Welcome to West Country Bylines

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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 something important, enlightening or entertaining to say.

We like facts. We like human stories. We don’t like lies. We don’t like false promises, soundbites, waffle. We are fed up with politicians ‘getting away with it’, whether it’s spending our money with their mates or hiding the truth because it doesn’t suit their agenda, or just cynically blagging it, hoping we won’t notice or that we’ll feel too depressed to do anything about it.  No more. We’re watching and we’ll be telling you what they are up to, so you can make up your own mind, having got the facts.

We pay our elected representatives and they need to be reminded to put their constituents and their country before their party. We aren’t party-political, but those with power will get a hard time from us if they abuse it or throw it away, as every MP who chose to give away their power to vote on trade deals did, earlier this week. Brexit was allegedly about ‘taking back control’; most West Country MPs seem happy to give up that control at the flick of the government’s whip.

What’s more, they gaily clap like seals for the NHS, but then vote to keep it on the negotiating table for the US healthcare companies to pick at. The arrogance, duplicity and corruption are simply unacceptable. Those in power are relying on us to shrug and say, “What can we do?” But if our democracy is to survive the many assaults on it from without and within, shrugging really isn’t an option.

It won’t be all politics, although the fallout from Covid-19 and the impact of Brexit will affect us all, whether we like it or not. We’ll be bringing you a wide range of subjects and distinctive, high-quality writing with a local twist or a local focus; we hope to earn a place in your lives, wherever you are in this glorious part of the world. In turn, you can help us by sharing our articles, especially on local community sites, and telling your friends and family about us.

Maybe you have a good story to tell or would like someone to tell it for you? Get in touch. We’ve got editors in each of the four counties who would love to hear from you. We are, genuinely, all in this together.

Editor-in-Chief