Saturday, 17 August 2019

JAGO STONE, PRISON REFORM - AND THE MADNESS OF BORIS JOHNSON

The i newspaper published a piece by The Secret Barrister last Wednesday - August 14 - which deserves wider circulation. It has two headlines:

Johnson's plan to lock up more criminals is a con

While the Prime Minister is lying to you, the rest of the criminal justice system rots 



HMP Birmingham in crisis - Lockdown - 1 March 2019



Here is a summary of the main points - and a link to the secret barrister's website: press here.

  •  Boris Johnson's plans are a con. He declares: 'Left-wingers will howl. But it's time to make criminals afraid - not the public'. Criminals must 'get the sentence they deserve'. In other

Friday, 26 July 2019

WHAT HAPPENS BEHIND YOUR BACK IN A NEOLIBERAL SOCIETY - LOST LANDS OF BRITAIN

My main source for what follows is a piece by Ian Jack entitled 'Why did we not know?' in which he reviews a new work by Brett Christophers: 'The New Enclosures: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain'. The article was published in the London Review of Books on 23 May 2019. Not for the first time, I have finished reading a piece in the LRB determined to share its important insights at a later date in a blogpost.

People matter which is why I am a socialist. The question of land matters because people matter.

Ian Jack begins his review with a personal story from his family's past about some local land that had been bought from the War Office for property development in Scotland. He comments:
'Nobody thought to wonder why we didn't know who had bought the land …. or who had made money from developing it as a housing estate; or why, as it was public land, owned by the state and therefore indirectly by us, we had never been consulted.'


Our new housing estates are not meeting our national need for affordable housing.  


Such a lack of legitimate questioning has been typical of popular attitudes to the sale of public land. That is the core argument that underpins the work of Brett Christophers. He calculates that the transfer of land from state to private ownership is the biggest of the privatisations that began under

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION - PART FIFTEEN

This blogpost begins by recycling stories and images from this month's Mailchimp Jago Newsletter. There are 63 subscribers to date and I'm always happy to see the number of new free subscriptions rise - the Newsletters contain material that I haven't shared before so if you do subscribe you're the first to hear about the latest developments in the Jago story. Here's a link to press to get to the online form for completion. The number of Americans connected with Jago Stone for whom I have either an email address or  a Facebook Message connection now stands at 50. There are a further 84 contacts that fit this bill from the UK.


'In late June this year I sent out a template email to all my Jago contacts, advising them that the biography would be published by Unicorn on October 1 this year. I personalised some with a reference to when the first contact had been made. One of those I emailed was Celia Taylor who is an American lady now living in Pocahontas, Tennessee and the daughter of Upper Heyford American vets. Celia attended the Upper Heyford/Croughton American High School between 1976 and 1978. In December last year, she had left a comment on a Facebook 'Jago' post explaining that her parents had a couple of paintings by Jago - but the lead was not developed at that time.  
On June 24, Celia posted this to me: 
'I visited my dad in March and took some photos of his Jago Stone pics'
 I replied:
'Wow! Just opened up your message before going to bed - thank you so much! I'll be back in touch tomorrow.'

Two pictures appeared through cyberspace. Here they are, in the best photoshop shape I could achieve:



'Ebrington, near Shipston on Stour - Jago Stone (1978)


The Fox and Hounds - Jago Stone (1978)

Tantalisingly, the location of this particular Fox and Hounds remains unclear. Can anyone help, please?

Celia also added that her mum and dad had gifted a third Jago painting - a watercolour of Blenheim Palace - to their other daughter as a wedding gift because she had a picnic in the grounds there on her English wedding day. Maybe, an image of this one too will find its way across the Pond to my screen. We will see.

And so the Jago story has a few more pieces in its jigsaw - and the search continues.

The biography will be published in October but there are more stories and images still out there. That feels exciting.'

So much for the material from the Mailchimp newsletter I published in early July. Since then, though, there have been further developments in the search for the identity and location of 'The Fox and Hounds' depicted by Jago Stone in 1978.

Last Wednesday - July 10, 2019 - Trevor Jones, a Mailchimp newsletter subscriber and reader, emailed me to say he thought the painting showed 'The Fox and Hounds' at Charwelton near Daventry. Trevor had first made contact with me in February this year, sending me this email:

 Hi Rob - hope this photo comes through. My Jago Stone book has this message
in it - maybe someone will remember it. I live in Adderbury Oxon where he painted
many houses one being The Old Wheatsheaf which cost my friend a bottle of scotch . He also painted pictures of my friends pub at Priors Hardwick and was paid with meals. Lino [Pires - the landlord and owner of The Butcher's Arms at Priors Hardwick] loved him and gave us both a mention in his book called Fantastic . Look forward to your own book coming out. Trevor Jones 

The photo that Trevor refers to is this image below - an inscription written by Jago Stone inside a copy of his autobiography called 'The Burglar's Bedside Companion' that was published in 1975.



'For Maureen - & for Des - a few tips in case you are ever redundant - Jago Stone'
Jago had provided his readers with a detailed account of how he worked his trade as a burglar.



As soon as I received Trevor's suggestion of a location, I googled this hostelry and made contact with David the landlord. With the help of a pub regular who is a longstanding resident of Charwelton, we were able to establish that Jago's painting was not in fact that of the Charwelton 'Fox and Hounds'. We are back to square one. The search continues.

Nevertheless, the area around the door and windows in Jago's painting is similar to the Charwelton hostelry. Could it be that Jago was creating an archetypical 'Fox and Hounds' that came from his imagination and memories of all 'The Fox and Hounds' that he had ever encountered?

I would love to receive more suggestions about exactly where is the location of this Jago pub!


With publication of the biography drawing nearer, I thought readers of these American Connection blogposts might find it interesting to learn more about the Oxford connections of the biographer. Upper Heyford is close enough to the dreaming spires to mean that perhaps most USAF veterans will be familiar with the city where I spent three years as an undergraduate and then a decade later six years as a resident, living in Summertown with my wife, Louise.

This link below will take you into a light-hearted exploration of the myths and reality of Oxford through the eyes of a transitional object.

robdonovan.blogspot.com/2019/07/peter-ted-goes-to-his-oxford-gaudy.html

You will have to open the link to find out more but here as a further enticement is a painting of the interior of the famous Sloop Inn in St Ives in Cornwall where we live. The two humans featured are myself and my wife - Rob and Louise. The transitional objects you can see behind us were placed there by the artist who had met them that day. He was none other than Merlin Porter, the Oxford artist and Jago Stone's youngest child, born in 1981. How cool and complex is that!

Detail: 'Rob and Louise and PT and SA in the Sloop' - Merlin Porter (2017)




A fuller story of our connection with Merlin is told in the Jago biography to be published in October. This link below is to a blogpost that I published in 2016 that gives an outline of part of that story.


robdonovan.blogspot.com/2016/04/jago-stone-part-3-weekend-with-artist.html


I hope you have enjoyed these glimpses - do leave a comment and let me know.







Friday, 12 July 2019

SCREWING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE FOR PROFIT - THE MISGOVERNMENT OF UK HOUSING

The Mirror Politics morning briefing is a useful guide to contemporary politics in the UK. Often, I find myself in broad agreement with the writers - although not so in one respect. They are hardly immune from the  mainstream media (MSM) commitment to rubbish Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist Labour Party. On such matters, I obviously part company. The Mirror Politics morning briefing - and even more so the posts that the SKWAKBOX publishes with the Facebook emails and posts that I receive from Koser Saeed - they, together, give me an alternative take on the presentation of news and 'truth' peddled by the right-wing elements in the press and in television.

This blogpost has been inspired by today's Mirror Politics morning briefing and I acknowledge my debt. You have here the Mirror text as I read it this morning, for the most part. When the wheel is as well-shaped as this, who am I to reinvent it?

'In the end almost every important domestic issue comes back to housing.

If you want to know why the economy is skewed towards the rich, why social mobility has stalled, why opportunities are curtailed and why health inequalities persist it is impossible to discuss any of these themes without reference to housing.


This is one of the wealthiest countries in the world - and one of the most morally bankrupt?


Having a decent home to live in should be a basic right but there are more than one million people on the waiting list for social housing.

Rent takes up 40% of our income on average, the highest in Europe where the average is 28%. This consumes money which could, for instance, be spent on purchasing better quality food. It is no

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

PETER TED GOES TO HIS OXFORD GAUDY

Hi everyone - I'm Peter Ted. I'm a revolutionary. A veteran survivor of the Siege of Petergrad. Perhaps the only one. Mum's the word on that. Incidentally, I'm a bit of an academic bear too. Strictly autodidact - you see I never went to Oxford. My Rob left me behind when he buggered off there on his Leathersellers' Scholarship. How many of my fellow animal creatures sacrificed their skins to pay for his higher education? Not that I hold grudges. I've done very nicely, thank you very much. I bet you didn't know that the phrase 'Mum's the word' has its origin in late Middle English: imitative of a sound made with closed lips. You don't need to have spent three years at an Oxford college to be well-educated. Trust me, I've been around the block a few times. Here's a picture of me in my prime when I first came into Rob's world to look after him - after my wounds in mind and body had healed, in the aftermath of that terrible Siege.


Me, Rob, and his Mum - Lewisham - c.1952


Now, it's quite possible that some of you may not have read my first post in cyberspace that I published on the 7th of November, 2016. How time flies! Not like in those unspeakable siege years. So here's the link to my sensational arrival in the blogsphere:

https://robdonovan.blogspot.com/2016/11/taking-statistical-stock-part-3-through.html


Did you enjoy that? Silly question, of course. When you're reading the ursine counterpart to Joyce,

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION - PART FOURTEEN

Publication of my biography of Jago Stone (1928-88), the English artist whose works hang in scores of American homes thanks to the RAF Upper Heyford connection, is scheduled for October 1, this year. Here is an image of the front cover:




The front cover of Jago's autobiography (1975) is part of the front cover of his biography (2019)


This post is designed in part as pre-publicity for that publication in October - but it also provides an opportunity for American followers of the Jago Stone story to catch up on latest developments via the RAF Upper Heyford websites, in particular the discovery of Jago's 'Vines House' painting.  My apologies to those of you who have already read my account of the David Mitchell Jago story - but it does bear repeating. 

In the concluding part of this post, you can read the publisher's description of the book. But first, here reprinted is the post that I published on Saturday 11 May, last month, in which I relate the story told to me by David Mitchell of Jago's painting of Vines House, the 17th century home that David grew up in - and the newspaper cutting glued to the back of the canvas: 

"By now, those of you who are regular readers of my Jago Stone blog-posts - I've published 46 since January 2016 when my website and blogsphere were first developed by Steve McIntosh (press this link here for the full list) - will recognise the pattern. An email arrives in my inbox with a title that includes Jago Stone's name. I open it - and wonder upon wonder, the spirit of Jago now appears. I have a story and often an image, usually of a 

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

MODERN SLAVERY - HOW TO COMBAT THIS SYMPTOM OF A DISTRESSED ECONOMY

The facts beggar belief.  I went to school in the 1950s and 1960s and learnt that in my country the slave trade had been ended by legislation in 1807 and in 1833 slavery itself had been abolished throughout the British Empire. Slavery had been relegated to the past. And yet, remarkably, one of the last legislative acts of the Conservative-led Coalition government (2010-2015) was the Modern Slavery Act (2015), designed to combat modern slavery and consolidate previous offences relating to trafficking and slavery. 



Modern slavery - gang labour under the threat of violence



How has it come to this - history reversed; a warp in the time-spectrum? I will make the case that the economic ideology of neoliberalism - the belief that the pursuit of profit unhindered by government regulation will produce the best of all outcomes for all in the long run - is responsible. We have seen the return of slavery because wealthy and powerful interests have taken to their collective bosom a 

Friday, 24 May 2019

CLIMATE CHANGE SOS - AND THE ROLE OF A JEREMY CORBYN-LED LABOUR GOVERNMENT

I missed the broadcast in April this year of Sir David Attenborough's 'Climate Change - The Facts' - but I caught up with the programme last Wednesday evening on BBC iPlayer. Thank goodness! Watch for one hour and prepare to spend the rest of your days more knowingly - and hopefully with less of a carbon footprint. Yes, I had a pretty good grasp of climate change before. But living through the presentation of the facts and analysis for one searing hour does open the eyes. Twenty of the last twenty-two years are the hottest ever recorded. As a political activist, I now understand even more knowingly my duty. Those who have wealth and power and think only of their self-centred instincts - they must be thwarted. If we fail to stop the actions of those who are responsible for climate change, we kiss goodbye to life as we know it.



The end of civilisation is the full-stop after Climate Change.



Our world's first industrial revolution took off in Britain getting on for 250 years ago. This new way of making and using energy soon became standard practice throughout Europe and north America in the 19th century - factories and railways were amongst its most obvious manifestations, and smoke and steam of course. The industrial revolution that was changing the landscape so radically required coal-burning, and that in turn releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. We now know that

Sunday, 19 May 2019

JEREMY CORBYN - A MAN OF INTEGRITY SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER

Jeremy Corbyn has become a hate spectre, for some; a boo figure, for others - and, thank goodness, a hurrah beacon of hope for many more. On a Saturday morning when I'm on the Labour Party stall in Royal Square in my home town of St Ives in Cornwall, there will be the occasional passer-by who will exclaim as he passes (invariably, the gender is male): "I'm not voting for your party as long as Corbyn is the leader!" Where does this visceral dislike come from?



Jeremy Corbyn - spokesperson for a socialism fit for the 21st century



The mass-media assault on JC, the unlikely winner of the 2015 Labour Party leadership election in 2015 that followed Ed Miliband and New Labour's failure to oust David Cameron from No 10 in the General Election of that year, has proved every bit as vicious as any Marxist political analyst would have predicted. Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Opposition and John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer had spent a working lifetime as old-fashioned socialists on the back-

Saturday, 11 May 2019

ANOTHER SIGHTING OF JAGO STONE - THE VINES HOUSE PAINTING

By now, those of you who are regular readers of my Jago Stone blog-posts - I've published 46 since January 2016 when my website and blogspot were first developed by Steve McIntosh (press this link here for the full list) - will recognise the pattern. An email arrives in my inbox with a title that includes Jago Stone's name. I open it - and wonder upon wonder, the spirit of Jago now appears. I have a story and often an image, usually of a family home that he painted at some time during his precious years of liberty from the cell block. And thus, out-of-the-blue, a stranger makes contact with me, having had a connection of some sort with Jago Stone the artist (1928-88). For whatever reason he or she has reached for the Google button and typed in Jago Stone - and found me: his biographer. My privilege. I am a fortunate to be the recipient of such material, a treasure-trove that helps bring Jago Stone back to life.

It was David Mitchell who emailed me last Wednesday afternoon.

'I've just been googling Jago Stone and came across your blog. I have a painting by Jago that he painted in 1973, of my parent's house. My mother was very suspicious of him, and would not let me go and see what he was doing on my own (I was 9)'.



Jago Stone - 1975 - celebrating, as he reads his recently published autobiography - the full story of this picture is told below



Young David, however, must have secured a supervised visit because in a later email this week he wrote: 'I …. so clearly remember looking over his shoulder at his painting'. Lucky David; he has a memory for life of being that close to the extraordinary gypsy artist. Mother, though, sensed that

Friday, 3 May 2019

COMPLETING THE LONDON MARATHON 2019 - ROB DONOVAN 38824

To be honest, part of me is disappointed. With a finishing time of 06:28:40, I had taken around 50 minutes longer to finish than I did in my other three marathons: 2012 (London) 05:40:55; 2014 (Edinburgh) 05:42:10, and 2017 (London) 05:37:29. But when I put the challenge in perspective, I can see I did do more than well enough.


Joy and Wonder -  a minute or two after crossing the finishing line at the London Marathon on April 28, 2019


Those who have followed my updates will know that during my training months of January, February, March and April, first the right knee presented major problems that Ben Donaldson, my physio, was able to resolve and then in early April my left knee became spongy after my longest run to date - 16 miles in 3 hours and 9 minutes of continuous running. I had difficulties in walking let alone running for over a week. Ben was on holiday and I couldn't get my weekly physio. Then Ben

Sunday, 21 April 2019

FISHY MATTERS - AND PELAGIC MONOPOLIES

I love the challenge of cryptic crosswords and in recent months I've been cutting my teeth on the self-declared 'fiendish fun' of Alamet's crossword on Saturdays in the Morning Star. Try yesterday's puzzle: 2 Down - Living near the surface of quiet glacier moving endlessly (7). 'Quiet' will be 'p' - that's easy. It took a while to realise that it was the letters of 'glacie' without the 'r' on the end that were needed for rearranging ('moving') to make 'pelagic', defined as 'inhabiting the upper layers of the open sea (chiefly of fish)', often contrasted with 'demersal', defined as living close to the floor of the sea or lake.



From the pelagic to the bottom of the boat



All of which brings us to my focus: fishy matters. Some weeks ago, I published a London Marathon training blog-post that featured graffiti on a huge fish shed in Newlyn that I noted as I ran. Here's a link to remind you or bring you to the story for the first time - press here. The graffiti had been removed the next time I ran past but the grievance against the Newlyn big-wig fishermen would not have been erased so easily. I assume this so-called 'mindless act of vandalism' was a protest by a

Saturday, 13 April 2019

JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION - PART THIRTEEN

In this blog-post I am using material that I have already published in my April Mailchimp newsletter about the research into the life of Jago Stone and his forthcoming biography. If you have already seem much of this, please enjoy a second view; for those of you coming to this story and these images for the first time, I hope you feel as delighted as I was when all this was gifted to me through cyberspace. Many of you will be American and have RAF/USAF Upper Heyford connections. I am sure you, in particular, will appreciate Jago's close connections with the base.

Here is the relevant text from this month's newsletter:

In this Mailchimp edition, I am pleased to share a tale and images that first came my way through cyberspace on Monday, March 18, this month. 


Untitled - Jago Stone (1980)


Hollie Hetz from Virginia emailed me this message:

'Good morning,

I am messaging you because I picked up a painting by Jago Stone at a thrift shop the other day. I thought since you authored a biography about him you may have information or at least be interested in seeing some photos.

It is lovely. I teach art and some days call myself an artist. I spotted the painting on a shelf under some random stuff. It had been removed from the frame but has a sticker on the back stating that it had been framed by Huntleys at New Street, Deddington. 

Anyway, if you have any information about this work I would love to know more. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Hollie Hetz'

And Hollie had sent me eight images of this single painting. There they were, underneath her message, waiting for me to download and enlarge - and discover more. Perhaps you can imagine the thrill of being 

Thursday, 11 April 2019

ST IVES IN STITCHES - JO MCINTOSH AND THE WHARF ROAD TAPESTRY

A week or so ago, on Wednesday evening, April 3, in the newly refurbished St Ives library, I listened to Jo McIntosh as she presented the story of her life, in particular highlighting the last twenty years since graduating from Bath Spa university and becoming a textile artist. Jo's main focus was on the project - The Wharf Road Tapestry -  that has excited the imagination of more and more people within St Ives and now - thanks to cyberspace - artists across the Pond too.  

I'll begin with a general photo credit for all the images in this blog-post - my sincere appreciation to Carolyn Saxby, Leo Walker and St Ives in Stitches. 


The Cabin - detail from the Wharf Road tapestry created under the guidance of Jo McIntosh


The story of the St Ives Tapestry project begins in 2016 when Jo first encountered the work of Lisa 

Sunday, 7 April 2019

CORNWALL - UNDER THE TOURIST SURFACE - PART THREE: FOOD BANKS IN ST IVES

In Part One of this series exploring Cornwall under the tourist surface, I placed our county in the context of the national consequences of the Conservative Austerity programme that has had such disastrous consequences for the state of Britain. That Austerity programme was the product of the Tory elite's devotion to an economic theory - neoliberalism - that holds that markets need to be as free as possible and the role of the state therefore needs to be reduced to its barest minimum. Corporations and people will then pay less tax - and everyone ends up better off. Make no mistake, it is a failed economic theory. The rich get richer - but inequalities deepen and the poor suffer as never before. Our welfare state now depends on charity. Those wonderful, far-sighted and compassionate people who were responsible for the creation of our system of welfare for all during the 20th century would be horrified to see how far the Tories since 2010 have turned the clock back in the direction of less civilised and humane times.   Press this link here for Part One.

In Part Two, I detailed some of the consequences of the Austerity programme as it works its nasty way through a Penzance housing state and its families. Press this link here for Part Two.

Now in Part Three, I am sharing what I have discovered about food poverty and other consequences of the Austerity programme in the idyllic seaside town of St Ives where Louise and I live. Last Monday evening - April 1 - I attended the AGM of the St Ives Community Fund. Online I had seen that a guest speaker, Chris Wallis, was giving a talk on the St Ives Food Bank. For me, as a Labour Party activist, this would be a golden opportunity to find our more about a matter of which I knew little.

We had become residents in St Ives in January 2013. Within a year or two of our arrival, I remember walking through the church grounds of St John's in the Fields, the C.of E. church at the top of the valley side I ascend each day with Ella our canine on her daily walk to the field in which she can run. Pausing outside the church hall, I read on the notice board that a food bank operated here on a specific day and also at a couple of other sites in the town. That was the sum of my knowledge until last Monday.


St John's in the Fields, St Ives


Colin Nicholls is one of the seven trustees of the St Ives Community Fund and a leading figure within the St Ives community - a prominent member of the Town Council and an important local retailer in

Friday, 5 April 2019

CORNWALL - UNDER THE TOURIST SURFACE - PART TWO - PENZANCE

Every week, during this period of training for the London Marathon 2019, my long run takes me through Penzance by the waters of the bay. The views are wonderful. This post is about the scandal of child poverty on a specific housing estate around half-a-mile from my running route. My source is a Guardian newspaper article, dated 24 August 2016. The situation described in that year won't have fundamentally changed - see last week's blog-post, by pressing here.


A tourist view of picture-post-card Penzance



Nicola Slawson is the journalist whose name accompanies this Guardian article. I learned that:

  • the child poverty rate in Penzance is 41% - on a par with parts of inner-city London, Birmingham and Manchester - compared with a national average of 25%;
  • Seventeen areas in Cornwall rank among the 10% most deprived areas in the UK and Treneere is the most deprived of these areas;
  • In the grey houses of the 1930s estate, where many of the area's 1,225 poorest children live, families survive below the poverty line, either unable to find work or only employed in low-paid and/or seasonal jobs - poverty on Treneere and in other parts of Cornwall, notably Redruth

Thursday, 28 March 2019

CORNWALL - UNDER THE TOURIST SURFACE

Cornwall is a county you may well fall in love with when on holiday here - we did, in the late 70s shortly after we married. I even tried applying for teaching positions in the county but to no avail. Almost a quarter-century later, around 2002, I landed an interview for the post of Head of Religious Education at the Mullion secondary school in Cornwall - but it was not to be. I remember the long train journey back to East Anglia, knowing that the next day I would resume my life at Copleston High School in Ipswich and that, in effect, would be my locus as a teacher for the next seven years until I reached the retirement age of 60.

Just over a decade later in January 2013, after three grinding years of failing to find a purchaser for our Reydon converted barn, we completed our sale and Louise and I arrived at last as residents in Cornwall. Hopefully we will spend the rest of our lives here. It is a different kind of experience living and working in Cornwall as a writer and a politically engaged person from simply being here as a visitor. When I think back to the holidays we spent in the region of the Fowey estuary and the delights of the Hall Walk, or in Polperro, or in Tintagel, or here in St Ives, so many extraordinary and breath-taking vistas come to mind. Cornwall has such stunning landscapes and sea views. As a local, it takes discipline to break from the work routines to savour fully such delights. But they remain there for the taking.


St Michael's Mount, off-shore from Marazion - rising from the waters of the bay 


Yet beneath the tourist surface, there is another reality and that is the focus for this post.

First, the national context:

Earlier this year, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JFR) released their report on poverty in the UK in 2018. 14.3 million people in Britain were living in poverty. 8 million of these people (56%) are living in a family with at least one working adult. 4.1 million (29%) are children and 1.9 million (13%) are

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

THE LONDON MARATHON 2019 - RUNNING FOR THE SALLY ARMY - PART FOUR

This post serves as a review of my training in preparation for the challenge of being a runner in this year's London Marathon, next month. I came to running late. It was not until I was in my mid-30s, that I started to run for fitness and charities. And now three and a half decades later, I am still not a 'proper' runner in my body or mind. Yet, counter-intuitively, through what I have termed bloody-minded determination, I seem to have persuaded a genetically-challenged frame to continue moving at a running pace that covers a mile in 11.5 minutes for over 13 miles. 5mph for 2.5 hours, aged 70.5 years, feels no mean accomplishment for someone who has never seen himself as an athlete.


March 19 - back garden - St Ives, Cornwall - a rest day after Monday's long run



How has the training programme worked out this time round? Let me start with a comparison. The schedule I devised for the London Marathon in 2017, when I also ran for the Sally Army - and raised £3,000 for their drug rehabilitation unit outside Swindon - saw me in January extending the distance covered in my long runs by lengthening my local circuit runs. All the running was from my own

Monday, 18 March 2019

WITCHHUNT HAS ARRIVED - TRUTH WILL OUT


'WitchHunt' has been launched today. It begins with a near minute's silence - stay with it.

Here is the link to this disturbing and brilliant piece of writing and direction by Jon Pullman:

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/watch-film-labour-mps-didnt-want-you-see?fbclid=IwAR0RmINJWFEUDwEnULJhLTaWe_Xuu_DYg8QxEHTN78Mi9i4hKXk3DSd0iLI


And here is the relevant section of the post that I published on 4 March. I was unable at that time to download the link to the film that had been briefly available online as a preview:


'I received the link from Koser Saeed (who complained that the link kept being taken down) - an online activist and fellow supporter of the values that are shaping the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, with its more than half-a-million members. We all need a socialism fit for the 21st century to change the face of our society and make it more civilised and us more content. 



This film is an exploration of some of the obstacles that we face. It speaks for itself. I started watching with the belief I had only a few minutes to spare. One hour was too much to devote to a single issue film such as this. Those first few minutes passed and I was hooked - utterly engrossed in the exposure of how Jackie Walker, a Labour Party activist with both Jewish and Afro-Caribbean parentage, has been vilified as anti-Semitic. 



Jackie Walker - anti-racist political activist, suspended from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism  


Here is a summary of some of the main themes and claims that are developed in the course of this film:  


  • WitchHunt is about the silencing of pro-Palestinian Labour party activists, who have been among the Israeli government's fiercest critics - in particular Jackie Walker; (Continued)