Category: Local Politics

Page of 2

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, […]

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 […]

School funding crisis in Somerset will mean closures and redundancies

Editor-in-chief

Somerset County Council shows no signs of changing course on school closures and staff redundancies in Somerset  Plans for wholesale changes to schools in the Crewkerne and Ilminster area came to Somerset County Council’s Scrutiny for Policies, Children and Families Committee this week (Wednesday 3 March), prior to the Council’s Cabinet making a final decision on […]

Will Mangnall be empty-chaired?

Laurie Taylor

Laurie Taylor of Make Votes Matter in Totnes : Our local Make Votes Matter (MVM) group has been working hard to develop something in the place of the ‘lobby’ about Electoral Reform which Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall (AM) has refused to have with us. We have decided on a different zoom event where we will […]

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 […]

May local elections: level playing field? Doesn’t look that way!

Claire Wright

Ministers have ruled Devon County Council must go to the polls on Thursday 6 May, despite the country being in the midst of a deadly pandemic. The government directive runs directly counter to its lockdown policies, which have seen the closure of schools and many businesses. “We must ensure a level playing field for those standing for election, […]

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, […]

Cornwall: climate emergency or business as usual?

Tom Scott

In 2019, Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency – but you wouldn’t guess it from some recent developments. Cornwall Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in January 2019 was accompanied by similar declarations by numerous Cornish town and parish councils, and was warmly welcomed by environmental campaigners. It seemed local councillors had finally grasped the […]

Jackie Weaver for prime minister?

Sadie Parker

I first became aware of Jackie Weaver when Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent at the Financial Times, put up a poll asking the public, “Who do you want as PM [prime minister]?”. The four choices were Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson, Ed Davey and Jackie Weaver. Keir Starmer was winning comfortably, but Jackie Weaver was in […]

The clerk’s tale

Anna Andrews

With the appalling behaviour of some Handforth Parish Councillors having gone viral, parish councillors and clerks all over the country must be cringing with embarrassment. The councillors in question should be ashamed. They have brought into question the whole principle of democratic representation at grassroots level, and all parish councils are now in danger of […]

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 […]

Beyond the ‘burdensome estate’

Mick Fletcher

Since West Country Bylines published my article Blocked by the ‘burdensome estate‘ people from all over the country have contacted me with similar examples of apparent official vandalism. Despite the Department for Transport (DfT) publishing a cycling and walking plan for England which ostensibly “sets out a vision for a travel revolution”, part of that […]

Planning for the destruction of local communities?

Jo Garrett

Changes to the planning system could allow unscrupulous developers to do  serious damage to historic town centres – have your say before it’s too late! The government is currently consulting on several proposed changes to the planning regulations. Here in Penryn, Cornwall, these changes threaten our town centre, industrial areas and heritage. There are three […]

Culture wars – the right wing’s crusade against ‘woke militants’

Eric Gates

“Those who oppose tyrannical ‘wokeness’ have right on their side, and with sufficient courage and resolve, patriots will prevent the imposition of their poisonous puritanism on us all”. So wrote Sir John Hayes in “Spalding Today” in his neo-Trumpist call to arms. HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Why we must all fight back against poisonous wokism […]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Britain’s Tartuffe

Sadie Parker
Jacob Rees Mogg appearig to pray, with further image of him sporting devil's horns in background

When I was at university in the US, a pre-med student, thinking that all Europeans were into high culture, decided to take me to the opera to impress me. That was a night of firsts: our first date, our first opera and our first encounter with the unforgettable character of Tartuffe. I say ‘our’ first […]

Is callousness a vote winner? Rees-Mogg appears to think so.

Anthea Simmons

Self-professed man of faith gave an interesting demonstration of Christian charity yesterday when he took a pot shot at UNICEF. The government he represents appears to be in denial about the record levels of child poverty, but does not take kindly to being forced to confront the truth by the likes of Marcus Rashford and, […]

Brexit’s impact on Plymouth: fishing, science and people

Ashley Beare

Where to start? There are literally so many areas of business and life that will be adversely affected. Here is a snapshot of a few, together with my thoughts: – Fisheries Deliberately focused on by the government on an emotional level whilst they are well aware that, in economic reality, fisheries account for 0.12 per […]

Living through austerity with a learning disability

Neil Carpenter

Since 2010, successive Conservative governments have made it a priority to ‘clear up the financial mess left by Labour’ through a wide-ranging programme of austerity measures intended to reduce the deficit. As those cuts were biting, I began working as a volunteer advocate for adults with a learning disability, going into day centres, running a […]

People, Poverty, Power

Catrina Davies

Cornwall-based author Catrina Davies offers some tips for leading a better life on this beautiful planet – and for changing the broken system that is driving poverty and environmental destruction. Last Saturday I was on the BBC, talking to Simon Reeve about Cornwall and housing. Many of you have written to me about it, via email […]

MPs should be fixing policy, not potholes

Mick Fletcher

After writing to my local MP, James Heappey, about the threat to food and farming posed by US agricultural interests, I received his standard acknowledgement and holding reply. It contained, as usual, the lines “I receive a large number of emails each day and whilst we do aim to respond in the order that we receive […]