Category: Social issues

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Tory pride and prejudice against the EU – it’s not new

Jon Danzig

On 25 February 2014, the European Parliament voted on an EU fund to provide food aid to those suffering extreme poverty in the EU.  The EU offered up to £22 million to help subsidise Britain’s food banks, but the money was blocked by the UK government. Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK. […]

Oh good! A new bank! Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, I saw this chap on TV the other day. Odd cove, but apparently one of us, albeit with a strange haircut and not quite the right accent. Lee something or other. Anyway, he said that we can feed ourselves for 30 pence per meal, if we can be bothered to cook […]

The cost of living and the price of ideology

Tom Scott

New data from The Food Foundation shows 7.3 million adults went without food in April. Of these, 2.4 million had not eaten for a whole day at least once in the past month. Yet there is no shortage of food in the UK, or of money. This is not a ‘cost of living crisis’ but […]

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 […]

Surviving the cost-of-living crisis the Tory way

Tom Scott
a heap of cooked pasta

Let’s have no more whingeing about poverty. Price rises should present no difficulty to anyone prepared to take some tips from the thrifty habits and entrepreneurial flair of Conservative MPs, writes Tom Scott. A tweet by Tory supporter Kevin Edger sneering at a nurse who skips meals in order to afford food for her children […]

Thanks a million, Eton

Mick Fletcher
Eton by Canaletto

If further proof were needed that ‘levelling up’ is a soundbite rather than a strategy, the proposal for a new cadre of elite sixth forms provides it. Mick Fletcher explains. Trailed as one of the key measures in a programme to address 55 ‘education cold spots’, the aim is apparently “to ensure talented children from […]

“WTF is ‘great’ about millions in dire straits?” Filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson gives voice to shared anger

David Nicholas Wilkinson
Tesco food donation sign

The (dis)United Kingdom is the fifth largest country globally in terms of nominal GDP (gross domestic product), according to Wikipedia*. 216 countries are recorded on Wikipedia in terms of their GDP. One of my daughters is in Morocco (rated the 60th ‘richest’ country), and yesterday she and her friend were eating in a mother-and-son’s small […]

What price endless choice?

Eleanor Rylance
Woman choosing fresh veg

Choice. We all want it when we go to do our weekly shop. Supermarkets, and their extremely efficient logistics processes, have sold us on the notion that our choice need never be restricted by geography, climate or seasonality – we can get pretty much what we want, when we want it. The ugly flip side […]

The paradox at the heart of capitalist growth

Jason Hickel
stockmarket price screen

There is an extraordinary paradox at the heart of capitalist growth in rich economies, which is important to understand. Here’s how it works: First, capital seeks to privatise and enclose key goods that we need in order to live – healthcare, housing, energy, transport, etc – making these things increasingly expensive for us to access. […]

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. […]

Sunak’s choice: help or harm?

Richard Murphy
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has a choice to make in his upcoming budget. He could provide the support most households in the UK will need if they are to be able to pay their bills in the next year. If he doesn’t provide it, we are in meltdown. This is Richard Murphy’s article on the impact of […]

Helping Ukrainians fleeing war – or not. How do you define a family?

Sadie Parker
Meme of Johnson between two Raphael cherubs s

Many of us were inspired and heartened when Poland threw open its borders to Ukrainians fleeing the war on February 25, only 24 hours after the present phase of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. (We say “the present phase”, because Russia has been attacking Ukraine’s territorial integrity since 2014, with the annexation of the Republic […]

Let’s tax dirty oil and gas profits to tackle the cost of living crisis

Tom Scott
Dirty profits tax poster

A ‘Dirty Profit Tax’ would help to address both extreme levels of poverty and the accelerating climate emergency, argues Tom Scott. This winter, millions of people in our country are facing extreme poverty. The cost-of-living crisis, largely caused by the dramatic rise in oil and gas prices, means that many are already having to choose […]

The ‘do nothing’ dilemma: bias and ‘othering’ in the Conservative Party

Jim Funnell

The disturbing claims from Nusrat Ghani that she was sacked from her ministerial position because of her ‘Muslimness’ are as chilling as they are unsurprising. We have become accustomed to the ugly reality of a ruthless far-right party machine that keeps this government in power. Jim Funnell examines the government’s record on inclusion. Johnson’s government […]

Last chance to stop the Police State Bill

Tom Scott

The Labour Party has finally said that it will oppose some of the extremely dangerous amendments to Priti Patel’s Policing Bill in the House of Lords. But others look set to be waved through by the official opposition, unless it shifts its stance before the key votes on Monday. Tom Scott explains. The first protest […]

How can any of us feel safe with a Home Office that lies so relentlessly?

Sadie Parker

Unnerved by all the criticism of the Nationality and Borders Bill, the Home Office has come out swinging, lambasting alleged “inaccuracies” in some of the commentary. The only problem is, their defence is riddled with what could at best be described as misleading statements, and at worst as outright lies. Sadie Parker calls them out. […]

Why Prince William will get nothing in my will

Tom Scott
HRH Prince William

Prince William’s attempt to present the Duchy of Cornwall as a benevolent institution fails to impress Tom Scott, who brushed up against this powerful feudal relic after his neighbours died without leaving a will. Last week, Prince William let it be known through “royal sources” quoted in the Daily Telegraph that he is looking into […]

Democracy in danger: call to action

Sadie Parker
Green peers Jenny Jones and Nathalie Bennett challenge Patel's dreadful Bills

Sadie Parker explains why we need to act now to arrest the erosion of our democracy and rights. In January 2022, two of the worst Bills ever conceived by a British government return to the House of Lords: the Nationality and Borders (NB) Bill on 5 January, and then on 10 January it is the […]

The last thing we need in 2022 is a poll tax on energy consumption

Richard Murphy

The FT reports this morning that: Households facing a “cost of living catastrophe”, including soaring gas and electricity charges, in April could yet be spared a £100 levy on their bills which had been intended to recoup the money to cover recent energy company failures. Ofgem, the energy regulator, is looking to spread the cost of the […]