Category: Brexit

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What? No turkey for Christmas? Don’t panic!

Eric Gates

The prime minister has put Michael Gove in charge of “fixing” Britain’s food supply chains, quipping that he “doesn’t want to have to cancel Christmas again”. The Times, 15 September No turkeys for Christmas? Time to stiffen the upper lip, have a drop of that Dunkirk spirit and think how our grandparents managed in the […]

School trips abroad: the “Grand Tour”, blighted by Brexit

Mike Zollo

Cultural osmosis For many decades, visits, homestays and courses abroad in the country of the ‘target language’ have been considered essential to the study of a foreign language, both for UK young people going abroad and for young EU nationals coming to the UK. Indeed, this is nothing new: human beings have always travelled, mixed […]

A beginner’s guide to supply chains

Eric Gates

The term ‘supply chain’ is bandied around frequently in discussions about Brexit. Since it appears  that some cabinet ministers have a somewhat hazy grasp of the phrase, I wonder if it would be helpful to explain it in simple terms. I am not trying to imply that readers of West Country Bylines have an understanding […]

Why pay rises won’t solve the Brexit staffing crisis

Russ In Cheshire

There SHOULD be pay rises in most sectors, including HGV. But pay rises won't solve the staff problem, and here's why. For arguments’ sake, imagine we give a 20 per cent pay rise to HGV drivers. This attracts 20,000 people from lower paid jobs. HGV problem solved (in a year or so) But… The industries […]

The Brexit-exacerbated blood bottle shortage: why your doctor may not be able to offer you the blood test you need. UPDATED

Anthea Simmons

About a fortnight ago we saw medics and commentators expressing concerns over shortages of blood bottles. Research indicated that this was a worldwide phenomenon created by the massive hike in demand as a consequence of the pandemic. Now it appears that Brexit is exacerbating an already difficult situation with supply chains interrupted by border issues […]

Send Botham Down Under? That’s just plain batty!

Anthea Simmons
Chappell and Botham cartoon

Liz Truss, the cheese obsessive who counts rollover trade deals as the sign of the dawn of a new era for ‘global Britain’ and crows about flogging a few stiltons to the famously-lactose intolerant Japanese has hit diplomacy for six with her gleeful appointment of Brexit-fanatic Botham as trade envoy to Australia. Ennobled for his […]

Hell or High Water?

Graham Hurley

The TV pictures from Kabul last weekend were apocalyptic: thousands of desperate Afghans converging on the airport, families and a handful of belongings crammed into their cars. Already refugees in the face of the breaking wave of Taliban at the city’s gates, many of them chose to spend the night parked up around the airport […]

It could all have been so very, very different

Anthea Simmons

For the purpose of this article, let us accept that the Conservatives are in power and were in power when some of the events referred to occurred. Readers may say “But what if it had been Corbyn or Starmer?”. Please set that alternative scenario to one side. I am looking at what was genuinely a […]

Construction costs exacerbated by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

Our eye was caught by this thread on Twitter which we are reproducing with the author’s kind permission. It prompted some further research into costs and an interview with a carpenter with a business in renovation and conversion projects in Devon. More from him below. Conversation with the dads at my son’s footie training yesterday […]

Horticulture: blighted by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

You may have already seen the story that Plants Galore in Newton Abbot, Plymouth and Exeter will be giving away £100,000 worth of stock because of Brexit.  WCB had also been sent a press release from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) about a recent visit by Brexit-backing MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, to […]

What about MY freedom of movement? Culture tests – part 2

Mike Zollo

In The culture test: Welcoming new citizens or a way to stop immigration? Part 1, we found that the culture tests for the EU countries considered so far appear to be designed to welcome prospective new citizens, whilst the UK test seems more like a method to stop immigration. I had hoped in this second […]

Bring in the Army – or MACA

Eric Gates

Military Aid to the Civil Authorities is the set of situations in which military personnel can be deployed in the UK in support of the civil authorities. Like all large organisations, MoD operates in acronyms and this one is known as MACA. The use of military personnel is carefully prescribed so that it is very […]

Brexit: civil war by other means?

James Chater

Conflict is at the core of the UK’s historical development, and bad government is nothing new. Throughout the nation’s history the same perennial bones of contention keep recurring, and successive Westminster governments have failed to settle them. This is demonstrated once again by the way the continually unfolding Brexit fiasco has reopened old wounds. I […]

The happy little trucker

Mr Rushforth

Why is this man smiling, you may ask? Is it because of his new hat? No, says our great portrait artist, Mr. Rushforth, it is because he is none less than Andrew Bridgen, the Honourable Gentleman for North West Leicestershire, who recently and single-handedly divined the cause of the nation’s intractable haulage crisis. Given Mr […]

An archbishop who prioritises English nationalism above honesty and social justice: latest recruit to the culture wars

Clare Knight

Meet the latest culture wars ‘warrior’, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the second most powerful cleric in the land, admired by none other than that living embodiment of Christian values, Nigel Farage. Since we appear to be returning to a Henry VIII-style era, with a much-married autocrat dominating the political stage empowered by the eponymous powers of […]

How the Devil did he do it? A Catholic marriage of convenience

Chris Tehan

Is Boris Johnson a Catholic? A few weeks ago, West Country Bylines published a couple of excellent articles by Sadie Parker, focused on the matter of Boris Johnson apparently being a Catholic. The fact is that he does not correspond in any way to what I would consider a Catholic; he has merely adopted this […]

When two tales go to war, one point is all that you can score…

John D Turner

Early in 2016 Boris Johnson wrote two reasoned articles on Brexit, one for and the other against, but only offered up the one for publication. He wrote the two articles to determine which campaign would give him the best chance of getting into Number 10. One has to give him credit for taking a reasoned […]

Dominic Cummings: is my enemy’s enemy my friend?

Sadie Parker

It’s the classic logic riddle: You are at a fork in a road on the border of two lands. Two guides stand guard at the fork; one always tells the truth, the other always lies. They know that one way leads to a land of comfort and safety, the other to danger and death. You […]

The guff Johnson writes to his fanbase: a litany of lies and vacuities

Anthea Simmons

It’s bad enough lying to your enemies and the uninformed or indifferent, but lying to your friends and supporters is a whole new level of degeneracy. Reading Johnson’s latest email to the party faithful illustrates once again the man’s facility for falsehood. “Two years ago today, when I became Prime Minister, we got straight to […]

Levelling up? Freedom Day? The dark reality behind sloganeering populism

Phil Syrpis

The debate about ‘levelling up’ prompts this summary of the Johnson government. The Johnson government excels at ‘sloganeering populism’: ‘Get Brexit Done’, ‘Global Britain’, ‘Freedom Day’… and now ‘Levelling up’. The rhetoric projects energy and is meant to show a governmentt devoted to ‘the people’s priorities’. Behind the rhetoric, one might hope for some substance, […]

Bulging bins and empty shelves – the Brexit dividend

Mick Fletcher
Rubbish in the street

It was all so predictable.  Ending the free movement of UK and EU citizens and making the UK a less welcoming place for EU nationals was always going to lead to labour shortages in key sectors.  Government were warned repeatedly but didn’t listen; or perhaps just didn’t care.   They can’t avoid it now. One of […]

Gareth Southgate: the best of us

Sadie Parker

Whatever the result of the final of the Euros, Gareth Southgate has already won. To rise to the heights of playing for England, only to miss that penalty against Germany in the EUFA Euro 1996 semi-final, but to then pick himself up, continue to play for his country for a further 8 years, until becoming […]

We are in grave danger of being boiled frogs

Anthea Simmons
Frog n a bucket

I’m going to repeat the boiled frog analogy (in which no frogs will be harmed…unlike us and our democracy). The unfortunate creature (metaphorically-speaking) is in a pan of cold water which is slowly, slowly being heated up. The frog adjusts his tolerance levels as the water changes from a pleasant coolness to a mildly uncomfortable […]