Two years of telling it like it is.

Image by Philip Wels from Pixabay

Wow! It’s our second birthday on 23 July. We started out as West Country Bylines and now we’ve completed nearly 7 months as West Country Voices and all thanks to the same great team of editors and proof readers, excellent writers – some new, some longstanding contributors – and a growing band of loyal readers who share our progressive values; and yes, let’s face it, share our undimmed frustration and fury with the UK’s direction of travel under Johnson and his enablers.

As editor-in-chief I find myself torn sometimes between a burning desire to get the often grim facts out and a nagging worry that people can’t take much more bad news. But then I remind myself that there is nothing that the current government would like more than for us all to succumb to outrage fatigue and slump into fatalistic acceptance of their increasingly fascistic agenda.

I also (sometimes) worry about how strident we are in our calling out of social injustice, corruption, assaults on our rights, climate inaction and the relentless erosion of democracy. But you know what? I’ve looked back over our articles and we were bang on the money. Johnson IS a liar. This government IS authoritarian. Our institutions ARE under attack. The NHS IS being destroyed.

It’s exhausting, I know, and often dispiriting and downright depressing, but we have to stay angry to fuel action for change, whether that be informing others who have been blind to what’s going on, or joining campaign groups like Liberty or Make Votes Matter, or getting out on the streets to demonstrate or helping overturn massive majorities in constituencies like Tiverton and Honiton. We cannot become shruggers! We cannot sigh and say “Oh, well. That’s the way it is. There’s nothing we can do.”

No! Stay angry! Stay active! Stay with us!

We’re not all about politics, either. Or gloom! We can be funny and relaxed and light-hearted. Really!

But while you’re here, don’t forget our webinar on July 27 at 20:00 on Human Rights. We take our rights for granted, don’t we? Well, like freedom of movement, we’ll miss them when they’re gone. Come and join the conversation with our panel of experts. These sessions are always stimulating and it’s great therapy to be amongst kindred spirits. And it’s free!

Finally, we really need your help to grow our circulation and that means sharing our articles with friends and family and on social media. We are run exclusively by volunteers; we don’t clutter up the site with any paid ads or paid advertorial (despite companies approaching us every day with jammy offers). Donations pay for the website and promotion of articles on Facebook…yes, it sticks in the craw to give money to a company which has helped to undermine democracy, but it’s the only way to reach beyond the bubble.

And we are in a bubble. We know that. We also know that it’s a very big and growing bubble and we are but a speck in it! Help us become a dot or a lump, at least! If we get larger it will only be because we are being read by more people and that means we have a better chance of reaching those who, to date, have got their info from the mainstream media (- boo, hiss!).

So, happy birthday to us and a shout out to the range of regional publications from the Bylines Network and our inspiration, Byline Times.

Telling it like it is. It’s what we do.