Category: They Work for Us

Who will police the police?

Allegra Chapman
Downing Street police guards seen through the railings

Since Sarah Everard was murdered in March by a serving police officer, 81 women have been killed in the UK at the hands of men. How are women supposed to feel safe on our streets if the very people whose primary job is to protect us are instead disregarding, mocking or killing us? Can women trust the police? And perhaps more importantly, should we?

Labour conference buried gem: Land laws reform to stop the “free-for-all”

Rick Dillon
Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Housing Lucy Powell speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Sept 2021

Forget Starmer’s speech, McDonald’s resignation and Rayner’s expletives, says Sussex Bylines writer Rick Dillon, who attended much of the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this week. Far more important were the under-reported land laws reform proposals, some put forward by the Hastings & Rye local party and passed enthusiastically by delegates, that would stop the developers’ planning free-for-all and could finally fix our nation’s housing crisis…

TOXIC SHOCK

For the birds: Brexit’s latest shock, a toxic threat to our water system

Ginny Smith & Rick Dillon
a yellowhammer bird in a tree

The safety of our water systems is now threatened due to the shortage of HGV drivers who deliver the chemicals needed to decontaminate wastewater. This is therefore a problem stemming directly from the consequences of Brexit – and one which, among many others, was predicted in the government’s own Operation Yellowhammer report, which laid out disaster contingency plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which has now become reality.

The unkindest cut – real life stories

Sussex Bylines
Woman looking at the "Keep the lifeline" petition on her smart phone

We invited Sussex Bylines readers to share their personal experiences of how the government’s planned Universal Credit cut will affect them. We have already received some courageous responses that make for sobering – and in some cases, heartbreaking – reading…

UPDATED

The unkindest cut of all

Ginny Smith
Tories Foodbank Soup cans mural in London by artist Georgie

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…

TOXIC SHOCK

Profits from pollution: how private monopoly Southern Water is failing the public

Ginny Smith & Rick Dillon
Protesters on a Hastings beach following yet another sewage spill by Southern Water

A spate of sewage discharges and spills into our seas and rivers is prompting protests as demands grow across Sussex for Southern Water to clean up its act and stop putting profits ahead of clean water. As a private monopoly it is accountable to its shareholders rather than its customers, but a growing number of campaigners believe it’s time to bring it back into public ownership.

Destroy these outdated A27 plans, NOT the South Downs

Norman Baker
Before and after images showing (top) how the countryside east of Lewes looks now and (bottom) how it would look if the proposed new A27 motorway was built right through it

“Pristine countryside lost to concrete cannot be recovered: once gone, it is lost forever. Is that what we really want to see for this beautiful section of the South Downs?” Former Lewes MP and Transport Minister Norman Baker demolishes the persistent proposals to build a new four-lane highway that would decimate the Low Weald countryside, including ancient forests, protected wildlife, working farms and historic villages, and calls on the lead Conservative Councillor to change course NOW, before it’s too late…

Refugees Work: so why not let them?

Tom Serpell
Migrant workers in the fields in the USA

Refugees could make a contribution if this country would only allow more in and let them work. This would relieve desperate people of the dangers of life in camps, on the road or under the control of smugglers. It would enable them to demonstrate their skills and commitment to this country. It would add to the workforce and enrich our culture. This surely constitutes a win-win.

Sex, Lies and Videotape: Has cronyism finally had its comeuppance?

Vivienne Griffiths
Led By Donkeys poster featuring a CCTV still of Hancock and his aide in a clinch, highlighting government hypocrisy

While some expressed moral outrage, most people were more upset by the hypocrisy shown by the Health Secretary in brazenly breaking the social distancing guidelines that he himself had set, especially when so many who have lost loved ones to Covid had stuck to the rules…. It was only the unrelenting outcry from MPs, the public, and the media, that finally forced Hancock’s hand into “doing the decent thing” and resigning.

Tracks of a Trickster – who does Boris Johnson think he is?

Rev Susie Courtault
A satirical photo tableau depicting Boris Johnson and new bride Carrie Symonds in the rose garden with body bags piled high

Because adultery and abortion are considered sinful in the Catholic Church, a large number of Christians (who take their faith very seriously) are appalled that a serial adulterer, and someone well known to have abandoned his children, could get away with taking the sacraments in Westminster Cathedral. Yet reinventing himself is part of his raison d’être. I suspect he has no particular attachment to being able to take the sacraments and went along with the whole process because he had no strong opinions either way — and that is exactly what a trickster would do.