Author: Rachel Marshall

General election now, please, Mr Jupp!

Rachel Marshall

On Monday evening, as Rishi Sunak was being welcomed at Conservative HQ as the latest new party leader and Prime Minister, a group of Devon For Europe activists gathered in Exmouth to campaign for an immediate General Election. Outside East Devon MP Simon Jupp’s off-the-beaten-track office, in a very fresh sea breeze, we set up […]

Who is Jeremy Hunt?

Rachel Marshall

If I was asked to sketch a typical Tory minister, they would probably look a lot like Jeremy Hunt. That probably means there’s something reassuringly establishment about JH which is doubtless settling a lot of the country right now after the financial shocks of the last few weeks. But who is the new chancellor? Look […]

Truss trips up over pay policy, but keep your eyes peeled…

Rachel Marshall

“Let me be clear.” It’s the politician’s go-to phrase when they’re in a tight spot and an indicator that a swerve, obfuscation or outright lie is incoming.  And there we were again, as our Liz was being clear about her mess of a policy around regional pay. Truss is a serial offender at being “absolutely […]

Immersive theatre at its most intense: To Refuge

Rachel Marshall

I just spent 45 minutes sitting in a bunker in central Exeter listening to sirens and bombs. This was Four Of Swords Theatre’s performance To Refuge, based around a work by Ukrainian playwright Elena Hapieieva: In the Bowels of the Earth. It was immersive theatre at its most intense. The performance takes place under The […]

A brush with Boris

Rachel Marshall
Johnson on Room 101

In the early 2000s, I was strolling over a zebra crossing near Highbury Corner, in London, on my way home from work when I was almost hit by a bicycle. I immediately recognised the rider: it was Boris Johnson, and he was chatting away on his mobile phone while cycling right at me. Furiously I […]

So you’re going back to the office, but what about your dog?

Rachel Marshall
Lonely dogs on the lookout for their owners

The age of Covid-19 has also been the age of the dog. For many people stuck at home all day it was the perfect time to get a pet and they’ve provided important companionship during lockdown. However, a survey by Dog’s Trust found that many existing owners observed increases in behaviours such as barking or […]

Peaceful protest in action

Rachel Marshall

After a year of signing online petitions the government will simply ignore, this Saturday feeling a mixture of anxiety and compulsion, I went back to the streets to protest – while I still can – against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill at one of the 25 protests that took place across the UK. […]

Priti Patel marches in where Michael Howard feared to tread

Rachel Marshall

Editor’s comment: The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill may have been quietly pushed aside for the moment, no doubt waiting for the furore to die down, but it is very unlikely that the crackdown on dissent is off Patel’s agenda at all. Rachel Marshall reminds us of events almost two decades ago… There is […]

Paddock politics: why racing gets a leg up

Rachel Marshall

From the Cheltenham super-spreader festival, to the heroic hosting of vaccination centres, to fellow-jockeys Hancock and Harding overseeing Track and Trace, the connections between the worlds of horse racing and politics run deep. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders: Sport of Kings Horse racing is a hugely valuable industry with estimates putting […]

Would you take a beating for democracy? #StandWithBelarus

Rachel Marshall

It’s six months since unpopular dictator Alexander Lukashenko surprised everyone and no one by winning the presidential election in Belarus – once again – by an unusually high margin against impossible odds. Every weekend since has seen protests throughout the country. For many weeks there was genuine optimism that this time, something would really change. […]

Roast autarky and British sprouts

Rachel Marshall

As Covid choked the passageways between the UK and France at the end of December, there were increasing calls from farmers and politicians to “Buy British.” This is irritating because many of us do just that already; filling our fridges and store cupboards has for many years not been an either/or choice. But is this […]

The seven deadly sins of 2020

Rachel Marshall

When Covid-19 and the lockdown first hit, there was a magical outpouring of willingness to help, support people in communities, think greener and kinder. We relished the fresher air, the new things we discovered on our daily walk or run, we appreciated nurses, carers, binmen, transport workers, supermarket staff. As the year draws to a […]

Become a curator: devouring digital culture in lockdown

Rachel Marshall

In the week before our second national lockdown started, I spent a glorious morning at Exeter’s newly reopened Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Six days later the museum closed again. It was such a treat to be able to view exhibits – photographic portraits of influential women and examples of the stunning lace produced around Honiton […]

Winds of change – reflections on Minsk, democracy and dictatorship

Rachel Marshall

“I’m going to Russia, well, Belarus.” “Where’s that?” “Next to Poland. Where most of the Chernobyl cloud went.” So went conversations with friends in early 1995, as I prepared to depart for Minsk for a Russian language course. Minsk was a slightly strange place to be learning Russian. In the brave new world of the […]