Category: Cornwall

The worst and the best of Cornwall

Tom Scott

The news that every one of Cornwall’s six Conservative MPs had voted against extending help to hungry children came as little surprise to anyone who had studied the parliamentary voting history of Scott Mann (North Cornwall), Derek Thomas (St Ives), Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay), Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall), Cherilyn Mackrory (Truro and […]

Culture wars, censorship and the ghost of William Blake

Virginia Button

Earlier this month, the first round of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund was announced by Arts Council England, with a welcome £257m allocated to 1,385 theatres, museums, orchestras, dance companies, music venues and other arts organisations impacted by Covid-19. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, […]

QAnon in Cornwall

Tom Scott

A hotel in Tintagel has been flying the QAnon flag. What on earth is going on at the Camelot Castle? Some of the strangest TripAdvisor reviews ever written are of a hotel dramatically sited on a rugged headland at Tintagel on Cornwall’s north coast, the Camelot Castle Hotel. Among the oddest of these are from […]

The sinking Scillies

Anna Richards

The shallow waters around the Isles of Scilly are peppered with the hulls of the boats that have met their demise on shallow rock reefs. With sea levels rising, the settlements on the islands are at risk of joining the sunken ships. What does climate change mean for the Isles of Scilly? It isn’t hard […]

The sea has set me free

Heidi Westbrook

For Heidi Westbrook, sea-swimming has brought joy, friendship and vital solace through the lockdown. For 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to have lived on a clifftop high above Newquay’s famous Towan beach. Over the years, the number of people enjoying the water has steadily grown. Once these were mainly year-round surfers and families in […]

Museums and galleries respond to the climate crisis

Virginia Button

The US west coast is on fire, the hurricane season is off to an early start and in the UK a year of unseasonal weather has resulted in the worst wheat harvest in decades – yet more reminders that climate change is a pressing and immediate global crisis. And, as leaves fall and mists rise […]

Levelling up to new heights of corruption

Tom Scott

Few towns in the South West will receive funding from the government’s Towns Fund – and now we know why. In September 2019, local government secretary Robert Jenrick published a list of 101 places that would receive help to develop bids for funding from the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund. There was suspicion at the […]

Community project focus: Nature Connects

Alice Wall

Editor: We asked charities and community interest companies who share our values to tell us about their work. We do not edit their words. Nature Connects is a Community Interest Company (CIC) offering Nature connection and adult forest school for health and well-being in Cornwall. Alice Wall and Sarah Witts, its founders, made the decision […]

Cornwall faces cold homes pandemic

James Miller

Despite its mild winters, Cornwall has among the highest levels of cold homes and fuel poverty in the UK, forcing many people to choose between heating their homes, and eating. The Government’s £2bn Green Homes Grant scheme, which aims to insulate up to 650,000 homes and create 140,000 jobs across the UK, launches this month. […]

Double down – MP accuses constituent of “lacking democracy”

Anthea Simmons

Nice picture of Steve Double MP for St Austell and Newquay showing his ‘support’ for food and farming businesses in the UK. Shame he didn’t vote for fellow Conservative Neil Parish’s amendment to enshrine our food and animal welfare standards in law, but hey! That’s not what we are writing about here. West Country Bylines […]

The Lizard’s vagabond girl

Jenny Steele Scolding

I lie in bed and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. I pull back the covers, cross the bedroom and settle into my rocking chair in front of the window that overlooks the sea. Down in the cove, the fishermen have pulled the boats up high; a storm is brewing. I always start […]

Planning for the future: an open letter from Kernow Matters to Us

Anthea Simmons

Editor’s comment: this open letter is published to amplify local voices. It has not been edited. To: Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing Communities & Local Government Rt Hon George Eustice MP  Steve Double MP Cornwall’s Representative to the Council of Europe Scott Mann MP Sherryl Murray MP Derek Thomas MP […]

Mining the motherlode

Matt Valler

The lines of influence emanating from a Cornish garden can show us much about the impact of globalisation and the physical threads that connect our world, writes Matt Valler. Back in March, in the final days before social distancing rules were enforced, I was sitting in a café in the heart of Cornwall’s historic mining […]

NHS properties: what we all need to know

Mike Sheaff

In April 2016, Poltair Hospital near Penzance was sold to a property developer for £500,624. The site’s limitations were widely acknowledged, but there was a strongly expressed local view that the capital receipt should contribute to alternative local provision. The owner, NHS Property Services (NHSPS), would give no such commitment. In December 2016, NHSPS took […]

Is society broken? And if it is, are we too late to fix it?

Bev Haigh-Jones

Residents in some Cornish seaside towns have said they are too scared to go food shopping because of visitors cramming narrow streets and ignoring social distancing. This lack of consideration reflects deeper social and political problems, argues Bev Haigh-Jones. There’s no doubt 2020 will be one of the strangest years most of us have experienced. […]

The ground beneath my feet

Will Hazell

For Will Hazell, lockdown has been a time to discover and connect with the rich tapestry of landscape and history within walking distance of his home. Tucked beside a footpath near Falmouth, Cornwall, there’s a small gravestone with the epitaph “PUNCH OF MENEHAY A PAL 1937”, erected, apparently, to celebrate the legacy of a much-beloved […]

Useless Eustice? No, he’s much worse than that

Tom Scott

This article references some vile, racist language which we have reproduced, rather than hide just how morally-repulsive some individuals are. Editor George Eustice has risen from obscurity to become the smooth-talking frontman for some of the worst aspects of Brexit. In February, Environment Minister George Eustice was loudly booed by an audience of farmers at […]

Resistance and hope

Anthea Simmons

First of all, a big thank you to all those who are reading our articles. The response has been fantastic. We’ve only been going for eight days, but already we are amplifying the reach of writers who deserve to be read, voices which need to be heard and issues which must be exposed. It’s great. […]

Test, track and trace in Cornwall: a tangled web

Jane Stevenson

Cornwall has the resources to do effective Covid-19 contact tracing. So why is it not being allowed to do so? Jane Stevenson talks to Councillor Colin Martin, who has been trying to find out. Our national Test, Track and Trace system has come into sharp focus as we come out of lockdown. Boris Johnson’s “world-beating” […]

Government plans to weaken nature protections

Miles King

I’m not much a Zoom enthusiast but the invitation to listen to Defra secretary of state George Eustice give a “major” speech on the environment, via Green Alliance, seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. So, having finally got zoom to work on my computer, I sat and listened to him talk for 15 […]

Vets in lockdown

Dr Kate Stitt

Vets are used to dealing with wriggly and reluctant patients. But as the UK plunged into Covid-19 lockdown in late March, this was among the least of their challenges. Veterinary practices up and down the country have scrambled to find ways to continue to look after their patients. Almost overnight, my whole profession had to […]

Overpriced fish and chips

Catrina Davies

Cornwall’s future, as an increasingly commodified playground for people who choose to have their real lives elsewhere, looks bleak. In the post-coronavirus, climate-emergency world, we have to dream better, argues Catrina Davies. I grew up in Cornwall doing low-pay, low-status jobs and being obediently grateful for tourism. Mining was finished; fishing and farming in decline. […]

Museums and galleries in extraordinary times

Virginia Button

As Cornwall’s museums and galleries prepare to reopen, what should be their focus in a post-Covid world? After long months of closure, from 4 July museums and galleries in England have had permission to reopen their doors to visitors. It’s a gradual process, as organisations access their specific health and operational risks, and prepare us […]

The bucket list

Anita G

Anita moved from the Netherlands to Cornwall with her family in 2014. They were blissfully happy here. Then the referendum came and her husband was diagnosed with cancer… Young Matt: “I get so angry sometimes. People are so unthinking. They say ’We just don’t want any more newcomers, that’s all. People that are here can […]

Welcome to West Country Bylines

Anthea Simmons

Welcome to the first edition of West Country Bylines, a new online paper for people in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Run by volunteers and showcasing local writers, West Country Bylines will be scrutinising and calling out those in power, challenging the narrative spun by the mainstream media, and giving a voice to those with […]