Section: UK

The iron cage revisited: how Brexit constrains the UK

Bob Hancké

In recent weeks, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU has once again been making headlines. Bob Hancké reports on a recent study which suggests not only that the agreement has made trade in goods between the UK and the EU very difficult, but that it has also severely limited Britain’s ability to […]

Boris Johnson and the fall of the Roman Empire

Sadie Parker

On 30 October, when interviewed by Channel 4’s Gary Gibbon at the Colosseum in Rome, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson made a claim that, even by his standards of magniloquent mendacity, was absolutely extraordinary. He said: “The Roman Empire, they weren’t expecting it, went into a reverse and we had a Dark Ages. When the […]

The COP26/COPnes26 edition. Two weeks which will shape our future

Editor-in-chief
Gaia by Luke Jerram, art installation

The next two weeks are absolutely critical for the planet and West Country Voices will be featuring articles on the climate crisis, the conference and the parallel event being run in Totnes with our support. We will be watching closely to see if this government lives up to the green credentials it so frequently claims […]

Seagrass meadows, carbon capture and the hidden costs of pollution

Sadie Parker

Did you know that seagrass meadows are thirty-five times more effective at carbon capture than the typical tropical rainforest? Seagrass meadows account for only 0.1 per cent of the sea’s bed, but an estimated 10 per cent of its carbon capture. They are great for biodiversity, too. Scientists have found that they provide a habitat […]

I don’t want a Metaverse, I want a planet Earth

Clare Knight

I was surely not alone in feeling nausea and dread watching Mark Zuckerberg’s promo video for Facebook’s new incarnation (not to mention disgust at Nick Clegg trotting out insultingly complacent platitudes about regulation and data security). But disgust at the absolute sellout by someone who once seemed half decent is as nothing to the emotions […]

COP26 and the five stages of grief

Rob Hopkins

In a few days I head up to Glasgow for COP26. I have no formal role, indeed I don’t know why I’m going there really, and I can only be there for the first week, but I feel drawn to being there. In 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing, the Civil […]

Looks like a U-bend partially unblocked with a U-turn. UPDATE

Clare Knight

Hmmm! We thought we were celebrating but…whilst all of us who wrote, shared and spoke out against the sewage scandal have had an effect, we aren’t there yet… Flooded with negative press, irate public, powerful memes and fantastic pressure from social media, the government have SEMI-capitulated in an attempt to arrest the political and public […]

Can we afford this government’s blasé attitude to dirty water?

Sadie Parker
Sewage discharge given green light

By now there can be very few people who have not seen the headlines about the astonishing number of Tory MPs who voted down the Lords’ Amendments after clause 78 of the Environment Bill to require sewage companies to make improvements, and to demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage. […]

Five news stories this government would prefer you not to know about

Anthea Simmons

Here’s a collection of news stories that probably won’t be covered in any detail by the BBC or much of the mainstream media. We’ll try to put a selection together for you at least once a week. There’s no shortage of material with this government! Russian interference in our democracy: Remember the Russia report into […]

The double whammy: Covid-19 and Brexit in Spain

Mike Zollo

Part one: Si no vuelves … (If you don’t come back …) An account of our recent trip to Spain in times of Covid-19, and our first post Brexit A few weeks ago, half way across the Bay of Biscay on Brittany Ferries’ Pont Aven, returning from a long visit to Spain, I listened to […]

Hell or High Water?

Graham Hurley

The TV pictures from Kabul last weekend were apocalyptic: thousands of desperate Afghans converging on the airport, families and a handful of belongings crammed into their cars. Already refugees in the face of the breaking wave of Taliban at the city’s gates, many of them chose to spend the night parked up around the airport […]

Was the mass murder in Plymouth terrorism? A letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, Re: Let’s not mince words: the mass murder in Plymouth was an act of terrorism I worry society is becoming too quick to judge and that we are too easily convinced we are right on every issue (having tapped into the opinions of people ‘like us’ on social media). During the Brexit campaign […]

The great co-ordination

Graham Hurley

Gleichschaltung is one of history’s most sinister euphemisms. The word is German and it means ‘co-ordination’. Hitler and other architects of the Third Reich used it to build a totalitarian state that purged Germany of all opposition. From 1933 onwards, das Volk, the people, were urged to march in perfect formation towards a future that […]

It could all have been so very, very different

Anthea Simmons

For the purpose of this article, let us accept that the Conservatives are in power and were in power when some of the events referred to occurred. Readers may say “But what if it had been Corbyn or Starmer?”. Please set that alternative scenario to one side. I am looking at what was genuinely a […]

Construction costs exacerbated by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

Our eye was caught by this thread on Twitter which we are reproducing with the author’s kind permission. It prompted some further research into costs and an interview with a carpenter with a business in renovation and conversion projects in Devon. More from him below. Conversation with the dads at my son’s footie training yesterday […]

Brexit: civil war by other means?

James Chater

Conflict is at the core of the UK’s historical development, and bad government is nothing new. Throughout the nation’s history the same perennial bones of contention keep recurring, and successive Westminster governments have failed to settle them. This is demonstrated once again by the way the continually unfolding Brexit fiasco has reopened old wounds. I […]

The UK cannot afford Sunak: he is a massive threat to our well-being

Richard Murphy
Chancellor Rishi Sunak laughing

It was claimed in the Guardian yesterday that Rishi Sunak had written to the prime minister to ask for a relaxation in Covid travel regulations. He had. The populist in No 11 was trying to out-popularise the populist in No 10. You could not make up the scale of Covid recklessness on display when debate should be […]

Electric cars: the rhetoric vs the reality

Anna Andrews
empty road under beautiful sky

“We bought an electric car thinking we were doing the right thing… but it’s cost us a lot to set the whole thing up.” So said my friend Trisha, after she read my “Net zero” article in West Country Voices and thought our readers might be interested in her experience of buying her first electric […]

When two tales go to war, one point is all that you can score…

John D Turner

Early in 2016 Boris Johnson wrote two reasoned articles on Brexit, one for and the other against, but only offered up the one for publication. He wrote the two articles to determine which campaign would give him the best chance of getting into Number 10. One has to give him credit for taking a reasoned […]

Anti-vax cranks and Putin’s mafia state: an unholy alliance

Tom Scott

How is it possible that thousands of people in our country are persuaded to assemble in Trafalgar Square to applaud anti-vax cranks and far-right extremists such as Piers Corbyn and Katie Hopkins? What kind of delusional mania brings people to cheer the malignant, attention-seeking narcissist Kate Shemirani as she calls for doctors and nurses to […]

Dominic Cummings: is my enemy’s enemy my friend?

Sadie Parker

It’s the classic logic riddle: You are at a fork in a road on the border of two lands. Two guides stand guard at the fork; one always tells the truth, the other always lies. They know that one way leads to a land of comfort and safety, the other to danger and death. You […]