Readers have their say.

 

Opinion: schools should respect pupils’s gender identity

Opinion: schools should respect pupils’s gender identity

By Mabel Wellman, Trans Pride Southampton. We at Trans Pride Southampton directly oppose the non-statutory guidance the government have given on transgender pupils or pupils questioning their gender. The guidance released states the teachers must speak to parents if a pupil mentions they have a preferred name they would like teachers and classmates. As well
Reader’s letter: Southampton Citizen’s Climate Assembly

Reader’s letter: Southampton Citizen’s Climate Assembly

By Cllr John Savage. Today, Sunday 3 December, marks the end of the final meeting of the Southampton Citizens’ Climate Assembly.  Stretched over the last month or so, the council working with the University of Southampton, Involve UK and the Sortition Foundation, has been hosting meetings with over 40 local residents to explore and understand
Opinion: A symbol of peace. Why I’ll be wearing a white poppy

Opinion: A symbol of peace. Why I’ll be wearing a white poppy

By Charlotte Ndupuechi. This year more than ever, I’ll be wearing my white poppy. As the month of remembrance draws near, many people will be automatically reaching for the red poppy without actually understanding what this symbolises. When wearing my white poppy, I often get asked about it – in an aggressive tone in some
Opinion: Southampton Forward – really ?

Opinion: Southampton Forward – really ?

by Charlie Hislop A few weeks ago the Southampton Culture Trust announced it is now to be known as Southampton Forward. The Facebook post said it was exciting news. I was excited for news too, I had been waiting months to find out what was happening. I was looking forward to an explanation of what
Reader’s letter: shop workers don’t feel safe – we need to do more

Reader’s letter: shop workers don’t feel safe – we need to do more

By Cllr Beccy Greenhalgh. Last week I gave my maiden speech at a Southampton City Council meeting as a Labour Party councillor for Coxford. I gave it in support of a motion by Cllr Noon which was passed, which said: “Southampton city Council stands with unions and employers in calling on Hampshire Police and Crime
Letter: Help save Foxlease Girlguiding activity centre in New Forest

Letter: Help save Foxlease Girlguiding activity centre in New Forest

In May this year, Girlguiding UK said they intend to close five training and activity centres at the end of 2023 including Foxlease at Lyndhurst in Hampshire. We have worked tirelessly since that announcement, setting up Foxie’s Future to find a solution so that those in Girlguiding and the wider community can continue to use
Opinion: Gaza – the Freedom Flotilla visits Southampton

Opinion: Gaza – the Freedom Flotilla visits Southampton

By Charlie Hislop. Fishing is essential to the livelihoods of the people of Gaza, but for the, fishermen going out in their boats has been likened to entering a ‘military zone’. The Israeli-imposed limit as to how far the fishermen can go out varies – frequently set at six nautical miles – and those who
Reader’s letter: local people lobbied Southampton MPs as part of  Greenpeace Warm this Winter event

Reader’s letter: local people lobbied Southampton MPs as part of Greenpeace Warm this Winter event

by Southampton Greenpeace group. “Constituents met with Caroline Nokes MP on a video call and Alan Whitehead MP in central Southampton as part of the nationwide Warm This Winter mass lobby. Several local people came along to the meetings and shared their experiences of how the current rise in energy bills is affecting them and
Reader’s letter: Let them eat turnips! 

Reader’s letter: Let them eat turnips! 

by Charlotte Ndupuechi. It feels like we are falling down yet another rabbit hole of totally ridiculous situations in the UK. The Credit Crunch, the Bankers Crash, Covid and now the cost of living crisis. It seems the incompetent UK government are set to drive us from one absurd situation to another. We have seen the
Letter: Southampton councillor Barrie Margetts responds to not being permitted to stand for reselection by Labour Party

Letter: Southampton councillor Barrie Margetts responds to not being permitted to stand for reselection by Labour Party

by Cllr Barrie Margetts. “I am disappointed to not have been permitted by the Labour Party to put myself forward for reselection to stand in the upcoming Council elections as a Labour candidate. I remain supportive of the current leader of the local party, Councillor Kaur. Councillor Kaur is a great advocate for the city
Reader’s letter: NHS patients and staff are suffering – and the government are to blame

Reader’s letter: NHS patients and staff are suffering – and the government are to blame

“The NHS is safe in our hands.” Remember that quote from David Cameron?  Twelve years on and the current crisis in Emergency care is anything but safe.  Seeing long lines of ambulances unable to deliver their patients to hospital is shocking. Harm is undoubtedly being caused to patients and staff, and I lay the blame
Opinion: How I learnt to stop worrying about The X Factor

Opinion: How I learnt to stop worrying about The X Factor

by Lewis MacLean. Recent English Eurovision contender and runner up Sam Ryder needs no introduction. He will go down in history as the closest we got (since Bucks Fizz) to winning what England generally condisers the most biased and contentious global competition of all. However, enthusiastic Sotonites who turned into his NYE GIG might be
Reader’s Letter: Levelling up – how about providing free school meals?

Reader’s Letter: Levelling up – how about providing free school meals?

by Charlotte Ndupuechi. “Levelling up? What better way than to provide free school meals.  With this week‘s big PR push from the government about the so-called levelling up agenda, this got me thinking.  Child poverty continues to rise with 4.3 million children now living in poverty in the U.K. That’s 1 in 3.  School dinners
Reader’s Letter: we oppose far right group’s attempts to sow hatred and division in our communities

Reader’s Letter: we oppose far right group’s attempts to sow hatred and division in our communities

by Southampton Stand Up To Racism. “The far-right group Britain First is planning to hold a regional meeting in Southampton on February 7th. We oppose this attempt to sow hatred and division in our communities and stand united in defending our multicultural and diverse city. Britain First was founded by former members of the fascist
Reader’s letter: Tips for trying Veganuary

Reader’s letter: Tips for trying Veganuary

Hints for those trying Veganuary: 1/ Don’t throw away meat and dairy you have already in your fridge/freezer/cupboards. Eat it as you go along but don’t buy anymore. 2/ Avoid vegan forums/pages etc because there will be ‘that’ vegan who burns anyone who slips or asks an innocent question. Even now several vegan years down
Experience: I cut down on eating meat and ended up going vegan

Experience: I cut down on eating meat and ended up going vegan

by Charlotte Ndupuechi. I went from being a huge meat eater to being plant based and haven’t looked back. Like many others I was consciously trying to reduce my impact on the planet. For years I had been recycling and trying to find more local produce. I had changed my shower-head and had a little
Reader’s Letter: there’s no excuse for hate speech against autistic people

Reader’s Letter: there’s no excuse for hate speech against autistic people

Since Andrew Tate made THAT tweet and got burned by Greta Thunberg big time I’ve seen a massive increase in really nasty vitriol towards #actuallyautistic people. It’s almost like non-autistic people think we can’t read or don’t have feelings and can’t be hurt by the stuff they’re saying. We’re  autistic, not stupid. Sure some autistic
Reader’s letter: please respond to the Southampton City Vision consultation

Reader’s letter: please respond to the Southampton City Vision consultation

I am writing to urge all Southampton residents to respond to the Southampton City Vision consultation by 3rd January! It’s your chance to say how you would like to future proof the City. At Transition Southampton we’ve put together a handy guide: Southampton Local Plan Consultation (transitionsouthampton.org) – just choose the bits that interest you
Reader’s Letter: Business, buses and busting corporate dystopia

Reader’s Letter: Business, buses and busting corporate dystopia

by Meg Sherman. City Red buses’ decision to terminate their entire service in Southampton from February 2023 is an acute manifestation of a regressive wider trend of public service retrenchment, associated with fiscal austerity. It is the sad but inevitable consequence of a culture of reckless privatisation and outsourcing of ownership and governance of, once
Reader’s letter: “Where are you from?” is a loaded question

Reader’s letter: “Where are you from?” is a loaded question

Reading the transcript from Buckingham Palace where Ngozi Fulani, a domestic abuse charity founder was greeted by Lady Susan Hussey was uncomfortable, but I’m sure not as shocking as it was to experience in person. For me it wasn’t that Lady Hussey asked the question “Where are you from?”, it was that she refused to
Opinion: members of the University and College Union are striking – here’s why

Opinion: members of the University and College Union are striking – here’s why

by Dr Elizabeth Reed. This week and next, members of UCU (the University and College Union) at Higher Education institutions across the country will be taking strike action on three days (24th, 25th and 30th November). We don’t want to do it, but the conditions in our workplaces have left us with no other option.
Opinion: Local group forming much-needed Tenants Union for the Southampton area

Opinion: Local group forming much-needed Tenants Union for the Southampton area

by Phil Tyler. There is a fast-growing movement spreading around the UK in response to the increasing attacks by landlords and letting agents on renting tenants. Tenants have very little on their side as individuals when a landlord demand swingeing rent increases, fails to keep their property in good condition or behaves unreasonably, or expedites
Good things can come from Twitter – & taking to the stage at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, was one

Good things can come from Twitter – & taking to the stage at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, was one

by Gus Mckechnie. For my past decades in Southampton I had wondered what it would be like to be behind the scenes of Mayflower Theatre. I currently work in an office on Commercial Road and pass the theatre every working day. I also used to for a number of years worked in the pub next
Opinion: Marlhill Copse – the spirit of the woodland must be preserved, whatever Southampton Airport’s plans are

Opinion: Marlhill Copse – the spirit of the woodland must be preserved, whatever Southampton Airport’s plans are

by Cllr John Savage. Councillor John Savage is a Labour Party councillor for Portswood, Southampton. Around five years ago, Southampton International Airport, purchased Marlhill Copse. In March 2021 the Council Planning and Rights of Way panel refused an application by the airport to the felling of Monterey Pine, Corsican Pine and other coniferous species and
Opinion: qualified counsellors should be paid & their professional organisation, the BACP, should support that

Opinion: qualified counsellors should be paid & their professional organisation, the BACP, should support that

By Marvis Stewart.   Many counselling organisations routinely expect qualified counsellors, who have spent years and thousands of pounds gaining their qualifications, to work for free, often whilst paying other member of staff. Southampton-based counsellor Marvis Stewart says this practice has to end and she is calling on the The British Association for Counselling and
Heritage: Slavery and Southampton: an exhibition at SeaCity Museum, Southampton – reflections of a volunteer

Heritage: Slavery and Southampton: an exhibition at SeaCity Museum, Southampton – reflections of a volunteer

by Liz Batten. Sometime just before the pandemic I’d offered to help do some research for an exhibition on slavery and Southampton, Sugar, Politics and Money for SeaCity Museum. I’d already been excited by David Olusoga’s documentaries on BBC TV, and the publicity surrounding the University College London database of slave compensation payouts. Back then
Heritage: Response to Sugar, Slavery and Southampton: Women’s Stories

Heritage: Response to Sugar, Slavery and Southampton: Women’s Stories

by Jackie Landman.   Claire Ballinger, Rose Wiles and Pauline Bisson  were amongst the voluntary curators of new exhibition at SeaCity Museum, Southampton, Sugar, Politics and Money. They wrote about the exhibition for In Common and invited colleague Dr Jackie Landman, a visiting professor at the University of  Southampton, to respond. This is what she
Letter: Freemantle local history tour was a great success

Letter: Freemantle local history tour was a great success

The Friends of Freemantle Lake park were joined yesterday ( 9th October) for a very special morning of learning about local history. Martin Brisland, a local history tour guide for See Southampton and published writer, had agreed to research and delivery the tour totally free of charge to support the group and encourage the joy
Reader’s letter: we must be fearless in combating transphobia

Reader’s letter: we must be fearless in combating transphobia

It seems to be the case that trans rights is a polarising issue. However, the case for embracing the trans movement is evidently consistent with science, statistics and data. By contrast the “gender critical” movement is generally rooted in reactionary ideology. Binary gender has been a dominant social reality since Aristotle invented gender essentialism and
Letter: carers are once again being let down by the government says Carers Trust CEO

Letter: carers are once again being let down by the government says Carers Trust CEO

from Carers Trust CEO Kirsty McHugh. Millions of unpaid carers are being plunged into poverty, or facing extreme financial pressure, because of the extra costs of their caring role. Despite the critical role unpaid carers play in propping up a creaking health and social care system by caring for family members and friends, yet again
Reader’s letter: Are bankers holding the country to ransom?

Reader’s letter: Are bankers holding the country to ransom?

“Holding the country to ransom” is a trope that is trotted out by elements of the media – and often Cabinet Ministers – nearly every time there is an industrial dispute. When transport workers, ambulance crews, nurses or fire fighters consider taking industrial action over pay, terms and conditions or safety matters, the mantra “They
Reader’s letter: we can enjoy nostalgia but accept and embrace change

Reader’s letter: we can enjoy nostalgia but accept and embrace change

I follow a few Southampton history pages on Facebook and love the variety of posts about people, places and events. I particularly love the stories of local folks who didn’t become nationally or internationally renowned but were important in their own little communities and contributed to the rich fabric of them in their own special
Reader’s letter: my message to striking workers – keep fighting

Reader’s letter: my message to striking workers – keep fighting

I first joined a union when I started at Royal Mail and have always been in a union since whenever possible. Back then there was a very large union membership. While at Royal Mail I had a couple of disciplinary issues one of which could have led to me being dismissed. Thanks to the union
Reader’s letter: do architects ever ask disabled people about accessibility?

Reader’s letter: do architects ever ask disabled people about accessibility?

Why has it apparently never occurred to architects or designers to actually ask disabled people about accessibility? Like genuinely. Just grab a handful of us and ask if something will work, and if not, what would work better. If this had happened, almost every disabled toilet would be totally different, for a start.  I have
Reader’s letter: essential services should be run for people, not simply for profit

Reader’s letter: essential services should be run for people, not simply for profit

As Saturday’s post arrived I met the postman at the door. He handed me my letters. A very important hospital referral I’d been waiting for for one of my children, a small package of something I’d ordered off of eBay, a wedding anniversary card and a couple of other letters. All of those things were
Reader’s letter: Southampton is rich in culture but too many projects are ‘top down’

Reader’s letter: Southampton is rich in culture but too many projects are ‘top down’

Dear Editor, I have just read the letter concerning requests for access to data amassed during the unsuccessful City of Culture bid. I too had wondered how we would build on the work done;  Access to good quality up-to-date data would be a great place to start. I’ve been involved in different cultural activity in
Reader’s letter: what’s happened to all the City of Culture data?

Reader’s letter: what’s happened to all the City of Culture data?

I’d like to ask what use will be made of the wealth of data accumulated during the City of Culture bid. There surely has to be an incredible amount of facts, figures, qualitative as well as quantitative information, most of which I’d like to think can be brought to bear to benefit city residents.  We
Opinion: should we be worried that Southampton is a Freeport?  (hint: yes)

Opinion: should we be worried that Southampton is a Freeport? (hint: yes)

by Charlie Hislop. I’ve been interested in the development of cities and how they work since I was a student in the 70s, and if something new is going to affect my city’s future, I’m on it. Southampton has been designated as a Freeport, so I’ve been taking a look. There have been pictures of
Experience: it was supposed to be a perfect evening – instead my  young child suffered a racist assault

Experience: it was supposed to be a perfect evening – instead my young child suffered a racist assault

by Dr Nazneen Ahmed Pathak. This was me and my 9 year old son, R, at Mayflower Theatre, our biggest commercial theatre in Southampton, yesterday, for some precious mummy-son time, like lots of other families, five minutes before curtains up.  Look at his thrilled little face.  It’s because he’d just found out what we were
Letter: City of Culture money should help disadvantaged local children visit theatre

Letter: City of Culture money should help disadvantaged local children visit theatre

by Corinne Finlay. I would like to see the money (awarded to Southampton as a runner up to becoming City of Culture 2025)  go towards opportunities for disadvantaged children to have access to big theatre productions. Some Southampton children will never get the opportunity to see a West End show at the Mayflower Theatre,  as
Letter: I’m delighted that Satvir Kaur has been selected as a general election candidate

Letter: I’m delighted that Satvir Kaur has been selected as a general election candidate

by Jayanti Shah MBE, Director, Positive Message Limited. Picture: Chris Moorhouse.  Forty years ago, I was told by someone in Southampton that a non- white person would never get selected let alone win a parliamentary seat on the south coast.  I’m delighted and glowing with pride that Satvir Kaur has been selected as the Labour’s candidate
New project exploring lesbian experiences of community in Southampton seeks participants

New project exploring lesbian experiences of community in Southampton seeks participants

by Dr Elizabeth Reed. Researchers at the University of Southampton are currently recruiting participants for a project exploring lesbian people’s experience of community in the city, through the pandemic.  Southampton’s City of Culture bid celebrated our diverse communities and cultures and set out a plan to make our city more inclusive by improving access to
Opinion: why I’ll be protesting when Jimmy Carr comes to Southampton

Opinion: why I’ll be protesting when Jimmy Carr comes to Southampton

by Manthan Pathak. Jimmy Carr returns to perform at the city’s Mayflower Theatre next month, and so it seems like an opportune time to revisit his joke about the Holocaust that caused so much furore after his latest Netflix special. I’m a member of Southampton Stand Up to Racism, and yet I’ll confess to having
Opinion: being part of Southampton’s City of Culture 2025 bid has already meant so much to me

Opinion: being part of Southampton’s City of Culture 2025 bid has already meant so much to me

by Issa Loyaan Farrah-Kelly. In January of this year, I was commissioned to write a poem for the Southampton City of Culture 2025 bid. I was enthused to become a part in the bid, and in a sense represent my hometown. Initially, I had been cynical about the bid. I had envisioned it as taking
Opinion: why Transgender Day of Visibility matters

Opinion: why Transgender Day of Visibility matters

Levi Wellman, chairwoman of People’s Pride Southampton As a transgender woman, Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), celebrated on March 31,  is a very important day for me.   Throughout the year, news surrounding trans people is either negative, or we are only mentioned when achievements from trans people are solely criticized. This negative news cycle is
Letter: unpaid carers will be bitterly disappointed by Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Letter: unpaid carers will be bitterly disappointed by Chancellor’s Spring Statement

by Carers Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Kirsty McHugh. “Carers Trust research last month showed that unpaid carers are at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis. However, the Chancellor has again missed the opportunity to support unpaid carers, without whom our health and social care system would simply collapse. This is in sharp
Opinion: almost 30 years on, marching against racism is still sadly necessary

Opinion: almost 30 years on, marching against racism is still sadly necessary

by Manthan Pathak. On Saturday (March 19) I attended a march against racism in central London to commemorate UN Anti-Racist Day, along with a coach full of campaigners from Southampton Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) and around 10,000 others from across the country. The first anti-racism demonstration I attended was in 1994, when we marched
Opinion: We need to stand together for the people of Ukraine

Opinion: We need to stand together for the people of Ukraine

by Jonathan Mitchell. The way the British government has responded to the Ukrainian refugee crisis has been nothing short of a moral failure. After two weeks of intense and brutal fighting and indiscriminate violent from the Russian forces, as of 16 March only 6,100 refugees have been issued visas (1). This is despite the fact
Opinion: Insecurity In the City

Opinion: Insecurity In the City

by Simon Oldham, founder of Southampton Social Aid Group and Saints Fans Supporting Foodbanks. During the last couple years with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a massive increase in the need for support across this city and country. However, it would be untrue to say this level of poverty and need was because
View from the Kingsland: Superstition and Momentum

View from the Kingsland: Superstition and Momentum

by Nick Mabey. I don’t think of myself as particularly superstitious in any other aspect of my life. But when Southampton FC have an outstanding run of form (on average once every few years if you’re asking) something strange starts to happen. Put simply, and despite all evidence to the contrary, I start to believe
Opinion: Southampton is a very deprived area – so why is it left out of Tory ‘Levelling Up’ plans?  

Opinion: Southampton is a very deprived area – so why is it left out of Tory ‘Levelling Up’ plans?  

by Jonathan Mitchell. We were promised levelling up for all, and yet we’re getting the opposite of that. The government has announced a “Levelling Up” white paper (LU paper), a 330 page strategy. While it’s hard to disagree with the premise of the LU paper’s policy proposals (integrating transport, paying people more, addressing disparity), the
View from the Kingsland: New owners, new hopes, old fears

View from the Kingsland: New owners, new hopes, old fears

by Nick Mabey. After four years of a form of nothingness with our previous owner, and many months of speculation, on 4th January the Saints were finally taken over by a new company, Sport Republic. If the previous regime was marked by inertia and silence, or perhaps more kindly no dabbling or asset stripping, these
Opinion: Access to leisure is a lifesaver – don’t close St Mary’s Leisure Centre

Opinion: Access to leisure is a lifesaver – don’t close St Mary’s Leisure Centre

by Nick Chaffey.  Southampton Council says its priority is our health and wellbeing, but it seems St Mary’s can do without. During the pandemic, poor health and poverty have been key causes of serious health complications and death. Access to leisure is a lifesaver. Council cabinet member John Hannides says St Mary’s Leisure Centre (SMLC) must
Opinion: Providing a treasure map – why I’m backing Southampton’s bid to be City of Culture 2025

Opinion: Providing a treasure map – why I’m backing Southampton’s bid to be City of Culture 2025

by Sally Churchward, founding editor of In Common I am proud to have been invited to be one of the ambassadors of Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025. I firmly believe that the city deserves to be selected for the accolade – here’s why. I came to Southampton from South London to
Opinion: What is Positive Money and why support it?

Opinion: What is Positive Money and why support it?

by Phil Tyler. Positive Money is campaigning for a fair, democratic and sustainable money system that works for society, not one that is dividing us. As citizens of the U.K., our country and our Bank of England creates money on our behalf so that we can trade, share, live and save. Money in circulation belongs
Opinion: Food banks in your area – are you really sitting comfortably?

Opinion: Food banks in your area – are you really sitting comfortably?

by Chris Oakes Monger.  Listening to the radio last week, I was struck by a discussion arising from the National Food Strategy Review which has recommended that sugar and salt should be taxed.  The revenue raised would be directed to allowing GPs to prescribe fresh fruit and vegetables on the NHS.  The debate moved on
Experience: being part of Southampton Coronavirus Mutual Aid Group showed the strength of community action

Experience: being part of Southampton Coronavirus Mutual Aid Group showed the strength of community action

by Tom Wardle. One Saturday morning in mid-March 2020, I was invited down to the Guildhall to cast an eye over Southampton’s preparations for the coming Coronavirus pandemic. At that point, nobody really knew what to expect, whether it was safe to so much as touch a door handle. Nevertheless, it was immediately obvious that
Opinion: we all deserve to live somewhere we love, let’s make Southampton a National Park

Opinion: we all deserve to live somewhere we love, let’s make Southampton a National Park

by Manthan Pathak. One of my earliest memories is jumping between the roots of trees on a street in Northam, one after another until I ran out of pavement. The only rule was to avoid touching a root. It was, for a 3 or 4 year old, a thrillingly dangerous game. Even then it seems
Opinion: Southampton SolFed, fighting inequality with direct action

Opinion: Southampton SolFed, fighting inequality with direct action

 by Southampton Solidarity Federation. Southampton Solidarity Federation is a local organisation active in Southampton for the last two years. Their mission is to work against systems and structures which value some people more highly than others, whether that’s on the basis of wealth, citizenship, gender, race or class. It believes in using direct action campaigns
Letter: The government is ignoring the science and no one is talking about it

Letter: The government is ignoring the science and no one is talking about it

by Chris Oakes-Monger Journalists seem to be ignoring the fact that the government has now absolutely parted company with the science behind Covid. For the scientists on the government payroll, public disagreement with government policy would of course mean resignation, but it was clear from the recent briefing that they were unable to endorse much
Letter: The Art House – we’re keeping masks on

Letter: The Art House – we’re keeping masks on

by The Art House crew. Covid update from The Art House, 178 Above Bar St, Southampton in response to indications that all social distancing and masking will be lifted on 19 July. We will be keeping our masks on, asking customers to wear face coverings when not at tables or when visiting the pantry and
Opinion: Freeports: the mythology of the buccaneer

Opinion: Freeports: the mythology of the buccaneer

by Jonathan Mitchell. Even before he became Prime Minister, Boris Johnson had been laying the ideological groundwork for his premiership for years and one of these policies was Freeports being reintroduced in Britain. This idea was announced properly in the 2021 Budget by chancellor Rishi Sunak. The plan is that they will generate 50,000 new
Reader’s letter: The NHS is being applauded but starved or resources

Reader’s letter: The NHS is being applauded but starved or resources

by Maggie Fricker. Saturday 3rd of July will see local protests right across the country to demand better for our NHS. Tens of thousands of health campaigners have come together to make our voices heard from Keep Our NHS Public, NHS Workers Say No to Public Sector pay inequality, NHS Staff Voices and Health Campaigns
Opinion: pandemic rent debt must be cancelled and renters protected

Opinion: pandemic rent debt must be cancelled and renters protected

by Jonathan Mitchell. Throughout this pandemic private renters have received a half-arsed olive branch from the government. They may have been given protection from Section 21 evictions (also known as ‘no fault evictions’) during it, but no write off of pandemic debt. Mortgage holidays were granted for all mortgage payers – including landlords- but nothing
Reader’s letter: the cruise ship industry needs to clean up its act

Reader’s letter: the cruise ship industry needs to clean up its act

by Manthan Pathak. To mark the docking of the cruise ship Iona into Southampton, a group called Ocean Rebellion representing concerned local residents projected images onto the Carnival offices to highlight the dangers of cruise ship activity. We wish to put pressure on the cruise industry to clean up its act in terms of workers’
Opinion: Kill the Bill – joining Southampton’s protest against the controversial bill

Opinion: Kill the Bill – joining Southampton’s protest against the controversial bill

by Charlie Hislop. Kill the Bill! Kill the Bill! That was the cry when 400 or so people assembled in Southampton’s Guildhall Square on Good Friday to protest the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.   In front of a crowd of mainly young people, a succession of speakers highlighted the wide-ranging measures in the proposed legislation, which has seen protests
Opinion: Women don’t feel safe

Opinion: Women don’t feel safe

by Emma Louise Harris. Last week was vile for women. Bookended by what should be two celebratory days; International Women’s day on Monday and Mother’s Day on Sunday, yet filled with horror. On Monday, Labour MP Jess Phillips read out a list of the 118 names of women who have been killed by men since
Experience: life as a single parent during covid

Experience: life as a single parent during covid

by Sarah Groszewski I became a single mother in August 2019, when I moved nearly 100 miles away from the life I’d built in London over the past 12 years, to start again in Southampton, when my marriage ended. The main thing that struck me was how much easier it was to be a single
Opinion: New President, new hope

Opinion: New President, new hope

by Satvir Kaur. In a time of lockdown and January blues, Joe Biden’s inauguration gives us all something to look forward to and be optimistic.  Four years ago today, I joined an anti-Trump rally in Southampton. I remember being surprised but comforted by how many had come. While coming from different ages and backgrounds, we
Opinion: Important elections this year

Opinion: Important elections this year

by Tony Bunday. What a year we have had since the last elections in December 2019.  Brexit done, 12 months to sort out a trade deal, and of course the Covid-19 virus taking loved ones from us, separating us from others, and severely disrupting our lives and freedoms.  We all have our views on how
Opinion: stay moving and stay well

Opinion: stay moving and stay well

by Eleanor van der Hoest. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Are you beginning to find everyday movements a challenge?  Or are you starting to get little signs that all is not well in the body?  I believe we
Opinion: The nation is not a household – comparing national and family budgets is nonsense

Opinion: The nation is not a household – comparing national and family budgets is nonsense

by Chris Oakes-Monger The unnecessary damage to our wealth caused by treating government spending like a family budget. This week a group of leading economists wrote to the BBC. In a report not untypical of the bulk of BBC news and current affairs coverage of government borrowing  during the pandemic Laura Kuenssberg had said: “this
Opinion: being a refugee is not fate, it’s fortune

Opinion: being a refugee is not fate, it’s fortune

by Lewis MacLean The tragic story of an entire refugee family drowning in the British channel last month might’ve hit me harder, more than most.  This is because I probably met them.  Back in August I spent a few weeks volunteering for Care4Calais working with refugees and I recognise the faces. I recall a very
Reader’s letter: Southampton City of Culture – a call to arms

Reader’s letter: Southampton City of Culture – a call to arms

Since moving to Southampton as a fine art student in 1995 I’ve always felt the city had enormous potential. Now as the director of a growing arts charity (aspace), which over the last 20 years has reimagined lost buildings in Southampton with art and heritage, I am thrilled to have been asked to join the
Reader’s letter: why isn’t the media calling Priti Patel right wing?

Reader’s letter: why isn’t the media calling Priti Patel right wing?

Dear Editor,  With the many media reports about the Priti Patel’s bullying inquiry, I have seen no reference to her being right wing. Compare this to ANY reporting of Jeremy Corbyn by the media: ‘left wing’, ‘hard left’, even ‘far left’. His supporters are always ‘left wingers’. Laura Kuenssberg damningly described the supporters of Mr
Experience: Cancer in a time of covid

Experience: Cancer in a time of covid

by anonymous. There is a very thin line that holds the fabric of our lives together. Things can change at any minute. These are my reflections from the perspective of going through the journey alongside a person with cancer. The Second World War broke out on 3rd September in 1939. A different kind of battle
Opinion: Looking back on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month.

Opinion: Looking back on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month.

by Roger Townsend. We are living through one of the most extraordinary and unsettling years of our lifetime and as we are now around that almost mystical time of the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ it is perhaps appropriate to look back at some of the other extraordinary and unsettling
Opinion: School meals, no such thing as a free lunch?

Opinion: School meals, no such thing as a free lunch?

by Martin Brisland. Marcus Rashford turns 23 later this week. A talented England and Manchester United footballer now earning very well but who grew up relying on free school meals. In the last few months he has caught the public mood and even received an MBE. Ensuring disadvantaged children don’t go hungry during school holidays
Opinion: the greening of Southampton

Opinion: the greening of Southampton

by Martin Brisland. Southampton is quite literally a green park city. Thanks to Victorian foresight, it has the second highest acreage of green city spaces in England with its well maintained central parks, Greenways and 365 acre Common. We are also going green through initiatives such as Zedify, an emissions free delivery service started by
Opinion: from shielding to shop floor – going back to work

Opinion: from shielding to shop floor – going back to work

by a Southampton worker. A Southampton worker shares their experiences of returning to work following shielding due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have chosen to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions from their employer. They have been shielding and don’t feel safe at work but fear speaking out could cost them the job that they
Opinion: my experience of a Calais refugee camp

Opinion: my experience of a Calais refugee camp

by Lewis MacLean. Immigration is a contentious issue for some and wishy-washy for others. In reality, things never change for the refugees themselves. After years of the press reporting on desperate immigrants losing their lives when attempting to cross the Mediterranean, the English Channel is now the focus. The result is a steep rise in 
Opinion: Trans rights and women’s rights: have we been asking the wrong questions?

Opinion: Trans rights and women’s rights: have we been asking the wrong questions?

by Dr Ash Brockwell.  As a transmasculine academic, I’ve found it painful and frustrating to read the discussions – both in the mainstream media and on social media – that represent ‘trans rights’ as incompatible with ‘women’s rights’. Nowhere has this been more clearly illustrated than in a recent essay by the bestselling author J.
Opinion: Black lives matter in Wales (with thanks to some white women)

Opinion: Black lives matter in Wales (with thanks to some white women)

by Jim Baker. For many Black people, Southampton is a place of arrival but for Wales it is a place of forced repatriation after both World Wars; Black merchant seaman who served Britain and were then forced to leave by government and trade unions. As was Hull (World War 2) for 4,000 Caribbean RAF Airman
Opinion: Industrial Workers of the World uniting in Southampton

Opinion: Industrial Workers of the World uniting in Southampton

by Nathan Brown and Pete Hayward. Activists from the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW) are seeking to launch a Southampton branch.  Currently they come under the auspices of the Reading branch, but as local members have started meeting and organising, they are going to go through the process of being recognised as an
Opinion: cycle lane debates need compromise, not politicisation

Opinion: cycle lane debates need compromise, not politicisation

By Martin Brisland. The current local debate in Southampton on cycle lanes and the imminent local council decision on them has prompted me the following observations. Sadly, today’s politics seem to have become increasingly polarised with no middle ground or compromise. Many will just keep stating the same point without being prepared to listen, maybe
Opinion: Black Lives Matter?

Opinion: Black Lives Matter?

by Don John. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matters “movement” many individuals and institutions have grappled with how they can respond to this phenomena in a positive way. However, one thing that many fail to appreciate that is that Black Lives Matter is not
Opinion: Don’t underestimate the power and value of theatre

Opinion: Don’t underestimate the power and value of theatre

Freelance costume supervisor and maker Aly Fielden, from Southampton, shares the letter she sent to Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, chancellor Rishi Sunak and Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead. She wrote the letter ahead of last night’s announcement of a £1.57bn emergency support package to help protect the future of theatres, galleries and museums. She
Opinion: Southampton’s creative community will leave lockdown loud and proud

Opinion: Southampton’s creative community will leave lockdown loud and proud

On Thursday, Nuffield Southampton Theatres closed, having gone into administration in May, with a suitable buyer unable to be found. But Liam Gifford, the theatre group’s youth director, believes there is still a great deal of hope for culture in the city as he celebrates recent artistic collaborations and projects, and looks forward to more
Opinion: helping others in challenging time is so gratifying

Opinion: helping others in challenging time is so gratifying

by Georgina Morgan. In years to come, people will have their own unique stories to tell about this period in their lives.  For me, I’d just started my dream job as a Recruitment Resourcer for an amazing company whose high standards and values reflect my own and then COVID-19 happened.  As a perpetual worrier who
Our life through a lens

Our life through a lens

musings by Chris Richards. These are strange days, we’re living in today Like Robbie Williams wrote in his first solo single (except for his George Michael cover of “Freedom” – also pertinent!) these are strange days and I really do want to be “Old Before I Die”. This pandemic, lockdown, unprecedented time, however it’s being
Coronavirus crisis opinion: my thoughts as a teacher and mother

Coronavirus crisis opinion: my thoughts as a teacher and mother

by  anonymous I am writing this on Friday, 20 March, 2020. As things are changing so fast I thought I should put the date for some context. Well what a week it’s been. As they say it’s certainly been emotional! As a teacher and mother of two children, I found the uncertainty very unnerving, let
Opinion: could coronavirus give society the shock it needs?

Opinion: could coronavirus give society the shock it needs?

by Charlotte Ndupuechi. At the last general election I felt hopeful we were about to see a change for the better. Knocking on peoples doors whilst canvassing, I got the feeling that people were starting to care about schools, social care, and the NHS particularly, and wanted to see those areas invested in. I was
Opinion: Austerity, Widening Health Inequalities and Falling Life Expectancy

Opinion: Austerity, Widening Health Inequalities and Falling Life Expectancy

by Councillor Dave Shields. Last week, Professor Sir Michael Marmot – commissioned by the independent think tank the Health Foundation – published a progress report into health inequalities following his seminal work Fairer Lives originally undertaken by the last Labour Government in 2010. Since that time he notes how life expectancy in England has stalled;
Opinion: The Preston Model – an answer to local government cuts?

Opinion: The Preston Model – an answer to local government cuts?

by Gary Hollands. The scale of Conservative cuts to local government has been devastating for council services. Central government has cut funding for councils by half since 2010. Southampton alone has lost £136.4 million over the last seven years. These cuts translate to the closure of nearly 800 libraries around the country. Youth services have
Opinion: why I believe anarchy is the way forward

Opinion: why I believe anarchy is the way forward

by The Secret Anarchist Anarchy is all too often a term associated with smashing things up and having “no rules”.  But if you scratch the surface you will find that it is not an absence of rules, but an absence of government that we seek.  In fact, being organised is the foundation of anarchism. It’s
Opinion: Seasonal cheer on Southampton Common

Opinion: Seasonal cheer on Southampton Common

by Lewis MacLean. The old cemetery site on Southampton’s Common is quite an extraordinary place. It serves as both a historical monument and functions for people in the city to exercise, quietly reflect and sometimes even just cut through on the walk to work. It has been a vital part of Southampton history and still
Trans Day of Remembrance – remembering those who lost the battle

Trans Day of Remembrance – remembering those who lost the battle

by Andi Maratos, Chrysalis CEO. The 20th November marks the day when trans people, and their allies, the world over take a moment to remember those whose lives have been lost through hate and transphobia over the last year. Being trans is not a lifestyle, it’s not a choice but an aspect of human diversity.
Why I’m taking part in the International Rebellion

Why I’m taking part in the International Rebellion

by Christelle Blunden. Today is be the start of the biggest international campaign of peaceful civil disobedience ever. Ordinary people – scientists, doctors, mothers, grandparents, youths, Muslims, Christians, farmers..will take to the streets and put themselves at risk of arrest to try to create an environment in which there is political will to do an
Opinion: adult social care services should be free

Opinion: adult social care services should be free

by Lorna Fielker. Councils up and down the country are struggling to meet the demand for social care. Years of central government underfunding and increases in demand due to an ageing population have forced social care to the brink of collapse. A year ago, Southampton City Council passed a motion urging the government to commit
Opinion: properly funded education is essential

Opinion: properly funded education is essential

by Charlotte Ndupuechi. As the new school year gets underway, with parents and carers setting their children into new classes and teachers eagerly planning for the year ahead, it’s an interesting time to reflect on the education system. The new prime minister Boris Johnson, has promised more money for education by 2022. But with ten
Opinion: why I joined Extinction Rebellion

Opinion: why I joined Extinction Rebellion

By Elaine Hunter. I was inspired to get involved in Extinction Rebellion (XR) after the rebellion in London. For me, the rebellion heralded a sense of hope and a feeling that things could change for the better. I, along with other members of the public, really empathised with XR. I have grown up knowing about