Category: Europe, World

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A proper G7 job

Mark Newham

Pride, amazement, exhilaration… three words that pretty much summed up initial local reaction to news of the 47th G7 summit location for 2021. “Fancy,”I heard one shopper remarking to another in my local supermarket, “the Prime Minister choosing little old Cornwall for such an important meeting. Proper job, eh?” From the comments appearing in the […]

A 93 year old’s poignant diary entries from 1971

Editor-in-chief

John Evans’s diary (courtesy of his daughter Jane Welby) Jane Welby: ”My Dad, a lifelong Tory voter and Telegraph reader, died last summer aged 93 and we have been reading through diaries we never knew existed. I found this thoughtful and prescient entry from October 1971 rather poignant:” Thursday 28 October 1971 “Tonight our Westminster […]

The UK’s shameful hostile environment is persecuting hope

Mike Zollo

“As I approached one of the drowned corpses on the beach, that of a young lad, the mobile phone in his pocket began to ring; I guess it was his mother or girlfriend ringing to ask if he had arrived safely …” The words of a Spanish Red Cross worker dealing with bodies washed up […]

Marine Le Pen: does the leopard change its spots…?

Geneviève Talon

Like most French voters over the age of 40, I will never forget the shock result of the first round of the presidential election in 2002. The two candidates to qualify for the second round were the right-wing Jacques Chirac and the extreme right-wing Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the ‘Front National’. French voters of […]

Boris Johnson IS Pinocchio! How the Italian press see our PM – and us

Mike Zollo

Remember when Johnson senior accused the British public of illiteracy, saying they would not be able to spell Pinocchio? This was the evasive response to a Tweet calling Boris Johnson ‘Pinocchio’ – a liar. Now, who else can we think of who uses that sort of evasive technique?! The Italian press is still fascinated by […]

“Fascism has never gone away…” Letters to the editor from Spain

Mike Zollo

The following is a compilation of the comments made by members of Bremain (in Spain), most of whom are Brits living in Spain or who know the country well. These comments are their reactions to the West Country Bylines article Democracy breaks up from the inside, which went online on 25 February. Lisa Ryan Burton […]

A briefing note for POTUS: time to review the UK’s ‘closest ally’ status?

Eric Gates

Eric Gates imagines a very necessary briefing for President Biden in the wake of developments on the UK side of the pond… Mr President; you were briefed after your election about the United Kingdom’s  request to acquire the next generation nuclear deterrent from us. Since then, the UK Government has published a policy paper entitled […]

Has Brexit made us less safe?

Sadie Parker

Prior to the referendum and for a few years afterwards, Sir Richard Dearlove appeared to dominate the conversation on security, at least from a pro-Brexit stance. Dearlove is a former head of MI6, the British security service responsible for countering threats from foreign sources. His omnipresence and stark opinions drowned out the voices of other […]

Remain’s favourite filmmaker: David Nicholas Wilkinson

Sadie Parker

In February the London Screenwriters’ Festival ran an inspiring online event that gave screenwriters and filmmakers a much-needed boost. The early part of the year is traditionally a low-point. This year, in the midst of lockdown number three and after the hardest-ever year for the arts (despite the clamour for content), the mood was particularly […]

From mines to vines: exchanging the seeds of destruction for the fruits of hope.

Editor-in-chief

In the ever-expanding desert of negative news come these joyous oases of compassion and positivity. Women in War and International Politics (WIWIP) at King’s College, London and Roots of Peace have collaborated to bring an exciting panel event to discuss the role of women in de-mining and post-conflict reconstruction through sustainable agriculture in Afghanistan, and […]

Global Britain – a fake ambition

Mick Fletcher
British bulldog with union flag bandana collapsed tired on decking

One of the ways in which the current government remains popular despite clear evidence of corruption and incompetence is by selling comforting illusions to its core supporters.  The idea of ‘Global Britain’ is one such fantasy. It paints a picture of a country that ‘punches above its weight’, is a ‘sovereign equal’ of a trading […]

Brace for denial

Mick Carter

Introduction This is an article inspired by the BBC podcast How They Made Us Doubt Everything. It explores the techniques used by those wanting to delay or stop action on climate change, and the disproportionate impact these have had on public opinion. I am not a climate scientist but my work has been connected with […]

Two nations divided by a common language

Eric Gates

The quotation about “two nations divided by a common language” is variously attributed to Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, with Winston Churchill famously quoting it. For the moment, let us leave aside the assumption that the United Kingdom is only one nation, noting simply that one of the two possible originators was actually Irish. […]

“Democracy breaks up from the inside”

Mike Zollo

Officer sacked for celebrating the sins of father Wednesday 19 March 2014, The Times “Spain’s military has dismissed a senior officer for celebrating the anniversary of an attempted coup by his father in 1981 which threatened to destroy the country’s young democracy and turn it back into a dictatorship.” This report in The Times in […]

Would you take a beating for democracy? #StandWithBelarus

Rachel Marshall

It’s six months since unpopular dictator Alexander Lukashenko surprised everyone and no one by winning the presidential election in Belarus – once again – by an unusually high margin against impossible odds. Every weekend since has seen protests throughout the country. For many weeks there was genuine optimism that this time, something would really change. […]

Vaccine ‘wars’? What on earth is going on?

Sadie Parker
globe, syringes like missiles doing battle

“EU vaccine war explodes,” screamed the Daily Mail in its first edition. Then hours later its headline had changed to “EU Jabs Climbdown” as it accused the EU of performing a ‘screeching U-turn’. Wait. What? There had been a war and it was all over eight hours later? What on earth was going on? It […]

No balm for business

Richard Wilkins

Until 1 January the full impact of Brexit on the UK its people and businesses was an unknown quantity. You could say it was a promise, a hope… even a mirage. Brexit could be anything you wanted because the details were not known. Indeed, even the broad outlines remained unclear as the government continued to […]

Tory Trumpism is turning the UK into a sewer of fake news

Sadie Parker

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared anyone campaigning for free school meals during the February half-term-break to the Trumpist insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. He did so in a WhatsApp message sent to all Tory MPs at lunchtime on Sunday 17 January, explaining why he was whipping them to abstain from voting for or against […]

The US has foiled a coup, but could we?

Mick Fletcher

Several writers, including West Country Bylines’s Tom Scott and Sadie Parker, have drawn attention to the disturbing parallels between the anti-democratic activities of Trump in the USA and Johnson here. Many, however, are reluctant to accept that Johnson is in effect Britain’s Trump, despite the fact that this dubious accolade was bestowed by none other […]

The banned and binned sarnie – Brexit means Brexit

Anthea Simmons

There’s no way around it, I am afraid. Brexit ‘succeeded’ because it was based on a toxic combo of eye-watering lies and staggering ignorance – most of which is still on display in the government right now. Hamsandwichgate is a classic example of (wilful) ignorance. We left the EU. We are now a third country. […]

Something lost to find again

Catrina Davies

Catrina Davies discovered her true self in Europe. In September she left Cornwall for Portugal, from where she reflects on severance, belonging and betrayal. When I was ten my parents took me and my sisters to France for a week. We drove onto the ferry at Plymouth, all squashed into our Citroen AX, disembarked in […]

We are going to have to monitor these politicians like hawks

Anthea Simmons

‘The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles from bondage [ … ] The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.’ George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell might have added that the Party also ensured that you only saw and heard the […]

Goodbye to all that

Karol Kulik

As an American living in England for over 50 years, being neither a Brit nor a European, I’ve kept my views about the EU and the Brexit debate to myself… until now. Despite the last-minute ‘agreement’, I still find it incredibly sad to watch the British government and Brexit supporters turning their backs on the […]

The complexity of Brexit delay and what to do about it

Jon Worth

This post was originally a Twitter thread by Jon Worth (@jonworth) on 15/12/2020. It has been adapted to turn it into a blog post. OK, it can be avoided no more. Understanding and explaining the complexity of Brexit negotiations right now is one of the most complicated conundrums I have faced. But this issue really […]

John le Carré – prescient chronicler of a nation betrayed

Tom Scott

Obituaries describing John le Carré as a “Cold War spy novelist” are selling him short. More than any other contemporary writer, he had a finger on the dark pulse of our times. It’s not often that the death of a novelist can be described as a national event, but the passing of David Cornwell, better […]