Category: Corruption

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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 […]

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 […]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: the six-million-quid man

Sadie Parker
Meme of Rees-Mogg as Squid, the six million pound man

Any parallels drawn between Lee Majors’ six-million-dollar man of the 1970s and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s six-million-quid man of the 2020s can only be for the purpose of highlighting polar opposites. While the six-million-dollar man was intent on doing good, six-million-quid man — let’s call him “Squid” for short — seems wholly focused on filling his boots […]

Tory corruption: defending the indefensible

Sadie Parker

The past week has been Parliament Week. Boris Johnson couldn’t possibly blow it up the way he blew up Anti-bullying Week last year, could he? Back then he undermined a massive government anti-bullying campaign for schools by refusing to fire Priti Patel as Home Secretary after she was found to have bullied her staff. What […]

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 […]

A plea to the region’s Conservative MPs: show you are not careless, callous or corrupt – don’t let Paterson off the hook. UPDATE: now with dire MP response!

Editor-in-chief

Some background ahead of an important vote in parliament on 3 November: in September 2019, The Guardian published their scoop on MP Owen Paterson’s breaches of parliamentary rules by lobbying for companies that he was paid to advise. To quote: The documents [detailing meetings and letters] raise questions over whether the North Shropshire MP has broken parliamentary […]

Five news stories this government would prefer you not to know about

Anthea Simmons

Here’s a collection of news stories that probably won’t be covered in any detail by the BBC or much of the mainstream media. We’ll try to put a selection together for you at least once a week. There’s no shortage of material with this government! Russian interference in our democracy: Remember the Russia report into […]

Climate of lies

Tom Scott

The BBC’s new docudrama The Trick dramatises events around ‘Climategate’ – the hacking and subsequent false representation of thousands of emails between climate scientists, just before the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit. It’s an episode that can now be seen as a blueprint for a later – and even more devastating – disinformation operation. Writer Owen […]

Lord Puttnam’s important speech in full; by kind permission

Editor-in-chief

Shirley Williams Memorial Lecture. October 15 2021 19:00 POWER AND FEAR – THE TWO TYRANNIES Before I begin, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to the whole of the Amess family – what happened today is not just a tragedy for them but for all of us who believe that democracy must operate free […]

Orwell and Johnson: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, Further to your article “Lying and Liars are killing our democracy“, here are two pertinent quotes: George Orwell: “The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear […]

Lying and liars are killing our democracy: help to make it stop

Anthea Simmons

Make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence “The Government should introduce legislation to make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence. This would mean that all MPs, including Ministers, would face a serious penalty for knowingly making false statements in the House of Commons, as is the case in a […]

What can be done about tax havens? Part 1: the abuse of tax havens by multinational corporations

Richard Murphy

In the first four videos in this series on tax havens I have explored how they work, what they abuse, and why that abuse should worry anyone who is concerned for fair markets, the rule of law and democracy, all of which tax havens (or secrecy jurisdictions as I prefer to call them) actively seek to undermine.   This then leads to the obvious question, which […]

The great co-ordination

Graham Hurley

Gleichschaltung is one of history’s most sinister euphemisms. The word is German and it means ‘co-ordination’. Hitler and other architects of the Third Reich used it to build a totalitarian state that purged Germany of all opposition. From 1933 onwards, das Volk, the people, were urged to march in perfect formation towards a future that […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]