Section: Region

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The Brexit classic car crash

Mike Zollo

“We were lied to by the UK government implying that we had an FTA but actually giving us a no-deal.” Never mind its obsession with removing our freedom of movement, the Government has driven us into Brexit: a classic car crash! Like so many other areas of economic activity in the UK, particularly SMEs (Small […]

Our democracy sustains another fearful blow

Anthea Simmons

This is a dark day for our democracy. The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right. If the pernicious Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which has just passed its second reading, becomes law, Patel and the police will be able to decide that a procession or assembly would give rise to the […]

No-show Mangnall fails to engage with democracy

Laurie Taylor

Our MP’s empty chair was part of the focus of an online, public meeting on the evening of Thursday 11 March, held by Totnes Make Votes Matter (MVM), to discuss voting reform for parliamentary elections to Westminster. “Make Votes Matter”, a national cross-party campaign group, organised a mass lobby of MPs all over the country, to propose a change of the voting system […]

Puppy lust: the rise in heartbreaking pet theft

Sadie Parker

Imagine having a pair of dogs for company. They’re your everything, now that your spouse has passed on. Between walks they like a frolic in the garden. One day you let them out as you put the wash on and potter in your utility room. When you finish a short while later, you call out […]

“My small business is in ruins and I see no way out.”

Anthea Simmons

My £1m UK small business is in ruins and I see no way out. Tried everything, feel utterly powerless. Trade with EU virtually impossible. This was so predictable and predicted. Bastards! This is the tweet that could be sent by thousands of small businesses up and down the land. It is the tweet that should […]

Debunking Covid-19 myths: part 4 – taking a look at testing

Emma Monk

One of the areas where I keep coming across a lot of misinformation relates to testing ‒polymerase chain reaction (PCR), lateral flow tests (LFT), false positives, false negatives, and whether the inventor of PCR really said PCR shouldn’t be used to test for Covid-19! It is easy to get confused by the different molecular biology […]

The Third Gentleman of Swanage

Valery Collins

During the nineteenth century the fortunes of Swanage were dictated by a trio known as the Three Gentlemen of Swanage. Two of them, John Mowlem and George Burt developed the Purbeck stone trade, contributing to the fabric of the town as their business prospered and grew. It was the third, philanthropist William Morton Pitt, who […]

The right to peaceful protest must not be undermined

Anthea Simmons

Did you take part in any of the anti-Brexit, pro-final say/People’s Vote marches in 2017/2018 or 2019? If you did, you will know what astonishingly well-mannered, convivial affairs they were (whether that was a good thing or not is another matter). Hundreds of thousands of people travelled up to London on coaches that left the […]

Stop using the ‘B’ word? Not me.

Kathryn Fox

Haven’t most of us, at some time in our lives, been told to stop using bad language? The government even went so far as to tell its ministers not to use the B word –  Brexit – that is. It’s been nearly five years. The Deal is done.  We should just make a go of […]

‘Woke wars’: let’s hear it for the National Trust’s long history of radicalism

Tom Scott

When the National Trust was founded, it wasn’t just ‘woke’ – it was revolutionary. Yesterday, the National Trust published an interactive online map that shows how climate change threatens the countryside, coastline and historic houses in its care – including many sites in the South West. Extreme heat and humidity, coastal erosion, landslides, floods and […]

School funding crisis in Somerset will mean closures and redundancies

Editor-in-chief

Somerset County Council shows no signs of changing course on school closures and staff redundancies in Somerset  Plans for wholesale changes to schools in the Crewkerne and Ilminster area came to Somerset County Council’s Scrutiny for Policies, Children and Families Committee this week (Wednesday 3 March), prior to the Council’s Cabinet making a final decision on […]

Plymouth and South Devon freeport: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Reading a tweet by South Devon MP Gary Streeter lavishing praise on Johnny Mercer’s lobbying for sealing the deal for a freeport in Plymouth, I was struck that perhaps he was giving the game away: that while there is much work undertaken by council staff, regional development specialists and key industry partners in the technical […]

“Shoddy little deal” and shoddy big lies

Daniel Lambert

Editor: Once again we are pleased to share Daniel’s insights with those not on Twitter. I think what disturbs us (amongst so many things so to do) is that ministers are lying about their consultations with industries, claiming to have support when they don’t, claiming to be working with those affected when they aren’t. Prentis […]

Will Mangnall be empty-chaired?

Laurie Taylor

Laurie Taylor of Make Votes Matter in Totnes : Our local Make Votes Matter (MVM) group has been working hard to develop something in the place of the ‘lobby’ about Electoral Reform which Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall (AM) has refused to have with us. We have decided on a different zoom event where we will […]

Trading the orchard for an apple

Sadie Parker

Department for International Trade (DIT) tweets are easy to distinguish from those of other government departments by their exuberant use of emojis. “Good to speak to my counterparts from across the EEA EFTA states about our live negotiations on a new trade deal,” tweeted junior trade minister Ranil Jayawardena after the meeting on February 25th. […]

Paddock politics: why racing gets a leg up

Rachel Marshall

From the Cheltenham super-spreader festival, to the heroic hosting of vaccination centres, to fellow-jockeys Hancock and Harding overseeing Track and Trace, the connections between the worlds of horse racing and politics run deep. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders: Sport of Kings Horse racing is a hugely valuable industry with estimates putting […]

A freeport for Poole: Free trade or free ride?

Conor Niall O'Luby

Will Poole soon become a ‘freeport’? Yes, if Drew Mellor, Conservative leader of Bournemouth Christchurch Poole (BCP) Council, gets his way. As the Brexit transition period approached in December 2020, Drew Mellor announced plans for a joint bid to government from Bournemouth Airport and the Port of Poole. The  bid also includes the Dorset’s local […]

Tackling the climate emergency starts on your doorstep

Tom Scott

Tackling the climate emergency starts on your doorstep Helston Climate Action Group has brought together people of all ages and backgrounds to find imaginative – and fun – ways to cut carbon emissions. And it’s also been bringing real mental health benefits to local people during the pandemic.  Last week, Katharine Lewis, one of the […]

The truth about the shellfish ‘ban’. Updated…again

Tom Haward

Editor: Proof that George Eustice knew about the ban and has been lying… UPDATE: George Eustice was being deceptive on TV. I have read the Fisheries section of the TCA and undepurated shellfish export isn’t mentioned. This omission means the UK would abide by current EU regulations [for Third Countries] if it isn’t in Exit […]

Wild Beer and Brexit

Richard Wilkins

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Indeed, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) which are defined as businesses with fewer than 250 employees, accounted for 60 per cent of all private sector jobs in the UK, a total of 16.6m. Make no mistake about it, SMEs are crucial to the UK’s economy and their […]

50 days on: Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Sadie Parker

Saturday 20 February was the 50th day since Boris Johnson’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) came into effect. Anyone expecting it to settle all questions, or even most of the details, of how we will do business with the EU from now on will be mightily disappointed. The proverbial expression of something being ‘as full […]