Section: UK

“She wanted to be with her husband in Britain”

Jon Danzig

As reported by The Times today, a young woman from Iraqi Kurdistan, who was travelling to Britain to be with her husband, was among those who died in the Channel tragedy. She was Baran Nuri Muhamadamin, 24, from the town of Souran in the far northeast of Iraqi Kurdistan, where the territory meets the Turkish […]

The letter we are still waiting to receive

Editor-in-chief

This is a letter we have yet to receive and even the idea of it may make the blood of some of our readers boil. But does it, or a version of it, languish in draft emails on computers right across our region, addressed but unsent? It would be good to think so.Go on. Open […]

Madness

Graham Hurley
Johnson graffiti

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad“. Sophocles did not, of course, have Boris Johnson in mind, but the dramatist’s line from Antigone has survived the passage of time, and two recent speeches – coupled with Johnson’s usual insouciance about the gathering storms that beset us all – suggest that Greek […]

Follow the money! Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Bylines, Even the Daily Mail has been reporting on the “outside” earnings of Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon. He earned £400,000 a year advising the British Virgin Islands tax haven over corruption charges and has agreed to take on two more weeks of work for that government despite the […]

The NHS: where does all the money go?

Sally Miller

As NHS watchers are only too aware, there’s constant wrangling over NHS finances: it’s a bottomless pit; it’s mismanaged; it’s a huge amount; it’s not enough; will never be enough….Where to start with all of this? Let’s take a look… Does the UK spend on healthcare match that of comparable countries? Well, no. Neither as […]

A scientist’s homage to the creative artist

Colin White

Once again, it would appear the government is revisiting its plans, first mooted towards the start of this year, to limit the number of students studying what they deem to be inappropriate courses. Courses which they consider unlikely to create instant taxable wealth for the exchequer, and/or to lead to solid, reliable starting salaries which […]

Cancer patients have suffered enough

Dr Dianne Dowling

During a BBC interview on 1 October 2021, Boris Johnson added insult to injury by using the phrase: “Never mind life expectancy or cancer outcomes – look at wage growth.” Clearly, the only metric he was interested in was economic. This is deeply offensive to cancer patients and their families, and shows a total lack […]

REDmembrance and the poppy

Mike Zollo

Red is and always has been my favourite colour. I am by no means unusual in this: red is one of the top two favourite colours. It is also a colour which represents so much. Red is the colour of love, fire, blood, the sun, energy, life-force, violence, danger, anger, adventure and extremes. It can […]

Remembrance 2021

Anon

For most of us in this country, war is something that happens to other people. We have lived in peace since 1945 and the wars in which the United Kingdom has engaged since then have been on foreign soil (my apologies to readers in Ireland who may feel that they spent a good many years […]

It’s as if the government want to open the floodgates to corruption

Richard Murphy

As Politico reports this morning: As the prime minister returns to Westminster, the news is quickly moving on to a remarkable attempt by Downing Street to use its parliamentary majority at a vote this afternoon to overturn the 30-day suspension handed to scandal-hit Conservative MP Owen Paterson. No. 10 appears to be plotting to crush the independence […]

The Paterson ban: urgent open letter to all Conservative MPs

Editor-in-chief

We received a copy of this letter to MP Conor Burns this morning. It could, with suitable amendments, be sent to every Conservative MP considering hammering another nail in democracy’s coffin today: Imagine my horror at reading the following article by Christopher Hope in The Telegraph this morning: “Boris Johnson will attempt to reform the […]

That Morrison’s chicken story – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

There’s been quite some furore on social media regarding product-labelling in supermarkets geared, seemingly, to play well with a Brexit-supporting customer. The trend for union-flag-badging of some groceries to denote them as 100 per cent British has encompassed such items as bananas (!) and tomatoes (that were also specified as being from Spain in the […]

The iron cage revisited: how Brexit constrains the UK

Bob Hancké

In recent weeks, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU has once again been making headlines. Bob Hancké reports on a recent study which suggests not only that the agreement has made trade in goods between the UK and the EU very difficult, but that it has also severely limited Britain’s ability to […]

Boris Johnson and the fall of the Roman Empire

Sadie Parker

On 30 October, when interviewed by Channel 4’s Gary Gibbon at the Colosseum in Rome, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson made a claim that, even by his standards of magniloquent mendacity, was absolutely extraordinary. He said: “The Roman Empire, they weren’t expecting it, went into a reverse and we had a Dark Ages. When the […]

The COP26/COPnes26 edition. Two weeks which will shape our future

Editor-in-chief
Gaia by Luke Jerram, art installation

The next two weeks are absolutely critical for the planet and West Country Bylines will be featuring articles on the climate crisis, the conference and the parallel event being run in Totnes with our support. We will be watching closely to see if this government lives up to the green credentials it so frequently claims […]

Seagrass meadows, carbon capture and the hidden costs of pollution

Sadie Parker

Did you know that seagrass meadows are thirty-five times more effective at carbon capture than the typical tropical rainforest? Seagrass meadows account for only 0.1 per cent of the sea’s bed, but an estimated 10 per cent of its carbon capture. They are great for biodiversity, too. Scientists have found that they provide a habitat […]

I don’t want a Metaverse, I want a planet Earth

Clare Knight

I was surely not alone in feeling nausea and dread watching Mark Zuckerberg’s promo video for Facebook’s new incarnation (not to mention disgust at Nick Clegg trotting out insultingly complacent platitudes about regulation and data security). But disgust at the absolute sellout by someone who once seemed half decent is as nothing to the emotions […]

COP26 and the five stages of grief

Rob Hopkins

In a few days I head up to Glasgow for COP26. I have no formal role, indeed I don’t know why I’m going there really, and I can only be there for the first week, but I feel drawn to being there. In 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing, the Civil […]