Category: Dorset

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Closed minds, broken politics

Barbara Leonard
meme: waiting for Sue Gray

Last week I wrote to my local MP Robert Syms. I explained the great sadness and upset I felt had been caused by the revelations of casual disregard of the Covid rules by those responsible for imposing them. While my family had been prevented from seeing dying relatives and attending funerals, they partied on. Back […]

Raise your voice!

Mick Fletcher

At West Country Voices we like to tell the stories that others in the media don’t. Often, these stories concern issues that the powerful and well-connected are keen to suppress; they involve holding policymakers to account or exposing abuse of office. Recent stories have focused on the threats to our democratic rights and freedoms. They […]

The property price boom that helps the few, not the many

Mick Fletcher
Stags estate agent sign

In 2021 the average price of houses in Taunton increased by 21 per cent: the highest rate of increase in the country. It is a sign of how utterly dysfunctional our housing market has become that this was announced as good news. According to the Daily Mail, for example, “while it was good news for […]

“First homes, not second homes!” MP Luke Pollard is on a mission

Anthea Simmons

Housing. It’s in crisis across the UK but nowhere is that crisis more acute than in the south-west, battered by the perfect storm of beauty, inequality and wealth. It’s not as if we don’t know what damage second, holiday and empty homes do to a community. There’s enough research out there, let alone the daily […]

Ecological confidence trick

Nick Dobbs
Horses standing in field at Highmoor Farm

At the heart of Bournemouth and Poole lies Talbot Heath Nature Reserve – an extraordinary 37-hectare fragment of the once ‘Great Heath’ that stretched uninterrupted from the Purbeck hills to the New Forest. Since 1800, 80 per cent of heathland has been lost worldwide, and today the UK is the custodian of 20 per cent […]

Egyptian artefacts and enchanted arbours at Kingston Lacy

Valery Collins
Illuminated trees at Kingston Lacy

During the medieval period, the grand estate known as Kingston Lacy was part of a royal estate within the manor of Wimborne in Dorset. The manor house stood to the north of the present palazzo, close to a deer park. Supporters of the Crown were allowed to let the estate. After it was sold at […]

Greenham Common Women – 40 years on

Conor Niall O'Luby
Badge worn by Grennham Common Women's protest

A train trip back in time “Going anywhere nice today?” Taking the drink from the young woman at the station kiosk, I replied: “We’re off to Newbury, to Greenham Common. It’s the 40-year anniversary of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. My mum was one of the Greenham Women. We’re going to see the events […]

Social care: another Conservative manifesto pledge broken

Sadie Parker

Social care may well prove to be Alexander Boris de Pfeffel’s Johnson’s Waterloo, and deservedly so. Out of the blue, less than a week before parliament was to vote on the matter, Number 10 tabled a new proposal (New Clause 49 to the Health and Care Bill) on the social care cap. It significantly watered […]

Tobias Ellwood MP goes to school – a student writes his report

Martin Day
official portrait of Tobias Ellwood MP

November 5: Parliament Week. As the fallout from the Owen Paterson affair began to crescendo in Westminster, and Boris Johnson considered making a speedy escape north, one MP made his own trip down to his home constituency. The MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias Ellwood, visited the local grammar school on Friday afternoon to meet its […]

The MPs in our region (all Conservatives) who voted to ALLOW raw sewage dumping…and those who voted against

Editor-in-chief

“Lords’ Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.” “Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustice recommended to his […]

English language teaching: a troubled future?

Conor Niall O'Luby

The pandemic The ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ (TEFL) sector has for decades played a vibrant cultural and economic role across the UK, not just in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) area. The spring and, especially, the summer seasons, used to see large numbers of foreign students arrive to study English, make new […]

“Code red for humanity”

Belinda Bawden

“Climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying” Surely no-one could have missed these headlines on the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 9 August 2021? The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the Working Group’s report was nothing less than “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening and […]

Brownsea Island: private paradise to national treasure

Valery Collins

Brownsea is a small island at the entrance to Poole Harbour in Dorset. In the past it has been vital to the defence of the harbour and Poole itself. Originally the island was owned by the church and under the auspices of Cerne Abbey but it was claimed by Henry VIII when he dissolved the […]

West Country Voices is one year old: much to celebrate; much more to do

Editor-in-chief
birthday candles

West Country Voices (WCB) launched a year ago with the help and support of Louise Houghton at Yorkshire Bylines, Mike Galsworthy and Tom Brufatto at March for Change and the blessing of Peter Jukes and Simon Colegrave at Byline Times. Run by a team of volunteer, citizen journalists, editors, proof readers and a picture editor […]

Devon has a message for Johnson and Javid: get your hands off our NHS!

Anthea Simmons

The government’s health and social care bill passed its second reading with barely a murmur from the mainstream media, much less any proper public scrutiny. Amongst a number of proposals which open up the NHS to private health providers is the carving up of the NHS into 42 ‘integrated care systems’ (ICSs). One of these […]

National Meadows Day: a tale of two meadows

Miles King
meadow with orchids

Wildflower meadows have their day in the sun today, Saturday 3 July: National Meadows Day. National Meadows Day is a new thing, just a few years old, but it seems to have captured the public’s imagination, and rightly so. Because wildflower meadows encapsulate a beautiful coming-together of people and nature, creating something sublime which everyone […]