Author: Vivienne Griffiths

Vivienne Griffiths is a retired teacher and academic. Her research focuses on teacher education, gender and equity issues. A lifelong activist for women’s rights and social justice, she is also an anti-war and pro-Europe campaigner. She is now Emeritus Professor of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, an English (TESOL) teacher and volunteer gardener in Brighton’s Preston Park.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Preston Park garden manager, Andy Jeavons, and his gardening volunteers

Vivienne Griffiths

When the Brighton Rockery came up as a project in 2000, Andy Jeavons, Preston Park garden manager, jumped at the chance. It was a daunting prospect, as at that stage the garden had not been touched for years and was “completely overgrown”. After the hurricane in 1987, “it went to rack and ruin”, as there was a lot of damage in all the Brighton parks and the Rockery was not a priority.

Cronyism and contracts continue – but nurses lose out

Vivienne Griffiths
Cartoon of chancellor Rishi Sunak offering a small bag of money to a nurse. Speech bubble saying "It's all there is", while in the background large sacks of money are visible, labelled 'Test Track Trace', 'HS2', 'NI tunnel'. 'Consultants', 'PPE contracts' and 'Levelling up'.

While nurses are offered a 1 per cent pay rise, multi-million pound Covid-related contracts have been awarded to “friends” of the government, often secretly and without going out to tender. Viv Griffiths reveals the cost of some of this cronyism and how it is being successfully challenged in the courts and even by the UK’s medicine agency (MHRA).

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

My remarkable aunts

Vivienne Griffiths

As International Women’s Day approaches on 8 March, Vivienne Griffiths remembers two of her aunts: Florence Rourke and Kay Williams. Both were remarkable women, in very different ways, and both had a profound influence on Vivienne’s life.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Retired doctor turned community worker: Kim Shamash

Vivienne Griffiths

Kim Shamash told Vivienne Griffiths how the Brighton and Hove network sprang up just before the first lockdown. Within a week there were 42 areas with at least 3,000 people joining numerous area and street WhatsApp and Facebook groups to request or offer mutual support.

Losing Erasmus: a tragic and costly mistake

Vivienne Griffiths

In December 2020, Boris Johnson announced the closure of the Erasmus project, which has enabled 9 million young people to experience studying or working in another European country, citing expense as one of the main reasons. This is short-sighted and mean-spirited.

Brexit trade deal on a knife-edge: lies and U-turns have destroyed trust

Vivienne Griffiths

The EU is right not to trust the British government. False promises and outright lies about a trade deal have been dripped into the British public’s and EU’s ears by Brexiteers since 2016. Many of these promises have been quietly dropped in the intervening years, as the reality proved more difficult and ministers’ big claims have come to nothing.

A story of workplace bullying

Vivienne Griffiths

Prompted by Boris Johnson’s refusal to sack Priti Patel despite a formal investigation finding evidence of bullying, Vivienne Griffiths recalls her experience of workplace bullying in higher education. Over a five-year period she experienced ongoing bullying from a senior colleague at her university, with significant impact on her professional and personal life.

Patel’s plans for offshore asylum centres plumb new depths

Vivienne Griffiths

Increasingly outlandish and inhumane plans to deal with the migrant ‘crisis’ have emerged from the Home Office in recent days. According to the Financial Times, home secretary Priti Patel explored plans to set up asylum processing centres in the South Atlantic. The plans appear to have been dropped only because of the impracticality of shipping […]

More Covid ageism … and the over-70s are fuming

Vivienne Griffiths

During lockdown, I narrowly missed being run down by a speeding van on an otherwise empty road, its driver giving me two fingers as I tried to slow him down. My angry reaction was: us older people are dispensable now. The feeling has been growing – fed by the enveloping Covid crisis. And I’m not […]

Don’t blame Covid-19: educational testing has been broken for years

Vivienne Griffiths

The recent A-level debacle, which hit students from disadvantaged areas hardest, has been presented as an unprecedented set of circumstances because of Covid-19. But a report just published shows that the gap in educational attainment in terms of class and ethnic background has been growing steadily since well before the pandemic, largely because of poverty. […]