Category: UK Politics

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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  […]

Taxation without Representation is Tyranny

Bob Copeland

Many years ago, my son, then in the sixth form at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School, Wotton-under-Edge (KLB) was wondering what he might ask local MP, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, when he visited the school. My suggestion was that he should ask why he isn’t allowed to vote, adding that it might be necessary to remind him […]

Edwin Poots – Is he for real?

Eoin Hughes

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Northern Ireland’s largest party, has been in turmoil for weeks over a change in leadership. The successful candidate, Edwin Poots, seems unlikely to bring the party together

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

Councillor Candidate on Oxfordshire’s “Fair Deal Alliance”

Julian Greenbank

The results of the 2021 elections were more interesting than people initially thought. While Conservative gains in the Hartlepool by-election and council elections were predicted by many, there were a few shock results. Dan Norris being elected mayor of the West of England Combined Authority (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset) was […]

Cummings opens up Pandora’s Box

Martin Griffiths

Over a year after the start of the pandemic Cummings at last tells us how it was in the Cabinet Office and No. 10. He says they wanted “business as usual” but they should have set up a “War Room.“ But how much can we believe from someone as free with the truth as Mr […]

LOST – One LibDems Leader

Martin Griffiths

Editor (not to be confused with Sir Ed): After Martin’s encouragement to the Labour Leader, he now asks where is the LibDems Leader. Police are increasingly worried about the whereabouts of LibDems Leader, Ed Davey, who hasn’t been seen or heard of since the 6 May elections. Even internet searches throw up very little evidence […]

Populism and corruption this side of the Atlantic

The Editor

Ed: After Paul Ryder’s riveting treatment of Populism and Corruption in Trump’s USA, which we featured in March, here is a condensed version of his sequel showing how the UK is equally threatened. A right wing party moves further right When populism rules, and one party in a two-party democracy goes rogue, democracy is undermined […]

Keir Starmer, in terms of Football, what is your Goal?

Martin Griffiths

Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. Come on Keir, as the manager and striker of your team you’ve had multiple opportunities over the last twelve months to score plenty of goals. The opposition goalkeeper has sometimes not even been there and has […]

WITH VIDEO

Art Project highlights the £69k Problem facing EU Students

Matilde Converio

As an art student at London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA), I aim to create a public art project that can speak to as many people as possible through different media. Because I’m Italian my fees have gone up from £9,000 to £23,000 per year. I’ve put together this multi-media project to highlight the fact […]

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Challenging Lies and Sleaze: The Echo Chamber Problem

Claire Jones

There is a danger that the opposition narrative is stuck inside ‘Echo Chambers’ of like-mindedness which prevents our chatter, debate, research and critiques from reaching the ears of Tory supporters. Are we talking to ourselves? Can and should we escape these confines? The UK electorate seems deeply perverse. Labour has bombed overall in last week’s […]

Projecting Global British Military Power

Hadrian Cook

Are enormous and expensive aircraft carriers the best way for Britain to ‘make friends and influence people’? The Americans have Route 66, the Chinese have the Silk Road and in the West of England we have the historic A303. The ‘303’ runs between Basingstoke and Exeter. Shortly after you leave Basingstoke, Popham Airfield is visible […]

A Vacuum of Integrity

Peter Burke

It gives no pleasure to witness integrity and professionalism being treated as an optional extra by those in power. Dominic Cummings: ‘It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.’ Lord Kerslake, former head of civil service: ‘The level of toxicity […]

If you put Lipstick on a Pig, it’s still a Pig

Martin Griffiths

I once spent several days grinding the rust of my old Mini car and carefully rubbing down the applied filler before re-spraying it and polishing it. I even vacuumed (not with a Dyson!) the interior and to be fair, it looked pretty tidy when I sold it. However, whatever the cosmetics, it was still, fundamentally, […]

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 […]

A Letter to other Opposition Parties

Adrian Phillips

Ed: Following his open letter to Keir Starmer, Adrian has now written this letter to Caroline Lucas, the Green’s MP, and copied to the joint leaders of the Green Party. Similar letters have been sent to the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Alliance and SDLP parties, as well as to those leading the Parliamentary group […]

Let’s Go Change the World

Toby Hawkins

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk I’m bored. I’d never thought I’d say that about politics and engaging in the political debate, but I am. I’m bored with the constant bickering between party leaders; I’m bored with the fruitless in-fighting within the parties themselves; and I’m certainly bored with the opposition parties acting like nodding donkeys, constantly […]

Liar, Liar – Pants on Fire!

Martin Griffiths

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk 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 […]

LONG READ

We need to talk about Lying: Johnson’s ‘Lie Fest’

Claire Jones

Porkies and other defects Like it or not, Prime Ministers are role models. Hence Johnson’s moral bankruptcy has set a new standard of contempt for the truth. He may be only a part of a bigger process of erosion but he has massively accelerated it. By filling his cabinet with sycophants even weaker than himself […]

One of our Writers challenges Another!

A reader writes...

Dear Editor, I write in reaction to Guy Maughfling’s (Fragmentation or Unity, April 1 2021) article. Whilst the article started with a well-meaning highlighting of some poor logistical planning, it went on to make a number of far-fetched arguments from this. Firstly, the author clearly believes in democracy, but still manages to become highly undemocratic, […]

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 […]

Fragmentation or Unity?

Guy Maughfling

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. In simple terms, we all want lots of everything. We can’t have that because there’s only a limited amount to go round and we need to work out how best to share what we have. A lot of complicated stuff follows […]

A Tribute to our Keyboard Warriors?

Claire Jones

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk There is an army of social media users out there calling out this government every day.Should we scorn or celebrate them? I began using Facebook for political discussion in 2018. The conversation was then focussed on Brexit but inevitably in 2020 it also embraced the management of Covid by the government. […]

Open Letter to Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition

Adrian Phillips

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk Dear Keir, I am 81. I have always voted Labour, or – since I now live in a Conservative/LibDem marginal – LibDem. I was a strong Remainer. My career has been mainly in public service here and abroad in the environmental sector. Now you know “where I come from”. The Conservative […]

Britain is losing its Moral Fibre

The Editor

Dear Sirs, As a child of a single parent growing up in London NW10 in the 1950’s / 60’s , I was taught by my mother that cheats do not prosper and lying was a sin. My mother came from a poor area of Fulham and was taught to read and write in a convent […]

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 […]

Electoral Reform: keeping it in proportion

Philip Cole

Write to us at editor@westenglandbylines.co.uk There is a growing realisation in the UK that we have not got the government we deserve. This is because of the way the House of Commons is elected. Back in 1935 the secretary of the Labour Party said ‘There is no greater gamble on earth than a British general election’. […]

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 […]

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”