Category: West England

Meanwhile in the Countryside … Memories of Avian Flu

Marian Whittaker

Ed: With cases of Bird Flu reported on a turkey farm in Northallerton and now in the West England area, our countryside writer recalls her blog of the 2016 outbreak in Gloucestershire. It’s recently been announced that two swans have died at Slimbridge from Avian Flu (thankfully not a very virulent strain) and a local […]

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 […]

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 […]

Few believe government claims schools are safe to reopen

Barbara Morrison

In a few weeks, some nine million children across the UK are expected to return to school. The government remains adamant that all years will return, and has produced a labyrinthine set of measures which they insist will reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission; the Prime Minister has meanwhile written of “a moral duty” to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Playing Russian roulette with our nation’s future…

Peter Burke

Dear West England Bylines Recently, we at Oxford For Europe played host via Zoom to Dominic Grieve and Michael Dougan. The main focus of questioners was of course the Russia report, of which Dominic was the principal author. Though at the time he was unable to disclose the contents of the report, he was very […]

Germany will not pander to UK folly

Dr Helmut Hubel

The British government appears determined not to prolong the interim period for negotiating a trade deal with the EU, and equally determined to leave the Union at the end of 2020, with or without an agreement on future relations. The second half of this year will therefore see the endgame in the EU-UK relationship. Germany […]

Where have all the ‘bEUrets’ gone?

Jane Riekemann

On the morning of 1 February 2020, as scenes of the previous night’s Brexit celebrations were being broadcast on the news, our Bath for Europe twitter feed was inundated with posts on the ‘Still here? Time to piss off and go home’ theme. Following the December 2019 General Election the mood was grim and, for […]


Adrian Mealing

Catching up on Normal Peopleone of those steamy interludesof heightened energy. Who does the sound effects?Overdid the carafe at tea-timePause. Be right back Max the fish man from Grimsbyhauls his crabs to Middle EnglandI see dad clowning in MacFisheriesfilleting a mackerel me aged five. Oh, no doshPause. Be right back, Max Transitioning out of Europenot […]

Paradise is a Cheltenham industrial estate

Guy Maughfling

In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little nameBy chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the samePrince: Sign O The Times At the end of January I was on a conference call in a hotel room in Prague discussing the logistics for a six month […]

So, what really happens if there’s ‘no deal’?

Hadrian Cook

‘Resilience’ is an interesting word. I am used to hearing it deployed in connection with the climate crisis, particularly as it affects low-lying communities vulnerable to flooding, the word implying a capacity to recover from a catastrophe that may seem intractable due to social, environmental, and economic trauma and stress the crisis may cause. In […]

Colston’s fall marks the beginning of the future

Eric Gates

In the aftermath of the slave-trader Edward Colston’s impromptu swim in Bristol’s Floating Harbour on 7 June, the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, set the tone of what the city authorities intended to do next, when he said: “We’ll retrieve the statue and take it to one of our museums where it will be assessed […]