Section: Region

Page of 13

The disinformation pandemic

Tom Scott

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Dr Matthew Lee, a young medic working at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, tweeted a video of the scene that confronted him when he stepped out of the hospital after completing a late shift in A&E. As he described it: “Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge […]

Awards part two: some more good people, thankfully!

Anthea Simmons

Most dogged defenders of our food & farming standards: Devon MPs Ben Bradshaw, Luke Pollard and Dorset MP Simon Hoare stand amongst those who braved the government to demand standards be enshrined in law and not on the table in any future trade deals. (Devon MP Neil Parish almost made it into this select group, […]

People of the year part one: the good guys

Anthea Simmons

Humanitarian of the Year: Marcus Rashford. As an example of altruism, generosity of spirit, determination, focus and just plain being right, Rashford has become an icon of hope for the persistence of compassion and kindness in our communities. He tackled and outplayed Johnson at every (U) turn and scored powerful political goals. Visit his website […]

In a stew over fish…

Mike Zollo

From fish’n’chips to calamares In my childhood days, my experience of fish was usually limited to a somewhat greasy lump of batter, with a trace of white matter within it, presumably cod, accompanied by equally greasy, soggy chips. They were served in newspaper, liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Perhaps my palate-memory is rather jaded […]

The Potemkin hospitals

Tom Scott

With desperate frontline NHS staff warning that the health service is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 admissions, it appears that the government’s much vaunted Nightingale hospitals were built largely for PR purposes – yet another example of government by vacuous gesture. The news that the government’s flagship Nightingale hospital at London’s […]

“A bad Brexit deal done by bad people in a bad way” Dr Philip Lee

Editor-in-chief

This short but powerful thread from former Conservative MP, Justice minister and part time GP Dr Philip Lee warrants sharing far and wide. “This is a bad #Brexit deal done by bad people in a bad way. It doesn’t have the public’s explicit informed consent. It bears little relation to Vote Leave’s promises in 2016. […]

A pinprick of hope

Vicky Rosier

It was bright when we drew up outside the Eastway Clinic at Sunday lunchtime. Since I don’t drive and the buses are infrequent, I’d allowed us the privilege of getting a taxi. And, on balance, taking a taxi involving greater proximity to one masked driver probably involves no greater risk than sitting on a bus […]

Who is to blame for the Brexit we are getting?

Sadie Parker

You might be surprised to discover that, according to a clutch of pro-Brexit pundits, it is Remainers who are to blame for the inglorious Brexit we’re about to receive. Odd how a rash of articles spinning this premise suddenly appeared one after another in a very short timeframe. It’s almost as if they’re all in […]

Case for closure of Teignmouth hospital “not credible”

Editor-in-chief

Press release 20 December 2020 Save Our Hospital Services Case for closure of Teignmouth hospital ‘not credible’ says Devon CC Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee A special Spotlight Review meeting took place on 14 December to consider Devon CCG’s recent consultation on closing services at Teignmouth Hospital. Its report to the CCG states: “Members […]

Our thanks and a message to you, dear reader

Editor-in-chief

First of all, a big thank you for reading and sharing our articles. We’ve only been going five months, but 360,000 people have paid us a visit and that’s fantastic. We are all doing this for love. Love of truth. Love of justice. Love of our country and of our fellow denizens of this precious […]

While hedge funds shorted stocks by night…

Tom Scott

A timely reworking from Tom Scott of ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’ for the secular, Brexiter age. While hedge funds shorted stocks by nightAnd bet against the pound,A WhatsApp from BoJo came down,And glory shone around. “Fear not,” said he, for mighty dreadHad seized their troubled mind;“Glad tidings of No Deal I bringTo […]

Cryptic crossword for Christmas

Anthea Bareham

Across 9              Soften up with a brew of tea that is taken around Ms Flanders (9) 10           Trim eyeshades to see the prize (5) 11           A 50:4 mix for 12,14 (5) 12,14      As D Trump digs in, church leaders are in despair for festive fare (9,7) 13,25d    Honest sounding copper is needed for 12,14 (7,4) […]

Box set: a pot pourri of delights

Anthea Simmons

We’re not all about politics, climate change and Covid-19 at West Country Bylines. We try to bring you some deliciously diverse fare. Here’s a selection of articles you may have missed. Please enjoy and share!

Environment Box Set

Editor-in-chief
path through broad-leaved woodland

In case you missed them or ar e hungry for a binge read, here is a selection of articles on environmental issues from our first five months: You can read Part 2 of Tony’s series on Dartmoor here. Part 3 will be published in January.

John le Carré: Traitor or Patriot?

Mike Zollo

“El Brexit es la mayor idiotez perpetrada por el Reino Unido” “Brexit is the greatest act of stupidity perpetrated by the United Kingdom” For many years I have followed with interest how some elements of the European press present the UK. Whenever there is a major event, it is fascinating to compare the treatment of […]

Better days ahead?

Mike Hannis

In this proud new era of unchallenged sovereignty, no opportunity is missed to make clear that ‘Britain is best’. Even when the UK drugs regulator licenced a Covid-19 vaccine created in Germany by a Turkish couple, for a US drug company to manufacture in Belgium, a government minister explained that this proved British scientists were […]

Masks in supermarkets: am I a man or a mouse?

Tom Scott
Man shopping in supermarket wearing a mask

A couple of days ago I was doing some Christmas shopping at a local supermarket near my home in Cornwall. As I scoured the shelves for stollen (a favourite festive treat in our household), I couldn’t help noticing that quite a few of the other customers were not making any attempt to socially distance, and […]

Covid-19: the effects on rural churches and communities

Susanna Metz
Sheepwash Church, Devon with thatched cottage.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The opening of A Tale of Two Cities came to mind when I was asked to write about the effect these very difficult past ten months have had specifically on ‘the Church’ in rural areas. If I were not too old to start […]

In search of Cinderella – a virtual pantomime for Somerset

Richard Crowe

“In search of Cinderella” came out of a conversation between Deb Richardson, producer at Somerset Film, and me. It was late July/early August when theatres across the UK were announcing there would be no pantomime this year.  This was an intolerable proposition for a county like ours, with its numerous local societies producing an annual […]

A ‘lifetime skills guarantee’ – great, until you read the small print

Mick Fletcher

The shameful gap between the soaring rhetoric of policy announcements and the sordid reality of what is implemented has become one of the defining features of this government. The headline examples are of course the ‘oven ready deal’ that took 12 months to get anywhere near the oven, and the ‘world beating’ track and trace […]

Is callousness a vote winner? Rees-Mogg appears to think so.

Anthea Simmons

Self-professed man of faith gave an interesting demonstration of Christian charity yesterday when he took a pot shot at UNICEF. The government he represents appears to be in denial about the record levels of child poverty, but does not take kindly to being forced to confront the truth by the likes of Marcus Rashford and, […]

Hearts of Oak

Canon Robin Murch

Since I was a child I have always had a love of oak trees. In the war years my anxious mother would send my brother and me into the garden to play. It was a nice sizeable garden with a good chicken run to interest us. There at the end of the garden stood a […]

The seven deadly sins of 2020

Rachel Marshall

When Covid-19 and the lockdown first hit, there was a magical outpouring of willingness to help, support people in communities, think greener and kinder. We relished the fresher air, the new things we discovered on our daily walk or run, we appreciated nurses, carers, binmen, transport workers, supermarket staff. As the year draws to a […]