Section: Global

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“Bring on madness, banish reason” (King Lear)

Book Review by X Libris

In 1937 Jean Renoir directed a film called ‘La Grande Illusion’ about French prisoners-of-war during World War I. The title came from a book published in 1909 by Norman Angell called ‘The Great Illusion’ which argued that war is futile because of the common economic interests of all European nations. This is, of course, the  […]

WITH VIDEO

Agroecological Farms are Needed to End Food Colonialism

Julian Greenbank

George Richmond tells our video reporter Julian Greenbank why it’s so important for farming to migrate to an agroecological base. Agroecology may be a new term to many but it is being promoted by many responsible environmental organisations. The British ‘Soil Association‘ defines agroecology as: “… sustainable farming that works with nature”. The United Nations […]

NEUws from Elsewhere

Philip Cole

France: first the disturbing news More than a thousand mostly retired officers, including twenty generals, have published an open letter with a barely concealed call for a military coup in France, reports the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) on 29 April. They want to prevent what they call the ‘disintegration’ of France. Only military ‘intervention’, they […]

Johnson, Eco-Warrior?

Paul Ryder

Katy Balls is Deputy Political Editor at The Spectator magazine. Prime Minister Johnson was editor there before becoming an MP. Johnson’s new spokesperson Allegra Stratton is married to a senior Spectator journalist. The Spectator website says, ‘We uphold strict standards of accuracy’. It is clear therefore that they report accurately what is going on in […]

Language matters

Hazel Pennington

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Why would anyone learn a foreign language just now? For the moment we can’t travel beyond our shores, and we’ve lost the freedom of movement within Europe that we enjoyed as part of the EU. Besides, doesn’t everyone speak English? Well actually they don’t, and anyway, even if you never left […]

Black, White, Black

Martin Griffiths

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Martin Griffiths looks at the impact of history on language transference and music. A 1986 BBC TV series and subsequent book, “The Story of English” (McCrum, Cran and MacNeil) says that: “‘Black English’ [or African-American Vernacular English] is the product of one of the most infamous episodes in the history of […]

Let’s drop ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’

Ev Francis

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Last week I wrote a tweet, as I do probably once a day, sometimes more. The tweet read: “I’d like ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ (CFS) to be dropped as a term’. The tweet went viral and I felt like Piers Morgan – difference being I wasn’t spouting tedious commentary on Prince Harry […]

There are Millions Missing from their lives due to ME

A reader writes...

Ed: Updated with more links – 11 April 2021Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Dear Editor, #millionsMissing.  Have you heard about it? “ME/CFS”. Do you know what it is? 12 May is not only my birthday but also the sixth anniversary of Myalgic Encephomyelitis (ME) International Awareness Day for the #MillionsMissing. This has been represented in many […]

Violence against Women – What Can Men Do?

Julian Greenbank

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk It feels like an age ago when the controversial police response to a vigil held at Clapham Common hit us. It feels even longer since we heard about the devastating news of Sarah Everard’s death itself. Something about Sarah Everard’s death seemed to hit the country hard. Maybe it was because […]

Global Britain, Greenhouse Gases and Nukes

Hadrian Cook

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk At least Dominic Raab is talking to the BBC (he’s the one who did not realise that Dover is a significant port). On the Today Programme (16 March) Raab was leading forth on a leak from the forthcoming report on ‘Global Britain’. I may have been half-asleep, but I am sure […]

The stigma around a ‘Feminist’

Ava Masani, Lottie Cooper & Georgie Charlesworth

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Why you should care? Do you consider yourself to be a feminist? There is a wide misconception that those who call themselves a ‘Feminist’ consider women to be superior to men, think that women deserve more rights than men, or even, are ‘men-hating’. However, feminism and misandry (dislike and prejudice against […]

WITH VIDEO

It’s just the Colour

Martin Griffiths

It’s just the colour of my skin.It’s not a coatI bought to wear. I also feel the sun,Smell the earthAnd hear the birds sing. I work and play,Dance and eatAnd hold my child’s hand. I kiss, I love,I smile, I cryAnd if I’m pricked, I bleed. It’s just the colour of my skin.It’s not a […]

LONG READ

Populism and the Corruption of the Republican Party

Paul Ryder

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Populism Populism has a democratic-appearing, people-oriented, inclusive-sounding name, but there is nothing cuddly about it. It is exploitative, divisive demagoguery, relying on lies, slogans and scapegoating of an invented enemy. It garners support for a movement, Party or Leader to enable power to be acquired and minority interests and policies to […]

Eurostar under Threat

Hazel Pennington

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Could there be a better way to get to Europe than the Eurostar? It’s an easy journey from St Pancras to the heart of Paris (two hours twenty minutes) or Brussels (just over two hours). From there the whole of our endlessly fascinating continent, a cornucopia of landscapes, architecture, languages, climates, […]

Not a Welcome Bill

Lizzy Price and Peter Burke

Without the right to protest, would we have ever had universal suffrage, would the Berlin wall ever have come down, would apartheid in South Africa have come to an end, would civil rights legislation have happened in America, would people have been able to mark their opposition to the Iraq war or to Brexit, would inequality or climate change be such ubiquitous and necessary talking points?

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

Barbara Morrison

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Women are not safe either in public or private spaces. It has been a difficult and painful week which began with International Women’s Day and ended with the worst possible news that Sarah Everard who vanished as she walked home, had been killed and a serving Met police officer charged with […]

News from across Europe

Philip Cole

The emancipation of the stupid Luxembourg’s Tageblatt (22.02) has a profile of Serbia, which has the highest vaccination rate in Europe (after UK). However, infection rates are rising because of a cavalier attitude towards precautionary measures. The paper prints a photo of the investiture of the Serbian Orthodox patriarch in a cathedral full to bursting: […]

International Women’s Day … 8 March 2021

Sue Wilson

I’ve always had mixed feelings regarding events or campaigns aimed at a limited, albeit a discriminated against, sector of society. Is it fair or appropriate to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women while leaving men out of the picture? Perhaps the question shouldn’t be about whether it’s fair, but whether it’s necessary. […]

Biden’s Hyenas – Tory Backtrackers and the UK/US Ideological Alliance

Claire Jones

The nightmare is finally over. Or is it? In his inauguration speech Biden reminded us that democracy is fragile. Consider just some of Biden’s huge remit. Firstly, he has to sort out the joint crises of Covid, racial tensions and a trashed domestic economy. Failure to conquer these mountains simultaneously will be swiftly judged by […]

Anonymity on the Internet

Stephen Kinsella

The role of anonymity in fuelling abuse of public figures has recently received significant attention in the media. Both footballers and politicians, having been subjected to horrendous levels of anonymous abuse and harassment on social media, have proposed that anonymity be banned, with all users required to verify their identity. Clean up the Internet (CUTI) […]

LONG READ

Biden’s Inspiration for a Radically Better Future for the United Kingdom

Paul Ryder

The Inauguration of Biden Joe Biden is a politician with decades of experience at the highest level of US politics. With the energetic support of his Democratic Party, its senior politicians and its supporters, and despite all the rancour, anti-democratic and hateful un-American behaviour of the Republican Party, he has risen to the occasion of […]

How can we clean up the Internet?

Stephen Kinsella

Across the world, governments are starting to wake up to the problems caused by unchecked “free speech” online. They are realising not only that they must act, but also that action is possible and will be popular. In the US the new administration is showing signs that it will grasp the challenge posed by the […]

LONG READ

Whither UK Democracy Post Trump?

Paul Ryder

The Donald Trump Presidency, the US Presidential election and its aftermath prompt thoughts about the UK. How and why have US politics gone this way? Could it all happen here in the UK? How secure is UK democracy?

Johnson v Trump – The Suppression of Democracy

Liz Price

This is the second in a three-part series looking at the parallel perils of Trump and Johnson’s leaderships. Part one looked at how both leaders have handled the pandemic. In part two, Liz Price examines their leadership styles and their common desire to deny debate.

White Privilege

Guy Maughfling

There’s one constant thread that runs through the Penguin History of the United States by Hugh Brogan: race. Many generations after the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery in 1865, its scars are still visible. Hardly surprising, given the country nearly split in a civil war after Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 […]

Johnson v Trump – The Parallels of Death, Dishonesty and Division

Liz Price

Liz Price examines the parallel perils of Trump and Johnson’s leaderships, starting with a look at their handling of the pandemic. While we look on at the entrenched division and the violence in the US, we should take a long, hard and uncomplacent look at our democracy under Johnson.

Riace: Solidarity on Trial

Hazel Pennington

In the two decades up to 2018 more than 6,000 refugees passed through the small town of Riace in Calabria.  A good number made their home there. Riace, like much of the Italian south, had for many years suffered depopulation as young people left in search of a better life, leaving behind a predominantly elderly […]

Negotiating Skills for Beginners

Eric Gates
Men discussing something

As anyone with small children will know, negotiating skills are learned early in life. Obviously, I do not presume to be in the same league as those who write books on “The Art of the Deal”, but I would claim to have a little first-hand experience to draw on. A grandparent speaks of his negotiating […]