Category: Devon

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Brixham: fishy business

Jim Funnell

This Sunday 22 May 2022 10:30- 13:30 protest action at Brixham Fish Quay – Samba band, protest, marching and celebrity endorsement. We ask:Why are the public and quay users kept in the dark about the bid to access Levelling Up funds for the £41,000,000 a year fish market? Is there a connection between Anthony Mangnall MP’s […]

Calling all tractor enthusiasts! Conservatives desperate for a candidate to beat the LibDems in Tiverton and Honiton…

Anthea Simmons

Well, well! The ConservativeHome website makes for a fascinating visit. It seems applications are now open for a candidate to replace disgraced former MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish, in the upcoming by-election. Anyone interested in standing needs to apply by 18 May. William Atkinson, the site’s assistant editor, writes: “Though traditionally safe, the […]

Brixham Quay extension – is there a fishy whiff?

Editor-in-chief

With evidence building that so-called ‘levelling up’ money is being directed at places with Conservative MPs – and especially those at risk of losing their seats – you could not blame us for being a bit cynical about the rationale for the allocation of government funds. Our senses are now finely tuned to pick up […]

Immersive theatre at its most intense: To Refuge

Rachel Marshall

I just spent 45 minutes sitting in a bunker in central Exeter listening to sirens and bombs. This was Four Of Swords Theatre’s performance To Refuge, based around a work by Ukrainian playwright Elena Hapieieva: In the Bowels of the Earth. It was immersive theatre at its most intense. The performance takes place under The […]

Parish’s career perishes but other pests persist

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, When the ‘porn in the Commons’ story hit, I felt there was something odd about it. Even with as low opinion as I have of most of our Tory MPs, I couldn’t quite believe someone was sitting on those leather benches wantonly browsing PornHub. It felt far more likely that it […]

Turning the tide of dangerous porn starts at the top

Caroline Voaden

As the Chief Executive of Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services, I am calling for a radical rethink in our approach to pornography after a Devon Conservative MP referred himself to the Standards Committee for allegedly watching porn while sitting in the House of Commons. I’ve heard many politicians say this week that ‘sunlight […]

Fire service cuts: Ashburton area protection downgraded and more to follow

Tony Morris

Fire Authority stealth cuts put lives and property at risk, argues Tony Morris. Just a couple of years after Ashburton residents successfully fought to save their fire station, the Conservative controlled fire & rescue authority has stabbed them in the back. In a secret move, Ashburton’s properly equipped fire engine has been removed and replaced […]

Don’t miss the Tinners Moon Festival, Ashburton, Devon!

Anthea Simmons

We wrote about the wonderful Ashburton Arts Centre back in October 2020 and director Andy Williamson explained why the venue was so loved by performers. The Tinners Moon Festival, which had had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, is in full swing right now and you really shouldn’t miss the opportunity to […]

Greener, healthier, happier: Rosemoor works its magic

Anna Andrews
Magnolias at Rosemoor

“Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place.” So says the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), a registered charity which promotes horticulture and helps gardeners, both present and retired. The Society provides information, practical advice, training, qualifications and bursaries, is involved in education, […]

Creamo’s! The wonderfully wacky craft ice cream from Ashburton

Anthea Simmons

We are very keen to showcase small businesses from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. The stories these entrepreneurs have to tell make a very welcome change from the news, escaping from which, however briefly, is a privilege not afforded to many, we know. I met Matai and Rachael to talk about how they got into […]

Sponsor a Ukrainian – the scheme that puts the vulnerable at risk whilst thwarting compassion

Elizabeth Smith and Anna Andrews
Ukrainian refugees in Krakow

“It’s an abusers’ charter, isn’t it?” said a friend – a woman not particularly attentive to the doings of this government, nor as prejudiced as me against these Conservatives’ policies. Sadly, I think my friend is correct in her assessment of the ‘Sponsor a Ukrainian’ scheme, whereby homeowners here can offer accommodation to Ukrainian refugees. […]

Letters to Neil Parish and Sir Geoffrey Cox re Ukraine

Editor-in-chief
placard: accept refugees on background of Ukraine flag

Dear Mr Parish, I wrote to you recently about the urgent need for Ukrainian refugees to be given safe passage and supported resettlement in the UK.  You kindly replied, and in short order, which I appreciated. Thank you. However, the assurances you provided about the government’s response did not address my concerns about the shortcomings […]

How Totnes Conservatives picked their 2019 candidate…

Anon
Totnes Conservative Club

Dr Sarah Wollaston left the Conservative Party to join the LibDems, leaving a rock-solid seat-for-life for some lucky Tory. The Conservatives needed a new candidate for the election that was to come later that year. Would they pick another local candidate, known in the community? Anonymous reveals the ‘interesting’ selection process. In 2019 the fate […]

Speaking out, while we still can…

Tony Whitehead
Protesters at the Exeter rally against the Policing and Borders Bills

Reaching out across the seas Hold out our hands to refugees Make the world a better place To put a smile on everyone’s face Stop the bombing, join together International friends forever This poem by primary school children, read by Exeter’s Pete the Poet, opened a rally organised by Stop the War Coalition. More than […]

Saving his own skin: Mr Mangnall and the squandering of leadership

Jim Funnell
Anthony Mangnall paper

In late February 2022, as bloody, terrifying war broke out in Ukraine and refugees fled their country, constituents across Totnes and South Devon received an unwelcome gift through their door: a four page newspaper full of puff pieces all about Anthony Mangnall MP. Produced by Mr Mangnall and his team, the headline cringingly announcing: ‘Anthony […]

The tweet heartless Kevin Foster didn’t want you to see

Anthea Simmons
Kevin Foster MP for Torbay

I have written today about the government’s callousness towards Ukrainian refugees, cloaked in a nicey-nicey, flag-sporting charade of fake sympathy. The reality is that there is NO effort being made to offer sanctuary to men, women and children fleeing the war. Patel and now Torbay’s Kevin Foster have been gaslighting the British public, pretending that […]

A little universe is destroyed: an unintended consequence of the countryside stewardship grant

Rebecca Gethin

You might have read about the government’s commitment to safeguarding wildlife and conserving the environment which is, according to Defra’s newly-published road map, to be “the cornerstone of the government’s new agricultural policy, based on the principle of paying public money for public goods, such as clean air and water, thriving wildlife, engagement with the […]

UK to miss emissions target by a mile: letter to Anthony Mangnall MP

Editor-in-chief

Dear Anthony On the Government’s own projections, the UK is set to miss the 6th carbon budget and our Paris commitment by a huge margin. We will be approximately 100 per cent over the 6th carbon budget! You have said that work is ‘underway’, but that work clearly falls far short of what’s required. You can see from the […]

Brexit reality update: mussels arrive 30 hours late, many dead or dying

Julian Andrews

Last week in West Country Voices, I wrote about a Brixham-based, family-owned company which has – somehow – managed to continue exporting live mussels to the Netherlands, despite the many and varied obstacles placed in its way as a direct consequence of Brexit. I have no connection with this enterprise other than as a writer. […]

Social feed 5: virtual reality

Babe
Pig with muddy snout

A satirical commentary on the pigswill we’re fed by an MP’s social media. Feasting at the trough: ‘Babe’ BREAKING NEWS: The Conservative Party has made a significant investment in Facebook’s Metaverse. First amongst Devon MPs to stake his claim to a piece of alternative reality is, of course, the Captain of Complicity, the Superman of […]

“It’s business, Boris…but not as we knew it”

Julian Andrews
mussel fishing vessel

Imagine that you run an innovative, environmentally sustainable enterprise which employs your wife, your kids and ten local people. You’ve been in the business for over 30 years and you know exactly what you’re doing. You and your family have invested decades’ worth of emotion, aspiration, knowledge and money in it. You’ve won the industry’s […]

‘Kill the Bill’: action in Exeter

Anna Andrews

“This Bill threatens what we do peacefully because we believe in something.” Seasoned activists, people from a wide range of pressure groups, and individuals from all walks of life came together in Exeter on 15 January to show their resistance to the Bill with Priti Patel’s fingerprints all over it: the Police, Crime, Sentencing and […]