Section: UK

Can our Catholic PM be prosecuted for appointing an Anglican bishop?

Sadie Parker

Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson could be described as Schrödinger’s Catholic. Born in New York and christened in the Catholic church on the wishes of his mother, Charlotte Johnson née Fawcett, his godmother Rachel Billington admitted he was never much of a churchgoer. Then at Eton he was confirmed into the Church of England. When […]

Is ‘opportunity’ the most mis-used word in UK politics?

Sadie Parker
Dad's army stars staring at sky. Brexit benefits?

Our government’s overuse of the word ‘opportunity’ in relation to Brexit is beginning to grate. At a recent meeting of the European Scrutiny Select Committee — for which a more accurate moniker would be the European Scathing Select Committee, given how dyspeptic, hostile and Brexity it is — the question of ‘opportunity’ in brave, new […]

A 93 year old’s poignant diary entries from 1971

Editor-in-chief

John Evans’s diary (courtesy of his daughter Jane Welby) Jane Welby: ”My Dad, a lifelong Tory voter and Telegraph reader, died last summer aged 93 and we have been reading through diaries we never knew existed. I found this thoughtful and prescient entry from October 1971 rather poignant:” Thursday 28 October 1971 “Tonight our Westminster […]

British farming: the end of the Brexit illusion

Nick Tolhurst

We still do not know the final details of the Australia trade deal signed off by cabinet last week – but what we do know is the ‘shape of the deal’. Australia is to obtain tariff and quota free access to the UK market in agricultural goods – with domestic farmers protected by having this […]

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 […]

Rocket fuel or rocketing debt? The new offer for adult education

Mick Fletcher

The government’s legislative programme announced in the Queen’s speech on 11 May gave particular prominence to the idea of ‘levelling up’, promising “bold new interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunities throughout the UK”.  Central to this vision is the reform of vocational education, described as offering new lifelong learning opportunities for adults. The prime minister […]

Minister makes fishy suggestion on water quality

Tom Scott

Recent remarks by fisheries minister Victoria Prentis suggest the government is pressuring the Food Standards Agency to change its water quality assessment for the Fal estuary and other waters used by shellfish producers.  Cornwall Green Party has described this suggestion as “frankly outrageous”. On Wednesday 12 May, the DEFRA minister responsible for fisheries, Victoria Prentis, […]

What really happened in May 6 elections: reasons to be cheerful

Sadie Parker

Can you imagine Fiona Bruce, with a straight face, asking the BBC Question Time audience, zooming in or otherwise, “What is the point of the Conservative and Unionist (Tory) Party?” The sinister coupling of a further erosion of civil rights, even as this Tory government restores some freedoms it temporarily suspended for public health reasons, […]

Indian variant: Boris Johnson’s indecision is final – and fatal

Tom Scott

Brexit was supposedly about “controlling our borders”. But when controlling our borders became a matter of life and death, Johnson’s government has proved pathetically inadequate.. There is as, far as we know, not yet any spread of the super-infectious Indian coronavirus variant in the South West. But this is unlikely to be the case for […]

Fysh in a flap over democracy

Anthea Simmons

What is it with the current Conservative government and democracy? Voter suppression via ID cards, switching from a progressive proportional representation voting system to the regressive first past the post system (FPTP) for mayoral elections. (And that’s because, as we have seen, under FPTP a party can get a stonking majority on a minority of […]

Covid-19 and care homes: why we can’t wait for an inquiry

Editor-in-chief

We are reproducing this Twitter thread with the kind permission of investigative journalist and campaigner Stefan Simanowitz so that it can be read beyond the twittersphere. A year ago today, I broke the #CareHomeScandal The reason so many had died in care homes was because the government had INSTRUCTED hospitals to send people “who may […]

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, […]

“Why I was arrested blockading Rupert Murdoch’s printing press”

Caspar Hughes

On 5 September last year I was part of the Extinction Rebellion group that blockaded Rupert Murdoch’s printing press. We knew we were going up against a powerful group of men who own the Sun, The Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, all of which are printed at Rupert Murdoch’s printing press in Hertfordshire. […]

Natural remedies: how you can help address the bio-diversity crisis

Anna Andrews

“The UK has ‘led the world’ in destroying the natural environment” The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) produces a ‘Red List’ of threatened species. Of 8341 UK species assessed under IUCN criteria, 41 per cent have declined since the 1970s and 15 per cent are threatened with extinction; 133 are already extinct. Those […]

Early day motion: the privatisation of the NHS

Anthea Simmons

Labour early day motion. More to follow. Motion text That this House expresses dismay at the Government’s White Paper, The Future of Health and Care, published on 11 February 2021 which rubber stamps the US care models for the UK; notes that the Bill is a Trojan horse for deregulated privatisation and that language on […]

Is Cornwall seeing a return to rotten boroughs?

Tom Scott

The local elections in Cornwall have seen the Conservatives take control of the council with the votes of fewer than 15% of registered voters. In the 18th and early 19th century, Cornwall was notorious for having more so-called ‘rotten boroughs’ than anywhere else in England. The historian Lewis Namier described Cornish politics in the 1760s: […]

WCB event: 26 May, 8pm: How do we fix our broken democracy? UPDATE!

Editor-in-chief

Every day it becomes more obvious that our first past the post system is not fit for purpose, Around sixty percent of the electorate are unrepresented, disengaged, disenfranchised and disillusioned. We must have electoral reform. West Country Bylines is hosting a Q&A session on this burning issue with a cracking panel drawn from campaign organisations […]

Gunboats at the ready

Shev Fogarty

I wrote this as an overview for my non-Jersey friends on Facebook, as I thought that the morning headlines of gunboats being dispatched to St Helier might have surprised and alarmed them, happening (as it appeared to) out of the blue. Firstly, it is important to know that Jersey and the other Channel Islands are […]

Putain de Brexit (or is that Putin…?)

Anthea Simmons

“Look how the gods smile upon me”, gloated Johnson as he gave the order to send two naval patrol vessels to menace French fishing boats on the eve of local elections and the by-election in Hartlepool. After all, the Falklands War had been absolute catnip for Thatcher supporters! Nothing like another excuse to put out […]

Are XR being targeted in Cornwall? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, According to Cornwall Live, on 5 May “Truro Farmers Market’s biggest event is cancelled because it’s now a site for G7 summit protests. The market has had a terrible year and now its biggest event has to be called off”  Truro’s Lemon Quay was to have hosted a special 5 day market during […]

Brexit…out of fashion in Somerset

Richard Wilkins

It would be fair to say that businesses in Somerset are now really starting to feel the effects of Brexit and our new trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world. From all the businesses I have spoken to so far the effects have ranged from bureaucratic nightmares with unnecessary paperwork and […]