Section: UK

Is the penny dropping that Brexit means Brexit?

Anthea Simmons

Aww! Bless June Mummery for spotting that leaving the EU meant no more attendance of the meetings, but really! Poor LibDem Caroline Voaden, who like the other non Brexit-cultist MEPs, including Conservative Dr Charles Tannock, Labour’s Clare Moody and the Green’s Molly Scott Cato, tried frantically to explain what Brexit would do to fishing. We […]

Culture wars – the right wing’s crusade against ‘woke militants’

Eric Gates

“Those who oppose tyrannical ‘wokeness’ have right on their side, and with sufficient courage and resolve, patriots will prevent the imposition of their poisonous puritanism on us all”. So wrote Sir John Hayes in “Spalding Today” in his neo-Trumpist call to arms. HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Why we must all fight back against poisonous wokism […]

Fishermen! Your government is insulting you!

Anthea Simmons

You might want to watch this. This is the contempt in which this government holds you. The very same contempt it shows the hauliers, the NHS, the small businesses, the entrepreneurs who have been excluded, the exporters, the farmers…you name it. Watch this and see how you are treated. Is a one word answer to […]

The return of decency

Sadie Parker

I hadn’t meant to cry, but I couldn’t help myself. There were so many moments to pull on the heartstrings. Watching newly-promoted Eugene Goodman, the officer who had held off a braying mob just long enough to allow senators to escape from the Capitol only two weeks before, accompany Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris to her swearing […]

“It’s not MY fault”: the fishy blame game

Julian Andrews

The “whiffy-fish-to-the-EU” disaster story just goes on and on, doesn’t it? Or maybe that should read “no-fish-to-the-EU”. Most people must know now that those involved in fishing are angry – very angry – that their valuable seafood is not getting to customers in the EU on time, if at all. Many boats are laid up, […]

Winter gardening for wildlife: part 1 – feed the birds!

Anna Andrews

Continuing her series on gardening for wildlife, Anna Andrews looks at how to attract birds to your garden Ok, I know it’s not really ‘gardening’, but probably the best and most immediate way to help wildlife is to feed the birds, and virtually any outdoor space can be used whether you have a garden, a […]

On digging a great hole

Canon Robin Murch

They say revenge is sweet even if it comes after many years. My happy day of revenge will come on Friday 22 January 2021. It has been a  long time coming – in fact, from 1956. In those days I was a young National Serviceman in the infantry and with others, we had to dig […]

Five local MPs back ‘Stop genocide trade’ amendment

Sadie Parker

In an otherwise disappointing round of voting on Lords’ Amendments (LAs) to the Trade Bill, during which Tory MPs yet again voted en masse to weaken parliamentary oversight of trade deals, there was one bright spot. Lords Amendment Number Three to force the UK to withdraw from bilateral trade agreements with any country the High […]

Quadruple cheese Brexit whammy

Anthea Simmons

“We managed to get a shipment through to Europe which took SIX days instead of ONE. Rejected because it’s no longer fresh. We’ve paid the carriage to send it out and we have to pay to ship it back. We have to bin the cheese. We have to refund the customer. We also LOSE the […]

Long Covid kids

Sammie McFarland

A year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all become armchair experts. It’s hard to remember a time when it was new and we had so little information about what to expect if we were unlucky enough to catch it. A few key messages emerged early in the first lockdown in March. […]

Tory Trumpism is turning the UK into a sewer of fake news

Sadie Parker

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared anyone campaigning for free school meals during the February half-term-break to the Trumpist insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. He did so in a WhatsApp message sent to all Tory MPs at lunchtime on Sunday 17 January, explaining why he was whipping them to abstain from voting for or against […]

The UK’s drug policy failure. Lessons from Portugal

Paul Delaney

We must consider alternatives to criminalisation and incarceration of people who use drugs, and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply. We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. –Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, on World Day Against Drugs, 26 […]

Rewilding comes to a Devon valley

Simon Chater

Local environmental charities are working to increase Devon’s tree populations. Simon Chater was delighted to take part. For nearly 40 years I’ve lived in an old farmhouse in one of the loveliest spots in the South West – the valley of the Holy Brook, a tributary of the Dart. A livestock farmer sold me the […]

Future prospects blighted by the pandemic – a student writes

Bella Enoizi

The impact of Covid-19 on university students has been overlooked by both government and the media throughout the pandemic. Neither has support been received from the governing bodies of Higher Education institutions, in terms of either policy or financial relief. Where students have been mentioned by the media, it has only been to blame them […]

Bugs, bees and banned toxins

Milly James

There seems to be quite an upset brewing, understandably, over the government allowing the use of neonicotinoids in the UK after reports like “Government to let farmers use bee-killing pesticide banned by EU”  appeared in the press and across social media from environmentalists and the concerned public. The current reporting on the renewed use of […]

Dante’s Divine Comedy: tasting notes 2 – birth of the human soul

Simon Chater

There’s no original sin in Dante’s account of human spirituality. The soul is born of joy and seeks to return to a state of joy. In my first three tasting notes I’m going to skip about, dipping once only into each canticle – Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Then, if you’d like more, you can come […]

Hey, Anthony Mangnall MP! Are you spreading dangerous fake news?

Anthea Simmons

As MP for Totnes, your constituency includes the fishing town of Brixham, where some of the most valuable catches of shellfish are landed and exported to the EU. The fishermen there must be as angry about the Brexit deal as those up the coast in West Bay. Or the guys in Scotland, who are going […]

Fish – it used to be so easy…

Julian Andrews

Mention “Samways” to locals around the west Dorset town of Bridport and they’re most likely to tell you simply, “they’ve got that fish shop at West Bay”. They’re right about the fish shop, but Samways are a lot more than that. Clifford Samways started selling fish from a wooden barrow in West Bay in 1961 […]

Brexit trade problems: what’s gone wrong and can it be fixed?

Billy Melo Araujo

Billy Melo Araujo, Queen’s University Belfast Queues of lorries at borders and empty supermarket shelves confirm what most already knew: the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has increased trade barriers between the EU and the UK. So what problems are arising, and can anything be done to improve them? 1. Rules of origin Upon […]

The US has foiled a coup, but could we?

Mick Fletcher

Several writers, including West Country Voices’s Tom Scott and Sadie Parker, have drawn attention to the disturbing parallels between the anti-democratic activities of Trump in the USA and Johnson here. Many, however, are reluctant to accept that Johnson is in effect Britain’s Trump, despite the fact that this dubious accolade was bestowed by none other […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 1 – Covid-19 is NOT a hoax!

Emma Monk

Along with thousands of others, I have watched with increasing anger, sadness and frustration as misinformation has been allowed to spread so freely in the last year, not just on social media but across mainstream media outlets too. I have found myself repeatedly engaging with Covid-19 deniers and lockdown sceptics on social media, trying to […]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Britain’s Tartuffe

Sadie Parker
Jacob Rees Mogg appearig to pray, with further image of him sporting devil's horns in background

When I was at university in the US, a pre-med student, thinking that all Europeans were into high culture, decided to take me to the opera to impress me. That was a night of firsts: our first date, our first opera and our first encounter with the unforgettable character of Tartuffe. I say ‘our’ first […]

The banned and binned sarnie – Brexit means Brexit

Anthea Simmons

There’s no way around it, I am afraid. Brexit ‘succeeded’ because it was based on a toxic combo of eye-watering lies and staggering ignorance – most of which is still on display in the government right now. Hamsandwichgate is a classic example of (wilful) ignorance. We left the EU. We are now a third country. […]

Gavin must go; but that’s only the start

Mick Fletcher

No part of this government comes out of the Covid-19 pandemic well, and the staggering death toll is the tragic summation of a whole raft of failures. Probably the most expensive of these failures in terms of financial cost and, more importantly, human life, is ‘Test and Trace’ on which the Department of Health has […]

Something lost to find again

Catrina Davies

Catrina Davies discovered her true self in Europe. In September she left Cornwall for Portugal, from where she reflects on severance, belonging and betrayal. When I was ten my parents took me and my sisters to France for a week. We drove onto the ferry at Plymouth, all squashed into our Citroen AX, disembarked in […]