Readers have their say.

 

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 Southampton to go
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