Category: Society

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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 […]

The property price boom that helps the few, not the many

Mick Fletcher
Stags estate agent sign

In 2021 the average price of houses in Taunton increased by 21 per cent: the highest rate of increase in the country. It is a sign of how utterly dysfunctional our housing market has become that this was announced as good news. According to the Daily Mail, for example, “while it was good news for […]

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 […]

“First homes, not second homes!” MP Luke Pollard is on a mission

Anthea Simmons

Housing. It’s in crisis across the UK but nowhere is that crisis more acute than in the south-west, battered by the perfect storm of beauty, inequality and wealth. It’s not as if we don’t know what damage second, holiday and empty homes do to a community. There’s enough research out there, let alone the daily […]

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 […]

A case of the African giggles

Canon Robin Murch
Desmond Tutu

Canon Robert Murch pays his own tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, recalling a meeting in the mid-sixties in Wells, Somerset. I spent 1965/1966 as a theological student at Wells Theological College. A recently retired army officer, I knew little about the Church of England and even less about theology, but it was an education which […]

Gnasher strikes again!

Mike Zollo
cartoon of cyclist being chased by a dog

If there’s one thing that’s just as divisive as Brexit, it’s the ‘cat/dog’ schism. OK, I’ll admit it: I’ve always preferred cats, and over the 50 years or so we’ve had our own home, we’ve usually had one or more moggy sharing our space. As for dogs, I’d be the first to admit that I’ve […]

Something lovely for a change! Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief
woman standing in St Just square with a Black lives Matter placard

Yes, it was a few months ago, but it brought some sunshine into the Editor-in-Chief’s day! Dear West Country Voices, I don’t know whether this is the sort of thing you’d be interested in, but having visited your beautiful part of the country in the summer and in light of all the debate prompted by […]

Devon’s housing crisis: the champions of change

Anthea Simmons

How many of us have experienced, or can begin to really comprehend, what it is to be without a home? How many of us have known the unsettling insecurity of living in rented accommodation at the whim of a landlord who might at any moment, once the fixed term contract is up, issue a Section […]

Remove Clause 9 from the hideous Nationality and Borders Bill

Anthea Simmons

It is savagely ironic that dozens of Conservative MPs are spitting out their dummies over the ‘outrageous’ curtailment to freedom that results from being obliged to wear a mask and to produce a Covid passport to gain entry to various venues and amenities and yet they happily wave through legislation that includes some of the […]

Now that Brexit is ‘done’, Tories want human rights undone

Jon Danzig
Image of Human rights act cover and SOS

UK SOS: our human rights are under threat The Tories of this century want to abandon the human rights that Tories of the last century championed and established. It was Winston Churchill who, in 1948, advocated a European ‘Charter of Human Rights’ in direct response to the abject horrors of the Nazi regime and the […]

If protest changed anything, they’d make it illegal…

Tom Scott

… and that’s exactly what Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill aims to do. Tom Scott explains why this is yet another assault on freedom and democracy and must be opposed. In St Stephen’s Hall in the Houses of Parliament, a stained-glass window commemorates the women who fought for voting rights in the […]

What has Santa got for budding scientists? Enter the gadget grotto!

Colin White

So, it’s that time of the year again. No sooner has the last firework fizzled down to a damp squib, and we have to turn our attention to the sprouts (to slice crosses in the stalks or not, that is the question!) And presents. As a consequence of the transport and man-power problems caused by […]

Will our MPs stand up for the lifeboats?

Mick Fletcher

If any organisation embodies the best of British values it is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).   It is funded by donations and almost entirely staffed by volunteers.  It is a charity independent of government, wholly dedicated to saving lives at sea.  Its volunteers are ready to risk their own life to help others, 24 […]

Why do our government and tabloid press demonise refugees?

Sadie Parker

No doubt you’ve seen the crocodile tears of some of our tabloid commentators concerning the death of 27 people in the English Channel (technically in French waters) on the night of Wednesday, 24 November. They included a young Kurdish fiancée, four other women and a little girl, and possibly an Afghan interpreter who previously worked […]

“She wanted to be with her husband in Britain”

Jon Danzig

As reported by The Times today, a young woman from Iraqi Kurdistan, who was travelling to Britain to be with her husband, was among those who died in the Channel tragedy. She was Baran Nuri Muhamadamin, 24, from the town of Souran in the far northeast of Iraqi Kurdistan, where the territory meets the Turkish […]

Greenham Common Women – 40 years on

Conor Niall O'Luby
Badge worn by Grennham Common Women's protest

A train trip back in time “Going anywhere nice today?” Taking the drink from the young woman at the station kiosk, I replied: “We’re off to Newbury, to Greenham Common. It’s the 40-year anniversary of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. My mum was one of the Greenham Women. We’re going to see the events […]

All credit to credit unions

Mick Fletcher
Credit Union sign on building

Credit unions represent the quiet approach to community action. While some groups, like Greenpeace or Extinction Rebellion, seek to bring about change by hitting the headlines, credit unions are rarely in the news and not well understood. Yet figures published by the Bank of England show that they serve some two million members in the […]

The horrors being smuggled into the Nationality and Borders bill: this is not right; this is not who we are.

Editor-in-chief

My eye was caught today by this thread from Colin Yeo, a barrister passionate about immigration law and a campaigner for the rights of all those who fall foul of this government’s hostile environment. He founded and edits the widely-read Free Movement immigration law blog and last year published Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System. Colin’s […]

Boris Johnson: say sorry and mean it; then DO something

Peter Cordwell

Editor preface: As the BBC looks set to make money out of telling the Jimmy Savile story, the issue of historic child sex abuse is back in the spotlight. Amongst the very many lies, obfuscations and offensive statements made by Boris Johnson in the course of his political career, perhaps the most hideous and reprehensible […]