Category: Social Issues

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The UK’s drug policy failure. Lessons from Portugal

Paul Delaney

We must consider alternatives to criminalisation and incarceration of people who use drugs, and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply. We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. –Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, on World Day Against Drugs, 26 […]

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 […]

People of the year part one: the good guys

Anthea Simmons

Humanitarian of the Year: Marcus Rashford. As an example of altruism, generosity of spirit, determination, focus and just plain being right, Rashford has become an icon of hope for the persistence of compassion and kindness in our communities. He tackled and outplayed Johnson at every (U) turn and scored powerful political goals. Visit his website […]

Covid-19: the effects on rural churches and communities

Susanna Metz
Sheepwash Church, Devon with thatched cottage.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The opening of A Tale of Two Cities came to mind when I was asked to write about the effect these very difficult past ten months have had specifically on ‘the Church’ in rural areas. If I were not too old to start […]

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, […]

No deal takes UK back to the 70s and food anxiety

Robert Saunders

No apologies for reproducing yet another Twitter thread. Everyone should have the chance to read this. Ed The 1970s was a decade of serious anxiety about food supplies. Norman Tebbit, of all people, urged the government to consider rationing basic foodstuffs. That played a significant role in the decision to join the EEC, and raises […]

Plagues, public health and politics

Terry Riordan

“And my Lord Mayor commands people to be inside by nine at night that the sick may leave their domestic prison for air and exercise”. Samuel Pepys’s diary 12th August 1665 Throughout recorded history plagues and pandemics have had the capacity to cause massive loss of life. Those in power have sought to control or […]

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 […]

Remembrance

Eric Gates

On Wednesday 11 November at 11am, I shall be standing by the village war memorial, leading the act of Remembrance. The memorial is beside quite a busy road, so the 2 minute silence will be subject to interruption, and in most years there are no more than 10 or so of us in attendance; this […]

Newsflash – a mobile phonecall!

Sarah Cowley

I took a mobile phone call yesterday. I was out walking the dog, when I heard a ringing sound in my ear, reached up and pressed the button and heard a voice – loud and clear. “Is that Sarah?” “Yes, hello.” I’m deaf, but I could talk to the caller through my new Bluetooth enabled […]

Cannabis – time to reassess?

David Haysey

The tide is slowly turning in one of the early fronts of the culture wars, as scientific possibility and questions of personal freedom challenge the assumptions of an earlier generation. Throughout its history, on questions where private vice encounters the desire to create the perfect ‘city on a hill’, the United States has lurched between […]

It doesn’t have to be this way

Jo Miller

Editor: We are putting this out on #WorldMentalHealthDay because we feel that this short piece from the heart sums up what so many people are feeling right now. There has to be a better way and we have to do more than hope. We must be the change. We shared a tweet last week that […]

The Do-Good, the Bad and the Priti

Sadie Parker

Normally Mondays bring on a bout of the blues, but 5 October bucked the trend. It was a day for rejoicing, because the Lords inflicted a string of defeats on the government’s controversial immigration bill. Two of the amendments, both proposed by Lord Alfred Dubs, concerned children. You’d think amendments safeguarding children would pass unanimously, […]

Travelling outside comfort zones: two fingers up to the predictable

Dawn M Sanders

Why should additional needs limit your craving for adventure? Journalist Dawn Sanders, who has a visual impairment, argues impaired sight should not get in the way of free- spiritedness. Two years ago I met a kindred spirit where I would never have expected to: at the Royal National College for the Blind. Before going to the […]

Charity focus: What About The Children?

Jane Reddish

When I read the article by Dr Pam Jarvis in Yorkshire Bylines, I wrote to the Editor of my local Bylines to say how impressed I was by Dr Jarvis’s insight into the needs of young children, particularly because of my trusteeship of the charity What About The Children? The Editor-in-Chief asked me to let […]

Grenfell – gesture politics conceal dangers which remain unresolved

Sadie Parker

There are tragedies that transcend the normal accidents of life, searing themselves into the public consciousness. The fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2014, in which 72 people lost their lives, 74 more people were injured, and 151 homes were destroyed, is one such event. Many children were among the dead and, in some […]

Cornwall faces cold homes pandemic

James Miller

Despite its mild winters, Cornwall has among the highest levels of cold homes and fuel poverty in the UK, forcing many people to choose between heating their homes, and eating. The Government’s £2bn Green Homes Grant scheme, which aims to insulate up to 650,000 homes and create 140,000 jobs across the UK, launches this month. […]

EuroDog considers compassionate Britain

EuroDog

Where is our humanity? In a week in which the UK Government is further shamed by its willingness to break international law over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Border Collies team up with Newfoundland sea rescue dogs to demonstrate a more compassionate welcome to asylum seekers crossing the Channel.

Reflections of an anti-racist rambler

Tsara Smith

When I set out on a 140-mile anti-racist ramble across rural mid-Devon, it was really driven by two words: do something. The murder of George Floyd (and the reflection of countless stories like his) made me sit up and pay some real attention to the experience of black people, not just in America, but in […]

Back to school: Johnson concerned with kids’ welfare? Take a guess…

Oliver Patrick

This week, all students across the United Kingdom should be safe at school. Or will they? When the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) modelled the wider opening of schools, it concluded that a full opening would lead to a rise in the R number. Consequently, SAGE advised against full opening of schools. The […]

An ounce of prevention…

Sarah Cowley

When I was in practice in the 1980s, I didn’t give much thought to the number of health visitors nationally – just my own caseload. We visited all ages, in theory, but mostly under-fives. There would be around 40 to 50 new births per year, per health visitor – so up to 250 children per […]

Amin’s story: testimonies from Refugee Support Devon

Anthea Simmons

We are very honoured to be able to reproduce a series of intervews with refugees who have found homes in Devon with the help of Refugee Support Devon, based in Exeter. Credit for the interview goes to them. Setting up home in Devon is no easy matter after the traumas of war. It’s hard to […]

Kindness is in our power: let’s use it.

Jo Molyneux

Editor’s preface: We are very proud to publish this powerful article from Jo Molyneux. It is not an easy read containing, as it does, some distressing and harrowing detail of man’s inhumanity to man. However, we feel that the subject is too important to pull any punches; but please be aware. It is the first […]

Build! Build! Build!

Margaret Ellis

What will our future look like? The government is faced with three major events which will affect our lives for decades to come – the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and climate change. A return to what we regarded as normal is neither possible nor (for many) desirable. So it was that the government began to set […]

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