Category: Politics

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 […]

Polish truck driver to Grant Shapps: digital licences are nothing new and you did not have to leave the EU to get them!

Tomasz Oryński

“Our transport network will be fairer, greener and more efficient thanks to our exciting new post-EU freedoms. We will introduce digital licences…” – wrote Grant Shapps on his Twitter. “Cool”, I thought to myself, “finally some benefit of Brexit!” But is it? I had heard about digital licences somewhere before. Where was that? Ah, I […]

The V-word

Graham Hurley

The role of leader of the opposition can be a curse, as well as an opportunity, and just now – as Johnson completes his second drive-by reshuffle – must be the perfect moment for Sir Keir Starmer to pause and take stock.  The worst government in living memory is beset by crisis after crisis, and […]

What? No turkey for Christmas? Don’t panic!

Eric Gates

The prime minister has put Michael Gove in charge of “fixing” Britain’s food supply chains, quipping that he “doesn’t want to have to cancel Christmas again”. The Times, 15 September No turkeys for Christmas? Time to stiffen the upper lip, have a drop of that Dunkirk spirit and think how our grandparents managed in the […]

Orwell and Johnson: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, Further to your article “Lying and Liars are killing our democracy“, here are two pertinent quotes: George Orwell: “The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear […]

Lying and liars are killing our democracy: help to make it stop

Anthea Simmons

Make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence “The Government should introduce legislation to make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence. This would mean that all MPs, including Ministers, would face a serious penalty for knowingly making false statements in the House of Commons, as is the case in a […]

A plan that wasn’t a plan and a promise that wasn’t a promise

Mick Fletcher

If you are thinking of laying bets on winners and losers in the next reshuffle James Heappey, MP for Wells, may be one to watch.  He is desperately loyal, not associated too closely with a current scandal, and, unlike some of his colleagues, can speak his lines clearly.  Most importantly, he can repeat official nonsense […]

What can be done about tax havens? Part 1: the abuse of tax havens by multinational corporations

Richard Murphy

In the first four videos in this series on tax havens I have explored how they work, what they abuse, and why that abuse should worry anyone who is concerned for fair markets, the rule of law and democracy, all of which tax havens (or secrecy jurisdictions as I prefer to call them) actively seek to undermine.   This then leads to the obvious question, which […]

A briefing note for POTUS: the United Kingdom after Afghanistan

Eric Gates

Eric Gates imagines a very necessary briefing for President Biden in the wake of the withdrawal from Afghanistan: Mr President With the main elements of the US drawdown from Afghanistan complete, it is perhaps appropriate to brief you on the impact that this has had in the United Kingdom. I appreciate that many Americans have […]

School trips abroad: the “Grand Tour”, blighted by Brexit

Mike Zollo

Cultural osmosis For many decades, visits, homestays and courses abroad in the country of the ‘target language’ have been considered essential to the study of a foreign language, both for UK young people going abroad and for young EU nationals coming to the UK. Indeed, this is nothing new: human beings have always travelled, mixed […]

A beginner’s guide to supply chains

Eric Gates

The term ‘supply chain’ is bandied around frequently in discussions about Brexit. Since it appears  that some cabinet ministers have a somewhat hazy grasp of the phrase, I wonder if it would be helpful to explain it in simple terms. I am not trying to imply that readers of West Country Voices have an understanding […]

Why pay rises won’t solve the Brexit staffing crisis

Russ In Cheshire

There SHOULD be pay rises in most sectors, including HGV. But pay rises won't solve the staff problem, and here's why. For arguments’ sake, imagine we give a 20 per cent pay rise to HGV drivers. This attracts 20,000 people from lower paid jobs. HGV problem solved (in a year or so) But… The industries […]

The Brexit-exacerbated blood bottle shortage: why your doctor may not be able to offer you the blood test you need. UPDATED

Anthea Simmons

About a fortnight ago we saw medics and commentators expressing concerns over shortages of blood bottles. Research indicated that this was a worldwide phenomenon created by the massive hike in demand as a consequence of the pandemic. Now it appears that Brexit is exacerbating an already difficult situation with supply chains interrupted by border issues […]

Send Botham Down Under? That’s just plain batty!

Anthea Simmons
Chappell and Botham cartoon

Liz Truss, the cheese obsessive who counts rollover trade deals as the sign of the dawn of a new era for ‘global Britain’ and crows about flogging a few stiltons to the famously-lactose intolerant Japanese has hit diplomacy for six with her gleeful appointment of Brexit-fanatic Botham as trade envoy to Australia. Ennobled for his […]

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 […]

Operation Enduring Freedom becomes Operation Disastrous Farce

Des Hannigan

Operation Enduring Freedom was the code name for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by allied western forces, chiefly American, which was followed by Operation Enduring Sentinel, and which ended last week in Operation Disastrous Farce. There is no humour, no satire, to be drawn from this, but there is contempt for both the Taliban’s extremism […]

“You cannot coordinate an international response from a beach” Why we must challenge this government’s behaviour

Anthea Simmons

The quote is from Sir Keir Starmer in today’s debate. The Afghanistan crisis, quite aside being an unimaginable tragedy for the Afghan people, has thrown up very serious questions about the competence, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and statesmanship of this government. We have to keep calling these abject failures out because they are failings that are […]

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 […]