Category: Brexit

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Progressive Alliances and Proportional Representation

Philip Cole

As far as this article is concerned a ‘progressive’ is someone who – in this or any order – wants the UK to rejoin the EU; wants to save the planet from ecocide; unreservedly supports the NHS; believes that in a decent society the strong have a moral duty to support the weak (i.e. we […]

Pigs to the Slaughter

Mark Haller

As a vegetarian here is my take on the development that 100,000 pigs may have to be slaughtered due to a shortage of HGV drivers. And my comments may surprise you! Alpacas or Cows? It is an interesting world. The papers have been full of headlines about one alpaca being killed. This is sad for […]

Campaign for Free Movement for Musicians

The Editor

Ed: This Press Release from Young European Movement at Reading Festival to highlight their campaign for free movement for musicians is well worth supporting. Activists from the Young European Movement (YEM UK) are set to campaign at the Reading Festival to raise concerns over the challenges musicians are facing after freedom of movement came to […]

“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  […]

We are all ‘Grimbarians’ now

Jon Wakeham

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Lia Nici MP before her tweet regarding Queen and flag brought her to some prominence recently. So, I checked her Twitter profile and found that she represents the constituency of Leave-voting Grimsby and describes herself as a proud Grimbarian. Now, forgive my ignorance but I didn’t […]

Liar, Liar – Pants on Fire!

Martin Griffiths

Write to us at Johnson’s lies have led to the destabilisation of Ireland’s fragile peace. The real culprit for the current unrest in Ireland is the hard-line Brexit dogmatically pursued by Boris Johnson and the Brexiteers. Despite a succession of lies told by Johnson (including that there would be checks and controls between Britain and […]

A Reader writes about his Stroud MP

The Editor

Dear Editor, I was very struck by the factual inaccuracies, false claims and exceptionally naïve assertions made by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie in her House of Commons speech this week. According to her, “if the Opposition had been correct about Brexit, the sky would have fallen in by now and dementors sporting EU flags would […]

The Day the Music Died?

Jane Riekemann

Write to us at When Big Ben rang in the New Year at midnight on 31 December 2020 it sounded the death knell of the transition period, the end of the UK’s membership of the Single Market and the start of the hard Brexit most were dreading. The first few months of 2021 have been […]

No Way To Start A trade War

Peter Burke

Despite all the screamingly obvious evidence to the contrary, most of us hoped that by some miracle Brexit would turn out well. We still live in hope, but the chances are diminishing by the day. Some of what is happening was foreseeable, and some goes even further than the worst predictions of “project fear”

Dog Theft on the Increase after Brexit

Liz Webster

Dog theft campaigners are calling on pets and their owners to participate in the world’s first ever DogZoom event to kick-start the national “Pet Theft Awareness Week” on 14th March. Hosted by Emma Kennedy with surprise video messages from celebrities and politicians. Last year, I noticed a sudden increase on my local social media posts […]


A Touch of Frost

Peter Burke

With effect from 1 March 2021 the newly-ennobled Lord David Frost stepped into the role of UK Chair of the Partnership Council. He therefore enters the Cabinet, and becomes yet another ‘unelected bureaucrat’ at the centre of power.  He is there to preside over a difficult new round of negotiations at a time when ministers would […]

Britain loses eTwinning as well as Erasmus+

The Editor

Most people have heard of Erasmus+, but very few know why Britain decided not to participate in it after leaving the EU. The reason Boris Johnson gave is that the enhanced Erasmus+ is now too expensive. This implies that he may have agreed to stay in had Erasmus not been upgraded. But who knows? Despite […]

Conductor Sir Simon Rattle leaves London to become a German Citizen

Dr Helmut Hubel

Music, classical music in particular, has no borders. While the notes are written down on paper, the music is transmitted through the air and cannot be controlled by political authorities. Note the similarity with the Covid virus! Beethoven’s ninth’s symphony with the message, “Alle Menschen werden Brüder” (All people will become brothers [and sisters, we […]

The Irish Sea Border ruins the life of a Poultry Breeder

Elizabeth Baker

“I enjoy a hobby where I show birds in the South of Ireland and on mainland Great Britain. If there is a hard border down the Irish Sea will I still be able to take my birds back and forth?” On 16th October 2019 Desmond Horner, “Desy”, a joiner from Carrowdore, County Down, put that […]

Courier Services Hit by Export IT and Paperwork Issues

The Editor

One of the unforeseen consequences of finally leaving the EU on December 31st 2020 is that many businesses are dependent on their supply partners to ensure their exports and payments are processed as efficiently as before.  Some shipping companies had announced before leaving that there would be price increases and longer delivery times to some […]

Is retirement in Spain now out of the question?

Sue Wilson

If you have ever cast an eye over a foreign estate agent’s window, you’ve probably considered moving abroad. For some, that’s just a fleeting fantasy, induced by sun, relaxation, and perhaps a glass or two of vino. For others, it’s the start of a dream, or even a journey. From a young age, I dreamed […]

The Border is a Problem that won’t go away

Martin Griffiths

Brexit isn’t working. It’s causing real damage. Who is to Blame? As the border down the Irish Sea starts to cause real damage to the very sensitive balance in Northern Ireland between the two different communities and further damages relationships and trade. Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls for: “Urgent action from the EU to resolve […]

Changing approaches to European Integration: a view from Salisbury

Hadrian Cook

For some light holiday reading I purchased the Guardian on Saturday and the Observer on Sunday after Christmas.  I found it cathartic to move away from the epidemic towards something equally depressing.  I should first vent my frustration because I feel the present tricky position is relevant to all our futures. But don’t worry dear […]

Blue Passports and Narrowed Horizons

Aliye Cornish

Musicians are known for their versatility, and it’s clear that the profession will have to change in order to survive, in ways that remain to be seen. This is a real tragedy, not just for the loss to Britain’s previously-thriving cultural scene which was held in high regard internationally, but also for the fact that, like so many industries, the individuals who will be hit hardest are the ones who can least afford it.

They stole my sense of patriotism

Adrian Phillips

Dear Reader of West England Bylines, my apologies for the self-centred nature of this contribution, but I suspect that some of you may be able to identify with at least parts of this story. Brexit has generated a vast amount of writing and commentary, most of it dealing with the obvious areas like trade, economics, […]

Something Fishy is Going On

Martin Griffiths

British Fishermen can now catch more fish … but can they sell them? UK fishermen usually sell a large proportion of their catch to the EU so access to EU markets is as important as the amount you catch. There is little point being able to catch more fish if you don’t have a market […]

Borders and Boundaries – An Email from Northern Ireland.

Martin Griffiths

One of my old college friends who has spent her life working as an illustrator and nurse in Northern Ireland recently wrote the following email to him, which highlights some of her personal concerns regarding the future. I believe that it’s better that we work towards bringing people together than putting up barriers between them […]


Our “Year of Discontent” Demands a General Election in 2021

Paul Ryder

There has been some excellent journalism in recent days and weeks, particularly from the Guardian and Independent newspapers summing up events in 2020. Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty recently drew attention to the parallels between the current crises and the so-called Winter of Discontent in 1978-79. Then, it was public disaffection and anger with the Labour […]

Welcome to 2021 – Outside the EU

Jon Hill

Many people are marking the end of an era with some poignant articles. The consequences of our decision to actually leave the European Union are becoming apparent.Here are some takes from the world press. This from a descendent of German refugees electing to become a German citizen rather than stay with this country without values […]