Wednesday, 8 July 2020

WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD CUMMINGS? - A short blogpost and one vital video

I was shocked this morning. That doesn't happen often. But when I opened Steven Walker's SKWAWKBOX, read its message, and watched the video, my mouth did open and my jaw fell a little. Yes, I was shocked.

First, here is the man we should be concerned about:

This man is hungry for power. He is narcissistic. Compare Johnson and Trump. His name is Cummings. 

And here is the message and the video:

'Extraordinary warning to UK's head of military - that an unelected adviser will go to war on armed forces
(Tuesday 7 July - 22.05)

Video from a meeting of the parliamentary Defence Select Committee has emerged showing Tory MP and committee member Mark Francois threatening the chief of the UK's armed forces that Dominic Cummings will 'sort you out'.
That's an unelected adviser - and one only recently disgraced in the eyes of much of the population - essentially going to war on the armed forces personnel of this country - and

Saturday, 4 July 2020


I was delighted to see that recently Steven Walker of SKWAWKBOX became a follower of my blogposts - thank you, Steven. 

SKWAWKBOX and I share a similar political vision. Let me share with them and you the news that my latest literary venture is now well under way. It's called 'Dying to Know' and follows a path established by Pepys in the 17th century, Defoe in the 18th century, and Marquez in the 20th century - a journey through pandemic times. 

I will be rejigging my Jago Mailchimp newsletter so that it can serve as a pathway for news about this new book in the making, as well as providing updates about sales and reviews of the biography of Jago Stone. If you are interested in reading the first draft of my first chapter, leave a comment expressing an interest on the bottom of this blogpost. I will send you the taster. 

Publication is scheduled shortly after the vaccine becomes available - DV (Deo volente - God willing). There are times when my O-level Latin still comes in useful.      

Here's a medley of some of SKWAWKBOX's posts from the last week or two:

Prevalence of England deaths is far higher than relative populations of UK's constituent nations, damning Johnson's handling of crisis
(Saturday 27 June, 2020)

A NHS nurse mourning

The government's decision to abandon its daily coronavirus press briefings - while deaths and infections are still significant - has allowed it to escape even the feeble scrutiny of the corporate media over its handling of the crisis.
But it is still forced to publish statistics - and those for the last four days, since the briefings ended - are damning of Boris Johnson's and Matt Hancock's recklessness. Those four days have seen England

Sunday, 28 June 2020


Look in the index of my biography: 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone' for the name: Mark Donohoe and you will find the page references are 118, and 120-1. Check out the pages and you will find Marks's childhood memories of the artist, together with an image of a photo of Jago holding the watercolour of Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington, with US embassy officials on either side. That work of art was Jago's gift to the American president and people in 1976, the year of bicentennial celebrations of American independence. Mark's gift to me was the image of that original photograph.  

Mark has kept in touch and last week sent me the image of the painting I had not seen before - the one of Hanwell Castle, referenced in the text of the biography. Here it is:

Hanwell Castle - Jago Stone (c.1975)

This is what Mark added to the story he had already related:

On 2020-06-20 17:54, Mark A. Donohoe wrote:
You can definitely count on me to purchase four copies, possibly five.
I’m going to get one for each member of my family and possibly a few
extra. You have already sent me my copy directly which was signed by
you. Again, thank you so much for that.
Also, I just found a few more Jago paintings in my storage unit.
Obviously not for the book, but don’t know if you’re doing anything
online. They‘re attached.
I’ll also see if I could get more information on those two paintings I just found. We actually

Monday, 22 June 2020


Listen to Toby Helm in the Observer yesterday:

'After another terrible week for the government that saw two more screeching U-turns and warnings from the Tory backbenchers of mounting discontent in the ranks, a former Cabinet minister from Teresa May's time had this to say: "If we were in normal times you would be hearing talk by now about removing the prime minister. It is that bad. But you don't get rid of leaders in a crisis like this."

Which minister whispered that in the ear of Toby Helm? My money is on Jeremy Hunt. I will be surprised if Johnson is still the PM by Christmas; these Tories are ruthless when their own self-interest is at stake - and the moronic and criminal performance of their leader must be troubling to many Tory MPs, especially the very ambitious few who await their turn at the top of the greasy pole.

Here is my round-up of the awfulness of it all, courtesy of the Skwawkbox:

Tory babbles and evades - but no regrets in spite of desperate plea from Sky News journalist
(Wednesday, 10 June 2020)

Not guilty plea entered

Boris Johnson refused at least twice during his appearance at this evening's coronavirus press briefing to express any regret for the at least 25,000 needless deaths caused by his refusal to lock down the country properly.

A figure calculated by one of his own leading scientific advisers. Others say the number is far higher, as many as three quarters of the more than 60,000 UK deaths so far.

Sky's Beth Rigby as good as pleaded with Johnson to at least show some sign of sorrow for his

Sunday, 14 June 2020


I am sharing today's SKWAWKBOX as soon as I can. No further words are needed from me, other than those in my title:

Tory manipulation of reporting has hidden true scale of Boris Johnson's catastrophic response to pandemic crisis

The funeral of 13-year old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab who died - separated from his family - a victim of Covid-19 and our present government's actions and inactions

 The SKWAWKBOX has long argued that the Tories were using their control of how and when death figures were released to manage public perception of the scale of the catastrophe their slow and often non-response to the coronavirus pandemic caused.

Now that argument has been proven by figures calculated from official records - which show that for twenty-two

Wednesday, 10 June 2020


Louise and I fell in love with the holy Greek island of Patmos in the summer of 1988 when we spent a vacation there for two weeks. All this after I had swallowed my pride and returned to classroom teaching in the January of that year. We had created our own summer vacation fest that summer - two weeks in Kalymnos, followed by two weeks in Patmos - both Greek islands in the Aegean; our first Greek holiday. My bid to be a full-time writer for the time being had been broken but my income had increased exponentially. I continued my life as a born-again teacher and we afforded the time and money to return to Patmos in 1989 and then, after the deaths of my father in 1992 and my mother in 1995, we were drawn back in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998. We never returned to Kalymnos.

By 1995, Robert Lax had turned 80 and his health was beginning to decline. Louise has a clear memory of seeing him on more than one occasion and in more than one year on the waterfront in Skala, the main port and town in Patmos so we think those sightings were probably in 1988 and 1989. Although we did not realise it at the time, the striking and singular lean figure of an ancient man she had seen was indeed Robert Lax, the American poet who had made Patmos his home after over a decade living on Kalymnos before eventually being compelled to leave by an unfortunate twist of history. Some of his former Greek friends had become convinced he was an American CIA agent working in the interests of America's ally, Turkey, at the time of the Turkish invasion of north Cyprus in 1974. Lax tried hard to mend bridges over the next few years but to no avail. In 1981, aged 66, he made Patmos his home.

Robert Lax (probably taken on Patmos in the late 1980s)

My head was still in a spin after two terms struggling to make sense of my return to the classroom so I have no clear memory of Robert Lax. My loss. But I have sought to acquaint myself further with the

Tuesday, 9 June 2020


Boris Johnson is expertly nailed by SKWAWKBOX again today, Tuesday 9 June:
'[The PM] has issued a video telling black people and other 'Black Lives Matter' protesters that the UK is less racist than it was and they should be less angry because the UK is a happier place.
Johnson being Johnson, he combined it with a threat and a smear - and ignored his own towering hypocrisy. A PM who has called black people the disgusting term 'piccaninnies' with 'water-melon smiles' and was complicit in the Windrush scandal - and only last year was seen skipping shaking hands with black well-wishers - is not someone in a position to tell victims of racism to suck it up and look on the bright side.

Johnson also found a moment to blame protesters for the surge in coronavirus infections his government has been actively creating and planning for months before the protests began. 
Singer Jamelia was unimpressed - along with