Category: Somerset

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Raise your voice!

Mick Fletcher

At West Country Voices we like to tell the stories that others in the media don’t. Often, these stories concern issues that the powerful and well-connected are keen to suppress; they involve holding policymakers to account or exposing abuse of office. Recent stories have focused on the threats to our democratic rights and freedoms. They […]

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 […]

“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 […]

Starting a tree nursery

Buffy Fletcher
new tree nursery

It started with a throwaway remark. At an early, virtual meeting of the Westbury Sub Mendip parish tree group someone wondered aloud about whether it might be possible to start a tree nursery. One member left the Zoom call and returned after five minutes. He had consulted his wife and they were happy for us […]

The dutiful and the despotic: a tale of two generations

Dr Pam Jarvis

This would be a powerful piece on any day of publication but coinciding as it does with the anniversary of that law-breaking party in Downing Street and the very day that author Dr Pam Jarvis’s brother died it has additional heft and poignancy. My mother, who died in February, was born into a generation raised […]

Small victories matter

Mick Fletcher

One of our aims at West Country Voices is to stand up for the rights of citizens against the abuse of power, whether by government or private interests. In recent weeks we have sought to spell out the threats to democracy enshrined in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, highlighted the demonisation of migrants […]

A dangerous dowry for the new Somerset unitary authority

Mick Fletcher

The prospects for the new unitary authority recently imposed on Somerset are not good. Like local government everywhere, the county is having to cope with a dysfunctional funding system and a decade of austerity. It will soon have to cope with the extra costs of reorganisation, estimated at over £16m. On top of this, however, […]

Social care: another Conservative manifesto pledge broken

Sadie Parker

Social care may well prove to be Alexander Boris de Pfeffel’s Johnson’s Waterloo, and deservedly so. Out of the blue, less than a week before parliament was to vote on the matter, Number 10 tabled a new proposal (New Clause 49 to the Health and Care Bill) on the social care cap. It significantly watered […]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: the six-million-quid man

Sadie Parker
Meme of Rees-Mogg as Squid, the six million pound man

Any parallels drawn between Lee Majors’ six-million-dollar man of the 1970s and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s six-million-quid man of the 2020s can only be for the purpose of highlighting polar opposites. While the six-million-dollar man was intent on doing good, six-million-quid man — let’s call him “Squid” for short — seems wholly focused on filling his boots […]

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 MPs in our region (all Conservatives) who voted to ALLOW raw sewage dumping…and those who voted against

Editor-in-chief

“Lords’ Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.” “Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustice recommended to his […]

Fyshy business – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear EiC Many thanks for Anthea Simmons’ pair of enlightening pieces on Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh. Having cast my line into the Register of Members Interests, I caught a couple of interesting minnows which supplement her arguments. The first article suggested Mr Fysh felt he had acquired some expertise in epidemiology and virology. Well he’s […]

Marcus Fysh talking codswallop. Part 2

Anthea Simmons

MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh is on fire at the moment. He’s become an expert epidemiologist and virologist in the space of a few days and now he is acting like a business development exec for private healthcare insurance companies. At first it seemed as though he and Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris were […]

Marcus Fysh talking (potentially dangerous) codswallop. Part 1

Anthea Simmons

MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh has miraculously become a medic – and an epidemiologist and virologist to boot. Perhaps he’s piloting a new government strategy aimed at filling the shortages in experienced staff across a whole range of sectors whereby an individual has only to express a nodding acquaintance with a subject or a function […]