Category: Politics

Our democracy is in danger. We must have electoral reform.

Anthea Simmons

Want to make your vote matter? Feel that now, more than ever, we need a system that prevents an arrogant, corrupt and incompetent government (elected by a minority) from riding roughshod over every standard of decency, honesty and integrity? You do vote, right? Every election? You don’t bother? Why is that? Ahh. OK. You live […]

Where does this Vote Leave Government get its policies from?

Miles King

As I watched the A-level results fiasco unfold over the last week  – the latest in a long line of shambolic Government u-turns  – it got me thinking about how this Government actually decides on what policies it is going to apply. After all, what is a Government without policies? Policies – and specifically policy […]

Silence of the Mann

Tom Scott

Many young people in Cornwall have been bitterly disappointed to find their A-level results unfairly downgraded amid the ongoing exam shambles. Scott Mann MP, parliamentary secretary to education minister Gavin Williamson, has been strangely silent on their plight. Sarah Johnson, the mother of a boy studying at Truro College who had been hoping to go to […]

Four young people launch ‘Diversity in Devon’

Claire Wright

Four A Level politics students from King’s School are officially launching a six-week campaign, starting 17 August,, with the aim of debating the benefits of diversity in Devon and a greater understanding of what constitutes racist behaviour or prejudice. Diversity in Devon is being launched through the voices of 17 year olds Sandra Sanena and Anoo […]

Kindness is in our power: let’s use it.

Jo Molyneux

Editor’s preface: We are very proud to publish this powerful article from Jo Molyneux. It is not an easy read containing, as it does, some distressing and harrowing detail of man’s inhumanity to man. However, we feel that the subject is too important to pull any punches; but please be aware. It is the first […]

Gavin Williamson’s A* record of cynical manipulation and deceit

Tom Scott

Trying to justify the chaotic mess around the way A-level students have been graded, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appeared on multiple media channels and in the pages of the Daily Telegraph to warn of the danger of ‘grade inflation’ – the risk that some students would be awarded grades beyond their actual abilities. The far […]

Is local democracy dead?

Mike Temple

Ever felt powerless to prevent unwanted development? Ever thought you weren’t being heard by your local council? Ever given up in despair? Join the millions across the country who feel that local democracy is dead, that power lies in the hands of a rich elite and their friends and backers, and that “you stand no […]

“Free of income tax, old man, free of income tax”

Tom Scott

The peculiarly modern kind of evil embodied by Harry Lime in The Third Man is also the animating spirit of Boris Johnson’s government. Who is the most memorable villain in the history of cinema? There’s no shortage of strong contenders, from Ernst Stavro Blofeld (he of the fluffy white cat) to the soft-spoken cannibal psychiatrist, […]

Winds of change – reflections on Minsk, democracy and dictatorship

Rachel Marshall

“I’m going to Russia, well, Belarus.” “Where’s that?” “Next to Poland. Where most of the Chernobyl cloud went.” So went conversations with friends in early 1995, as I prepared to depart for Minsk for a Russian language course. Minsk was a slightly strange place to be learning Russian. In the brave new world of the […]

Strategic ignorance: a privilege of power

Anthea Simmons

Knowledge is power. But if you’re a politician or a CEO, ignorance may be more powerful – and more lucrative… I’m afraid I don’t listen to BBC Radio Four as much as I used to. It was once a background to my daily life, but the far-right toxicity on the Today programme finished my love […]

The catalogue of horrors continues…

Russ In Cheshire

We have great pleasure in sharing @RussIncheshire’s regular twitter thread. #TheWeekInTory is a monster because they’ve been, well, even busier than usual, the scamps 1. The dictionary definition of Honour is, “the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right”. Keep that in mind as we tackle the Honours system 2. Boris Johnson gave […]

The ongoing catalogue of hypocrisies – in a twitter thread.

Russ In Cheshire

There will be more… #TheWeekInTory 1. The govt launched a “Fix your bike” voucher website 2. It broke in less than an hour 3. The govt said we should all lose weight 4. The govt is still issuing vouchers to help us buy burgers 5. It was revealed the govt spent £400m buying a bankrupt […]

All good things no longer come in threes

Sadie Parker

You could be forgiven for feeling exhausted. Since the general election in December 2019 – in itself a tiring and dispiriting event – it seems as if bad news, government incompetence and poorly judged behaviour have been relentless. When Boris Johnson dreamed of being “World King”, is this the type of prime minister (PM) he […]

If (or How to be Prime Minster)

Tom Scott

Boris Johnson has often boasted of his prodigious memory for poetry. In 2009, he informed readers of the Daily Telegraph: “I could do you a dozen Shakespeare sonnets, the whole of Lycidas (186 lines of the thing) and the first 100 lines of the Iliad in Greek… What is the point of education, what is […]

Somerset’s ambitious plan: carbon net zero by 2030

Oliver Patrick

The UK is committed to being carbon net zero by 2050; however, Somerset’s councils have declared they will work towards the same target 20 years earlier. So what is the scale of the challenge in Somerset and what part can we play, as a community, in reaching this ambitious goal? In 2019 all five of […]

NHS properties: what we all need to know

Mike Sheaff

In April 2016, Poltair Hospital near Penzance was sold to a property developer for £500,624. The site’s limitations were widely acknowledged, but there was a strongly expressed local view that the capital receipt should contribute to alternative local provision. The owner, NHS Property Services (NHSPS), would give no such commitment. In December 2016, NHSPS took […]

Gladstone: a British hero in Bulgaria

Paul Haviland

A slight figure moves through the crowd of protesters, capturing the anti-government placards and chants of “Resign Borissov!” on her phone  This is not London after the Russia report: Borissov is the president of Bulgaria. Protesters in the streets of the capital, Sofia, are happy to be filmed by the country’s most distinguished campaigning journalist. […]

Of ermine and short-tailed weasels

Sadie Parker

When you read through the announcement of honours and peerages — the Dissolution Peerages of 2019 and the Political Peerages of 2020 — and find that awarding the former prime minister’s husband a knighthood and the current prime minister’s brother a peerage are the least controversial items on the list, you know the country is […]

Life without medical supplies

Peter Barker

When he first visited Russia in 1995, Peter Barker found post-Soviet chaos meant medicine was in short supply. As the UK faces breaking of supply chains at the end of 2020, might we be facing a similar plight? I was involved in French twinning before I moved to Exeter. When I came here, I was […]

The ‘forgotten 50 per cent’ get forgotten again

Mick Fletcher

In a speech to the Social Market Foundation on 9 July, Gavin Williamson gave much-needed encouragement to the struggling further education (FE) sector when he said, “From now on, our mantra must be further education, further education, further education.” In a clear bid for support from the new Tory voters in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ […]

Power without a right

Ann Higgins

A constitution based on unwritten rules and gentlemen’s agreements is a poor defence against shameless and determined rule-breakers. Listening to interminable lectures on UK constitutional law many years ago, I little thought it would be at the forefront of a political power struggle some 40 years later. Yet such is the battleground for the current […]

Jane Austen and the slave trade

Mike Temple

Did Jane Austen have anything in common with the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Surely not! Our Jane is the nation’s favourite author – she’s on our ten-pound note and we are all, regardless of our political differences, “Janeites”. Some adore her for her love scenes, especially if spiced up with a little wet-shirt action; some […]

Council’s commercial gamble

Richard Wilkins

Is it right for local councils to turn to commercialisation to fill holes in their finances? Local councils are facing the biggest cuts to government funding since 2010, with the Local Government Association (LGA) revealing that, overall, councils will have suffered a 77 per cent decrease in government funding between 2015/16 and 2019/20. This represents […]

Stop the rot!

Sadie Parker
rotting fish

Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at Kent University, darling of the Right and a regular on the punditry circuit, recently made an astonishing claim. “Reaction to Gove’s [Ditchley] speech is revealing,” he tweeted. “One side has ideas about how to send power down not up, plus change government. The other side is still struggling to […]

Useless Eustice? No, he’s much worse than that

Tom Scott

This article references some vile, racist language which we have reproduced, rather than hide just how morally-repulsive some individuals are. Editor. George Eustice has risen from obscurity to become the smooth-talking frontman for some of the worst aspects of Brexit. In February, Environment Minister George Eustice was loudly booed by an audience of farmers at […]

Resistance and hope

Anthea Simmons

First of all, a big thank you to all those who are reading our articles. The response has been fantastic. We’ve only been going for eight days, but already we are amplifying the reach of writers who deserve to be read, voices which need to be heard and issues which must be exposed. It’s great. […]

Somerset powers up!

Richard Wilkins

Somerset powers up as cutting-edge green energy storage scheme gets turned on. South Somerset District Council (SSDC) has proudly turned on the largest council-owned battery storage system in the UK. Located next to a National Grid substation near Taunton, the site – purchased in 2018 – has been transformed, in partnership with local and international […]

Dorset MPs: end of term reports Part II

Sadie Parker

Michael Tomlinson, Conservative MP for Mid-Dorset North Poole (Government Whip). By convention, whips don’t speak in parliamentary debates, and so there are no parliamentary interventions to report on for Michael Tomlinson. His name often appears on motions debated in the House and he frequently acts as a teller in votes. Whips also do not give […]

End of term reports: Dorset MPs Part 1: a mixed bag…

Sadie Parker

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP for Bournemouth East (Chair, Defence Committee). Tobias was frequently in the news this session, whether it was being the only Tory MP brave enough to put in an appearance on Good Morning Britain to face a grilling by Piers Morgan, or calling for aid for his beleaguered constituency when 500,000 flocked […]