Category: Politics

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Brexit reality bites in Somerset

Richard Wilkins

The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a new trade deal which came into force immediately the transition period ended on 1 January. The guesswork has finally come to an end and over the next few months and years we will start to fully understand the implications of leaving the EU, and our […]

Dark Wednesday: Trumpism has also stained and frayed British democracy

Sadie Parker
montage of Johnson and Trump pictured together

Judging by the liveliness of social media platforms well into the night, as 6 January rolled into 7 January on the European side of the Atlantic, half the UK was glued to CNN – watching agog as insurrectionists invaded government offices in Washington D.C. They stormed the Capitol building, the heart of American democracy, equipped […]

This sting cannot be sugar-coated

Anna Andrews

Bees are good.  We all know that, don’t we.  Bees are good.  Pests are bad.  Farmers need to kill pests so they can grow our food and they use pesticides to do that.  So why would they want to use pesticides which kill bees? Many chemicals which kill pests also kill bees and other insects […]

Trump and ‘Britain Trump’

Tom Scott

The US president’s descent into lunacy and fascistic violence holds a lesson for the UK. It was not so hard to predict that Donald Trump’s rage at having lost the US election would lead inexorably to violence, and I was one of several to do so a few weeks ago. The story is not over […]

Hope and horror

Anthea Simmons

I had begun an article on the confirmation of more hopeful signs for democracy in the USA coming from the run-off elections in Georgia…and not because Democrats won, but because the long hard effort to secure voter engagement right across the electorate had paid off. I will return to the subject, because there are important […]

From Churchill to Asquith – Johnson’s tribute act is no joke

Robert Saunders

Quiz question: of which prime minister was it said, “the P.M. never moves until he is forced, and then it is usually too late”? Answer: H.H. Asquith in World War One. It’s a parallel that tells us something, I think, about Boris Johnson’s current predicament. Asquith was a lifelong Liberal – the last man to […]

The disinformation pandemic

Tom Scott

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Dr Matthew Lee, a young medic working at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, tweeted a video of the scene that confronted him when he stepped out of the hospital after completing a late shift in A&E. As he described it: “Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge […]

We are going to have to monitor these politicians like hawks

Anthea Simmons

‘The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles from bondage [ … ] The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.’ George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell might have added that the Party also ensured that you only saw and heard the […]

Awards part two: some more good people, thankfully!

Anthea Simmons

Most dogged defenders of our food & farming standards: Devon MPs Ben Bradshaw, Luke Pollard and Dorset MP Simon Hoare stand amongst those who braved the government to demand standards be enshrined in law and not on the table in any future trade deals. (Devon MP Neil Parish almost made it into this select group, […]

People of the year part one: the good guys

Anthea Simmons

Humanitarian of the Year: Marcus Rashford. As an example of altruism, generosity of spirit, determination, focus and just plain being right, Rashford has become an icon of hope for the persistence of compassion and kindness in our communities. He tackled and outplayed Johnson at every (U) turn and scored powerful political goals. Visit his website […]

In a stew over fish…

Mike Zollo

From fish’n’chips to calamares In my childhood days, my experience of fish was usually limited to a somewhat greasy lump of batter, with a trace of white matter within it, presumably cod, accompanied by equally greasy, soggy chips. They were served in newspaper, liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Perhaps my palate-memory is rather jaded […]

The Potemkin hospitals

Tom Scott

With desperate frontline NHS staff warning that the health service is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 admissions, it appears that the government’s much vaunted Nightingale hospitals were built largely for PR purposes – yet another example of government by vacuous gesture. The news that the government’s flagship Nightingale hospital at London’s […]