Section: UK

A freeport for Poole: Free trade or free ride?

Conor Niall O'Luby

Will Poole soon become a ‘freeport’? Yes, if Drew Mellor, Conservative leader of Bournemouth Christchurch Poole (BCP) Council, gets his way. As the Brexit transition period approached in December 2020, Drew Mellor announced plans for a joint bid to government from Bournemouth Airport and the Port of Poole. The  bid also includes the Dorset’s local […]

Tackling the climate emergency starts on your doorstep

Tom Scott

Tackling the climate emergency starts on your doorstep Helston Climate Action Group has brought together people of all ages and backgrounds to find imaginative – and fun – ways to cut carbon emissions. And it’s also been bringing real mental health benefits to local people during the pandemic.  Last week, Katharine Lewis, one of the […]

Gaslit nation

Anthea Simmons

I decided to reissue this after seeing the advertorial being run by the government in Metro, presumably at the taxpayers’ expense. In this jolly reportage we are supposed to have our minds set at ease by the tales of businesses absolutely buzzing in the post-Brexit world, sailing through all the additional bureaucracy with no problems […]

The truth about the shellfish ‘ban’. Updated…again

Tom Haward

Editor: Proof that George Eustice knew about the ban and has been lying… UPDATE: George Eustice was being deceptive on TV. I have read the Fisheries section of the TCA and undepurated shellfish export isn’t mentioned. This omission means the UK would abide by current EU regulations [for Third Countries] if it isn’t in Exit […]

Brace for denial

Mick Carter

Introduction This is an article inspired by the BBC podcast How They Made Us Doubt Everything. It explores the techniques used by those wanting to delay or stop action on climate change, and the disproportionate impact these have had on public opinion. I am not a climate scientist but my work has been connected with […]

Two nations divided by a common language

Eric Gates

The quotation about “two nations divided by a common language” is variously attributed to Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, with Winston Churchill famously quoting it. For the moment, let us leave aside the assumption that the United Kingdom is only one nation, noting simply that one of the two possible originators was actually Irish. […]

Wild Beer and Brexit

Richard Wilkins

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Indeed, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) which are defined as businesses with fewer than 250 employees, accounted for 60 per cent of all private sector jobs in the UK, a total of 16.6m. Make no mistake about it, SMEs are crucial to the UK’s economy and their […]

“Democracy breaks up from the inside”

Mike Zollo

Officer sacked for celebrating the sins of father Wednesday 19 March 2014, The Times “Spain’s military has dismissed a senior officer for celebrating the anniversary of an attempted coup by his father in 1981 which threatened to destroy the country’s young democracy and turn it back into a dictatorship.” This report in The Times in […]

50 days on: Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Sadie Parker

Saturday 20 February was the 50th day since Boris Johnson’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) came into effect. Anyone expecting it to settle all questions, or even most of the details, of how we will do business with the EU from now on will be mightily disappointed. The proverbial expression of something being ‘as full […]

Flag of convenience

Mike Zollo

“A poke in the eye! That’s what you’ll get, so I’ll take your sticks away before you hurt one another!” Imagine a little 6-year-old boy, so excited at holding his very own flag for the first time. As we lined up in the school yard ready to troop off to the venue at which hundreds […]

Mars, the red planet

David Love

The night sky is an insufficiently appreciated wonder. On a dark and moonless night on Dartmoor, far from city lights, you can see a few thousand stars with the unaided eye. Yet this is just a tiny fraction of the 100,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy. We now know that a very high proportion of these […]

The truth behind Government’s healthcare ‘reforms’

Rosie Haworth Booth

Have you heard about the new health and social care ‘reforms’? The reforms which are restructuring the administration of care across the country, and which claim to overturn the worst aspects of those set up by Andrew Lansley in 2012? Are you glad to hear that these new structures, known as Integrated Care Systems, or […]

Out-Foxing the Reclaim Party’s ‘war on woke’

Vicky Rosier

West Country Voices has previously reported on the government’s culture war against perceived left-wing or liberal bias in the arts, cultural heritage and higher education sectors. In October 2020, Virginia Button outlined government pressure on arts institutions and museums to toe the line on their involvement in contested reassessments of British colonial history, at the […]

You can’t lie your way to Mars: the cosmos, awe and wonder with Ann Druyan

Sadie Parker

“Touchdown confirmed,” a woman’s voice announced over the public address system. “Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the sands of past life.” The NASA control room erupted. Staff were on their feet, their arms raised in a victory ‘V’, whooping and hollering. The only difference between this and past scenes […]

Slasher Gav hunts for headlines

Mick Fletcher

It’s certainly dramatic language. Gavin Williamson is on record as planning to “slash” (some sources even say ‘smash’) the taxpayer subsidy for subjects such as media studies. More cautious ministers might have spoken about reducing funding or withdrawing support but that’s not harsh enough for tough guy Gav. After all, this is a man who […]

Cornwall Greens say no to ‘sport fishing’ endangered bluefin tuna

Tom Scott

Cornwall Green Party condemns an “irresponsible” proposal to promote sport fishing of bluefin tuna off Cornish coast Cornwall Green Party has condemned the proposal by Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives, to promote “sport fishing” of bluefin tuna as a way of boosting tourist spending in Cornwall. Speaking for Cornwall Green Party, marine conservationist Samuel […]

Bypassing scrutiny and accountability – is THAT taking back control? We have to update…AGAIN.

Anthea Simmons

This government’s evident resistance to undergoing any process of scrutiny is now taking the country into very dangerous territory. This country allegedly operates a parliamentary democracy, with our elected representatives scrutinising, debating and voting on new laws and changes to existing legislation, holding the executive to account, including checking and approving spending and taxation. UPDATE: […]

Letters to the editor: a sonnet, Article 16 and wolf into dog…

Editor-in-chief

The Crony Virus pandemic rages:Toryus Pestis Old Etoniens.Ravaging, in exponential stages,The NHS, the land, it never ends!Symptoms include combustion, if you’re poor,Or fat contracts, if you’re well connected.The rich reward of the revolving door:Your kind donations will be reflected.Weeks of total lockdown is the best fixBut the virus makes no money from that,So, distracts with […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 3 – taking a look at vaccines

Emma Monk

Much of the misinformation and confusion surrounding Covid-19 relates to whether the vaccines are safe and effective. It is completely understandable to have questions, and no-one should be dismissed for wanting to find the best information out there. I will do my best, using all the available evidence, to cover some of the questions I’ve […]

Censuring students while censoring history

Mick Fletcher
black and white photo, man with finger to lips. secret

You could hardly make it up.  At the same time as government plans to appoint a ‘free speech tsar’ to stop students cancelling controversial speakers it also intends to summon heritage groups to be told by a minister what they can and cannot say about British history. It’s ludicrous but at the same time deeply […]