Category: Coronavirus

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Partygate – A Betrayal of Trust

Claire Jones

We must not ‘move on’ as Liz Truss would have us do. Partygate is existentially different from the government’s disregard for other rules because it affects each of us directly and at the most fundamental, personal level. It is a betrayal of trust. We are all holding our breath to see whether ‘Big Dog Boris’ […]

Covid – The Government’s Perfect Camouflage

Claire Jones
Coronavirus image from Pixabay

The pandemic arrived, uninvited. Clearly, no government wills on their country the appalling havoc a pandemic wreaks. But the Tories are ever the opportunists and Covid has offered them a tremendous opportunity to further themselves. Profiteering and the Covid ‘box of tricks’ We are now familiar with their use of Covid PPE contracts to line […]

Open Letter to MPs

Andrew Milroy

Dear Sir, The latest drinks party in the Downing Street garden reportedly attended by both Boris Johnson and his future wife Carrie Symonds when everyone else in the country was in strict lockdown, is absolutely typical of the double standards and hypocrisy of this government and Tory MPs. It is truly remarkable that Tory MPs […]

Escaping the Covid Groundhog Day

Alex le May
Photo by Ivan Diaz on Unsplash

Should health planners in low-income countries prioritise Covid vaccination? Has anyone asked them? We need to support low-income countries to tackle local health priorities if we want to give global vaccination coverage a fighting chance. This requires a significant shift in our attitude to development assistance. Otherwise, we’ll be living with a Covid Groundhog Day […]

Partying through a Pandemic. They really don’t care, do they?

Nabeela Akhtar
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

I read about the Government and its partying and at first I told myself: don’t react. There is no point getting het up or upset. As the days went on and the denials, the lies, the disrespect continued, I kept telling myself: they aren’t worth it. But still it niggles. Looking at MPs from Gloucestershire, […]

The Masked Bawl

Dr H Stattos

“Never apologize. Never explain. Just get the thing done, and let them howl.” (Canadian politician, Agnes Macphail, 1890 – 1954) Treading water When sailing on tempestuous seas, a small horseshoe shaped ring of polyethylene will not stop you getting wet; it will not stop you inhaling salt or spray; it will not stop the unsettling […]


The Dark Side of Social Media – The ‘Alternative Influencer’

Dr H Stattos

According to Niccolò Machiavelli (who never heard of the internet let alone an alternative influencer): “Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.” (Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1532). This is a […]

The Climate Emergency – Part 1: Lessons from the Pandemic

Bob Copeland

The Government couldn’t cope with the pandemic, and clearly can’t cope with the climate emergency. A few months before the pandemic hit, there was a short presentation and discussion about the Climate Emergency at our village church. I went along with my two daughters and joined a group of around 20. It was a surprisingly […]

War Games on Guernsey

AL Kennedy

So I’m walking along a flower-flanked path near Pleinmont on a delightful section of Guernsey’s coastline drenched in autumn sun, on what was called Westberg by occupying Nazi forces. Weathered little concrete markers bearing swastikas peep from amongst grasses showing sites of former minefields, as if they’re a part of distant history.                    Here on […]

Covid Testing Fails in the South West

Andrew Milroy

Ed: 24 October: Updated with latest stats from UK Health Security Agency. Ed: Please send copies of this letter to your MP and local newspaper so that we get a proper investigation. Dear Sir, Serious doubts are growing about the government policy of out-sourcing Covid testing contracts to private companies. One such company is Immensa, […]

Lessons from the Pandemic

Dr Phil Hammond
Lessons from the pandemic

Covid has not just been a terrible pandemic, but also a stress test for the UK and the world, exposing all our system weaknesses in coping with an unprecedented global threat, and how such a threat disproportionately harms the poorest and those who are already suffering the most. We may have all been in the same pandemic storm, but we have been in very different boats.

The Covid Climate Crisis

Amber Hill

The world has been put on pause, but climate change hasn’t. What on Earth is going on? 2021. Some would, quite rightly, describe it as a year filled with tragedy. All of us have felt the impacts of Covid-19, whether it’s been through losing loved ones to the illness or being shut up in our […]

Protecting the Vulnerable from Covid

Andrew Milroy

Ed: One of our writers sent this letter to his Doctor MP last month on the need to protect the vulnerable. This message is still relevant today. Dear Dr Murrison, You told me of the long term dangers of Covid, that it shortens life. That vaccination protects people.  Unfortunately there are 500,000 immune compromised people […]

A Woman’s Work is Never Done – Caring in the Time of Covid

Barbara Morrison

The division of work between women and men is, and has long been, profoundly gendered. Women’s access to equal paid work, leisure time and power remains constrained by their traditional social roles as carers and mothers even as they have entered and remained in the labour market in greater numbers. There is an expectation that […]

We must protect Immune Compromised People against Covid

A reader writes...

Ed: A reader wrote this letter to his MP the other week but the message is still relevant. We must fight Covid on many fronts, only one of which is vaccination. Many people cannot be vaccinated and need protection from those who are. Dear Dr Murrison, You told me of the long term dangers of […]


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 […]


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 […]


Adrian Mealing

Write to us at 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 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 […]


Businesses in Gloucester Road, Bristol tell us how they survived

Julian Greenbank

>>> With Video <<< Write to us at 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 […]


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 […]