Category: Dorset

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“DEFRA says get over it”: Brexit threatens to wreck Devon mussel business and DEFRA don’t much care

Julian Andrews

“DEFRA says get over it”, according to Nicki Holmyard, talking to West Country Bylines, and describing the response from the department for environment, food and rural affairs since live shellfish exports to the EU collapsed in January 2021. Nicki is Communications Director of the Brixham-based aquaculture firm Offshore Shellfish Ltd, which – in common with […]

This Good Earth – recording of WCB event now available

Editor-in-chief

For those who missed the West Country Bylines event on 11 Feb 2021, the director Robert Golden has produced an audio record of the proceedings. As it was a recording of a zoom event, the sound can be erratic so please make allowances. The event was a special Q&A session following the release of Robert […]

A better urban wildlife legacy

Nick Dobbs

At the heart of Bournemouth and Poole lies an extraordinary 37 hectare fragment of the once Great Heath that stretched uninterrupted from the Purbecks to the New Forest. Eighty per cent of heathland has been lost since 1800 and today the UK is the custodian of 20 per cent of this remaining habitat worldwide. Talbot […]

Virtual unreality and the over-centralised state

Mick Fletcher

It is not the worst decision taken by the current administration, but one that neatly encapsulates the insularity and arrogance of our over-centralised government: the powers that enable local authorities to function safely during the pandemic by holding meetings on-line will lapse on 7 May, and will not be renewed. The reason, to be blunt, […]

Clocks go forward one hour whilst UK goes back 50 years…

Anthea Simmons

Don’t forget to put your clocks forward one hour late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and enjoy a brief foray into the future whilst Brexit takes us back to the past…only this time we won’t be the sick man but the corrupt man of Europe. We must look to nature for blue skies and […]

Will the south-west’s MPs join Charles Walker’s milk protest?

Sadie Parker

It was a depressing, foregone conclusion that MPs would vote to renew the excessive powers granted to government under the Coronavirus Act 2020. Another dull afternoon in the Commons was in prospect, when suddenly the debate took a turn for the bizarre. An MP got up on his hind legs to give one of the […]

Listen to our debate on the future of the NHS and healthcare

Anthea Simmons

On 24 March, WCB ran the second of a series of Zoom Q&A events on hot political and socio-economic topics. In the wake of the publication of the Government’s white paper on the future of health and social care, the sale of GP practices to a US healthcare provider, privatisation of test and trace, the […]

The South West joins mass action on climate emergency

Rosie Haworth Booth

Further to the piece on 3 March by Tom Scott on Katharine Lewis and the Helston Climate Action Group, Rosie Haworth-Booth from North Devon alerts us to a cross country drive this weekend on bringing a crucial private member’s bill to greater public attention. People living in the UK don’t need to look far to […]

Welcoming prickly visitors

Helen Fairhurst

As nature starts to beckon in the spring, my thoughts turn to welcoming some prickly visitors. Each year I’m hopeful that I might see the return of hedgehogs on my little patch as they awake from hibernation. Sadly, the hedgehog population is in serious decline in the UK. The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report […]

Walking for health

Barbara Leonard

Just over a year ago I was one of small group of volunteer walk leaders sharing thoughts about a new virus being talked about on the news in the UK. Some of us had just returned from visits abroad where warnings about Covid 19 and measures to limit its spread were already happening, in sharp […]

Protest to save our right to protest

Sadie Parker

On the day Priti Patel’s pretty awful 296-page Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts (PCSC) Bill was due back in Parliament, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, a long-time Johnson collaborator and former Deputy Mayor under him, was sent out to do the morning talkies. The PCSC Bill covers many topics, but the scope of Kit’s interview with […]

Puppy lust: the rise in heartbreaking pet theft

Sadie Parker

Imagine having a pair of dogs for company. They’re your everything, now that your spouse has passed on. Between walks they like a frolic in the garden. One day you let them out as you put the wash on and potter in your utility room. When you finish a short while later, you call out […]

“My small business is in ruins and I see no way out.”

Anthea Simmons

My £1m UK small business is in ruins and I see no way out. Tried everything, feel utterly powerless. Trade with EU virtually impossible. This was so predictable and predicted. Bastards! This is the tweet that could be sent by thousands of small businesses up and down the land. It is the tweet that should […]

The Third Gentleman of Swanage

Valery Collins

During the nineteenth century the fortunes of Swanage were dictated by a trio known as the Three Gentlemen of Swanage. Two of them, John Mowlem and George Burt developed the Purbeck stone trade, contributing to the fabric of the town as their business prospered and grew. It was the third, philanthropist William Morton Pitt, who […]

The right to peaceful protest must not be undermined

Anthea Simmons

Did you take part in any of the anti-Brexit, pro-final say/People’s Vote marches in 2017/2018 or 2019? If you did, you will know what astonishingly well-mannered, convivial affairs they were (whether that was a good thing or not is another matter). Hundreds of thousands of people travelled up to London on coaches that left the […]

‘Woke wars’: let’s hear it for the National Trust’s long history of radicalism

Tom Scott

When the National Trust was founded, it wasn’t just ‘woke’ – it was revolutionary. Yesterday, the National Trust published an interactive online map that shows how climate change threatens the countryside, coastline and historic houses in its care – including many sites in the South West. Extreme heat and humidity, coastal erosion, landslides, floods and […]

A freeport for Poole: Free trade or free ride?

Conor O'Luby

Will Poole soon become a ‘freeport’? Yes, if Drew Mellor, Conservative leader of Bournemouth Christchurch Poole (BCP) Council, gets his way. As the Brexit transition period approached in December 2020, Drew Mellor announced plans for a joint bid to government from Bournemouth Airport and the Port of Poole. The  bid also includes the Dorset’s local […]

Mars, the red planet

David Love

The night sky is an insufficiently appreciated wonder. On a dark and moonless night on Dartmoor, far from city lights, you can see a few thousand stars with the unaided eye. Yet this is just a tiny fraction of the 100,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy. We now know that a very high proportion of these […]

The truth behind Government’s healthcare ‘reforms’

Rosie Haworth Booth

Have you heard about the new health and social care ‘reforms’? The reforms which are restructuring the administration of care across the country, and which claim to overturn the worst aspects of those set up by Andrew Lansley in 2012? Are you glad to hear that these new structures, known as Integrated Care Systems, or […]

Bypassing scrutiny and accountability – is THAT taking back control? We have to update…AGAIN.

Anthea Simmons

This government’s evident resistance to undergoing any process of scrutiny is now taking the country into very dangerous territory. This country allegedly operates a parliamentary democracy, with our elected representatives scrutinising, debating and voting on new laws and changes to existing legislation, holding the executive to account, including checking and approving spending and taxation. UPDATE: […]

From star to satellite – science in a post-Brexit world

David Love

In matters scientific, European nations do far better working together Our civilisation has advanced dramatically in the last few hundred years and we have only to look to the leaps made in science and technology to understand why. Yet how many people realise that a key element of science lies in cooperation between different nations?  […]

Has Brexit wrecked my life’s work?

Mike Zollo

“You may buy from us in English … but you must sell to us in my language!” This much-quoted maxim highlights the importance of language skills to international trade. What German Chancellor Willy Brandt actually said in the early 1970s was: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen […]

The Chairman’s tale

Eric Gates

As chairman of a small parish council, I have watched the recording of the Handforth Parish Council meeting with concern. Perhaps I am fortunate that the ethos of the council on which I serve is to represent the community; party politics are not evident. I know that we all have our own views on subjects, […]

Seesaw Corona war

Terry Riordan

As a retired microbiologist I’ve watched events over the last year with horror and anger. Following the recent excellent Debunking Covid Myths by Emma Monk and the inimitable piece by Femi Oluwole, I want to discuss some grey areas and the significance of new developments, and suggest how we move forward. In many ways the […]

After the flood…

Anna Andrews

On 22 January, after Storm Christoph hit the UK, George Eustice said on camera that 70 homes had been flooded. Given the pictures of inundated towns across England and Wales, this figure seemed something of an understatement, with the Daily Telegraph, amongst others, reporting a figure more than five times higher: Storm Christoph: Around 400 […]

Does anyone know Russell Crowe? THE Russell Crowe?

Sadie Parker

If you’re not on Twitter, you may have heard terrible things about it. Indeed, it can be a very toxic place, especially UK ‘political’ Twitter, which is a maelstrom of Johnson’s Trumpist pronouncements, amplification by his forgiving fans and robust rebuttals from lovers of truth. Except every now and then something wonderful happens. I remember […]