Category: Society

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Universal discredit: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Further to Valerie Huggins’s recent excellent article on universal credit (UC), I’d like to offer the following experience of a family reliant on UC: Over the last couple of years, my local church charity group has been in a position to help a ‘distressed’ family. Confidentiality prevents me from giving any details; suffice to say […]

The £20 UC cut: the final straw?

Valerie Huggins

At the beginning of August, the headline in the Guardian stated “Johnson faces rebellion over ‘intolerable’ hunger and poverty in home counties”. Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire (and lead Brexiter) was apparently shocked by the crisis in food insecurity after a study by Sheffield University researchers revealed that his constituency is one of […]

The housing emergency in Totnes (and beyond): Sandra’s story, part 1

AtmosTotnes

When we say Atmos will build 62 truly affordable homes, and that Totnes is experiencing a housing emergency, it is easy to lose sight of the human stories behind that. So @SaputoInc, we’re going to tell you one of those stories. Let’s call our teller ‘Sandra’… It matters that you hear her story, Saputo Inc. […]

A fair start? Poor children locked out of vital early years services

Valerie Huggins

I awake this morning to news of yet another example of the deceit underpinning this government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda, in one of the most neglected areas of public policy: the support for our youngest children. According to the latest research by the Sutton Trust and the Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust, England’s poorest children are being ‘locked-out’ […]

Was the mass murder in Plymouth terrorism? A letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, Re: Let’s not mince words: the mass murder in Plymouth was an act of terrorism I worry society is becoming too quick to judge and that we are too easily convinced we are right on every issue (having tapped into the opinions of people ‘like us’ on social media). During the Brexit campaign […]

An archbishop who prioritises English nationalism above honesty and social justice: latest recruit to the culture wars

Clare Knight

Meet the latest culture wars ‘warrior’, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the second most powerful cleric in the land, admired by none other than that living embodiment of Christian values, Nigel Farage. Since we appear to be returning to a Henry VIII-style era, with a much-married autocrat dominating the political stage empowered by the eponymous powers of […]

Mental health provision : a heart-rending story

Chris Morrison
girl alone, depressed

There is a lot to unpack in this story. We had just finished watching dramatic scenes on @TheBlock 2017 (#renovators highly recommend!), getting all tucked up into bed, when I heard a young woman crying outside our window. Living in a town centre, this sort of thing was not unusual. She was on a video […]

Garden villages – are they as green as they seem?

Mick Fletcher

In August 2018 the government set out proposals for the creation of ‘garden communities’, intended to tackle the chronic shortage of housing in the UK and raise the standard of building development.  The name consciously harks back to the ‘Garden City’ vision of Ebenezer Howard but also reflects one of the stock cliches of property […]

The Police freeze out Patel

Anthea Simmons

The Police Federation of England and Wales have announced that they no longer have confidence in Home Secretary Priti Patel. Patel-watchers will be wondering which of her many egregious acts, opinions or policies brought the Police, at long last, to the realisation that she is not deserving of anyone’s confidence. Was it because they suddenly […]

Early years forgotten again

Valerie Huggins
child playing with wooden toys in early years class

I listened to Johnson’s levelling-up speech with hope in my heart that he would at last focus on the sector that has the potential to make the most difference to children’s life outcomes – early years care and education. In the speech, Johnson acknowledged that after ten years of Conservative government: “If you are a […]

Trans rights: let’s build bridges, not walls

Tom Scott
Icon symbolising division

The issue of trans rights is being used by the right as a wedge to divide the left. And, as the resignations of Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley as Green Party co-leaders show, the left has fallen headlong into this trap. This is an article I really didn’t want to write, prompted by the decision […]

The fish rots from the head

Anthea Simmons

First of all, I must apologise for yet another article about football. I don’t even like it that much. I certainly don’t know anything about the actual game from a technical point of view. But, like it or not, football has come to be something of a focal point for our nation’s values and outlook […]

Gareth Southgate: the best of us

Sadie Parker

Whatever the result of the final of the Euros, Gareth Southgate has already won. To rise to the heights of playing for England, only to miss that penalty against Germany in the EUFA Euro 1996 semi-final, but to then pick himself up, continue to play for his country for a further 8 years, until becoming […]

Lack of action on active travel in Somerset

Mick Fletcher

Somerset County Council (SCC) have contacted us over our article on cycle paths in Somerset. They asked us to add three points giving the perspective of the County Highways Department on some of the key issues raised. We are pleased to set out their comments here in the interests of balance and to quote in […]

Highway holdup for Somerset cyclists

Mick Fletcher
group of cyclists on Brean Way cycle-path

Slow progress on cycle-paths One of the reasons that progress in developing a network of cycle-paths in England is glacially slow is that opposition turns up where you might reasonably have expected support. ‘Blocked by the Burdensome Estate’ set out how an agency sponsored by the Department for Transport is still undermining moves to create […]

The UK’s shameful hostile environment is persecuting hope

Mike Zollo

“As I approached one of the drowned corpses on the beach, that of a young lad, the mobile phone in his pocket began to ring; I guess it was his mother or girlfriend ringing to ask if he had arrived safely …” The words of a Spanish Red Cross worker dealing with bodies washed up […]

“Why I was arrested blockading Rupert Murdoch’s printing press”

Caspar Hughes

On 5 September last year I was part of the Extinction Rebellion group that blockaded Rupert Murdoch’s printing press. We knew we were going up against a powerful group of men who own the Sun, The Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, all of which are printed at Rupert Murdoch’s printing press in Hertfordshire. […]

Peaceful protest in action

Rachel Marshall

After a year of signing online petitions the government will simply ignore, this Saturday feeling a mixture of anxiety and compulsion, I went back to the streets to protest – while I still can – against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill at one of the 25 protests that took place across the UK. […]

The unstoppable march of the masts

Mick Fletcher

Most of us want it both ways.  We are keen, often desperate, to get improved mobile coverage. At the same time, we don’t want our precious landscapes scarred by ugly and alien structures. Reconciling the two will always be tricky. However, a little-known piece of legislation called the Electronic Communications Code (EC code) tips the […]

Helping the police with their enquiries

Mike Zollo

Police interpreting: racism and xenophobia ‒ hardly a new phenomenon The southwest of our country has always attracted many Europeans, and not just tourists: many work in our schools, hospitals, hotels and restaurants, for example… and one mustn’t forget the language students who attend language schools in so many of our towns and cities. They […]

Racism is a pandemic and we are not handling it well.

Anthea Simmons

I was in two minds as to whether to put out the article below in the light of the publication of the Sewell Report. We will cover the report in full very shortly…urgently. Its message, if the extract below is anything to go by, must not get a hold on the popular consciousness. This is […]

Hey, Jean! Meet genealogy!

Sadie Parker

A woman called Jean caused a stir when she phoned in to LBC and told David Lammy, the UK’s Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, that he wasn’t English. He was born here, grew up here and all his sensibilities are English, but that doesn’t count, according to Jean. He can […]

Listen to our debate on the future of the NHS and healthcare

Anthea Simmons

On 24 March, WCB ran the second of a series of Zoom Q&A events on hot political and socio-economic topics. In the wake of the publication of the Government’s white paper on the future of health and social care, the sale of GP practices to a US healthcare provider, privatisation of test and trace, the […]

From mines to vines: exchanging the seeds of destruction for the fruits of hope.

Editor-in-chief

In the ever-expanding desert of negative news come these joyous oases of compassion and positivity. Women in War and International Politics (WIWIP) at King’s College, London and Roots of Peace have collaborated to bring an exciting panel event to discuss the role of women in de-mining and post-conflict reconstruction through sustainable agriculture in Afghanistan, and […]