Section: Society

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Stop demonising asylum seekers and fix the broken system instead

Daniel Sohege

We are in a cost of living crisis. People are struggling to juggle heating their homes and feeding themselves and their children. It is utterly ridiculous to think that headlines like “asylum seekers are living in luxury hotels” won’t cut through. The simple fact of the matter is that, for the most part, the hotels […]

Why doesn’t our government care about people? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, I think I distantly remember a time when governments cared for their people, nurtured them, assisted them, spent our money neutralising the corrosive causes of poverty and criminality. I get the sense that the ‘nouvelle vague‘ of the ultra-right wing is using us like lab rats in an experiment. Shrink the […]

Benefits on Trial: the calculated cruelty of the DWP

Neil Carpenter

Benefits on Trial is based on my work in Cornwall since 2012 as a volunteer advocate with adults who have a learning disability. In recent years, that work has increasingly concerned benefits cases: helping people with their applications for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); accompanying them to assessments; requesting reconsideration […]

Angry and hungry for change. Hangry!

Chris Tehan

There is much to be angry about in the UK in 2022… but the last few months have been exceptional. Unfortunately, so much Tory turmoil has absorbed our capacity for anger, distracting our attention from the real underlying issues which should be the focus of our outrage and provoke the question: “What has this bloody […]

The barrister strike is about protecting YOUR rights

Editor-in-chief

The below is reproduced from a thread of tweets found here, published by a practising barrister. We are reproducing this here to share and raise awareness on this issue. Barristers who work in our criminal courts have voted for an all out strike on 5 September. This is historic, and necessary. A barrister explains why […]

‘It could never happen here’: the normalisation of the unthinkable

Richard Haviland

For many years, Alastair Stewart was an ever-present on ITV news. He always had a likeable demeanour, a pleasant voice, and a professionalism that made sure he never betrayed his political allegiances. He was everything a news presenter should be. But at last week’s Tory leadership hustings in Manchester, we saw a different Stewart. Freed […]

Women’s football: what will the legacy really be? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, Even if we aren’t remotely interested in sport, I think we can all rejoice unequivocally at the success of the England women’s football team in the European championships; it’s an achievement to be celebrated. I’m sure I’m not alone in being delighted at their win if only because they have done […]

Education in crisis, and it can only get worse

Mick Fletcher

In any sane context the car crash that is Conservative education policy would be enough to bring down a government by itself.  The schools bill before Parliament has been so savaged in the House of Lords that ministers have stripped out 18 of the key clauses, leaving it bereft of its original purpose, yet doing […]

The lifting of the ‘colour bar’

Jon Danzig

Invited to come to Britain in the 1950s, when the country was massively short of workers (sound familiar?), Asquith Xavier left Dominica where he had been a police officer and in the army. For ten years, he worked as a porter at Marylebone station in London. Then, in the spring of 1966, the 46-year-old decided […]

Stop Rwanda flights! Twitterstorm and demo/live share 12 July!

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, As a matter of urgency I write to remind you of the court case challenging the Government’s policy on forced deportation to Rwanda of asylum seekers and refugees to the UK. There is a live protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London TOMORROW (July 12) with a LIVE share […]

Children’s services should protect children not profit

WeOwnIt

Our children’s services are there to protect and care for vulnerable children in our communities, providing a lifeline for those in difficult situations. But doesn’t it seem wrong that private companies are able to run these services and prioritise profit over the children they are meant to protect? The government recently dropped its unpopular plans to reduce council responsibilities […]

Turning the tide of dangerous porn starts at the top

Caroline Voaden

As the Chief Executive of Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services, I am calling for a radical rethink in our approach to pornography after a Devon Conservative MP referred himself to the Standards Committee for allegedly watching porn while sitting in the House of Commons. I’ve heard many politicians say this week that ‘sunlight […]

Surviving the cost-of-living crisis the Tory way

Tom Scott
a heap of cooked pasta

Let’s have no more whingeing about poverty. Price rises should present no difficulty to anyone prepared to take some tips from the thrifty habits and entrepreneurial flair of Conservative MPs, writes Tom Scott. A tweet by Tory supporter Kevin Edger sneering at a nurse who skips meals in order to afford food for her children […]

Thanks a million, Eton

Mick Fletcher
Eton by Canaletto

If further proof were needed that ‘levelling up’ is a soundbite rather than a strategy, the proposal for a new cadre of elite sixth forms provides it. Mick Fletcher explains. Trailed as one of the key measures in a programme to address 55 ‘education cold spots’, the aim is apparently “to ensure talented children from […]

“WTF is ‘great’ about millions in dire straits?” Filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson gives voice to shared anger

David Nicholas Wilkinson
Tesco food donation sign

The (dis)United Kingdom is the fifth largest country globally in terms of nominal GDP (gross domestic product), according to Wikipedia*. 216 countries are recorded on Wikipedia in terms of their GDP. One of my daughters is in Morocco (rated the 60th ‘richest’ country), and yesterday she and her friend were eating in a mother-and-son’s small […]

What price endless choice?

Eleanor Rylance
Woman choosing fresh veg

Choice. We all want it when we go to do our weekly shop. Supermarkets, and their extremely efficient logistics processes, have sold us on the notion that our choice need never be restricted by geography, climate or seasonality – we can get pretty much what we want, when we want it. The ugly flip side […]

International Women’s Day holds a message for all: never give up

Jon Danzig
the Suffragettes' colours in ribbons

𝗪𝗢𝗠𝗘𝗡 𝗞𝗘𝗣𝗧 𝗟𝗢𝗦𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗕𝗘𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗪𝗜𝗡𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗧𝗢 𝗩𝗢𝗧𝗘, Jon Danzig reminds us. Today – 8 March – is International Women’s Day, which for more than 100 years has celebrated the economic, cultural, political, and social achievements of women across the world. And 100 years is about how long it took women in the United […]

Hey! Teachers! Leave the truth alone! Government interference coming to a classroom near you.

Richard Murphy
The teacher puppet from Pink Floyd's The Wall

Requiring teachers to present a view in classes that our government is the benign deliverer of optimal outcomes for society is anything but neutral, but that is what the government is demanding that teachers do. Richard Murphy explores the latest dark initiative from this authoritarian government. The government issued this statement yesterday: New guidance to support teachers […]

Never again? It is happening again

Jon Danzig

Genocide is not a thing of the past. Jon Danzig’s powerful and intensely personal account is a wake-up call for us all. After the Second World War, during which many millions were systematically, industrially, gruesomely murdered in the worst genocidal crime against humanity, the earnest, global, unison cry was, ‘Never again’. Those two words summed […]

The ‘do nothing’ dilemma: bias and ‘othering’ in the Conservative Party

Jim Funnell

The disturbing claims from Nusrat Ghani that she was sacked from her ministerial position because of her ‘Muslimness’ are as chilling as they are unsurprising. We have become accustomed to the ugly reality of a ruthless far-right party machine that keeps this government in power. Jim Funnell examines the government’s record on inclusion. Johnson’s government […]

Gnasher strikes again!

Mike Zollo
cartoon of cyclist being chased by a dog

If there’s one thing that’s just as divisive as Brexit, it’s the ‘cat/dog’ schism. OK, I’ll admit it: I’ve always preferred cats, and over the 50 years or so we’ve had our own home, we’ve usually had one or more moggy sharing our space. As for dogs, I’d be the first to admit that I’ve […]