Category: Coronavirus

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LONG READ

How should we react to Cummings’ Revelations?

Claire Jones

Nothing about Cummings’ six hour diatribe last week seemed surprising. Many already sensed that the recent ‘goings on’ in Westminster in the name of ‘governance’ had levels of transparency, co-ordination and commitment to public welfare that would make Yes Minister and Faulty Towers look like modern, socially committed, streamlined organisations. Cummings’ depressing descriptions of good […]

WITH VIDEO

A Local Theatre is Locked down, Rejected and Nearly Evicted

Julian Greenbank

The story of one theatre reflecting the issues faced by the wider industry. In the small market town of Hitchin in the Home Counties, is the appropriately small Market Theatre. Like all theatres over the past year and a bit, they were severely affected by the Covid Crisis. As manager Glyn Doggett explains, the Market […]

How do I feel after a Year of Lockdowns?

Bob Copeland

Angry, frustrated and now just despair! For decades successive Governments have recognised that a global pandemic was the biggest threat to our national security. Yet when faced with one, the government of the day was found wanting. Local Public Health Services had been critically weakened, and the National Health Service run down and demoralised. At […]

UP TO SIX

Adrian Mealing

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Riff-raff and roughthe folks round hereand we love that stuffwhen we go for a beer riff-raff and roughit’s true, beg your pardonbut do you fancy salt crispsand a beer in our garden? riff-raff and so roughI’m needing a fixin the garden of lovewith a beer, up to six oh, riff-raff and […]

Matt Hancock explains the Government’s Gratitude to our Nurses

Martin Griffiths

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Throughout the pandemic the government have praised the courage and fortitude of our NHS staff. We were asked to clap to show our appreciation, which we did. But how are the government showing their appreciation? By a derisory 1% pay rise for those NHS workers who have sacrificed a whole year […]

WITH VIDEO

Businesses in Gloucester Road, Bristol tell us how they survived

Julian Greenbank

>>> With Video <<< Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk With over a year since the pandemic struck, how have independent businesses managed to weather the lockdowns and other restrictions? We took our cameras down the iconic Gloucester Road in Bristol and asked some business owners how it was for them. We got quite differing responses; two […]

We can afford to pay our NHS staff more than 1%

Liz Price

More likely to die and more likely to suffer long term effects of Covid-19, our frontline workers have undoubtedly shouldered the heaviest burden of the pandemic. In recognition of their commitment and sacrifice, we were encouraged to come out and clap for our carers during the early months of lockdown. Rainbow pictures were hung in […]

How to roll out a successful Vaccine Programme

Guy Maughfling

Wednesday morning was sunny so I rode my bike through Sandford Park in the centre of town to Cheltenham East Fire Station. Inside, I took my shirt off, someone stuck a needle in my shoulder, I rested for 15 minutes and then I cycled home. Once there, I sat and watched England’s batting collapse in […]

Lockdown Schooling

Tracy Lawrence

At the end of January Boris Johnson wrote an open letter to parents praising their response to the pandemic and its “unique challenges”. He wrote: “Whether you’ve been welcoming a baby into the world without all the usual support networks … or steering a teenager through the emotional stresses and strains of these unprecedented times, […]

Fear and trauma in the “Time of Covid”

Claire Jones

Reflections on the UK’s latest baffling poll The UK is currently divided between those who support the government’s handling of the pandemic and those who see it as an unconscionable disaster. Extraordinarily, the former group are winning. According to YouGov and the latest polls, shortly after the landmark 100,000 deaths were announced, the Tories acquired […]

Shambles at Heathrow – Latest Update

The Editor

Ed: Update 14 February 2021 – Below I’ve added another response from the MPs office which was totally inadequate and my friend’s reply to that. A friend flew into Heathrow last week prepared for rigorous and socially distanced processing by the UK Border Force. What he found was an understaffed passport control forcing travellers to […]

Right Wing Ideology and How not to nail Covid

Claire Jones

Has the government failed to control Covid because effective pandemic measures are incompatible with their ideology? When the pandemic hit, the UK was already battered by Tory austerity cuts. Hospitals were 40,000 nurses short, available beds were down from 22,000 to 13,000 and public health spend per head had been reduced by nearly a quarter. […]

Why we mustn’t be like Homer Simpson

Guy Maughfling

In one brilliant episode of “The Simpsons”, Montgomery Burns instigates a personal fitness regime to reduce Homer’s excessive weight gain. He quickly realises Homer lacks the discipline to get fit and goes for the easy solution of fat removal using plastic surgery. This was the exchange: Montgomery Burns:    “Bah! I will just pay for […]

LONG READ

Thank You Teachers!

Toby Hawkins

2020, a year like no other, has caused us to need to thank so many people. Nurses, doctors, police officers, ambulance drivers, vaccine developers have all done their upmost to keep us safe. And teachers. Teachers who have kept schools open, have kept children safe and have kept doing their job when most of the […]

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 […]

UK Spending outstrips Peers

Andrew Milroy

The Financial Times reported on 29 November that: “The U.K. has spent more money fighting Coronavirus than almost all comparable countries but still languishes towards the bottom of league tables of economic performance in 2020 and deaths caused by the virus”. Why is this? The government appears to be semi-detached from the rest of us, […]

An Independent Financial Adviser’s view on the world in times of Covid

The Editor

My “ethical and responsible” financial adviser, Philip Hanley, posts a blog most Mondays which always causes me to smile and sometimes offers sound financial advice. Here’s a sample from this week. If it gets some attention, I may make it a regular feature. Advice doesn’t have to be dull! I was told this week that […]

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 […]

Are you there Johnson? It’s us, the experts

Liz Price

A year is a long time.  A year ago, we were marching towards the 2019 elections and no one had heard of Covid-19. No one envisaged spending 2020 caught up in a cycle of lockdown and release, with thousands of deaths, dire economic predictions, jobs lost or furloughed, and with young people missing months of […]

What the Government SHOULD be saying to Students

Ingrid Skeels

Rather than blaming students for socialising and spreading Covid-19, the Government should be sending this sort of message to our students and young people. Dear young people You have sacrificed so much already in this pandemic. Going out, seeing friends, entire social lives, relationships, schooling, exams, travels, earning money, fees you’ve paid… All sacrificed at […]

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 […]

A letter from Uni

George Richmond

Since last Sunday I have had my eyes glued to this very screen in which I am now endeavouring to write this piece. Whilst physically I have crossed from the West of England to the East and am back within the brick walls of my university accommodation, most of my classes languish on the virtual […]

God and the Devil or Honesty and Dishonesty

Dr Helmut Hubel

In ancient times when a disaster had occurred (a seven year drought, flooding, diseases etc) people explained it as a “curse of God”. Read the Old Testament: The ancient Jews argued that “God’s people” no longer believed in him and had turned to other gods. Later, Martin Luther argued that sin comes directly from the […]

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 […]

What the Greeks have taught us

Guy Maughfling

Remember the early part of the year when we first became aware of the spread of the virus? We watched as it went from China on to cruise ships then off to Italy and Spain, and around the world. I used to check the virus’ progress on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ –  there’s a table showing total cases […]

Covid: Musicians are struggling, but it doesn’t have to be this way

Melissa Chemam

Last week, I learned that one-third of British musicians could quit the music industry due to a lack of support during this coronavirus crisis. Some 2,000 members of the Musicians’ Union were recently surveyed on the issue in the UK. According to the results of the report, 34% of respondents are considering giving up their professional careers […]

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 […]