Category: Society

Page of 13

Taxing private schools: coherent strategy or counterproductive?

Emma Monk

Since Labour announced their plans to either remove the charitable status of private schools, or add VAT to school fees, social media and right-wing outlets have been awash with people claiming it wouldn’t raise any money in reality, or it would cause untold private schools failing and ‘flooding’ the state sector with students. I thought […]

Active travel is the path to follow

Mick Fletcher

On Saturday September 16, a short section of traffic-free path in rural Somerset was officially opened. It was a small thing in itself, just over one mile in length and, at present, with no onward off-road connection at either end. Nevertheless, it illustrates some very important points. The path, and others like it currently being […]

Campaigners defy wild swimming ban on Dartmoor

Lewis Winks

Signs were put up across the 4,000 acre Spitchwick Estate on Dartmoor this summer forbidding swimming along 17km of the River Dart, including at popular beauty spots. Forty right to roam campaigners held a ‘protest swim’ at Spitchwick on Sunday 10 September in defiance of the ban. Groups included Right to Roam, The Stars Are […]

You can bank on Rishi Sunak to do the wrong thing

Mick Fletcher

In July 2023, Rishi Sunak made a surprising public attack on the leaders of a major UK bank. “Rishi Sunak slams Coutts”. It is perhaps not surprising, however, that he picked the wrong issue. What prompted his unusual intervention was the denial of one sort of bank account to one rich man. Sunak ought to […]

‘Critical risk to life’: concrete AND the Conservatives

Anthea Simmons

So here we are again. In the middle of yet another ‘how long have they known and why did they do nothing about it’ saga. The RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) scandal demonstrates the same callous disregard for the lives outside the circles of the privileged few as did the care home tragedy during Covid. […]

‘Small Boats Week’ fiasco vindicates Portland mayor

Sadie Parker

Suella Braverman is the kind of person who cuts corners and ploughs on regardless. Nothing gets in her way. Not our constitution. Not parliamentary sovereignty. Not the rule of law. Now, in her latest project, the Bibby Stockholm detention barge for asylum seekers, those behaviours have put the lives of people under her department’s care […]

Smuggling and trafficking: both are bad, but they are NOT the same thing

Daniel Sohege

We need to take a dive into some of the differences between “smuggling” and “trafficking”, and, before we start, both are bad and both can involve exploitation. Daniel Sohege explains: In the simplest terms, and we’ll get into why this isn’t simple in a bit, trafficking, more often than not, is a longer term form […]

In another life…

Richard Haviland

You will need to be on top of the Tory horror show to get every reference in this thought-provoking piece from Richard Haviland, but even if you aren’t, you’ll soon pick up the theme: the casual cruelty, bigotry and hypocrisy of this government and its ministers. In another life, a man with a security fetish […]

‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…’

Anthea Simmons

This country is in a bad way, thanks to 13 years of Tory austerity. The metrics of our decline are unarguable: from NHS waiting lists to child poverty, from the cost-of-living crisis to the creaking criminal justice system, from record numbers of foodbanks to polluted beaches and ecologically-dead rivers… And Brexit has been an unmitigated […]

“We need to wake up to what’s happening.” Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, The extract below is from the Holocaust Encyclopaedia. Just substitute the word ‘Jews’ and ‘Nazi’ for refugees and Conservatives and you have the basis of the Tory government campaign against the refugees crossing the channel. ‘The use of propaganda and laws to define the enemy as a cohesive group was a key factor […]

Culture wars: the battle for Britain’s values which we must win

Richard Haviland

The other day I heard Sir John Hayes MP, close confidant of Suella Braverman, saying that the “culture wars” are an important aspect of politics because they are about values. The implication being that they are a good thing. I also heard him saying that – in any case – it was the “other side” […]

Right to roam: quashing the scaremongering

Jonathan Moses

Where to start with the recent Farmers Weekly piece on the right to roam (RTR)? It seems to have no idea what is being proposed and bemoans the loss of opportunities to “monetise partnerships with healthcare providers as solutions to the UK’s health and wellbeing crisis”. Firstly, the RTR proposals are not an “all-access approach”. […]

Battling body image

Oli Smith

Leader of the Men’s Mental Health group at his school, year 12 student, Oli Smith, candidly shares his own struggle with body image and the impact sport has had on this, including his experience of anorexia. He also offers advice for anyone struggling with the same issues. Body image is a major focus point which […]

#NotJustTheTicket: save your ticket office! DEADLINE NOW 1 SEPTEMBER!

Anthea Simmons

The banks have gone, post offices are closing, your minor injuries unit might be shut, your library closed or desperately trying to hang in there and if you don’t have a smartphone you can’t park the car that is your lifeline because there’s no reliable bus service. Welcome to the real world of rural living, […]

The spite of heartless Jenrick: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, Inured though many of us have become to the attitudes and values (or lack of them) embodied by this government, every now and then some public utterance from its policymakers is so utterly vile that it can still surprise me. On 4 July it was reported, by The Independent and other media, that […]

Dartmoor – what does the future hold for the national park?

Anthea Simmons

On Friday 14 July at 19:15, we will be hosting a panel event to be live-streamed from the Byline Festival, which is being held for the first time at Dartington Hall. The theme? Dartmoor’s future from political, agricultural, societal and environmental perspectives. Your panel for the evening: Caroline Voaden: the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for […]

The Sun poison

Jon Danzig

So, press regulator, IPSO, has ruled that Jeremy Clarkson discriminated against Meghan Markle in his column in The Sun that promoted “hatred” of her with a series of sexist tropes. So what? It’s not nearly enough. 25,100 people complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the column, written by Jeremy Clarkson on December 18 […]

UK: the Uncaring Kingdom

Mike Zollo

I have used this definition several times in the last few weeks, triggered by the government’s policy towards ‘Boat People’, the Rwanda policy, refusal to take appropriate action in respect of Afghans, the treatment of the Windrush people, and so on. Spending a few weeks in Spain (which is by no means a perfect country) […]

The ILLEGAL Bill

Jon Danzig

The government calls it “The Illegal Migration Bill”. But it should be simply shortened to “The ILLEGAL Bill”. Why? Well, first let’s understand what this bill is for and what it does. The bill was announced on 7 March 2023 without any public consultation. It aims to deter small boat crossings of asylum seekers attempting […]

Labour – your silence on so many issues carries a price

Richard Haviland

I learnt two things about the subject of child grooming gangs on Monday’s edition of The News Agents podcast.  Firstly, there’s no evidence of over-representation of any ethnic group within these gangs. Secondly, some allegations have indeed been ignored because of “cultural sensitivities”. It's right to be horrified by the latter while recognising the vitally important […]