Section: Politics

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 […]

A proper G7 job

Mark Newham

Pride, amazement, exhilaration… three words that pretty much summed up initial local reaction to news of the 47th G7 summit location for 2021. “Fancy,”I heard one shopper remarking to another in my local supermarket, “the Prime Minister choosing little old Cornwall for such an important meeting. Proper job, eh?” From the comments appearing in the […]

Somerset wants local government to be local

Mick Fletcher
Leaders of the four regional concils behind Stronger Somerset

Double defeat for Jenrick It’s a double defeat for ‘Honest Bob’ Jenrick.  Firstly, the free vote of Somerset residents that he tried so hard to stop has taken place. Secondly local electors resoundingly rejected the option he so obviously preferred – the ambition of failing Somerset County Council (SCC) to take over the four districts.  […]

Is the G7 being held in Cornwall or Cloud Cuckoo Land?

Tom Scott
massive cruise ship in Falmouth to house police for G7

The government’s claim that the G7 in Cornwall will be “carbon neutral” is unadulterated greenwash. I just walked to the end of my road in Falmouth to have a look at the MS Silja Europa, the massive cruise ship on which a thousand police personnel will be housed during the G7 summit in Cornwall next […]

Can our Catholic PM be prosecuted for appointing an Anglican bishop?

Sadie Parker

Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson could be described as Schrödinger’s Catholic. Born in New York and christened in the Catholic church on the wishes of his mother, Charlotte Johnson née Fawcett, his godmother Rachel Billington admitted he was never much of a churchgoer. Then at Eton he was confirmed into the Church of England. When […]

A personal perspective: time for us to live up to EU values

Clare Knight

I was really upset to read a tweet from Byline Times‘ Peter Jukes saying that he had seen the vindictive side of remainers/rejoiners in their extreme and ugly reactions to Byline TV’s video on the farmers. I am as devastated and heartbroken about Brexit as any one, but that does not make me want to […]

Is ‘opportunity’ the most mis-used word in UK politics?

Sadie Parker
Dad's army stars staring at sky. Brexit benefits?

Our government’s overuse of the word ‘opportunity’ in relation to Brexit is beginning to grate. At a recent meeting of the European Scrutiny Select Committee — for which a more accurate moniker would be the European Scathing Select Committee, given how dyspeptic, hostile and Brexity it is — the question of ‘opportunity’ in brave, new […]

A 93 year old’s poignant diary entries from 1971

Editor-in-chief

John Evans’s diary (courtesy of his daughter Jane Welby) Jane Welby: ”My Dad, a lifelong Tory voter and Telegraph reader, died last summer aged 93 and we have been reading through diaries we never knew existed. I found this thoughtful and prescient entry from October 1971 rather poignant:” Thursday 28 October 1971 “Tonight our Westminster […]

Tell them, because Matt Hancock lied

Tom Scott

If any question why we died,Tell them, because our fathers lied. So reads one of Rudyard Kipling’s Epitaphs of the War. Substitute “Matt Hancock” for “our fathers” and it could serve as an epitaph for the many thousands of vulnerable elderly people and hundreds of care home staff who were consigned to die in the […]

British farming: the end of the Brexit illusion

Nick Tolhurst

We still do not know the final details of the Australia trade deal signed off by cabinet last week – but what we do know is the ‘shape of the deal’. Australia is to obtain tariff and quota free access to the UK market in agricultural goods – with domestic farmers protected by having this […]

Ian Liddell-Grainger sums up the Somerset ‘spoof’ situation and urges everyone to vote in the referendum the establishment tried to stop

Editor-in-chief

West Country Bylines contacted Mr Liddell-Grainger for a comment for our article earlier today (24 May) and he responded with this, giving us permission to use it however we liked. We’re showing you the original document and the text, in case it’s not clear on your device. “The “spoof website” that eclipsed the start of […]

Cuts to arts courses: strategic missteps and myopia

Virginia Button
protest placard "Save the Arts"

Towards the end of my first year as an undergraduate in 1979 I desperately wanted to switch to my subsidiary subject, art history. I had no idea that this even existed as a degree course when I applied to university, but it proved to be a mind-blowing, intellectually rigorous course of study that ignited a […]

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 […]

Letter to the editor: Make Votes Matter

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, On 6 May, much of the country went to the ballot box to select county council representatives.  “On the doorsteps people told me that ‘politicians don’t listen to us anyway’ ”. So said Ruth Rollin, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brockenhurst. She continues, “I’d like to hope that we would all welcome a voting […]

Government’s green travel list – are holidays really back on?

Emma Monk

The weekend before the May election the front pages of certain Conservative-supporting newspapers were excitedly reporting that ‘Boris’ was about to announce that foreign holidays were coming back! What a boost to give people just before an election. Especially when you are hoping that the general public will forget the 128,000+ official Covid-19 deaths caused […]

Rocket fuel or rocketing debt? The new offer for adult education

Mick Fletcher

The government’s legislative programme announced in the Queen’s speech on 11 May gave particular prominence to the idea of ‘levelling up’, promising “bold new interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunities throughout the UK”.  Central to this vision is the reform of vocational education, described as offering new lifelong learning opportunities for adults. The prime minister […]

Marine Le Pen: does the leopard change its spots…?

Geneviève Talon

Like most French voters over the age of 40, I will never forget the shock result of the first round of the presidential election in 2002. The two candidates to qualify for the second round were the right-wing Jacques Chirac and the extreme right-wing Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the ‘Front National’. French voters of […]