Category: Social issues

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Tory promised land of milk and honey: the reality

Richard Murphy

The Tory leadership election is offering the party faithful an image of a land about to flow with milk and honey, so good are the prospects arising from the so far unspecified benefits of Brexit. The reality is about as far from that is it can be. In reality, this morning we have news of […]

The real risk is that the economy could fail this winter

Richard Murphy

How many people lived in fear in the summer of 1914, dreading what might happen? Come to that, what about 1939? People must have known that they were living on a precipice then, just as we are now. A disaster is about to happen, but there seems to be denial all around. The disaster that […]

Women’s football: what will the legacy really be? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, Even if we aren’t remotely interested in sport, I think we can all rejoice unequivocally at the success of the England women’s football team in the European championships; it’s an achievement to be celebrated. I’m sure I’m not alone in being delighted at their win if only because they have done […]

Where are the police when you need them? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Andy Steel, from Devon, believes police failed to act appropriately when their urgent help was needed: Just because you live in a hidden, rural village doesn’t mean you can escape hit-and-run drivers. Not long ago a 17 year-old with a chequered motoring history ploughed into the front of my parked 1.8 tonne Land Rover with […]

The V5 scam – why aren’t the police or the DVLA bothered?

Anthea Simmons

This is quite some story. It was news to me, but perhaps you know someone who has also been a victim, or maybe you yourself, in which case this will resonate painfully. I am keeping the names and places anonymous for obvious reasons, but here’s the tale. A friend decided to sell her 4×4, partly […]

Children’s services should protect children not profit

WeOwnIt

Our children’s services are there to protect and care for vulnerable children in our communities, providing a lifeline for those in difficult situations. But doesn’t it seem wrong that private companies are able to run these services and prioritise profit over the children they are meant to protect? The government recently dropped its unpopular plans to reduce council responsibilities […]

Miss Snuffy is right about social mobility!

Mick Fletcher

To my surprise, I find myself agreeing with Katharine Birbalsingh, who tweets under the slightly eccentric name of “Miss Snuffy”. Birbalsingh is regularly referred to in the less serious type of newspaper as “Britain’s strictest headmistress” and her views go down well with the Conservative rank and file. I suspect that it is her strong […]

America the Beautiful

Tom Scott

O beautiful for RemingtonFor Smith & Wesson, ColtFor rapid-fire assault weaponFor barrel, stock and bolt America! America!God gave thy guns to theeTo spill the blood that spreads its floodFrom sea to shining sea! O beautiful for massacreSo swiftly carried outBy terrorist or teenagerBy godless or devout America! America!God gave thy guns to theeTo spill the […]

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 […]