Category: Somerset

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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 […]

Brexit reality bites in Somerset

Richard Wilkins

The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed a new trade deal which came into force immediately the transition period ended on 1 January. The guesswork has finally come to an end and over the next few months and years we will start to fully understand the implications of leaving the EU, and our […]

All eyes are on vaccination, but testing failures must not be forgotten

Sadie Parker

In my own small way, I was caught out by the closing of the borders the weekend before Christmas. Matt Hancock ran around Britain’s TV and radio studios telling stunned presenters and audiences that Covid-19 was “out of control” in London and the South-East. That’s the modern-day equivalent of screaming it from the rooftops. It […]

Have your say! Letters to the editor

Anthea Simmons

Would you like to express a view on one of our articles? Add to the information? Give us a different perspective? Then, please, do email us! Tell us who you are and where you come from and if you have a particular expertise in the relevant field add that, too. We may publish your letter […]

Roast autarky and British sprouts

Rachel Marshall

As Covid choked the passageways between the UK and France at the end of December, there were increasing calls from farmers and politicians to “Buy British.” This is irritating because many of us do just that already; filling our fridges and store cupboards has for many years not been an either/or choice. But is this […]

The Potemkin hospitals

Tom Scott

With desperate frontline NHS staff warning that the health service is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 admissions, it appears that the government’s much vaunted Nightingale hospitals were built largely for PR purposes – yet another example of government by vacuous gesture. The news that the government’s flagship Nightingale hospital at London’s […]

Our thanks and a message to you, dear reader

Editor-in-chief

First of all, a big thank you for reading and sharing our articles. We’ve only been going five months, but 360,000 people have paid us a visit and that’s fantastic. We are all doing this for love. Love of truth. Love of justice. Love of our country and of our fellow denizens of this precious […]

Masks in supermarkets: am I a man or a mouse?

Tom Scott
Man shopping in supermarket wearing a mask

A couple of days ago I was doing some Christmas shopping at a local supermarket near my home in Cornwall. As I scoured the shelves for stollen (a favourite festive treat in our household), I couldn’t help noticing that quite a few of the other customers were not making any attempt to socially distance, and […]

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 […]

In search of Cinderella – a virtual pantomime for Somerset

Richard Crowe

“In search of Cinderella” came out of a conversation between Deb Richardson, producer at Somerset Film, and me. It was late July/early August when theatres across the UK were announcing there would be no pantomime this year.  This was an intolerable proposition for a county like ours, with its numerous local societies producing an annual […]

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, […]

Are Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service gambling with your safety?

Tony Morris
house on fire at night, rural location

Editor’s preface: Tony Morris served in the fire service for 32 years. the last six of which as Operational Planning Officer responsible for contingency planning. He was then Senior Emergency Management Adviser for West Sussex County Council for 15 years, covering all areas of emergencies and business continuity. He is worried about cuts to services […]

2020’s Christmas ‘star’: the great conjunction of the giants

Bob Mizon
Saturn, Jupiter and Milky Way above Dunkery Beacon

At dusk during the fortnight before Christmas this year, an intriguing event plays low in the western sky for those with an unobstructed view of the horizon. Stepping out into the night from 11 December, if the sky is free of cloud and light pollution we see stars beginning to appear around 5pm, as darkness […]

Calling young writers! Enter our competition!

Anthea Simmons

Are you based in Cornwall, Devon , Dorset or Somerset? Under 25? Want to write? We are a team of volunteer, citizen journalists and editors, passionate about the truth, democracy and good writing. We’ve been going since late August 2020 and have already had well over 300,000 readers and high levels of engagement on social […]

Bullies on top in anti-bullying week

Sadie Parker

This government doesn’t do irony, does it? Hypocrisy? Yes! In spades! Sadie Parker goes a bit deeper into the Patel Bullygate scandal. Ed The Anti-Bullying Alliance was all ready to go with an impressive package of events, resources and merchandise in support of anti-bullying week, which this year fell on 16-20 November. Their aim: to […]

Somerset suspends democracy to save money?

Sadie Parker

After an afternoon of unedifying verbal wrangling, the conservative-controlled County Council of Somerset voted to request a postponement of county elections until such time as a unitary authority was constituted. This could save £1m, it was claimed, and taxpayers always like to save money. Hang on. What price democracy? Surely that cost is budgeted? It’s […]

What’s next for Somerset Film?

Mick Fletcher

“It was fresh air that kept us sane” said Kathy, reflecting on growing up in the 1940s. Kathy was part of ‘Making Waves’, three days of FM community radio shows created by Bridgwater Senior Citizens’ Forum in 2012. Broadcasting from an empty High Street shop, the Forum’s sometimes provocative but always warm-hearted shows were well […]

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 […]

A breath or two of hope

Jo Molyneux

Recently I have begun feeling a little swamped by depressing stories regarding the scale of Covid-19 infections, Tory party skullduggery, disinformation and the state of our planet. There are a million and one minor stresses for us all, on top of that. It didn’t feel quite so bad in the summer, but now the nights […]

…and on another front of the culture war

Eric Gates

“The National Trust has been contacted by the charity regulator over claims that it has strayed from its ‘clear, simple purpose’ to preserve historic buildings and treasures. Regulators approached the charity this month after receiving complaints from the public about its review into links between its estate and slavery during the British empire.” Do people […]

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, […]

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. […]

Will we really be protecting 30 per cent of the land?

Mick Fletcher

My ears pricked up when I heard that the Prime Minister had committed to “protect 30 per cent of the UK’s land by 2030”. The pledge, made at a UN summit on biodiversity, sounds both ambitious and a welcome response to the environmental challenges facing the planet. With Johnson, however, the disappointment is usually in […]

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 […]

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