Section: UK

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 […]

“Last Christmas”: the Boris Johnson Christmas party karaoke version

Tom Scott

Last Christmas, I kept you apartBut the very next day, I partied awayThis year, to save donors from tearsI’ll give them all something special Once bitten and twice shyThat what they say, but it doesn’t applySleaze and corruption, so many storiesBut still you will keep on voting for Tories “Forgive me, forgive me” you all […]

Covid-19, Omicron and the anti-vax/misinformation agenda

Emma Monk
Cognitive dissonance

Emma Monk takes a look at the ease with which Covid misinformation is created and spread and at the cognitive dissonance on display. Within days of scientists discovering a new Covid-19 variant, now called ‘Omicron’, the usual anti-science/anti-vax culprits were trying to find ways to cast doubt over it on social media. I made a […]

What has Santa got for budding scientists? Enter the gadget grotto!

Colin White

So, it’s that time of the year again. No sooner has the last firework fizzled down to a damp squib, and we have to turn our attention to the sprouts (to slice crosses in the stalks or not, that is the question!) And presents. As a consequence of the transport and man-power problems caused by […]

‘Leave the rich alone’ is now official government policy

Richard Murphy
luxury car outside grand house

Over the last couple of years the pretty lame Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) has made a range of recommendations for the reform of capital gains tax and inheritance tax. On 30 November we finally learned of the government’s reaction. As the FT notes: The UK has shelved proposals to raise capital gains tax rates to […]

Why do our government and tabloid press demonise refugees?

Sadie Parker

No doubt you’ve seen the crocodile tears of some of our tabloid commentators concerning the death of 27 people in the English Channel (technically in French waters) on the night of Wednesday, 24 November. They included a young Kurdish fiancée, four other women and a little girl, and possibly an Afghan interpreter who previously worked […]

“She wanted to be with her husband in Britain”

Jon Danzig

As reported by The Times today, a young woman from Iraqi Kurdistan, who was travelling to Britain to be with her husband, was among those who died in the Channel tragedy. She was Baran Nuri Muhamadamin, 24, from the town of Souran in the far northeast of Iraqi Kurdistan, where the territory meets the Turkish […]

The letter we are still waiting to receive

Editor-in-chief

This is a letter we have yet to receive and even the idea of it may make the blood of some of our readers boil. But does it, or a version of it, languish in draft emails on computers right across our region, addressed but unsent? It would be good to think so.Go on. Open […]

Madness

Graham Hurley
Johnson graffiti

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad“. Sophocles did not, of course, have Boris Johnson in mind, but the dramatist’s line from Antigone has survived the passage of time, and two recent speeches – coupled with Johnson’s usual insouciance about the gathering storms that beset us all – suggest that Greek […]

Follow the money! Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, Even the Daily Mail has been reporting on the “outside” earnings of Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon. He earned £400,000 a year advising the British Virgin Islands tax haven over corruption charges and has agreed to take on two more weeks of work for that government despite the […]

The NHS: where does all the money go?

Sally Miller

As NHS watchers are only too aware, there’s constant wrangling over NHS finances: it’s a bottomless pit; it’s mismanaged; it’s a huge amount; it’s not enough; will never be enough….Where to start with all of this? Let’s take a look… Does the UK spend on healthcare match that of comparable countries? Well, no. Neither as […]

A scientist’s homage to the creative artist

Colin White

Once again, it would appear the government is revisiting its plans, first mooted towards the start of this year, to limit the number of students studying what they deem to be inappropriate courses. Courses which they consider unlikely to create instant taxable wealth for the exchequer, and/or to lead to solid, reliable starting salaries which […]

Cancer patients have suffered enough

Dr Dianne Dowling

During a BBC interview on 1 October 2021, Boris Johnson added insult to injury by using the phrase: “Never mind life expectancy or cancer outcomes – look at wage growth.” Clearly, the only metric he was interested in was economic. This is deeply offensive to cancer patients and their families, and shows a total lack […]

REDmembrance and the poppy

Mike Zollo

Red is and always has been my favourite colour. I am by no means unusual in this: red is one of the top two favourite colours. It is also a colour which represents so much. Red is the colour of love, fire, blood, the sun, energy, life-force, violence, danger, anger, adventure and extremes. It can […]

Remembrance 2021

Anon

For most of us in this country, war is something that happens to other people. We have lived in peace since 1945 and the wars in which the United Kingdom has engaged since then have been on foreign soil (my apologies to readers in Ireland who may feel that they spent a good many years […]

It’s as if the government want to open the floodgates to corruption

Richard Murphy

As Politico reports this morning: As the prime minister returns to Westminster, the news is quickly moving on to a remarkable attempt by Downing Street to use its parliamentary majority at a vote this afternoon to overturn the 30-day suspension handed to scandal-hit Conservative MP Owen Paterson. No. 10 appears to be plotting to crush the independence […]

The Paterson ban: urgent open letter to all Conservative MPs

Editor-in-chief

We received a copy of this letter to MP Conor Burns this morning. It could, with suitable amendments, be sent to every Conservative MP considering hammering another nail in democracy’s coffin today: Imagine my horror at reading the following article by Christopher Hope in The Telegraph this morning: “Boris Johnson will attempt to reform the […]

That Morrison’s chicken story – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

There’s been quite some furore on social media regarding product-labelling in supermarkets geared, seemingly, to play well with a Brexit-supporting customer. The trend for union-flag-badging of some groceries to denote them as 100 per cent British has encompassed such items as bananas (!) and tomatoes (that were also specified as being from Spain in the […]