Section: UK

Escaping religion

Yvonne Quaintrell

I am an apostate. This is the term given to people who leave religion. It is not a term I particularly like, but it is the one that most people understand. As a counsellor and peer supporter, I also have professional experience of the needs of apostates. I work with apostates from high control, high […]

The war after the battle

Mark E Thomas

How the far-right may lose the battle, but still hope to win the war As many centre-right politicians and commentators have warned us, what used to be the Conservative Party has become a vehicle for the far-right. Philip Hammond wrote:  “the Conservative party has been taken over by unelected advisers, entryists and usurpers who are trying to turn […]

Is Rishi Sunak trying to lose the general election?

Sadie Parker

Nobody who was serious about winning the general election and forming the next government could possibly campaign like Rishi Sunak and the Tories have done in these first few days of the general election… could they? It was called on Wednesday, May 22, 2024: the day the government launched its resilience initiative and told us […]

Your go-to reminder of 14 years of Conservative ‘achievements’. Part 2: environment, housing, public services plus scandals, resignations and suspensions

Iratus Ursus Major

A continuation of the list of horrors perpetrated on this country by the Conservatives. Environment Human effluent flowing merrily through our waterways. Failure to regulate and curb energy price rises, leading to massive provider profits and pressure on consumers. Multiple failures to meet climate targets and backtracking on environmental commitments. The loss of EU funding […]

“In case of medical climate emergency break glass”

Annie Mitchell

As a psychologist, I know only too well the varied ways that we humans are distracted from painful knowledge that conflicts with our wishes, or our prevailing world view, or with wider political ideologies. And along with others, I see how citizens in the UK and beyond are increasingly confronted with the painful consequences of […]

Are we in for the dirtiest general election campaign so far?

Mark E Thomas

On May 22, 2024, Sunak finally announced the date of the next General Election: July 4. As the polls show, he has quite a challenge to win – or even to prevent Labour from securing an outright majority. But the Conservative Party is traditionally one of the world’s most effective election-winning machines, and it would be complacent not to assume […]

Your go-to reminder of 14 years of Conservative ‘achievements’. Part 1: economy, healthcare and education

Iratus Ursus Major

As we brace ourselves for the barrage of self-congratulatory rhetoric from our government and the unelected Prime Moistiness about the “achievements” over the past 14 years since they seized power in May 2010, let’s pre-emptively dissect their record. Behold! The comprehensive list of their so-called “achievements” that we’ve been subjected to while they’ve ostensibly “been […]

Action stations!

Anthea Simmons

At last, fourteen years of brutal underfunding, politically-motivated austerity, cronyism and corruption can be brought to an end on 4 July, when we can all exercise our democratic right and vote in the general election. With so many Conservative MPs standing down and dissatisfaction with Sunak growing in the Tory ranks, let alone in the […]

Defence dilemma: finding a role will be harder than finding the money

Eric Gates

Welcome to the 25 per cent increase in defence spending, announced by the Prime Minister, for whom the penny has just dropped that we live in dangerous times. First of all, let us make some (possibly rash) assumptions. Let us assume that the percentage increase will not be cancelled by a reduction in GDP, which […]

Operation Save Little Dog

Mark E Thomas

When it was clear Johnson was on the way out, his allies launched Operation Save Big Dog. This article explores what we might call Operation Save Little Dog – the equivalent for Sunak, in the wake of the worse-than-expected results in the Council elections. The factions on the right are now quite complex: there are the extreme-right backers of the […]

Shame I never got to interview the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, when she was in Totnes. She’d have loved answering my questions…

Anthea Simmons

Fellow citizen-journalist editor, Peter Shearn of Totnes Pulse, contacted me to see if I would like to interview the secretary of state for education, Gillian Keegan. Apparently she had elected to kill two birds with one stone and give a ‘puff’ to the government’s free childcare for two-year-olds, and (presumably) to the re-election chances of […]

Remodelling primary care: an uphill struggle

Sophie Olszowski

In the bleak landscape of today’s NHS, a ground-breaking service in a Somerset GP practice is seeing patient and staff satisfaction running at unprecedented highs while reducing pressure on local hospitals. Why, then, is it closing at the end of May, after only four months, and what does the future hold? The GP Urgent Assessment […]

Potholed Britain – part 1: actual potholes!

Mike Zollo

Then and now Bang, crash, rattle as the bus lumbers along a road full of potholes, badly patched sections and ‘oozing’ tarmac distorted by the weight of passing heavy vehicles… A familiar story? But that was in 1969, when I was a student in Spain: at the time, a country almost ‘third world’ in terms […]

Brexit and farming

Emma Monk

Four years on from Brexit, I’m taking a look at how various industries have been affected by the realities of our decision to leave the EU. The first in the series looked at ‘How fishing was gutted by Brexit’, and this time I’m going to look at how British farming has fared. Before I begin, […]

Mel J Stride MP – Misleader of the House

Trevor Price

Meet Mel J Stride, the ‘Right Honourable’ MP with a controversial association with the loan charge scandal. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament for Central Devon since 2010. What is the Loan Charge? Sixty-seven thousand people are being pursued by HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs: the tax office) under a piece of legislation – the Loan Charge […]

Don’t let TV soaps make Covid reality a casualty

Jane Stevenson

A recent episode of the hospital drama Casualty misrepresented the very serious risks that Covid still poses. Jane Stevenson wrote to the BBC to explain just how wrong they’d got it. On Saturday 9 March, an episode of Casualty was broadcast, “Trauma”, which created a lot of upset. After reading a robust Twitter/X post by […]

A democratic revolt from below is bubbling up

Neal Lawson

No-one outside of a diminishing band of party bureaucrats believes our political and democratic system is working. Of course, the charade continues; of PMQ’s, of who’s up and who’s down, of polls and predictions. But this, in the phrase of Colin Crouch, is a post-democracy, a democracy in name only in which the game is played […]

Ugly language, ugly outcomes – this government is a danger to us all

Richard Haviland

When I look back over the last eight years, one image dominates: September 2019, and Paula Sherriff ‘s pleas to Johnson to tone down his language – language being quoted back to her colleagues in death threats – is dismissed as ‘humbug’ It wasn’t the day the ugliness started – heaven knows there’d been enough […]

The defender of upskirters strikes again

Sadie Parker

One could almost sense an epic eye roll and audible sigh rippling across the land, when news broke that the government was pulling a vote on banning MPs accused of violent and sexual offences from the parliamentary estate, due to objections by Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) and Philip Davies (Shipley). What could be more sensible […]

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, […]

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 […]