Archive | August 2020

Our first victory


Our first victory and it belongs to our splendid students who have been out on the streets in unstoppable numbers ever since the doctored results of the A-Level non-examinations were known and have now achieved a government u-turn. These kids are quick and intelligent. They knew perfectly well that the government had deliberately downgraded their results and like plebs everywhere who have been pushed just too far, it has resulted in the start of a revolution. This could be something big. Can you hear me cheering?!


We tried to find a couple of pictures of the huge demonstrations there have been in the streets, but hit the copyright snag. However I’m quite sure that most of my blog readers will have seen the size of what was going on, on their television screens and a lot of them will have been cheering along with me.


What a delight it was to see our Gavin Williamson, our Education Secretary and his side kick Nick Gibb – who incidentally is my MP even though I’ve never, ever voted for him and never would – both having to admit that the government got it wrong. And it is music to my ears to hear journalists and politicians suggesting they should pay the price of their mistakes and resign.

Now the rest of us need to organise and get out on the streets. Watch out for the 3.5% protests on September 5th. They will be in a variety of places but the message will be the same everywhere. It is time for us to show this government that we know what they are doing and that the deliberate lies they posted on that disgraceful red bus are now being revealed for what they were, along with all the other damaging lies they’ve told.


#REVOLT#RESIST#PROTEST – Our splendid young have opened the door for us.

This entry was posted on August 19, 2020. 6 Comments

There’s always hope


Several apparently disparate things have happened to me this morning and put together they have coalesced into this blog.

The first was suddenly seeing this iconic photograph on the twitter site of a splendid lady called Helen Warlow, who puts up several photographs and paintings of various kinds every day. (Thank you Helen) I follow her avidly because I enjoy her choices and it’s always a pleasure to discover new artists but this one stopped me in my stride, because I knew it so well.  It had first been published in the middle of the Blitz, when I was in London, and it speaks volumes about the blitz spirit  which, contrary to the popular opinion of it now, was actually stoical, quiet, self controlled and full of loving kindness. It was never any surprise to me that the people of the blitz voted in a revolutionary Labour government in 1945, which established the NHS and the Welfare State. The attitude led directly from one to the other.

The second thing was discovering a blog by Erica Chenowith, who is an American Political Scientist, that explains what is meant by the 3.5% rule. (Thank you Erica) I’d seen pictures of it written  on various walls and pavements all over the place and wondered what it was about. Now here was a blog to tell me. Apparently, it had only taken vociferous and obvious opposition by a mere 3.5% of the population of Chile to get rid of General Pinochet and a similar proportion to remove Milosovic from power in Serbia. And if that is true, by implication it can work in Trump’s America and Johnson’s UK.

Personally I have doubts about whether such a small number could actually achieve so much here or in the USA but the need for public protest is obvious. Nothing has ever been achieved without it, we only have to think of the great movements in our history and the admirable people who have led them, like Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement, for example, or Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march, or the Pankhurst’s Suffragette campaign, to know that ‘We shall overcome’ is not just a hopeful song but can also be an accurate prediction.

And now, hooray, we have a cause that is making a well organised and passionate group of our young people take to the streets to protest, with their parents and teachers and a very large number of other people supporting them. And that is the scandal of the A-level results which are so blatantly and cruelly biased that they simply can’t be ignored, even by our highly partisan and suspect right wing press. The anger on social media this morning shouldn’t leave anyone in any doubt that this time our lying, inadequate, biased, antisocial government of quockerwodgers has gone too far. Strength to your arm all you protesters. Others will follow you.

And here to help you on your way is some information about two other public demonstrations planned that may well interest anyone out there who’s had enough and doesn’t know where to start to make their political will known. You could join the two days of protest at Chequers on August the 18th and 19th. Or the 3.5% protest on September 5th. You will find the news about both of the on social media.

But please don’t sit at home feeling depressed about what is happening. ‘Long-term change,’ as Erica Chenoweth writes ‘never comes with submission, resignation, or despair about the inevitability of the status quo’.

#Revolt#resist#protest as our magnificent ex-sixth formers are doing in Parliament Square at this very moment. Respec’ you splendid young people!

And strength to all our arms.

This entry was posted on August 17, 2020. 3 Comments

A brace of sisters


I’ve just spent four completely happy days with my baby sister Carole and for part of them with my two daughters Mary and Caroline as well. We were all totally daft and soppy together and I haven’t laughed so much for quite a long time. Carole and I have had a rather chequered life while this lock-down has been going on, because although we could talk to one another on the phone and by FaceTime that’s not the same as being in the same house and the same garden being idiots together!

I have loved my Carole since the very first day I saw her and she’s a very rewarding person to love, besides being very good company, for we share and remember so much. While she was here this time she said she could remember my wedding, which rather surprised me because she was only eight, so I’ve looked out an ancient photograph of us both together on that day. The girl on my left as you look at the picture is my sister-in-law Olive whom I’ve also loved since the day I met her and my little sweetie Carole is standing right in front of me looking shy.


And here we are out in my garden seventy years later and she’s still my little sweetie! On the day this photograph was taken, my two girls were with us as well, hence the title ‘A brace of sisters’ which they used when they put up the other photograph they took which is here along side. What would we do, without the people we love? I count myself very blessed to be surrounded by so many loving characters.

And just to bring this blog to a suitable conclusion, here is another pic we took that evening. A perfect end to a perfect day.


This entry was posted on August 12, 2020. 5 Comments

Philanthropy or greed?

Originally I thought about calling this ‘Life and Art’ but that sounded a bit pretentious so I changed it to Philanthropy or greed. But really the way things that are happening in real life and things that I have already made happen in the book I’m writing, have a very strong resemblance to one another. Let me explain.

I am currently writing a book called ‘The Great I Am’ which is set at the time of the Brexit vote and its aftermath and has a familiar central figure, a politician who tells lies as easily as he breathes, is a womaniser and a misogynist etc, etc and gets a well earned comeuppance in the final chapters (oh I did enjoy writing that!). It is a complicated book with a great many characters, one of whom is an old woman who leads a campaign in the part of London where she was born to prevent a greedy, speculative developer from pulling down the excellent Peabody buildings in which she lived. When I first planned it, I don’t think there was any very glaring example of such wanton destruction but there certainly is now.

The Guardian headline this morning says ” ‘Rushed’ planning shake-up will lead to more slums, experts warn.” And the article below it explains that the Government means to change the way planning applications for new buildings are handled. If a planning application is based on ‘pre-approved design codes’ it will get automatic permission. Land in England would be divided into three categories: growth, renewal and protection. New homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices would be allowed automatically in growth areas. It all sounds very grand but when you think about it you begin to see that it would give speculative builders government permission to build their expensive houses for the rich, virtually wherever they please.

In my part of the world good, rich, arable land is constantly being boughtpagam up by speculative developers and turned into huge, lucrative estates full of houses that most local people simply couldn’t afford to buy. A group of locals in Pagham and Aldwick called P.A.G.A.M (Pagham and Aldwick Greenfields Action Movement) have been campaigning for years to stop this happening here. As you can see from this poster, they are very angry about it. But the campaign has had an effect. Their most recent report back to their members says ‘DECISION PROCESS BY ADC DID NOT TAKE PLACE ON THE  24TH. JUNE, WHICH MEANS P/24/20/RES WILL PROBABLY NOT HAPPEN UNTIL THE NEXT DCC ON THE 29TH. JULY, SO MORE TIME FOR OBJECTIONS.’ Or to put it briefly, the development that the locals do not want has been held up but only temporarily.

Back to the book, which as well as the odious politician, shines a light on a man who was the very reverse sort of character. This man was called George Peabody. He was born in 1795 in the USA and in 1863 he began to build comfortable and affordable blocks of flats in London for ordinary working men and their families and pulled down the slums they’d been forced to live in before he took action, because they were the only places they could afford to rent. Mr Peabody had actually grown up in poverty himself, in Massachusetts, so he knew what it was like. And although he made a lot of money during his lifetime, he was a true philanthropist and spent his wealth to help other people, unlike a majority of our entrepreneurs today who give every indication that they are simply, in it for the money.

His buildings are still standing in various parts of London but one was brought up and turned into luxury flats for the rich – hence my story of a campaign to stop those developers taking over any more.

Life and Art all mixed up together.