Following the deregulation of the City of London and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, former KGB operatives and spymasters with expert knowledge of Western economic systems looted billions from the Soviet state treasury and stashed it into accounts in Europe and the US. Ginny Smith traces the rise of the Russian oligarchy in Britain and exposes its reach deep into the British establishment, the City of London and our political system.
Author: Ginny Smith
Ginny Smith had a varied career after graduating which included tractor driving, working as an occupational adviser at the University of Sussex and teaching English to secondary school children in Algeria. She now runs her own management development consultancy and is the chair of EUnitySeahaven. She lives in a small village in the South Downs and is passionate about protecting the countryside and environment from inappropriate development. She is a strong supporter of electoral reform and campaigns against the undermining of the UK's democratic institutions. She has an MA in Organisational Behaviour, S1 in General Agriculture from Plumpton College and an all-consuming hobby for a few years was breeding sport horses.
The familiar hawthorn tends to escape our attention except during a brief period in the spring when it is covered with brilliant white blossom and lightens a hedgerow with its flowers. But to ignore the hawthorn is to ignore the extraordinary weight of folklore, myth, history and literature linked to it.
“Taxpayers’ money used to repair Lord’s driveway”, screamed the headlines. But the real scandal is how the media and politicians got it so wrong. Ginny Smith unearths the truth behind the “peer and the potholes” scandal.
Are disused railway bridges liabilities or assets? It’s a question highlighted by plans to infill a bridge in Barcombe with concrete, plans which provoked a vigorous and, so far, successful campaign to halt what local campaigners describe as vandalism.
More stunning pictures to enjoy from the lens of Ben Muir. If you have any images of people and places you’d like to share, do get in touch with us at Sussex Bylines.
The award-winning film-maker David Puttnam speaks of his fears for the future of our democracy and points to a warning from history: the rise of Nazi Germany.
Despite dire predictions and warnings, Johnson’s government seems determined to cut the £20 a week “uplift” payments for Universal Credit recipients. Yet as critics of the move point out, this cut is not only cruel and ill-timed, but doesn’t even make economic sense…
From Sussex to Scotland: Coat of Hopes just embarked on an inclusive, inspiring, and uniquely creative 500-mile, 60-day pilgrimage to the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. And at its centre is a community-made patchwork coat that is transformed as it travels…
Writer Ginny Smith explains why, after four decades, she considers Sussex to be “home”, yet still retains the feeling of being a slightly removed observer too…
Five years on from the EU referendum vote, Ginny Smith interviews “Mr Stop Brexit”, Steven Bray. A coin dealer from Port Talbot, Wales, Bray became a national and international symbol of UK resistance against Brexit and inspired thousands of others to join his protests at Westminster.
Five years on from the referendum, and only a few months into Brexit, British exports have plunged 42% and red tape is strangling many businesses. Two companies in Sussex describe the impact of life outside the single market and their despair for the future.
AC Grayling, philosopher, author, eminent academic, journalist, social media activist…and champion for Remain is profiled by Ginny Smith in Sussex Bylines’ popular Defenders of Democracy series.
Action group ‘Bespoke’ has been campaigning for safe cycling routes in Eastbourne for many years but every time a breakthrough is close, somehow all its efforts run into the sand. Every other Sussex seaside town has a cycle lane along the front. Eastbourne is the exception, and it is almost certainly because – unlike nearby Brighton – it is not a unitary authority.
Terry Reintke attributes her growing awareness of inequality and the injustices in the world to the fact that she grew up as a German. Living with the knowledge that my grandparents and great-grandparents had a duty as citizens in a democracy to speak up for the rule of law, for minorities, and they didn’t really do that. That knowledge brings a level of responsibility and it is why politics and democracy have always played an important part in my own thinking.
“Grotesque over-development”: Lewes District Council fights government plans to “build, build, build”
Lewes district councillor Emily O’Brien warns of “grotesque over-development” if the government’s “build, build, build” policy doubles the number of planned builds for Lewes district. But despite the government’s U-turn, Conservative MP Maria Caulfield and Emily O’Brien can’t agree on the revised figures.
For over 200 years the Newhaven Lifeboat has been saving lives in the Sussex sea. Volunteers require enormous courage as they face both physical and emotional challenges. The desire to give something back to the people they live amongst is their driving force, and the relationships they form with local and seafaring communities give them the strength to carry on.
We’re on high alert now − but government failings have made the race against the virus more desperate
The BBC is under threat as never before, as right-wing organisations and MPs work to lower its status in the eyes of the nation, while people in the younger age groups are switching off. Solutions for this problem exist – but who has the courage to implement them?
What drives individuals to demonstrate, come rain or shine not to mention abuse, for a cause they believe in? Ginny Smith talks to 81-year-old street activist Alan Dornan to find out.
The deal with the EU may give some certainty to businesses and hauliers, but it also means a mountain of red tape. Ginny Smith assesses the threat border bureaucracy poses to our local ports like Newhaven.
In this extract from a webinar on 10 December Lord Hannay of Chiswick discusses two key issues in the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK: the concept of ‘sovereignty’ and the question of fisheries.
Can one of the most ancient and last remaining bridleways in Mid Sussex be saved from being turned into a cycleway? Ginny Smith uncovers a controversy involving Mid Sussex District Council, furious residents, environmentalists, developers, landed estates, the vice-sheriff of West Sussex and a seemingly endless maze of complications.
Peter Geoghegan, investigations editor for Open Democracy, has played a key role in exposing some of the fault lines in our present democracy. In this interview with Ginny Smith he explains what has influenced him, and what motivates him to shine light into the dark corners of UK politics.
Why should a newspaper or its owner be free to do whatever they like, just because it’s a newspaper?
The future health of our democracy depends on the existence of an impartial and engaging public broadcaster
Meeting Gina Miller, you are struck by her energy, her determination, and her passion for social justice. Although her name first came to public notice at the time of the EU referendum, she has actually been a remarkably successful campaigner over a couple of decades. She was a driving force behind the introduction of the 1996 Special Education Needs Act, and later worked on the report and the draft of the Modern Slavery Act with the Centre for Social Justice.
The initiator of the LoveEU campaign (“a love letter to Europe”), a key figure in Women4Europe, the leader of the Release the Russia Report demonstrations in Westminster, and one of the founders of savedemocracy.uk, Amanda Robinson typifies the many passionate, committed and creative campaigners on the frontline of the battle to maintain the rule of law in the UK.
Syrians fleeing their war-torn country have had a mixed reception in Britain – depicted as besieging our borders in Nigel Farage’s infamous ‘Breaking Point’ poster. Elsewhere they have been welcomed, and in some unexpected quarters. Such as the leafy Sussex villages of East Hoathly and Halland. The villages (pop 1,600) may seem an unlikely link […]
At a time when our Parliamentary democracy is under threat, those few courageous voices in the media and in public life who are prepared to come forward and expose corruption, wrong-doing and lying, sometimes appear to be the only upholders of our democratic system. This is the first in a series of articles that will […]