Category: Dorset

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, […]

Cranborne and wanderlust

Valery Collins

I have been travelling the world for the past 20 years. During that time, I have travelled alone, worked as a tour manager and for the past 12 years I have been writing about my experiences. Lockdown brought a sudden end to my roving life. I was gazing at a long, empty period of nothing […]

Lambs to the slaughter

Miles King

As we wait for what feels like the final slow-motion spin of the car as it hurtles inexorably towards the cliff edge, wondering if our heroes are going to escape from this seemingly impossible situation … again … no, stop there. Enough with the Hollywood imagery, the tired old metaphors. They just aren’t funny anymore. […]

“No to no deal madness!” An extraordinary protest with a serious message

Lucy-Ann Pope

Thursday 8October saw ordinary people across the country taking part in the European Movement’s ‘No to no deal’ campaign. Established in the aftermath of World War Two by Winston Churchill, the European Movement is the UK’s longest standing pro-European organisation with a network of over 100 local groups. Their latest campaign is the most urgent […]

Tears of a ghost

Chris Baker

The dead hedgehog was clearly the previous night’s roadkill. The body was fresh, judging from the staining on the asphalt. It had been hit ten or so feet away from where it had died, its last short, slow journey made, I imagine, in agony. The place where it died is now marked by a ghost. […]

Do-gooders are in the majority, Patel. Get used to it.

Anthea Simmons

Here’s the thing, Priti Patel. You bang on about the activist lawyers and the do-gooders all you like, but you’re forgetting something. Most people are actually decent. Most people prefer being kind to being cruel. Most people do not want to live on a diet of hatred and fear. And most people, when faced with […]

The dark side of the prom: Cold War Steve beached

Sadie Parker
Cold War Steve's artwork on Bournemouth beach depicting the positive side of the UK and its valuese

When asked whether he would be producing any new episodes of his famous satirical show, ‘The Thick Of It’, Armando Iannucci replied that British politics was now so silly, it was beyond parody. One artist who has, nonetheless, successfully satirised not just British politics, but populist politics around the world over the past four years […]

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 […]

The future of planning in rural areas

Mike Chapman

Rural communities in the recently created unitary Dorset Council area are working hard and democratically to make Neighbourhood Plans. The bases of these plans lie in the traditions and desire for continuity of small rural towns and villages. This cultural heritage is under attack now and is further threatened by proposed changes to the planning […]

Know your place!

Eric Gates

No, not a Conservative MP addressing his family retainers, but a very useful internet resource. If you live in the west country, or are planning to visit, Know Your Place is a brilliant website that provides details of all sorts of local historical information. If you are interested in history, or like walking, or simply […]

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 […]

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. […]

Dorset MPs: end of term reports Part II

Sadie Parker

Michael Tomlinson, Conservative MP for Mid-Dorset North Poole (Government Whip). By convention, whips don’t speak in parliamentary debates, and so there are no parliamentary interventions to report on for Michael Tomlinson. His name often appears on motions debated in the House and he frequently acts as a teller in votes. Whips also do not give […]

End of term reports: Dorset MPs Part 1: a mixed bag…

Sadie Parker

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP for Bournemouth East (Chair, Defence Committee). Tobias was frequently in the news this session, whether it was being the only Tory MP brave enough to put in an appearance on Good Morning Britain to face a grilling by Piers Morgan, or calling for aid for his beleaguered constituency when 500,000 flocked […]

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 […]

Forestry rethink needed after barbecue inferno.

Miles King

The ground was bone dry and everything was flowering early. I was up at Poundbury (near Dorchester), checking on an area of wildflower meadow that I’d arranged to have sown. After the incessant downpours of the Autumn and Winter, the rain stopped. Then we had just 60mm of rain across two months. It was yet […]

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 […]

Build back better

Belinda Bawden

Do you remember last summer? It was hot all around the world. So hot that alarms were sounding everywhere about the need to act now on climate change. Prince Charles joined scientists in warning of the urgency, suggesting that we had an 18-month window to change our current trajectory. Of course, it’s not just about […]