Category: Society

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We need a new Right to Roam Act

Guy Shrubsole

We are grateful to Guy Shrubsole for permission to reproduce this thread: If we’re to restore wild camping rights on Dartmoor, we need a new Right to Roam Act – and a government willing to pass it. New legislation is how we defend and extend public access to nature – anything less won’t cut it. […]

2023: time for anger to be channelled and truth to triumph

Anthea Simmons
2023

It would be easy to feel pretty despairing right now. After all, things have got steadily worse. We thought the NHS was at the brink in 2021. We had no idea how much further this callous government was prepared to push it, how much death and misery it would wilfully ignore, while pumping out propaganda […]

Refugees: how to normalise the abnormal

Richard Haviland
Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem

Refugees: how to normalise the abnormal in 75 easy steps. 1) Flood public discourse with falsehoods and straw men, to ensure there are no commonly accepted facts; making serious discussion of a complex issue impossible. 2)Relentlessly conflate asylum with immigration, knowing that the media will play along. 3)Call legitimate asylum seekers “illegal migrants”, confident that […]

‘Clumsy’, Clarkson? Really? A non-apology is never enough

Richard Haviland
Jeremy Clarkson

Richard Haviland on the Clarkson incident. For those who do not know what he said and wish to, you can read it here. Be warned. It cannot be unread. No decent editor would have let it go to press. Ed Even by the usual standards of non-apologies, it was dire. A classic non-apology will tell […]

Has Britain lost its sense of history? Who are the real invaders?

Jon Danzig

A few thousand bedraggled, desperate human beings have crossed the English Channel to seek our help. They are unarmed and come in peace from war-torn and devastated countries. In many cases, their plight was caused by the bombing of their homes by us and our allies. Under international law, they are not considered to be […]

Qatar 2022 – polemic, politicisation and possibilities

Lucy-Ann Pope
world cup opening ceremony

“It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked.” Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions. From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums, […]

The social contract, the ‘deal’ that makes us a civilised country, is under grave threat, but we aren’t even talking about it.

Mark E Thomas

Our social contract – the ‘deal’ that makes us a civilised country – is under grave threat both practically and philosophically. And we are not talking about it. Practically, the UK is in a grave situation. We are in the midst of a serious cost-of-living crisis which will plunge over half of the UK population into fuel poverty […]

Police intimidation of activists – a lesson from Poland

Tomasz Oryński

Recently I saw a story on West Country Voices. Two women wanted to sign up for a meeting with an MP to ask him an inconvenient question. As a result, they have been paid a visit by the police officer. This story never got attention it deserves. And it should. Because this is not only […]

Hello South West Water! No more poo, please!

Sonia Rai

Having noticed the increase in sewage smells in their bay, Jovi and Sonny send a message to local water company, South West Water, to clean up their act. In 2021, South West Water intentionally discharged 680 hours of sewage into the River Lim – the equivalent to the whole month of February, 24 hours a […]

Sewage questions to MP prompt police home visits

Editor-in-chief

When I was first contacted with this story, my source asked me to listen and tell her whether I thought this story was at all weird. My immediate response on hearing what happened was “Bloody hell!”. I think that reaction will be shared by many readers and my comments on this incident are at the […]

Stop demonising asylum seekers and fix the broken system instead

Daniel Sohege

We are in a cost of living crisis. People are struggling to juggle heating their homes and feeding themselves and their children. It is utterly ridiculous to think that headlines like “asylum seekers are living in luxury hotels” won’t cut through. The simple fact of the matter is that, for the most part, the hotels […]

Why doesn’t our government care about people? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, I think I distantly remember a time when governments cared for their people, nurtured them, assisted them, spent our money neutralising the corrosive causes of poverty and criminality. I get the sense that the ‘nouvelle vague‘ of the ultra-right wing is using us like lab rats in an experiment. Shrink the […]

Benefits on Trial: the calculated cruelty of the DWP

Neil Carpenter

Benefits on Trial is based on my work in Cornwall since 2012 as a volunteer advocate with adults who have a learning disability. In recent years, that work has increasingly concerned benefits cases: helping people with their applications for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); accompanying them to assessments; requesting reconsideration […]

Platforming bile: not just nasty. Dangerous

Richard Haviland

Yesterday I sent this tweet, in dismay at hearing Nigel Farage’s voice, once again, on the radio – in this case BBC World at One. I wondered afterwards if I’d been right. So I listened again, to see what it is about Farage I find so dangerous, and ask whether I was reasonable to suggest […]

Angry and hungry for change. Hangry!

Chris Tehan

There is much to be angry about in the UK in 2022… but the last few months have been exceptional. Unfortunately, so much Tory turmoil has absorbed our capacity for anger, distracting our attention from the real underlying issues which should be the focus of our outrage and provoke the question: “What has this bloody […]

Brave new world

Ian Shaw

Sunak needs the ballast of the far-right and is curiously-led by the angry wasp that is the ERG – currently supporting the unfathomably unpleasant Suella Braverman. Sunak has said nowt. Just perfunctory praise for the most bafflingly re-appointed Secretary of State in political history. Attacking asylum-seekers with firebombs is terrorism. Terrorism. This goes unmentioned across […]

They come for asylum; we went to plunder and colonise

Jon Danzig

Home Secretary, Suella Braverman MP, calls asylum seekers travelling here in small boats across the English Channel an “invasion.” One of her predecessors, Priti Patel MP, called them ‘illegal immigrants’. They are mostly desperate, destitute, often stateless men, women and children fleeing from war, torture, oppression, sex-trafficking and persecution. And the conditions when they arrive on these shores […]

Politics ain’t for wusses and Trusses…

Ian Shaw

Third time lucky. Or is it fourth? Who cares. Doubtless, King Charles will have had another ‘dear, oh dear’ up his well-pulled sleeve. Vividly staking his pro-Brexit bent and trumpeting the exit, sans non-withdrawal agreement, in the spring of 2019, was Sunak’s blueprint. Unswervingly, he went on to claim ‘proximity to a market’ as harmful. […]

A budget that says the quiet part out loud

Mark E Thomas

The Conservative Party have now been in power in the UK for 12 years. Over that time huge economic and social problems have emerged. It is clear that the UK needs a change in direction. And this is what Truss and Kwarteng promised. They have now shown very clearly how they intend to tackle these […]

You’ve no mandate for this! Letter to Sheryll Murray

Carl Garner

Dear Sheryll Murray,  I see that Kwasi Kwarteng, the least competent chancellor in living memory, has gone against all sensible economic advice and announced fiscal policies that almost instantly tanked the pound.  Please tell me your thoughts on a tax cut for the highest earners, whilst the absolute majority of your constituents will get almost […]

Johnson the worst prime minister? He will be eclipsed by Truss

Mark E Thomas

Johnson has a strong claim to be the worst UK PM so far in terms of “… wages, economy, COVID, poverty, … preserving democracy, etc, …” But before the history books are written, he will be eclipsed by Truss, argues Mark E Thomas. It is true that Truss has inherited (and played an active part […]

Queen Elizabeth II 1926 – 2022

Editor-in-chief

The team at West Country Voices wish to commemorate the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and the ending of the second Elizabethan era. Most of us have lived our entire lives with Elizabeth II as our monarch. She has been a rare constant in a rapidly changing world and the embodiment of public service […]

The barrister strike is about protecting YOUR rights

Editor-in-chief

The below is reproduced from a thread of tweets found here, published by a practising barrister. We are reproducing this here to share and raise awareness on this issue. Barristers who work in our criminal courts have voted for an all out strike on 5 September. This is historic, and necessary. A barrister explains why […]