Section: Society

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“Fascism has never gone away…” Letters to the editor from Spain

Mike Zollo

The following is a compilation of the comments made by members of Bremain (in Spain), most of whom are Brits living in Spain or who know the country well. These comments are their reactions to the West Country Bylines article Democracy breaks up from the inside, which went online on 25 February. Lisa Ryan Burton […]

Abandon hope all youth who grow up here

Sadie Parker

“Am I gonna sit here and say that Brexit is perfect, and your generation is gonna reap the benefits? No, I’m not, because you’re not, frankly, at the minute, and I can see that. We’ve got work to do…” So said Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, addressing an audience of under-30-year-old […]

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. […]

Has Brexit made us less safe?

Sadie Parker

Prior to the referendum and for a few years afterwards, Sir Richard Dearlove appeared to dominate the conversation on security, at least from a pro-Brexit stance. Dearlove is a former head of MI6, the British security service responsible for countering threats from foreign sources. His omnipresence and stark opinions drowned out the voices of other […]

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 […]

Les rodomontades de Boris Johnson: How the French see us

Anthea Simmons

You won’t find too many fans of Boris Johnson in France. He is regarded as “a greedy pig who kidnapped our vaccine doses”. My sister-in-law commiserated with those of us in the UK who aren’t fans either, saying “You’ve got fascism. We’re getting it next year with Marine le Pen”. Great. Just what we need… […]

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 […]

“I’m pro-statue, pro-flag…” Johnson speaks to his fans

Sadie Parker

From the silence on social media, you might not know that the Conservative Party has just held its Spring Forum. I expected to see lots of clips of stirring highlights and favourite snippets from the various panel discussions, but apart from the Prime Minister’s keynote address and a speech by party chair Amanda Milling, it’s […]

Clocks go forward one hour whilst UK goes back 50 years…

Anthea Simmons

Don’t forget to put your clocks forward one hour late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and enjoy a brief foray into the future whilst Brexit takes us back to the past…only this time we won’t be the sick man but the corrupt man of Europe. We must look to nature for blue skies and […]

Will the south-west’s MPs join Charles Walker’s milk protest?

Sadie Parker

It was a depressing, foregone conclusion that MPs would vote to renew the excessive powers granted to government under the Coronavirus Act 2020. Another dull afternoon in the Commons was in prospect, when suddenly the debate took a turn for the bizarre. An MP got up on his hind legs to give one of the […]

Two jets Johnson and the second home rule

Anthea Simmons

There’s no more money for health workers. No. But there’s money for a second aeroplane. Not content with splurging £900,000 on a flag fetishist paint job on the first, spendaholic Johnson has leased a second fossil fuel-guzzling, emissions-increasing plane from Titan Airways. Really emphasising our green credentials, eh? Oh, and Titan Airways has applied to […]

How the government killed and maimed us in Feb/Mar 2020

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is calling for an inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. He has asked people to share this piece widely. Please sign this petition, calling on the government to hold that vital inquiry. Feb 3 2020Boris Johnson – speech in Greenwich “And in that context, we are starting to hear some […]

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 […]

Right to protest, not right to riot

Editor-in-chief

UPDATE: On 21 March, police claimed that two officers had sustained fairly serious injuries, including broken ribs and a punctured lung. This was untrue. On 21 March, in the early evening, we put out this report on the peaceful protest in Bristol. Within a few hours, it looked wildly anachronistic – very, very sadly. The […]

Time to call out the hate that dare not speak its name

Rosemary Schonfeld and Simon Chater

Politicians and opinion leaders must speak out on the benefits of immigration if Britain is to have any chance of regaining its rightful place at the heart of Europe. Elephant in the room As James Carville didn’t quite say during Bill Clinton’s 1992 US presidential campaign, “It’s immigration, stupid”. That’s the issue that drove the […]

Priti Patel marches in where Michael Howard feared to tread

Rachel Marshall

Editor’s comment: The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill may have been quietly pushed aside for the moment, no doubt waiting for the furore to die down, but it is very unlikely that the crackdown on dissent is off Patel’s agenda at all. Rachel Marshall reminds us of events almost two decades ago… There is […]

Protest to save our right to protest

Sadie Parker

On the day Priti Patel’s pretty awful 296-page Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts (PCSC) Bill was due back in Parliament, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, a long-time Johnson collaborator and former Deputy Mayor under him, was sent out to do the morning talkies. The PCSC Bill covers many topics, but the scope of Kit’s interview with […]

They were women with flowers

Anthea Simmons

I don’t think I’ll be the only woman who’ll be crying herself to sleep tonight. Lord knows, there has been enough to cry about in the past few years and especially the pandemic months; yet, somehow, tonight’s appalling scenes were the last straw. What have we come to? They were women with flowers and candles […]

The royal row and tabloid tyranny

Mick Fletcher

Good drama can hold up a mirror to the world and the real-life drama unfolding around the British royal family certainly does. What it shows reflects very badly on aspects of our culture, particularly the sheer toxicity of much of the tabloid press. Less obviously at the moment, it also has a serious message about […]

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 […]

Voter ID and voter suppression – another threat to our democracy

Robert Saunders

For millions of voters, the most basic act of democratic citizenship – casting a vote – is about to get harder. Under legislation being trailed in the media, it will no longer be possible simply to walk into a polling station, give your name and address, and cast a vote. Instead, voters will have to produce […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Should charity start and end at home?

Valerie Huggins

In the UK, times are hard and budgets stretched. One in five children are living in food poverty. There is increasing use of food banks. More homeless people are sleeping on the streets. It is hardly surprising that there are growing calls for us to reduce the amount we send in overseas aid to other […]