Section: Politics

Somerset cuts and the cost of care: a story of defunding and privatisation that is replicated right across the country

Mick Fletcher

In 2021, I wrote about the dangerous dowry left to the new Somerset unitary authority by the previous Conservative council. The combination of an unwanted reorganisation and a systematic failure to invest in local services had left Somerset especially vulnerable to financial crisis. The warning of trouble ahead was all too correct. In November 2023, […]

Time to recall this government!

Sarah Cowley

Two by-elections are scheduled for 15 February 2024: one (in Kingswood) triggered by a member of parliament resigning, and the other (in Wellingborough) as the result of a recall petition – to succeed, such petitions have to be signed by more than 10 per cent of eligible voters. Constituents have the right to ‘recall’ their […]

The week in Tory – it’s the satirists I feel sorry for!

Russ In Cheshire

The Week In Tory is a whopper, so I’ll do the promo thing first: “Four Chancellors and a Funeral” is out on 21 March; and please support “Tories: The End of an Error”, currently being written. And now, for your pleasure, an 84-point torrent of awfulness… I’m not saying things are getting a bit reactionary, […]

Liz Truss’s dangerous agenda

Richard Murphy

Truss is promoting an agenda that explicitly permits the powerful with a grudge to abuse anyone they wish with impunity. I should be grateful to GB News. They appear to be the only news organisation that was willing to carry verbatim extracts from Liz Truss’s speech to the so-called Popular Conservatives yesterday. They report her as […]

Love in a hostile environment

Mike Zollo

Make Love, not War! Since time immemorial there have been marriages and relationships between people of different nations. My own knowledge of history is pretty limited, but I suppose one could cite Anthony with Cleopatra, Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon, Mary with Philip II of Spain, Victoria with Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha… and, […]

The anti-Brexit hero

Anthea Simmons

From 31 January to 1 February 2017, MPs debated the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on whether to trigger Brexit – the Article 50 notice. MPs overwhelmingly backed the bill, supported by the Labour leadership under Jeremy Corbyn, by 498 votes FOR, to 114 AGAINST. Ken Clarke was one of the 114 MPs. He […]

Bribe and rule – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the NHS is falling apart. Doctors are striking, but the government say their salary demands are unaffordable. I don’t what the roads are like where you live, but round here there are huge potholes that risk taking your wheel off. But the county council have no […]

Stopping the slide

Mark E Thomas

In many elections, the key issues are living standards and the state of the economy. In the UK today,  voters are (rightly) concerned that their living standards are lower today than they were in 2010 and that public services (especially the NHS) are in crisis. These valid concerns can however obscure an even more fundamental […]

The first ‘Week in Tory’ of 2024

Russ In Cheshire

Brace, brace for the first ‘The Week In Tory’ of 2024. Also, please read the information at the end, which my publisher insists I add, and which helps to pay for my dog to eat things (other than rotting pigeons he finds on the field). Ta. 1. Boris Johnson, once voted “worst PM ever”, heroically volunteered […]

Why Brexit is bonkers

Jon Danzig

From 31 January 2024, certain goods coming from the EU to Great Britain – particularly fresh foods – will be subject to full Brexit border controls and checks for the first time, meaning extra paperwork, delays, and costs. The UK government had previously delayed the new Brexit controls five times, concerned about the impact on […]

How to change the world

Jon Danzig

Yes, YOU can change the world. Or more pertinently, WE can change the world. People of all ages, from all ages, have been changing the world since humans arrived on it. There’s no doubt that the standard of living of the average human has considerably changed and improved in the past 100 years, 1000 years, […]

Without migrants, we wouldn’t have the NHS

Jon Danzig

Our NHS would collapse without migrants. Almost 20 per cent of the staff in NHS England are from overseas. Out of 1.5 million NHS staff in England, around 265,000 reported a non-British nationality as of June 2023. That’s 45,000 more than the previous year. What’s more, since Brexit, data indicates that the proportion of EU citizens working for the […]

Hopes and fears for 2024

Sarah Cowley

Each new year brings hopes and fears – hope for good changes, fear that bad ones might arise. Mostly, we hope things will improve for family and friends who are struggling but worry about how events outside their control will prevent progress. All our personal futures are bound up with the wider world, so here […]

Thirteen years of Tory governance – manifesto promises vs reality. Part 4: 2019

Iratus Ursus Major

Welcome back, readers, to our scorching series where we’ve previously dissected the 2010, 2015, and 2017 Tory manifestos. Today, we turn our critical eye to the 2019 Tory manifesto, continuing our journey through a decade of Conservative rule marred by unmet promises and political chaos. Our previous analyses have laid bare the stark reality of a party struggling with […]

Thirteen years of Tory governance – manifesto promises vs reality. Part 3: 2017 -2019

Iratus Ursus Major

Welcome, readers, to the third instalment in our biting series dissecting over a decade of Tory rule. Today, we tackle the tumultuous 2017 Tory manifesto – an era that epitomizes the Conservatives’ descent into political chaos and policy disarray. After our critical examinations of the 2010 and 2015 manifestos, we’re now delving into a period that escalated the Conservative […]

Two pints of wine and a packet of crisps… #ComeOnKevin, tell us all about this fabulous Brexit bonus!

Anthea Simmons

Article contains strong language, reflecting the author’s frustration! The government is casting around in desperation for some kind of ‘Brexit benefit’. Today, it came up with this little gem: Fortunately, our favourite wine importer and industry commentator, Daniel Lambert, was ready to explain what this actually means for the wine trade. No punches were pulled… […]

A dangerous dowry for the new Somerset unitary authority

Mick Fletcher

We are reissuing this horribly-prescient article, given the parlous state of so many councils across the UK. The prospects for the new unitary authority recently imposed on Somerset are not good. Like local government everywhere, the county is having to cope with a dysfunctional funding system and a decade of austerity. It will soon have […]

BCP stripping public services – an open letter to the council

Editor-in-chief

Councils have been facing a growing funding gap since the Conservatives came into power in 2010. It is estimated that one in ten councils face bankruptcy. The government has just announced the first increase in funding, following this protracted period of austerity, but councils maintain that it is still not enough to meet rising costs […]

Dartmoor at risk!

Jim Funnell

Does Lib Dem-led South Hams Council know what the Freeport really means for our wild spaces? Jim Funnell questions whether the council is in control of the full facts… Last week I wrote to all the South Hams councillors with wards bordering on Dartmoor. I expressed my concern that South Hams District Council has failed […]

The week in Tory (it doesn’t get any better…)

Russ In Cheshire

Strong language warning! You don’t like it. I don’t like it. Nobody likes it, and I wish it would stop. But dream on because here, for Christ’s sake, is The Week in Tory! 1. It is 13 years since David Cameron – a thumb with a mouth slit who played at being PM in between […]

Johnny Mercer’s Question Time defence of the Rwanda refugee exchange plan

Sadie Parker

One of the south-west’s MPs has been in action on BBC Question Time, defending the increasingly expensive refugee exchange scheme officially known as the UK-Rwanda Migration and Development Partnership, or the Rwanda Plan for short. Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View, was given free rein to waffle on about what has become the current […]