‘negotiate’ Brexit following Frost’s resignation. That’s the same Brexit Johnson and Frost claim to have got done… It would be easy to dismiss Liz Truss as an intellectual lightweight, and […]

AWOL…and then some – Sunak’s flog-it mission

Ian Shaw

WARNING: This article contains strong language. Sunak slinks back through Heathrow, hoody and posture-political mask neatly in place. Ruffled and snappy. ‘Yes I’m looking at all this over the weekend’ – he told one reporter. Like a vexed dad, having to move his car cos it’s parked a bit on next door’s drive. Though I […]

Last ‘Rights’?

Graham Hurley
Johnson leaving Downing Street seen from within the building

The Royal Shambolica Express has finally hit the buffers, thanks to those gorgeous voters up in North Shropshire, and there remains only the traditional offer of the ‘last rights’ to the King of Bluster who is, even now, eyeing all that gold wallpaper and packing his bags. £890 a roll for a couple of months’ […]

The red light is flashing for our democracy

Richard Haviland
Polling station sign fixed to mesh fence

Former civil servant Richard Haviland sets out a chilling and all-too-possible vision of a bleak future for the UK with a hollowed-out faux democracy. Ed With all the red lights flashing at the state of the UK’s democracy, I’ve seen it said we shouldn’t assume the next general election will even happen. The issue, though, […]

Devon’s housing crisis: the champions of change

Anthea Simmons

How many of us have experienced, or can begin to really comprehend, what it is to be without a home? How many of us have known the unsettling insecurity of living in rented accommodation at the whim of a landlord who might at any moment, once the fixed term contract is up, issue a Section […]

Is Boris Johnson being fitted for concrete shoes?

Tom Scott
Boris Johnson as the Godfather

The prime minister may soon have cause to reflect on the lessons of the greatest gangster movie ever made.­ Tom Scott explains the connection. Boris Johnson’s sister, Rachel Johnson, once described her brother as “quite Sicilian” in his attitude towards loyalty. She was no doubt thinking of the Sicilian Mafia, and not just because one […]

The next unelected PM will be chosen according to paranoia

Russ In Cheshire
Johnson cabinet, Number 10

The next unelected Tory prime minister will be chosen by members, and will be whoever most closely matches their paranoia on that particular day. It might be immigrants. Might be taxes. Maybe Europe. The fate of our statues. Uppity footballers. Or gay Santas in Scandinavian Christmas ads. Maybe they’ll vote to lower benefits for poor […]

Who’s going to look after Granny? The crisis in social care

Anna Andrews
profile of older woman, cold and alone

I’m sorry to distract you from the kerfuffle over Downing St Christmas parties, and who paid for the redecoration of Boris Johnson’s flat etc, but there is something else which should concern us all. There is a massive crisis in social care in this country. We should all be aware of the possible implications for […]

Toxic entitlement: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, When news about ‘the party’ first came to light, Johnson and his crew tried to spin it as a ‘Westminster bubble’ story. To everyone else, it looked as if they were just thumbing their noses at the suffering of ordinary people who had followed the rules and suffered greatly as a […]

Remove Clause 9 from the hideous Nationality and Borders Bill

Anthea Simmons

It is savagely ironic that dozens of Conservative MPs are spitting out their dummies over the ‘outrageous’ curtailment to freedom that results from being obliged to wear a mask and to produce a Covid passport to gain entry to various venues and amenities and yet they happily wave through legislation that includes some of the […]

Forget the wallpaper. Follow the money.

Robert Saunders

We are putting this out again in the light of recent developments which appear to show Johnson, once again, lying. This story matters on so many levels. It should be the final curtain for Johnson, frankly. Ed Forget the wallpaper. Forget John Lewis. Forget the curtains and the chintzy sofas. This isn’t a story about […]

“Treating taxpayers like an ATM machine”

Anthea Bareham
Meme of an ATM reads HMRX Self-servatives

Most people seem to think that Dido Harding’s test and trace programme (NHST&T but nothing to do with the NHS) is a disaster. I won’t go into the reasons why; you can read some of it in the House of Commons committee report. Instead, let’s just look at the costs. The government allocated a budget […]

The funny side…

Graham Hurley
Boris Johnson pants on fire

The former French ambassador to the UK, Sylvie Bermann, went into print a couple of days ago to reflect on what remains of her country’s relationship with the Brits.  When she left office in 2017, there was a measure of mutual trust and conversations were conducted in good faith. Since then, Boris Johnson has barged into […]

Now that Brexit is ‘done’, Tories want human rights undone

Jon Danzig
Image of Human rights act cover and SOS

UK SOS: our human rights are under threat The Tories of this century want to abandon the human rights that Tories of the last century championed and established. It was Winston Churchill who, in 1948, advocated a European ‘Charter of Human Rights’ in direct response to the abject horrors of the Nazi regime and the […]

Costa Britannia? Bremaining in Spain after Brexit

Mike Zollo
view of Malaga

Brexit has had a devastating impact on the many British citizens who have second homes on the continent. Mike Zollo explains the work of campaign and support organisation Bremain in Spain. For my wife and me, as for many thousands of British nationals who spend time in Spain and/or have their own properties there, the […]

If protest changed anything, they’d make it illegal…

Tom Scott

… and that’s exactly what Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill aims to do. Tom Scott explains why this is yet another assault on freedom and democracy and must be opposed. In St Stephen’s Hall in the Houses of Parliament, a stained-glass window commemorates the women who fought for voting rights in the […]

Who really controls the political climate? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, Our PM isn’t very good with gates, actually he isn’t very good at anything – except, of course, at lying; and actually he seems to have lost his talent for that recently. You will remember when he was confused by Bill Gates on how much the UK would contribute towards Bill’s […]