Section: Society

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WCB event: the true cost of cheap food

Editor-in-chief
Pizza factory

The UK today: record foodbank use, hungry children, an obesity crisis and post-Brexit trade deals which threaten to decimate British farming and flood the market with food produced to lower standards, and the politicians chant the ‘cheap food’ mantra. The costs of cheap food are high – for humans, animals and the planet. What can […]

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 […]

The culture test: Welcoming new citizens or a way to stop immigration?

Mike Zollo

An elderly Italian lady, who has lived in the UK for 75 years and has British citizenship, was hoping that her niece could come over from Italy to be her ‘badante’ (carer). She said recently that her niece “can just come over with her ID card”… NO, post-Brexit she would now need an expensive passport, […]

Boris Johnson IS Pinocchio! How the Italian press see our PM – and us

Mike Zollo

Remember when Johnson senior accused the British public of illiteracy, saying they would not be able to spell Pinocchio? This was the evasive response to a Tweet calling Boris Johnson ‘Pinocchio’ – a liar. Now, who else can we think of who uses that sort of evasive technique?! The Italian press is still fascinated by […]

“I’m fine.” Coping with depression: a personal account

Lee Wilson

“He often thought it deeply ironic that if a depressed person walked into his office and said the world was so grim that he could not face it, he had to treat him as a sick man. Actually, the patient was right. He saw the truth only too clearly. But he was sick, because he […]

Toxic tribalism in politics got us into this mess. It has to stop.

Anthea Simmons

At last! Two things happen that all sane, honest and fair-minded people have been praying for! 1) Peter Stefanovic’s tweeted video compilation of Johnson’s very many lies to parliament surged through the 10 million views barrier and beyond, and finally began to gain some traction with both the media and politicians. and (partly as a […]

“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 […]