Wednesday 29 May 2019


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


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 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


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


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