Section: West England

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What’s on in West England Bylines Area

The Editor

Virtual events in your area from Oxford to Bristol and Hereford to Salisbury Ongoing               Well Child / Virtual fun for kids            Party Animals 26 January Oxford for Europe Ian Dunt 27 January           Grassroots for Europe / Webinar          Gina Millar / Will Hutton 28 January           New Scientist / Big ideas in Physics      Ten Keys to Reality          2 February […]

The Disappearing Dogs of Lockdown

The Editor

Campaign for Wiltshire Police to Crack Down on Dog Theft  Liz Webster, Prospective Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon has launched a campaign to crack down on dog theft in Wiltshire amidst the worst ever year for dog thefts.  Criminals have taken advantage of an increase in demand for dogs caused by the […]


Jon Hill

West England Bylines would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year. We hope that you and your families can celebrate in some way and that you stay safe and well. We would like to celebrate a year in which we have made our voice heard […]

Love Local, Shop local, Eat Local

Martin Griffiths

When so much of our food and food influences have their origins in foreign fields, why should we shop local, buy local and eat local? International travel, Commonwealth legacies and European freedom of movement have developed our taste for a diverse range of flavours. Everyday products such as tea, coffee and spices, which were once […]

Can we regenerate and transform our towns by putting people at the centre?

Rick Page

The combined impact of Covid and on-line shopping on our town centres and those working in retail is clear as it is devastating and the evidence continues to mount with the demise of Arcadia and Debenhams to name but a few. It is also likely that post-Christmas other retailers will also fall and High Street […]

Legal Action launched to Save Stonehenge

The Editor

The news that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has green lighted a major expressway through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) has bewildered, outraged and shocked people across the country and around the world.  The independent panel of planning inspectors for the A303 road scheme by Stonehenge concluded that the massive infrastructure would cause “substantial harm” […]

Upcoming Events in the “West England” Area

The Editor

Here’s a selection of upcoming events (some virtual) in our area – from Bristol to Oxford and Hereford to Salisbury. 8 December Oxford for Europe’s next Webinar An Evening With Chris Grey – “His blogs on relations with the EU have become the stuff of legend, and he has 50,000 followers on Twitter.” 12 December […]

Covid-19 and the Excluded Three Million

The Editor

Tewkesbury Labour Party is highlighting the dire straits of those people for whom the government’s Covid-19 support packages do not apply. And there are nearly three million of them. West England Bylines supports this action. Here are some extracts from their 19 November 2020 press release.                                        The plight of the nearly three million people who […]

Bristol Student Rent Strike forces U-turn on Bursary Withdrawal

The Editor

West England Bylines was informed that Bristol University were threatening students with taking funds from their bursaries to cover unpaid rent. The University sent an email to all students demanding rent arrears. The email said: If the debt remains outstanding and overdue for payment on 26th November 2020, the University will use some or all […]

The Stonehenge Alliance aims to stop the A303 tunnel

The Editor

The Stonehenge Alliance has been campaigning for several years to prevent the A303 tunnel scheme harming the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge. Prior to the ministerial decision on 13 November, Stonehenge Alliance issued this Press Release. Press Release: Wednesday 11 November 2020 In advance of a decision on the Stonehenge tunnel scheme, expected on Friday […]

Why I do this

Guy Maughfling

I’m 58 years old. I come from a middle class, West Country non-conformist tradition: my father, senior partner for twenty years in a good sized Gloucestershire-Herefordshire accountancy practice was a paid up Liberal from Jo Grimond days, my mother, an outspoken 6th form English teacher, loved Attlee’s post-war government. I had a fabulous education at […]

African Art at the “Arnolfini”, Bristol

Melissa Chemam

Since September 2019, I have had the pleasure to be the writer in residence at the Arnolfini art gallery, here in Bristol, writing mainly on feminism, women artists and themes around resistance, worldwide. The exhibitions I covered include the feminist show ‘Still I Rise’, Amak Mahmoodian’s ‘Zanjir’, Angelica Mesiti’s ‘Assembly’ and later on, after the […]

Bristol Students’ Rent Strike

Melissa Chemam

This Friday, students from the University of Bristol announced that they were set for a rent strike over their treatment during current lockdown. “We’re calling a rent strike!!” the students’ union announced on their new Facebook page ‘Bristol, Cut The Rent’. This come from a group of students of all levels, from first years to […]

Letter from parents of university students to their MP

The Editor

Ed: We have reproduced this letter from 1st October in full and added our own cartoon to illustrate some of the issues. Dear [Ms Smyth} We are a group of south Bristol parents whose children are at university in different locations across the country (Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Belfast, Glasgow, London, with friends at many […]

NHS Workers: Why They Absolutely Deserve a Pay Rise

Melissa Chemam

While the media have failed to report it widely, NHS workers have already demonstrated twice since July. Marches took place in 30 cities on 8 August, bringing together thousands of people. NHS employees held a minute’s silence for the 640 colleagues who have died during the Coronavirus crisis. Then on Saturday, 12 September hundreds of […]

Meanwhile in the Countryside: Smells Like the Countryside

Marian Whittaker

Ah that fresh country air!  It’s what we all look forward to when we come out to the countryside, right?  New-mown hay, the scent of wildflowers … breathe deep and enjoy.  However, there are some variations on this theme. At this time of year, it’s time for the farmers to enrich the soil with errr […]

Meanwhile in the Countryside: King of the River

Marian Whittaker

Swans mate for life don’t they? We all know that. But then, that’s said of humans too and I think it’s fair to say that not all of us match up to the ideal. Here on the River Coln we are witnessing a daily drama that looks set to run as long as “The Archers”, […]

Will unitary authorities improve the “real life of people”?

George Richmond

Mo Mowlam once said that “it’s the real life of people that needs change”, and yet we see with this government that it’s not the ‘real life of people’ but the structures of government and the authorities, that apparently need ‘change’. Whilst structural reform can help to improve the delivery of changes for people, there […]

Binning the Withdrawal Agreement: Kruger’s “minor technical tweak”?

Stephen Stacey

Clinging tenaciously to the party line, Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, tells BBC Wiltshire that the government’s coyly named Internal Market Bill, introduced last week, contains only “minor technical tweaks” to protect the Good Friday peace deal. He’s wrong. Despite its innocuous title, the Bill is designed to evade key provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement; no more, no less. It does this by subordinating EU law to UK domestic […]

Letter to Wiltshire Conservatives

Andrew Milroy

Open Letter to Nick Stovold, Chair of Wiltshire Conservatives Dear Mr Stovold, The Conservative Party has always been seen as the party of Law and Order. Defending the Rule of Law. Alas no more. The party of Margaret Thatcher is disappearing under a tidal wave of corruption and sleaze. Margaret Thatcher proclaimed  in October 1996  […]

Bristol Community Radio Project

Melissa Chemam

Melissa Chemam has worked in radio since 2006, first as a guest cultural journalist and then as a reporter. Her first radio package was produced in Haiti, then she worked intensely in East and Central Africa, and more recently in Europe. When Melissa came to Bristol in 2015, she fell in love with its diversity, the […]

Oliver Ursus writes…

Oliver Ursus

Praise the Lords (and Ladies)“M’Lords and M’Ladies, here’s over three dozen new playmates. They include a Marxist, an IRA sympathiser, a paedophilia supporter (that’s all one person), failed pols who voted to leave the EU, sundry others who campaigned ditto, the party-giving son of a KGB spy, an overweight, already knighted cricketing Leaver, and a […]

Notes from the countryside…foxes

Marian Whittaker

What’s your opinion of foxes? Urban scavengers? Varmints? Cute and cuddley? I would ask my chickens – but alas they are no longer here to give a view, Charlie Fox having paid us a visit on Saturday night. It was my own fault, distracted by grandchildren I went to shut the chickens IN for the […]

We neglect British farming at our peril

Liz Webster

After much obfuscation, Brexit has finally revealed itself to be a choice between Europe and America. Britain suffers with over confidence and under confidence simultaneously.  There is a repetitive theme in British culture of superciliousness – “we are better than everyone else” – which runs in parallel with a constant hankering to be like other […]

Oliver Ursus writes…

Oliver Ursus

Woke up, fell out of bed/ Dragged a comb across my head/ Found my way downstairs. . . and switched on Twitter. Not a good habit but one I can’t, yet, shake. First, check to see if the editor’s tweeted anything (yeah, right), then scroll through and always, but always, stop at the Auschwitz Memorial […]

For Airbus a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be disastrous

Robert Whitfield

So, 30 June 2020 has passed, we have not asked for an extension to the Brexit Transition Agreement, and we now have until this coming October to finalise the terms of our relationship with the European Union. If we fail to agree a deal, suppliers across the land will be deeply affected – not least […]

Bristol rises – new city, bright future

Melissa Chemam

Summer is finally at its height, and with it Bristol seems again to be embracing a feeling of optimism. After an unpredictably hard start to the year and the worst crisis in decades, its businesses want to start over, its restaurants, pubs and shops are reopening, and art galleries are back with a thrilling programme […]

‘No-deal’ threat sends shudders through Gloucestershire farmers

Martin Griffiths

Gloucestershire has a rich history of sheep farming and Brexit is already putting it at risk. From the Cotswolds to the Forest of Dean, sheep farming is not only a major industry but it also supports many subsectors, including the processing of the meat, animal foodstuffs, transport firms and tourism. Brexit is already having a […]

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