Saturday 29 August 2020


 Mark Twain's use of the expression: 'Lies, damned lies, and statistics' in 1907 helped popularize it. The saying seems first to have seen the light of day in 1885. Blog-posts can be helped by interesting asides such as these. But make no mistake, we are in serious trouble when those in power have such contempt for the hoi polloi, the masses who elected them with a huge majority, that the stats are falsified and obfuscated in order to deceive these very same people. 

Here's the latest SKWAWKBOX news, exposing what is happening:


"Tories try to claim ZERO new Covid-19 cases in England in last 24 hours. The reality - or even the government's suppressed version of it - is different: 1,106

Friday 28 August 2020

As the SKWAWKBOX revealed earlier, the Tories continue to withhold and misrepresent the rate of new coronavirus infections in England, making the official government data pages confusing and self-contradictory, with untrue claims at the start of the page and the real figures only on show to those who dig further.

But after a number of days of severely understated figures, the Tories have gone further - claiming zero new cases in England during the past 24 hours:

Those who scroll down to check further can see that the actual number is 1,106 (though in reality it is far

Tuesday 25 August 2020


 This is a tale and a half, make no mistake.

The professor, as you will discover, is Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914-2003), Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford and later elevated to the title of Baron Dacre. He was of the old school and insisted on undergraduates wearing their gowns when attending his lectures. We on the radical left decided to challenge and arrived, en masse, gownless in 1968. He ordered us out. We went, although some slipped their gowns on and stayed. The professor got himself into hot water in the early 1980s when he declared the recently discovered diaries of Hitler as authentic. They were not. 

Hugh Trevor-Roper lived to the ripe old age of 89. The parson in this tale also enjoyed longevity, clocking up 87 years. He was Robert Peters (1918-2005). For over a quarter-century, the professor kept a file on the parson so fascinated had he become by this remarkable cleric. 

The parson - Robert Peters

The professor - Hugh Trevor-Roper

After Trevor-Roper's death, the task of writing his life-story was earned by an eminent biographer, Adam Sisman. It was his discovery of the file on parson Peters that has led to the publication of 'The

Friday 21 August 2020


 'Yes', said Mr Johnson, when pressed. 'There will be an inquiry about the pandemic, but now is not the time'. For as long as they can, Johnson and Cummings will kick the matter into the long grass. They will muddy the waters and lay any blame as far away as possible from their actions - and, critically, lack of action. Johnson and Cummings are, if you haven't realized, the de facto government of Britain. Hancock, one of their lackeys, has in his role as minister for health just disbanded one of the key actors in the pandemic - Public Health England - and written on the back of a postage stamp the name of its successor: the National Institute for Health Protection. Why this change should be made now is a reasonable question. 'Muddying the waters' would be my answer, together with 'blame-laying'. Across Europe, such national bodies are headed by eminent scientists. Johnson and Cummings have appointed Dio Harding, a woman with no scientific background and a poor record as a manager, as the new CEO. She is however very well connected in Tory elite circles - a Tory lackey to be developed. 

Difficult to believe, all this - especially in the absence of an effective opposition voice in parliament and in the media. The MSM - mainstream media - is colluding with the Tories in power, and so too is the Labour Party under the leadership of Keir Starmer, in relation to this pandemic. 

Here's one familiar voice of sanity to consider: Jeremy Corbyn. More from him later.

Jeremy Corbyn during his tenure as Labour leader

Difficult to swallow - the proposition that Johnson and Cummings are directly responsible for the excess deaths in our country between March 2020 and now. Nearly all of the seventy thousand citizens of our country who are the bodies in those excess death figures would still be alive if it were not for Johnson and Cummings. Difficult to swallow - but can you disprove that fact?   

My pandemic journal, a most interesting literary venture, will be published to coincide with the arrival of a vaccination schedule to provide immunity against the Covid-19 virus. In that book, you will find along with much else the history of the Johnson and Cummings approach to the virus from January

Sunday 16 August 2020


 It is difficult to word this blog-post's title in a way that is concise and cogent. I have done my Sunday best. 

I will not be joining the exodus of socialist members from a Labour party under Keir Starmer's leadership. Skwawkbox estimates that Party membership has fallen from 552,000 - the number who voted in the leadership election - to around 450,000. The present Party leadership claims a membership of 580,000. That would appear to be a lie. Let's call out a spin for what it really is. 

I am staying because I am appalled and I want an opportunity to do something about it. There may well be a vote of no-confidence next year in Keir Starmer's leadership. There are enough socialists left in the Party to ensure that happens. Remember how the right-wing in the Party organised a coup against Jeremy Corbyn when he was a leader? The vote of no-confidence that they orchestrated went overwhelmingly in JC's favour. So a taste of their own medicine is due next year - and this time we must do what we can to produce an overwhelming majority for a vote of no-confidence that will oust Keir Starmer from his position. 

Over to SKWAWKBOX now, to explain the reasons that underpin my frustration and anger with the current leadership:


Bizarre 'no ifs no buts' school tweet shows it's strange weather on planet Starmer

(Sunday, 16 August 2020)

Labour leader Keir Starmer has decided to break with months of his collaborative approach with the Tories and talk tough - by demanding they send children back to school, no matter what.

And he decided to do it in one of the worst right-wing rags.

Just in case anyone had forgotten his slap in the face to the Black Lives Matter movement, or his failure to

Saturday 15 August 2020


Following the now standard pattern, here are the contents of my monthly Mailchimp newsletter (August edition) which has now been opened by 39 of its 66 recipients. 

 This MailChimp newsletter is an opportunity for me to show you the latest image of a Jago watercolour that has come my way through cyberspace - and to tell you more about what I am now writing.

First, news of the latest Jago painting to arrive on my screen. The story begins with a Facebook message from Daphne Smart in mid-July in which she replied to my thanks for a Like she had given for another Jago painting. I had noted that Daphne was connected with Bicester (Daphne is the former Head Gardener at Turweston House) and remarked that 'Bicester is part of Jagoland!'

'Yes I know', she replied. 'I have met him. He painted a picture of our cottage in Turweston, nr. Brackley, in 1982. I also know Brian Knibbs who mentioned your book.' Brian Knibbs and his story about Jago have two page references in Chapter Eight of the biography. I love this combination of communication through cyberspace and at the same time by simple word of mouth. 

This week, Daphne sent me the Jago Stone painting as promised. Here it is: 

What a fine watercolour! Jago's technique has developed further in the early 1980s. Note his membership of the Oxford Society Rural Artists.

Daphne gave me this story about the time that Jago painted the picture:
'My memory is that he just appeared one day in June, set up his easel and painted our cottage. I didn't get to speak to him much other than to ask if

Wednesday 12 August 2020


 If you have been reading these blog-posts of mine since Boris Johnson's Tory Party won the general election in December last year, you know the answer already. 

What follows, courtesy of SKWAWKBOX, will provide you with more evidence to support what will become the judgement of history.

Tories' delay and dither has let UK in worst of both worlds

The UK has today been confirmed to have the worst coronavirus death rate in the world - and the worst economic recession from the virus of any 'G7' country.

By locking down late the Tories caused at least 40,000 needless deaths so far among the UK's people - and by their delay they allowed the virus to spread further and become more entrenched, which prolonged the eventual lockdown and vastly increased the economic damage it caused.

In other words, the Tories' arrogance, incompetence, dithering and dishonesty inflicted the worst of all worlds on the people of this country, with a real total of over 70,000 deaths, a global-worst death-rate of more than 70 people per hundred thousand so far even on the government's understated official figures - and an economy that has shrunk by more than 20% in three months:

Yet Johnson and co continue to pretend they've been a success - and are now trying to distract the country

Tuesday 11 August 2020


True news in my book is news that is factually correct and comprehensive. It has multiple perspectives. It is balanced. Unfortunately, much of the news we get from the MSM - mainstream media - is far from balanced. The establishment - the wealthy and powerful - have their vested interests to protect. We are subject to news that is distorted; it has a bias and excludes facts that are uncomfortable and necessary for an alternative understanding of what is going on in the world.

That is why I cherish the existence of SKWAWKBOX and contribute £3 a month in support. SKWAWKBOX provides that alternative perspective and exposes the bias and distortions in the MSM. £3 is a token amount - but if we all gave a little like this their reach would be even greater.

By design, the SKWAWKBOX relies entirely on voluntary donations to ensure that the information it provides is always freely available to those who need it – and pays extra to its hosting provider to ensure there are no ads cluttering its pages.

In turbulent times, there is no shortage of weathervanes, but there are not too many signposts. The SKWAWKBOX

Monday 3 August 2020


Time for an update on the distressing story of just how bad our misgovernment has become.

First, in case you have missed it, a chance to hear the incoherence and intellectual meltdown of a minister of state in this government of toadies, cobbled together by Johnson and Cummings. My thanks as ever to SKWAWKBOX:

According to Hancock:
  • there has to be a border to the lockdown areas, but the virus doesn't care about borders
  • the virus spreads in gardens but not in parks
  • homes are a dangerous source of viral spread, but indoor workplaces are ok
  • travel outside the lockdown zones is ok, but it's also not ok
  • the government's law on lockdown and its guidance on lockdown say different things, yet Hancock uses them interchangeably - but it's all 'really clear'
  • you can go to the pub where strangers are sitting, but not with friends or family from a different home
This is not satire. Listen for yourself.

And again, in case you missed it, here's another example of how the BBC becomes ever more exposed as an establishment prop, beholden to those in power. They did at

Saturday 1 August 2020


I sent out my Mailchimp newsletter for July a week ago and 40 of my sixty-five subscribers opened - that's only slightly below the average. In case you missed it - and for those who are not subscribers - here are the contents again:

This MailChimp newsletter is an opportunity for me to show you the latest images of Jago Stone watercolours that have come my way through cyberspace - and to tell you about what I am now writing.

First, news of the latest Jago painting to arrive on my screen. It came in a Facebook message from Christine EH, on July 13 or 14 depending on which side of the Pond you were:

'Hi Rob. I have one of Jago Stone's watercolors. We were an American military family stationed at Upper Heyford in the 1970s. When I was six years old I answered a knock at the door (Bell Cottage, Ledwell, Oxon), and Jago Stone introduced himself and asked if he could paint our house and if I could ask my parents to come speak with him.'

I replied: '
Wonderful way to start the day! Thank you so much for this image and the story. I will create a blogpost around it very soon'

There were some issues of clarity in the image; I could not read some of the inscriptions.

So Christine sent me this improved image of the family home and explained that the family name was Hurd and that Jago had misspelled it as Hurde on the painting. 

Bell Cottage, Ledwell, Oxfordshire - Jago Stone (1975)

Thank you, Christine, for gifting this fine Jago watercolour.

My thanks also to Mark A. Donohoe who had sent me an image in late June from the collection of his brother Chris. Mark features in my biography of Jago so it's worth looking there for the rest of the story but here is the tale about Hanwell Castle as told by Mark in