Sheep magazine archive 1: issues 3-9

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Lefty online magazine, issue 3: October 2015 to issue 9: April 2016




The Magazine: volume 1

Issues 3 to 9




The Magazine: volume 1

Issues 3 to 9

October 2015 - April 2016

This Volume’s



Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Photographs, words and

artwork sourced from ‘found

in the scrapbook of life’, no

intentional copyright

infringement intended,

credited whenever possible,

so, for treading on any toes

... apologies all round!

Sheep ...

from no. 3

(October 2015)

to no. 9

(April 2016)


Articles to:

October 2015 – April 2016


Without contributors this project has

failed to live up to its original ideal!

SHEEP IN THE ROAD : The Magazine, issues 3 to 9






Welcome to a 20 months worth of Sheep,

from magazine number 3 to 24, in 3

volumes. This is volume 1 and contains

issues 3 to 9 and covers a time period from

October 2015 to April 2016.

All articles and artwork contained in

these flashes were supplied, or found in

newspapers lining the bottom of the canary

cage, and all were gratefully received

and developed with love, enthusiasm and

sympathy here at Hand Over Fist Press.


Nobody got paid. Perhaps that is the

problem? Anyway, ‘Sheep in the Road’ will

now appear sporadically!

Without contributors this project is

failing to live up to its original ideal!

a luta continua!

October 2015 – April 2016

20 months’ worth of the magazine (in 3 volumes), started in October 2015

and continued until May 2017 – playful layouts, socialist politics, many

borrowed (most times credited) pieces of interest, social commentary – coupled

with some wonderful original pieces by contributors, twitchy and inventive

artwork ... and probably not enough craziness to really reflect the editor’s

surrealist pillow.

Here is volume 1, issues 3 to 9, covering a period from

October 2015 to April 2016, what a mad time!

Alan Rutherford, editor.




The Magazine volume 1

Issues 3 to 9








Design & Edit:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Cover photograph:

Corbyn by

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in December (issue 2),

is 15 November 2015

Articles and all correspondence to:

Opposite: Online Ethics DVD cover

artwork: Alan Rutherford

Opening 03

Looted? 04

Review: The Cattle Truck 07

Remark: Graffiti Street Art 11

Feature: A Whispered Why? 15

by Joe Jenkins

Literally: Sheep in the Road 22

by Wooly Jumper & Rudi Thoemmes

Cartoon: Jez for PM 26

Opinion: Intellectual Candifloss 29

Writing: Chaos Theory 33

by Brian Rutherford

Opinion: Sheep in the Road 47

Opinion: Poverty of Ideas 51

Islamic Carpet 54

Waffle: Falling Over in Public 57

Extract: World War in Africa 61

Waffle: Letters 71

Ranting: & Raging 73








Hello, this magazine is unlikely to be up-tothe-minute-current

on happenings on this

crazy planet we share, this magazine will carry

comment and opinion, words and pictures.

This is Sheep in the Road number 3, but is

the first issue as a magazine broadcasting the

thoughts of others (and not just me ranting,

rambling and waffling ... as in books 1 and 2).

Whilst delving in my archives I discovered that

exactly 20 years ago I had an idea to produce

a magazine ... weird, and that I went as far

as printing up around 10 or so of a 24 page

square format publication ... which floundered

and failed on the distribution aspect.

The purpose of this magazine is deliberately a

bit vague, but if anything, Sheep in the Road

is aimed at defeating, or at least attacking,

the dominent ruling class idealogy of ‘nothing

can change’, ‘its human nature that we are

all greedy’, and ‘capitalism is fine, what

else is there?’ ... in this effort we are indeed

privileged to be able to host thoughtful and

thought-provoking pieces by Joe Jenkins, Brian

Rutherford and Rudi Thoemmes.


Please use any means at your disposal to

announce and circulate this magazine to as

wide an audience as possible, thank you.





Relief panel of warrior king

(Oba) and four companions.

Taken from the palace of

Benin, in West Africa.


16th/17th century,

cast bronze,

19 inches high.

... now displayed in the

Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York










by George Semprun

Book reviewed

by Lee Humber

in Socialist Review

October 1993

Reprinted from

Manifesto, October 1995

On 9 November 1938, 30,000 German Jews

were rounded up by the Nazis and sent to

concentration camps. One thousand were

murdered in this operation. Synagogues, home

and businesses were destroyed. It was the start

of the Nazis ‘Final Solution’ which was to see

six million Jewish people murdered by Hitler’s

thugs in the course of the Second World War.

With the racism of anti-semitism at the core of

their ideology the Nazis scapegoated Jews for

all society’s ills. They made them the target for

the anger and despair of millions who had lost

their jobs and their homes in the great slump

of the 1930’s, much as today’s Nazis across

Europe attempt to build political influence in

the recession racked 1990’s.




Hitler’s Nazis built concentration camps and

special extermination camps like Treblinka,

Sobibor and Belzec, whose sole purpose was

to commit murder on a mass scale. Of the

estimated two million who entered these camps,

barely a hundred survived. These are the facts

that Jean-Marie Le Pen of the French National

Front calls mere ‘details of history’, the events

that the racist historian David Irving denies ever


Gays, lesbians, Gypsies, trade unionists,

socialists and Communists were forced into the

camps along with the Jews. The author, Jorge

Semprun, was a Communist sent to Buchenwald

camp while still in his teens, and his book is the

memories he has of his life in the Resistance, his

journey to the camp and his release.

Semprun was a Rotspanier, a ‘Spanish Red’

who had fought against the Nationalists in the

Spanish Civil War before fleeing to France to

join the Resistance.

Crammed, standing up along with 119 others

in a freezing and airless cattle truck, he spent

five days and nights en route to the slave

camp as the war drew to a close. In pain from

previous beatings, surrounded by the suffering

of his fellow prisoners and with the memories

of the hardships and deaths of his comrades

haunting him, Semprun could be forgiven for

writing a bittert story of despair. But that is not

the case. Instead, even the most brutal and

desperate stories he recounts have an element

of resistance and hope.

The most shocking of his memories concerns

a truckload of Polish Jews which arrived at

Buchenwald while he was there. The men were

stacked into the freight train almost 200 to a

car, travelling for days without food and water

in the coldest winter of the war. On arrival

all in the carriage had frozen to death except

for 15 children, kept warm by the others in

the centre of a bundle of bodies. When the

children were emptied from the car the Nazis

let their dogs loose on them. Soon only two

fleeing children were left and as Semprun


‘The little one began to fall behind, the SS

were howling behind them and then the dogs

began to howl too, the smell of blood was

driving them mad, and then the bigger of the

two children slowed his pace to take the hand

of the smaller ... together they covered a few

more yards ... till the blows of the clubs felled

them and, together they dropped, their faces to

the ground, their hads clasped for all eternity.’

It is this feeling of comradeship and fraternity

and the deep belief in the necessity of

resistance that marks every aspect of the book.

Semprun’s socialist ideals have never left him,

even after the experience of the camps and the

ups and downs of struggle in the years since

the war. He still retains his belief in human

beings and their ability to change the world for

the better.


Throughout he is very careful to draw a

distinction between the racist Nazi ideology

and the different sorts of people who carry it

out. For the SS he has nothing but utter hatred.

But for the other German soldiers he shows a

different understanding. After conversations

with a prison guard from Hamburg, often out

of work till the Nazis came along and started

up the industrial machine of re-militarization

again, Semprun says:

‘We’re on opposite sides of the bars, and

never have I understood more clearly why

I was fighting. We had to make this man’s

being habitable, or rather the being of all

men like him, because for him it was no doubt

already too late. We had to make the being

of this man’s sons habitable ... it was no more

complicated than that ... For its quite simply a

question of instituting a class-less society.’

Over the 50 years since Semprun experienced

the terrors of Nazism, this conclusion remains

the most important fact of human life. It lies at

the heart of the fight against the Nazis today

and makes Semprun’s book an important one

for all to read.








Alan Rutherford

from ‘Irish Graffiti,

murals in the north


Photograph: Alan Rutherford

Belfast, 1987

Seldom considered respectable or ‘art’, graffiti

cannot be ignored. Immediate, rebelious,

public, confrontational, honest, malicious,

political, vulgar, informative, territorial and

in your face broadcasting of opinions, ideas

... and usually anonymous. This has been

a constant expression for the talented and

talentless since human stirrings, welcome or

unwelcome depending on your viewpoint.

Graffiti comes from the same loadstone as

‘high art’, but because of its egalitarian and

anti-establishment nature it subverts ‘high art’

and ‘the artist’ modes of recognised celebrity

and value by undermining and one-finguring

‘high art’s elitist and posturing nepotism.

Strong, bold images of emotion hammer

home their message ... and can also be read

as eductional and revolutionary. All street

art/graffiti can be seen as territory marking,




especially in Northern Ireland where they are

also confrontational, aspirational and defining.

They are all demonstrably democratic in that

they can be defaced, ammended or removed by

their viewing public ...

Taking advantage of street art/graffiti’s

accsessibility to all and the fact that it is not

controlled by the government, the political

murals of Northern Ireland continue a

longstanding tradition of political graffiti. For,

even though they appear, and may seem to be

accepted, on home territories, the very fact that

they do appear at all oversteps the boundaries

of public codes of behaviour ... they still

challenge what is acceptable.

Even though there seems to be a concensus that

peace has arrived in the troubled communities

of Northern Ireland, its veneer is as thin as the

fact these territorial markers, these political

statements, these magnificently diverse graffiti

are still adorning unionist/protestant and

nationalist/catholic neighbourhoods.

Under capitalism aberrations and anomolies

will always appear to attack the free and

democratic voice of graffiti: the notoriety

of Banksy resulting in a desperate ‘art

establishment’ wanting to own him, and put

a commercial value on his free, political and

ironic statements ... Resist those faceless arses,

mon brave!

Art which has no part

in life will be filed away in

the archaeological museum

of antiquity.

Down with Art,

the shining patches on

the talentless life of a

wealthy man.

Down with Art,

the precious gem in the

dirty dark life of a

poor man.

Down with Art,

the means to escape

from the life which is not

worth living!

Alexander Rodchenko

Russian Constructivist


Photograph: Alan Rutherford

Belfast, 1987




World War


Allied propaganda

reinforcing myths






Joe Jenkins

Calm fell. From Heaven distilled a clemency

There was peace on earth, and silence in the sky;

Some could, some could not, shake off misery:

The Sinister Spirit sneered: ‘It had to be!’

And again the Spirit of Pity whispered, ‘Why’?

Thomas Hardy,

written on Armistice Day,


2014 – 2018 marks four years when we

remember a war that caused a degree of

suffering all too clear in the statistical record; 16

million people dead and 20 million wounded.

On our iPad 4s, our iPhones and our TV screens

we will see young faces from 100 years ago,

brimming with expansive optimism – before the

horror, the brutality and the cynicism. In Hardy’s

poem, written on Armistice Day 1918, the

poet’s question: ‘Why?” is a whispered ‘Why?’ –

a Why?” that remains painfully unanswered, still

today. Yet it is a Why?” people, young and old, will

nevertheless be asking over the next four years. It

is a “Why?” we have a duty to answer, as best we


The First World War was the first modern

industrialised war. It consumed millions of citizenconscript

soldiers in four years of apocalyptic

destruction. Its legacy of mass death, mechanized

slaughter, propaganda, and disillusionment swept

away long-standing romanticized images of

warfare. War was no longer something painted

on the tops of biscuit tins, but a visceral reality, in

millions of homes, torn apart by grief.

But this is narrative, and narrative is not

explanation. While commentators have no

problem explaining the Second World War as a

victory over fascism, the First World War appears

to be different. Already, battles have raged: Boris

Johnson demanding the head of Tristram Hunt;

Sir Tony Robinson, Private Baldrick in Blackadder,

calling Michael Gove the Education Secretary,

“irresponsible”, for his comments on the war.




But this ideological war about the war is not

a new phenomenon. In the 1990’s after the

80 th Anniversary commemorations were over,

historians observed: “It was as though we

wished to understand the war more than ever

before without having the means to do so”. So,

twenty years on, it seems we’re still struggling

to understand what the First World War was

all about. Yes, there is general agreement

about the consequences of the war, but

the causes remain contentious, as commentators

cite an eclectic set of causes: ‘accident and slide’,

‘Serbian ‘state sponsored terrorism’, ‘tangled

alliances’, ‘indolent politicians’, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s

empire building, and even AJP Taylor’s ‘railway

timetables’ analysis.

In announcing the UK government’s £55 million

plan to mark the centenary, David Cameron said:

“Our duty is clear. To honour those who served.

And to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us

for ever”. But what are these lessons? To whom,

and where do we look? And what of Orwell’s

warning that those who control the present control

the past? Writing in the Daily Mail, Michael

Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, said

any lessons to be learnt have been overlaid by

‘myths’, ‘misinformation’ and ‘misrepresentations’,

reflecting: “an unhappy compulsion to

denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and

courage”. Gove accused British dramas such

as “Oh! What a lovely war”, and “Blackadder”, for

teaching school children, ‘left-wing myths

about the war’. For Gove, the war was a ‘just

war’, fought by those who “were not dupes,

but conscious believers in King and Country,

committed to defending the Western liberal order

against the ruthless social Darwinism of the

German elites”.

Boris Johnson, responding to Gove’s article,

concurs, citing: “German expansionism and

aggression”; while eminent historians from our

most illustrious university departments, propagate

the narratives of a Kaiser intent on global war, and

a Britain going to war “for good reasons…. the

outcome must be seen as a victory”.

However, Cameron’s First World War Committee,

which oversees events for the 2014-2018

commemoration is less explicit. They state they

want: “less focus on big explanations”, and

more on revising “the myths”; such

as ‘the ‘myths’ that soldiers did not believe in what

they were fighting for, or the ‘myth’ that the war

was prosecuted by incompetent and conscienceless

generals {“lions led by donkeys”}.

This ‘demythologising’ was made manifest,

when the Royal Mint revealed its special

£2 “commemorative” coin: a coin not

commemorating the dead or maimed, but

rather, Field Marshal Horatio Kitchener KG,

KP, GCB, OM. Kitchener of: “Your country

needs you” fame”; Kitchener, who commanded

British artillery and maxim machine guns at the

Omdurman Massacre in Sudan, in 1898, killing

10,000 Dervishes who were only armed with

spears and a few rifles. Even Churchill thought

Kitchener too brutal in his killing.


German boys

Photograph in public domain

Meanwhile, the BBC has confirmed this

revisionist trend, and, in its “largest programming

ever”, enlisted two high profile revisionist

historians in Sir Max Hastings and Niall Ferguson

to make keynote documentaries about the war.

The first item on the BBC’s dedicated World War

One online page follows the script faithfully. Titled

‘World War One: A Misrepresented War?’ its

introduction reads: “Does the traditional tale of

‘stupid generals, pointless attacks and universal

death’ give a fair picture of the war?” Dramas

include: Teenage Tommies; The Machine Gun And

Skye’s Band Of Brothers, Our World War, with POV

helmet camera footage, surveillance imaging and

night vision, and Radio 4’s biggest-ever drama

commission, and Home Front a 1914-1918

version of East-Enders.

Of course, as historians and script writers

demythologize the minutiae of imperial ambition

and indulge in counterfactual speculation there

will be plenty of narrative. But, as the media

furore suggests the predominant narrative is

one of ‘necessary sacrifice’ with the Somme and

Passchendaele represented as titanic struggles

between democracy and autocracy, between good

and evil.

On our multiple devices and TV screens Professors

of statistics tell us that if the British dead alone

were to rise up and march 24 hours a day, past a

given spot, four abreast, it would take them more

than two and a half days. Professors of Psychology

narrate a war that turned “golden schoolboys”

into “figures of dreadful terror shaking, mouthing

like madmen,” but regarded as “sheer cowards”

by Generals. Medical historians talk of the

fate of 250,000 British amputees, or reference

Louis-Ferdinand Céline who called the war “the

vaccinated apocalypse”: with ten million military

personnel dead we’d become better than disease

at killing our fellow man’. Military historians

narrate, how by 1917, shelling in France could

be heard in London 140 miles away; and how

even today nearly half a million pounds of war

detritus and soldiers’ bones are unearthed each

year on the Western Front. Social historians

tell of how patriotic mothers were recruited by

governments to publicly shame un-enlisted young

men into joining up. Media historians explain

how war-loyal British editors were rewarded with

knighthoods and peerages, wryly noting the war

couldn’t have lasted more than a month without

the press. Professors of economics tell us that the

direct financial war-cost was £125 billion; the

equivalent of God knows how many trillions today.

But narrative is not explanation. For all

the thousands of hours of broadcasting,

narrative does not answer Hardy’s whispered

“Why?” Narrative is straightforward, explanation

is difficult. “Why?” is difficult. But, we must not

be distracted by narrative alone. Cameron’s

Commission want us to avoid the “big

explanations”. But, if any war needs ‘big

explanations’, it is the First World War. This was

a total war that spawned evils that plagued the

20 th century: fascism, communism, racism, antisemitism,

dictatorship, extreme violence, mass

propaganda, censorship, mass murder, WMD,

genocide, the rise of corporate power. This was an

industrial war that crashed through the limits of


Stretcher bearers, Passchendaele, August 1917

artwork: Alan Rutherford (from photograph: wikipedia)



what was thought morally permissible in warfare.

It was a war that seasoned rulers for future wars,

Napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, cluster

bombs in Afghanistan, depleted uranium and

chemical agents in Iraq, white phosphorous in the

Gaza strip.....

The First World War was a national trauma – an

international trauma – and one that has left has

its imprint on the popular imagination to an extent

almost unparalleled in modern history. Yes Mr

Cameron undoubtedly there are lessons to be

learnt, but we will not learn them by narrative

alone or by dismissing the “big explanations” you

are so keen to avoid.

The mythologies and the misinformation of the

last 100 years will continue to be propagated and,

after four years of “programming” we may even

be forgiven for believing that this was a ‘just’ war

fought to preserve liberty; cognitive dissonance

rendering us too uncomfortable to bear the truth.

And what is the truth? We won’t get it from

representatives of the military-industrial

complex or media corporations. But, there are

other voices out there: voices you won’t hear

on the BBC, voices that might even answer a

whispered “Why?”

“Today, tens of thousands of war memorials in

villages, towns and cities across the world bear

witness to the great lie, the betrayal, that they died

for “the greater glory of God” and “that we might

be free”. It is a lie that binds them to a myth. They

are remembered in empty roll calls, erected to

conceal the war’s true purpose. What they deserve

is the truth, and we must not fail them in that


(Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor, Hidden

History: The Secret Origins of the First World War,

Mainstream Publishing)

“During the war, 21,000 new millionaires

and billionaires were created in America

alone, to say nothing of the massive

secret profits made by their European

counterparts. Meanwhile, in their millions,

boys with normal viewpoints, fine boys,

boys the pick of their generation, were

forced to leave their firesides, their

families, their fields, their friends and their

factories, to ‘about face’ and think nothing

of maiming and killing, as if they were the

order of the day”.

(General Smedley Butler, War is a Racket)

article copyright © Joe Jenkins

Rockerfellers ‘war ... what it is good for!’

Source photograph in public domain

Montage: Alan Rtutherford










in the road


Words: Wooly Jumper

Photographs: Rudi Thoemmes

So here’s to sheep in the road! I meet these

sheep regularly on the back of the Matson

estate on the edge of Gloucester. Through the

generations these sheep have learnt and shared

their route from their local field, across common

land and into the heart of Matson by the main


They know the best grazing spots and as

established neighbours of old have no concern

about popping into lots of gardens to nibble

your hedge or munch on your marigolds! Every

garden gate is pushed open as the marauding

Matson sheep eat their fill. They are


Photograph: Rudi Thoemmes

a substantially undiscovered part of the local

community by ‘outsiders’ although the Daily

Mail website did once claim in an article that

the sheep had been introduced by the local

council as a cheap way of undertaking grounds

maintenance! If only some council officials were

that imaginative I thought when I saw that.


The sheep collectively manage themselves as

they wander around the area by day and then

head back to their home field at dusk each

day without any humans to boss them around.

Most wonderful of all, the gang of sheep have

a complete disregard for local vehicles and in

fact provide a unique form of traffic calming

for Upton Lane, a road with a 60 miles per

hour speed limit. Our sheep are fearless and

immovable! They wander down the middle of

the road and no matter what the speed limit is

Matson’s mobile mutton makes everybody slow

down to sheep pace!

Our favourite sheep in the road are seen as

pests by officials but actually they help maintain

our green spaces, manage our traffic and

connect hundreds of locals who love them to

nature everyday. Now that feels like a win win

for humans and sheep.

So what do we want? More Sheep!

When do we want them? Now!!

No doubt the authorities will remain mutton Jeff

to our demands but at least they’re not facing

the chop yet!

Photograph: Rudi Thoemmes





Say no

to a


Alan Rutherford

26 Alan Rutherford




Directors at Free Range Book Design & Production Ltd

artwork: Alan Rutherford





or, footnotes (and abbreviations)

– the farts (and belches) on a page

Alan Rutherford

from ‘Sheep in the Road,

volume 1’

While a very small number of footnotes are useful

in unobtrusively directing a reader to the source of

a quote, generally they are the reclusive domain

of the intellectual, or those looking for intellectual

status, trying to prove a point by referencing

another, as if by mentioning another source

for their information adds some sort of weighty

authority or gives credence to their flatulent point.

A fart on a page indeed! Are we then to believe

that the source of an unexplained point is correct

just because it was published elsewhere? This is

nonsense, a literary nepotism based on what?

This kind of posturing, this elitist ‘ibid.’ nonsense

masquerading as researched writing, attempting

to bolster the importance of a text littered with

superscripted numbers and give it an air of intellect

where it is absent, is just in reality lazy writing.




As one who typeset books that are riddled with

footnote intrusions I can see the indolent advantage

for an intellectual writer whose time is so important

that he/she needs to enhance, strangle or smother

a throw-away mention of something trivial or

otherwise by referring to some giant tome which

attempts to explain the universe and is only

available in some specialist library. Then there are

those boorish readers who won’t consider any text

which is not punctuated with this pygmy fly-away

text as intellectual, will decry it as unsubstantiated

and will not accept points however well they are

made. For fuck sake, do we readers need to be

sent on a wild goose chase to verify some smug

author’s pandering to their own ego only to find

the source unavailable or merely a figment of the

author’s imagination in that it does not explain or

compliment his/her point.

If an author wants or needs to make a point which

is made elsewhere by another then this needs to

made in the text and, if needs be, explained in the

text. Of course, if points are fully explained and

credit for them given to another, this may make the

author’s assertions look feeble and will definitely

give the impression that the work is not entirely, or

even vaguely in some cases, their own. It might

even be said by some that a book riddled with

footnotes is at best an ambiguous bibliography with

the veneer of a guiding idea, rather uncharitable,

but a view with some merit surely?

There will be those, certainly, who can find a

reason for the industry and profusion of footnotes

in that they allow a text to be read as the argument

intended by the author without distraction or

tangental flights of fancy, and that the ‘notes’ which

congregate about the foot of a page are just there

as helpful indicators of reference … more like

‘tosh and camouflage!’ to cover the cracks, in my



Joining that club of exclusive and deliberately

obscurest writing techniques are abbreviations.

Another feeble mind-fuck tool of the ‘busy/lazy’

intellectual. A nasty belch staining the page, where,

unless you are attuned to them, they leave the

reader second guessing the flavour-by-whiff …

or maintaining a jiggery-pokery library in their

head full of trite-useless alphabeti-spaghetti. These

manufactured and localised acronyms are then,

incredibly, given credence and weight by audiences

of similarly challenged people, who accept them

as actual words containing nuggets of ‘wisdom’ as

they tumble out from platforms, or spread their selfimportance

on a page, during the inane utterances

or dank scribblings of these ‘intellectual charlatans’.

If you have a valid point, ‘SPELL IT OUT!’, you lazy



Books are weapons!

Hit a tory with a

hardback ...






Brian Rutherford Compton looked over the fence at the mud

filled field and sighed. The Dovecot stood at the

top of a small rise silhouetted against a bank

of dark clouds threatening to break and wash

away all the evidence. The body lay at an angle

halfway down the grassy slope where it had slid

sometime during the night. The rain had filled

the spaces between the fibres of wool and cheap

cotton on the boys clothes and tumbled him

slowly from the step where he had been placed.

People dump bodies, thought Compton, but

this one had been intended to say something.

Whatever message it was trying to convey was

eluding him. At the bottom of the hill there were

tyre tracks. Faint at the gate where Compton was

standing but gouged up in a violent curl where

a vehicle had made an abrupt turn. There were

footprints all around the tracks. Fresh ones. More

than one set. Compton followed the tracks and

felt the mud pulling at his shoes. One hour ago




he had been tucked up nicely in his bed , the rain

drumming against his bedroom window. Such

is the life of a detective in a city where the locals

could wax poetic on the many different kinds of

rain. This rain could only be described as steady.

It poured down in all directions with the same

monotony as the flatline on a heart monitor.

“See if you can get a cast of one of these

footprints … You might also get a partial from

that fence, despite the rain”.

The forensic officer looked up from the churned

track. “Already on it boss”.

Compton couldn’t remember his name.

“Angus, sir”.


“The names Angus McAgnus. I’m new to the

squad. Transferred down from Dundee.”

“Jesus!” Said Compton … ”commiserations … I

take it there’s a reason for having a name more

ridiculous than mine?”

“Angus son of Angus … Its a family thing …”

“How did that go over in the city of jute, jam and

jacked up casuals?”

Angus smiled. “Let’s just say, sir, that I learned

how to run very fast”.

“Well Angus son of Angus what’s the score with

the lad on the hill?” He gestured towards the


“He’s been stabbed. Something long and very

sharp went straight through his heart. At a guess,

I’d say it was a sword. No cuts on his hands

suggests he didn’t see it coming and it must have

killed him outright. The heart simply stopped

beating, brain death within seconds”.

“Any ID on him?”

“I’ve not checked him. That’s a job for the


“Yes”, said Compton, sighing. ”Yes, I guess it is


He looked away from the dovecot at Glasgow

spread out before him. He could see smoke

pouring out of a distant chimney, tower blocks

that looked like rotten teeth and somewhere

lost in the grey horizon the faint outline of wind

turbines cutting the air. Immediately below him

was Milltown.

Angus said “… he wasn’t killed here. That much

is obvious. No blood. Whoever it was killed him

elsewhere and dumped him here.”

Compton didn’t say anything. He turned his back

on the city and began to walk slowly towards the

small hill where the dead boys remains lay at

an angle. The rain ran down and over the dead

eyes. It had filled his half open mouth and was

spilling out over his neck and onto his shirt but,

whoever he was, he was past caring.




We wait here as long as it takes. Got it. Fucks

sake. Don’t make me regret recommending you.

I stuck my neck out there and I don’t want you

to ever forget it. How you behave reflects on me

right? Your job is to sit with the car and keep the

engine running. Why? … Why what? Why can’t

we just go back to Bills? Let me give you a clue.

If we go back without the wee fucker then Bill will

ask questions of his own. I’d be happy to let you

take the lead there. You can explain to him while

he has his foot on your neck. No? Then we wait.

Every month. There’s one every month now.

I blame the fucking internet. Its turned every

wannabe into a dealer but it gives me a fucking

headache thinking about it. Its all about supply

and demand. If these wee fuckers flood the

market in Milltown with gear from all over then

we get competition. Everyone drops their prices

to compete with each other and that’s bad for

you and me. That’s why we have to introduce

a third element into the system. A traditional

element that has help carve out the men from

the boys since time immemorial. Fear. Fear and

intimidation. Thats why you and I are sat here

in this car outside the house of the latest stupid

fucker trying to muscle in on our market. Every

quarter he sells is money out of Bills pocket and

out of yours and mine … Its always the same …

first they get a bit and the next their friends are

whistling up at their window at 2 in the morning.

Most of them don’t have the stamina for it but,

for the ones that do, there’s two choices. Join the

club or get fucked.

Get the bundle out of the back will you … no

don’t do that face. At least don’t do that face in

front of Bill. He’ll see that and kick seven shades

out of you. You do what you’re asked and then

you’ll get the rewards. This one is special. Bills’

asked me to make an example of this one to

send a message. A message to the others. We

don’t give this one any choices. Fair? Sit there are

shut the fuck up. Keep the engine running here

he comes now …




“Get up”. A foot pushed him through the duvet.

His feet felt cold sticking out from the end of the

duvet. Christ, why was it always freezing in this


“Cmon, you’ve got school in 20 minutes. You

better get a move on.” It was his dad. “I don’t

want to go. What’s the point?”

He felt a pull on the duvet and slid off the bed

onto the floor. He could see the morning light

seeping in from under the cover, his fathers boots

were paint spattered. There was a small nail

embedded in the thick rubber sole on one side.

“Fuck off dad”.

The cover was whipped off him and he spun

around, yanked by the force. A hand pulled his

hair. Hard.

“Don’t talk back to me you wee shite, I’m not

nearly as soft as your daft mother.”

Brad looked into his fathers face. Some unnamed

emotion crossed behind his eyes and was gone.

Then his father let go and looked away out the

window rubbing his hand along the back of his


“Here, I washed your shirt”.

Brad took it and sat on the bed. He lifted the shirt

to his face and could smell last nights dinner. The

kitchen had a drier. ‘The Pulley’ his mum had

called it. Clothes would hang on the pulley to dry

while outside the rain poured down on the blue

slate roofs of the people of Milltown. The rain

seeped into every crack and crevice, filling the air

with the tart dampness that constituted a Scottish

winter. Inside, their clothes would hang and dry

slowly. Absorbing the chipfat and frozen pizza

smell that permeated the house downstairs, his

staple diet since his mother passed away. Outside,

a dirty white van pulled up. He could see the top

half slide into view along the top of the hedge. A

horn beeped.

“If I come home and find you’ve bunked off again

I’ll tan your hide”.

He half flinched expecting the slap that usually

followed this threat but his dad just turned and

walked away. His big boots ringing out on the

bare floor of the hall.

What a fucking pain in the arse it was to get up

every day and go to that shitty school. He hated

it and everyone there apart from his mates. Brad

sat down on bed again and clutched his head.

He could feel the blood pumping through his

brain with every heart beat and every beat was


painful. Jesus , why did I drink that stuff? Lorenzos

brother had bought it and pocketed the change.

Brad had been trying to work up some liquid

courage. Trying to to get off with Sally McFarland

at the swings but she’d been with her mates and

he just made a fool of himself as usual. Showing

off, as they had walked along the road back to

the estate. He’d keyed a few cars and smashed

some guys window. The guy had come running

out and was almost crying as he shouted at them.

Something about a baby. Fuck him and his stupid

baby. That’s what Brad had shouted back and

they had all laughed. He didn’t remember much

about getting home apart from that.

He got up slowly from the bed and dressed in

yesterdays clothes. The clean shirt had fallen onto

the floorboards and had a dusty stripe across the

back. Brad didn’t care. Since his mum died he’d

gotten used to wearing dirty clothes. He had a

piss and looked in the mirror. There were dark

rings around his eyes and his skin looked sallow.

Spots had broken out in his chin but he was more

interested in the fluff around his upper lip. There

was the beginnings of a moustache there. Brad

felt strangely thrilled at this sign of impending

adulthood. He couldn’t wait to be part of that

world and, especially, leaving school behind him.

Closing the front door he walked down the path.

The sky was a grey blanket that stretched in all

directions above him. Somewhere above him the

sun was a ghostly white disk that made his eyes

water when he tried to look at it. As he stepped

out of the gate his foot kicked something. It rolled

under the hedge and he caught a glimpse of

cellophane. He reached under and picked it up.

It was about the size of his fist. Brad stared. He

couldn’t quite believe it. He looked around but

the street was empty. Somewhere unseen a dog

began to bark. Stuffing the package into his bag

he ran along the pavement in the direction of the


The morning dragged along like a month of

sundays. Brad moved slowly from class to class in

the slow crush of the school corridors. Finally when

the bell rang for break time he ran out of the class

and down to the woods near the main gate. Spud

and Lorenzo were already there lounging with

their backs against the big oak.

“Check this out” he said and produced the

package from his bag and hid it under his jacket.

The two leaned in.

“What is it”.

“Its the biggest chunk of blow I have ever seen”.

The smell hit them as soon as he unwrapped the


“Whoa … what the fuck …” Spud shouted.

“Shhh …” said Brad waving his hands down. “Try

not to attract to much attention dummy.”

They all leaned in. The smell of hash drifted up

and over them. It was so strong Brad could almost

taste it at the back of his throat. The ball was black

and had a slight sheen over the surface.

“That’s the oil in it”, said Lorenzo. “That smells

and looks like primo gear. Where the fuck did you

get it?”





Brad thought for a moment.” I’ve got some

contacts ... I got it on credit”.

“Credit” said Spud. “What d’ye mean?”

“To sell dummy …” Said Lozenzo. “He’s going to

deal it … Nice one Brad.”

“Yeah, well I thought I’d do bit of selling. Do my

mates a good turn and bring in a bit of cash.”

His friends looked at him with awe and

admiration. It felt good.

He said “I’ll sell you a quarter after school”.

The boys were silent for a moment then Lorenzo

said “Can I get a bit now?” There was a hint of

desperation in his voice. “I’m trying to get in my

Dad’s good books.”

“Your Dad likes a smoke” Said Brad, “Fuck off ,

he must be 60, and he’s bald.”

“Yeah, well he’s actually my step-dad. I fucking

hate him. He drives one of those Porches ... you

know … the ones that look like a Bulldog about

to take a crap. Mum married him last year and

we’ve been living at his since. He’s got plenty of

money but the place is still a dump.”

“What’s he do?”

“Not sure, I think he’s a bit dodgy, he’s always

knocking about with that Bill Rodgers. Two of

them..dodgy as fuck. Coming and going at all

hours of the night but Mum seems to be happy..

most of the time. He’s always skinning up in front

of me. Doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal. If I

can get him a bit of this good stuff he might chill

out a bit more … he’s started knocking lumps out

of me when mums not around”.

Brad looked at Spud, then said “Yeah ... what

the fuck … you’re good for it I suppose. If it gets

your old man off you’re back then you can have


He pinched a bit off. It tore off easily.

“Wow, look how soft it is.” Said Spud, “This isn’t

like the stuff we normally get. Y’know the usual

crap … the sheep droppings that smell like a

Turkish shithouse.”

Brad laughed and tore a strip of cellophane off

and wrapped it around and around the nub of

hash. He passed it over to Lorenzo. “15 squid,


“Sure , I’ll get it to you tomorrow no probs”. In

the distance the bell rang in three short blasts.

“You better plank that somewhere” said Spud. “If

they catch you with a chunk that size you’ll be in

the shit big time.

“OK, you guys go ahead … I’ll see you in the line

in 2 minutes”.

“Not trust us or something?” said Lorenzo.

“No I fucking don’t.” said Brad smiling , “If either

of you got a hold of a piece this size you wouldn’t

do the smart thing and sell the bastard, you’d

smoke it until your eyes fell out and your brains

dribbled out your ears.” He laughed and put

the hash in his bag. “I’m gonnae take the risk




just to save you two dobbers from yourselves.”

He pushed the branches of the bush to the side

and stepped out of the den they had burrowed

out beside the school gates. “Cmon then lets get

back before Mrs Price spots us sneeking in at the

back of the line”.

They made it just as the last of the line were

feeding in through the glass front of the school.

Mr Gladstone, was waiting at the door of the

class tapping his ruler impatiently on his black

teachers gown. “Come on now laddies, the

wonders of music await within and you are all

late and you, he said to Brad grabbing his hood,

are the latest of the lot”. Brad stopped dead in

the door.

“Mr McGlaughin , I have a special seat for

latecomers just here ...” he said, pointing to a

stool beside his desk …

Brad cursed under his breath. “What was that Mr

McGlaughin … did I hear you say something?”

“But I wasn’t the only one who was late”.

Gladstone looked over the class , his hand still

clutching the back of Brads hoodie. He was a

tall Highlander with a head like a fat radish.

What little hair he had left was a wispy tuft that

flopped one way and then the other much like a

sail swings back and forth following the wind. “I

see a class of children whose minds are eager to

learn. So eager, Mr McGlaughlin, that they are in

class, in their seats on time each week. And each

week, Mr McGlaughlin, you drag youself in just

at the very point when I am about to send out a

search party for you. Some would say that this is

a talent but it is not one that you are likely to be

able to use in the years following your time at this

school. Some would say, Mr McGlaughlin, that

you do not like my class and that is why you are

consistently late to arrive. Mmm ... is that it? Do

you think that you already know everything there

is and all that matters about music?”

Brad was smart enough to say nothing. He tried

to step back so that the hood of his top wasn’t

pulling tight around his neck but everytime he

moved, Gladstone would adjust the angle of his

grip. “Sit , Mr McGlaughlin, sit beside me and

grace me with your presence. Each week, from

now on, if you are last to arrive you can sit in

this stool where I will direct questions to you and

you alone. You can share your enclyclopedic

knowledge of musical theory with your classmates

…” He let go of Brads hood and Brad stumbled

forward. He sat on the stool which was a foot

smaller that the rest of the school desks and

looked up into the faces of the front row. Brad

usually sat at the back of the class. He barely

recognised the front row who all wore blazers,

even the girls. They all looked impossibly tall

and healthy. His eyeline was level with the desks

and had a uninterrupted view of the girls legs.

Brad wasn’t quite sure how he felt about this. In

turn the fresh-faced pupils in the front row eyed

him with amusement and fear. Like watching a

dancing bear.

The lesson began and Brad, hunched down in his

seat, watched the shaft of winter sun cut across

the class from the narrow windows that ran along

the classrooms length above him. Chalk dust

drifted slowly in the warm air thrown up from


the cast iron radiators that ticked constantly as

they warmed and cooled with the vagaries of the

school boiler. He was beginning to feel sleepy.

His headache had abaited and now he just felt

impossibly tired. There was a knock at the door

and Mrs Price walked in. “Mr Gladstone, do

you have a Brad McGlaughin in this class?“.

Mrs Price was a woman of indeterminate age to

Brad. She looked young but wore horn-rimmed

glasses. He equated these to the black and white

movies his mother had once watched with him.

Rock and roll. Teddy boys and teachers with lips

set in straight, disapproving lines. He shifted his

bag from it position, in plain sight of Gladstone

and Price, to his side.

“Why, yes Mrs Price. As you can see he is sitting

with me and considering the consequences of

tardiness … Brad, stand up.”

There was no way, no fucking way that anyone

knew about the rock of hash in his bag. Doubt

began to creep around the corner of his selfbelief.

He knew that as soon as they looked in his

bag he was fucked. He looked over at Spud who

was staring, wide-eyed at Brad. He shook his

head almost imperceptibly to say ‘No wisny me’.

Brad stood and try to kick his bag under the desk

but he misjudged it. Brads school bag, much like

his compatriots, was not full of the parapanelia

of school. A single scraggly jotter kept company

with an eraser dotted with pencil stabs. The hash

had introduced a new counterweight to its sad

and lonely contents. His kick sent the ball rolling

along the roomy avenue at the bottom of the bag

and the momentum of it rolling up against the

side of the bag made it slide under the desk and

beyond. It bumped politely against Mrs Prices’

shoes like a lost child looking for attention.

She stared down at the bag and said, “Yes, I

do, Mr Gladstone, there has been a very serious

allegation made and I need to speak to Brad

to clear this up. She stooped and picked up the


“This morning we received an anonymous tip-off

that someone was dealing drugs in this school.”

She reached into the unzipped mouth of the

bag. There was complete silence. Somewhere

in the distance another pupil was practising the

violin. The music moved up and down the scale

hesitantly, stopping now and then to scrape on

the same note over and over. Brad could see her

hand move around and close on something. She

pulled out the black ball of Hash. The sellophane

had split at the sides and flakes of pencil

sharpenings and sweet wrappers stuck out at all

angles. It looked innocent enough but it gave

off an unmistakable aroma of dead flowers that

registered so high in the olafactory scale it had

transformed into a tone, like a dog whistle that

they could all suddenly hear.

Brad sat down on the comically low stool and

looked longingly at the open door. Mr Gladstone

was the first to break the silence. “It seems Mr

McGlaughlin, that we have gotten to the reason

for your lateness.”




Brad McGlaughlin. And I knew his Da from the

fives we played every week. I waited and he

picked it up just as I had planned. I would have

liked to have done worse than grass him up. I

would have liked to have rubbed his face in that

glass and made him pay but I’m too canny for

that. I was the canny one Dad said. Always knew

I’d do better for myself. Made the call and waited

for the cops to arrive at the school. Then I went


I went home to my wife and my baby.


The glass. It was the glass in his cradle. There

was even glass on his face. Thank Christ he

wasn’t cut. He was okay but I couldn’t get past

it. I could hear him screaming in fright. It was

freezing outside and the cold crept in over the

windowsill and around his cot. The double

glazing had exploded when the seal broke and

there was glass everywhere. I tried to calm down

afterwards but you know what I’m like, once I get

riled … I hate getting angry.

I went out at 4 in the morning. Didn’t say

anything to Julie. I went back for one last time

and picked up the stuff. It was almost too long.

I’d been away for too long and they almost

turned me away at the door till I showed him

the cash. Almost didn’t get away. I had to stay

for hours talking about the good old days. I will

never go back. They think I’m on the South side.

Didn’t mention Milltown at all.

I sat outside his house for another two. Waited

for the curtains to move and the dad to leave.

I recognised him you see. From the youth club.

Copyright © Brian Rutherford





in the road

Alan Rutherford

from ‘Sheep in the Road,

volume 1’

Been stood at a doorway all my life, watching,

posing, flexing, but never entering. Instead I’m

reaching up the doorframe, until at 65, I get a grip

of the lintel – there to hang until I drop. Its a life ...

‘Are you living to work, or working to live?’ a

question for those of us fortunate enough to live in

an affluent part of the world ... and have a job.

Pressures to conform, cooperate and carry on make

this a hard maxim to answer correctly and then

abide by. Not really sure but in re-reading events

so far, of a happy life, I conclude that working

class lives are dictated by interacting and reacting

to events with the merest hint of inner direction.

This seems to sum up my experience, and looking

around it seems to appear so for others too. In

the midst of all the shuffling this way or that at the

whim of chance, coincidence and conspiracy there

is the rare headstrong idiot amongst us who bucks

the trend, and then ... occassionally, even I make a

decision which seems to be mine, free from outside

influences, for reasons only I can know – but don’t

analyse this too carefully as, on the whole, we

proletarians are all floaters ‘living to work’.



So, as social beings inhabiting this crust of a speck

of intergalactic dust, being bounced, bundled and

broken together in the chaos of our own limitations

we are still ordered in our murmurating flight by

a hegemony of our own restricted imagination ...

flying on the ground is definitely wrong!

You may say this is all very well, but within our

small timeline on this planet why aren’t we in a

revolutionary situation now? One harsh answer

was suggested in 1935 by Upton Sinclair when

he said, ‘“It is difficult to get a man to understand

something, when his salary depends on his not

understanding it.”


Another less complimentary but more generous

conclusion: we are like sheep in the road being

pushed, shoved and cajoled to pastures new,

shearing sheds and the abattoir by ankle-nipping

dogs and know-all shepherds ... the ever more

urgent point is, how to change that!

Work to live, don’t live to work!

photograph: Alan Rutherford


Low wages



FAT cats








The choice between a low paid job and living

on state benefits is a hair’s breadth. For those

unskilled or entering the job market for the first

time, taking a minimum wage job may satisfy

your employer who gets your ‘cheap’ labour

but, depending on your circumstances, you may

still be able to claim some benefit from the state

to give you a living wage. This would mean the

tax paying public are subsidising your employer

and allowing him to profit from your distress.

This sort of money laundering has been going

on for years with low wages ... and also with

landlord’s charging excessive rents to people

on benefits ... in almost all cases the state quite

rightly pays but it is the landlord and employer

who benefit directly. The mafia couldn’t have

found a better arrangement!


Some factual tosh to consider:

The new National Minimum Wage rates will

come into effect on 1 October 2015. The

hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage will

increase to £6.70 (a rise of 20p) for adults aged

21 years and older. This is a rise of 3% and

represents the largest real-terms increase in the

National Minimum Wage since 2008.



Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is

responsible for monitoring the National

Minimum Wage regulations and employers

that fail to use the correct rates will have to

reimburse their employees and may face

penalty charges.

The rate for apprentices under the age of 19

or in the first year of their apprenticeship will

increase by 20% to £3.30. The rates for 18-

20 year olds will increase to £5.30 (a rise of

17p) and the rate for workers above the school

leaving age but under 18 will increase to £3.87

(a rise of 8p).

The independent Low Pay Commission was

established following the National Minimum

Wage Act 1998 to advise the Government on

the National Minimum Wage. Incredibly it is

made up of representatives of industry. Most of

the rates mirror the recommendations made

by the Low Pay Commission although the

increase for apprentices is higher than what was


The new National Living Wage will come into

effect from April 2016 and will initially be

set at £7.20 per hour for the over 25’s. This

represents a rise of 50p above the new National

Minimum Wage.

OK enough of the

official speak, here for

your information, and

possible outrage, is

how a financial advisor

sees it ...

‘Chancellor George

Osborne was not a

popular man amongst

many of my clients with

the proposals outlined

in his summer budget,

the first all-Conservative

offereing for nearly 20

years. Now George isn’t the most popular man

anyway, so what was it about his announcements

this July that created so much dismay?

Its fair to say that his additional 7.5% tax on

dividends drawn by small business entrepreneurs

as from next April has hit at the very heart (and

pockets) of owner-managed businesses. And his

statement that interest on buy-to-let mortgages will

be gradually restricted to standard rate tax relief

went down particularly badly with those people

holding property portfolios, many of whom see that

as their pension provision.

No, it was neither of those anti-small business

measures. It was one that will affect businesses

large and small – the idea of replacing the current

‘minimum wage’ with a ‘living wage’. It matters not

the size of your business, the minimum hourly rate

that you pay your staff is set to rise steadily over the

next few years from £7.20 an hour to £9.35 for the

over 25s, a rise of around 30%.


Bigger businesses will simply increase their sales

prices to compensate and no doubt add a little

bit more for themselves. Retailer Next has already

forcast price increases of 6% per annum in the runup

to 2020 and other household name retailers will

undoubtedly follow suit.

But what chance does the small business,

already burdened with the additional employee

costs associated with pensions auto-enrolment,

have of simply passing on this cost to its customers?

None at all, so expect to see an increase in small

business failures over the next few years.

Whilst I support the principle of ensuring that

the lower-paid receive a fair wage for a fair day’s

work, we need to be a little careful of the potential

consequences. What good is it going to be to them

if it forces the hand that feeds them to shut down

and £7.20 an hour suddenly becomes zero?

The reductions in the rate of Corporation Tax

and the increase in Employment Allowance, which

Mr Osborne says will help to defray these costs, are

nothing more than tokens. Come on George, what

do you take us for?’

A study published by the Resolution Foundation,

timed to coincide with the 20p an hour increase

in the minimum wage, found that the decision

by George Osborne to lift the statutory pay floor

through a national living wage would result in a

sharp increase in the numbers of people having

their wages set by the state.

The Resolution Foundation said only one in 50

employees were being paid the minimum wage

after it was set at a cautiously low level by Tony

Blair’s government in 1999.

In the years since, the number of workers earning

the minimum wage has risen to one in 20, but is

now set to increase to one in nine by 2020, or 3.2

million people.

A poverty of ideas indeed.




A rich tradition of symbolic

geometric patterns, the range

of compositions and colours is

enormous – owners of rugs are

often able to trace the origins of

their carpets back to a particular

tribe, area or town.


Symbolizing balanced

proportions, the design of

shapes and their position is

usually the same on both sides

of the central axis and the

repetition of the patterns is used

to show unity in multiplicity.

There are often several borders

in the design and their number

is significant: three, five, seven,

and nine are sacred numbers.

The three borders shown here

symbolize earth, sky, water,

holiness, productivity and fertility.


Stars are an important

inclusion: the number of

points of a star determines its

meaning, for instance, an eightpointed

star symbolizes the line

of life from birth to death. The

religious element is provided

by a dot in the centre of the

carpet (dot is hidden deep in

the spine in the carpet shown)

to symbolize one god and the

role of Mecca as the centre of

Islam towards which all Muslims

face to pray.


Colours play an important

part, each has a different

meaning. For example, yellow

symbolizes an abundant and

wealthy life while blue shows

an unattainable depth and

mythical infinity of sky and sea.

Green represents spring and







Alan Rutherford

from ‘Sheep in the Road,

volume 1’

Falling over in public, really!

Falling over in public continues to keep my feet on

the ground, so to speak, stopping me from ever

taking myself seriously. Generally these falls take

place in the metaphysical episodes that frequent us

all, an assumed position defended, or argued for,

way past its correctness … the ‘egg on the face’

syndrome where our cognitive ceilings are tested

and found wanting. Then there is the physical falter

– embarrassing, slapstick, farce …

A recent tumble made me realise I have not

physically fallen over that much in my life, and when

I have I seem to instinctively roll with it, the only injury

being to any pride I have managed to accrue! I think

I’m right in concluding falling over in public is a

necessary humbler, revealer ... and its a shame that

some people don’t experience it more often.

While working at Smiths in the 1970s I had a

couple of falls from the bike, one, in narrow

alleyway where I was too lazy to get off and push,

had me over the handlebars and helplessly




sprawling, bike on top of me, unable to get up for

what seemed a really long time, all in front of an

astounded young girl who was walking up the

other way. Another time heavy virgin snow on

early morning roads had me wrongly guessing

where pavement curbs were … the thud of the

front wheel and my flight from the saddle would

have been excruciatingly funny to any curtain

twitchers … I would have laughed too. Early

1980’s, when a political animal, I remember

meetings going on and on so that we had to run

for the last bus home. Running and falling, not

seeming to notice the hard road, just tucking in

my right shoulder and rolling … making it all

look so contrived – it wasn’t, but we had a bus

to catch.

Carrying some books down the narrow twisting

staircase at Thoemmes Press my footing failed

noisily, a signal to those in the production

department below that something worth

gawping at was happening, and as I slithered

to the bottom jolt, my concern to save the books

and look cool relaxed my sphincter just enough

to trumpet my arrival which did not disappoint,

the fart being more embarrassing than the fall

… ‘much deeped joy of a full moon fundermold

dangly in the heavenly bode’ as Stanley might

have said.

Not so long ago with friends, instead of going

around I thought I could climb a low wall and

jump down the other side. There is a problem

when your mind has refused to grow up, you

feel 18 but your body is 60-odd … I landed

with the realisation that my legs, my knees, just

would not take the weight, of yes, I forgot that

bit … also a bit overweight, damn! Over I went,

subconsciously rolling and up again as if I had

meant to be that melodramatically agile … and

then, sheesh, if only I had the quick mind to

claim the acrobatic manoeuvre that my friends

tried vainly to congratulate me on, but no, I had

ashamidly admitted my goof before I saw their

faces of fading admiration. Maybe next time …

Just the other day, after having shuffled a good

way around the Meadow Hall shopping centre

and negotiating our way back to the car I fell

again, schizzen! Coming out of some covered

stairs upon a road crossing, blinded by the

beckoning green light I missed the last 2 steps

down to the pavement. Holding an empty coffee

cup in one hand I cartwheeled into the road, my

eyes following my right shoe leaving my foot to

make that elegant slow-motion arc, unable to

stop myself, fortunately rolling with the fall again

but still ending up on my back, my eyes caught

Ann’s shock as I lay in the road, the lights

changed with cars waiting to go, others waiting

now to cross the road looked on, stupified.

Collecting my shoe from the middle of the road,

my elbow hurt but somehow not my pride as I

joined Ann back on the pavement. ‘Oh shit!’,

another opportunity missed I thought, damn!

Such a wonderful leveller as falling over in

public deserves the credit for keeping us/me

sane and true … the next time I fall over in

public (and maybe, if you are there to witness

it you will see) … I promise to take a low and

flourish embellished bow!


An upside-down world, required viewing

photograph: Alan Rutherford








Alan Rutherford


The Diary of

Arthur Beagle

& The East Africa



The following is an edited extract taken from

KAPUTALA, published on the web and freely

accessed at

In the dying, glowing embers of the British Empire

it would seem the greatest virtue of a soldier in

1914 was blind obedience; sadly human life

was subordinate to God and King, and their

accompanying jingoism. The ‘Empire’ was

portrayed as a symbol of all that was most worthy

of a man’s sacrifice. The very notion of ‘Empire’

was still a magnificent facade of power that

hypnotized both its subjects and its enemies – the

map of the world was red from end to end even

though much of that Empire had no idea how it

came to be ruled by arrogant white men in baggy

shorts, a being a part of it, it was said, ‘distilled a

kind of glory in the very beer of the average man’.




Ostensibly, Britain went to war in 1914 because

of the German invasion of Belgium. The 1839

Treaty of London which promised Britain’s support

to defend Belgium’s neutrality was used to further

and maintain Britain’s imperialist interests abroad.

It had little or nothing to do with the defence of

“western civilization”, “liberal values” or democracy.

Only about 40% of the male electorate in Britain

had voting rights – far fewer than in Germany.

Women’s suffrage campaigners were still fighting

for their rights and going to jail for their principles,

and notions of racial equality were almost nonexistant.

German control of the Channel ports were

perceived as a threat to trade and Britain’s imperial


The war that started in 1914 was initiated by the

ruling classes of the powers involved to defend and/

or extend their various empires. It was an imperialist

war. In the years running up to 1914 original capitalist

states such as Britain, USA and France were joined

by others – Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia – in their

hunt for gold and slaves, oil and opium, colonies and

cheap labour, markets and strategic advantage. The

competition between them gave us the First World

War. The same development of industry which led

to these imperialist rivalries ensured this war was the

most bloody which had ever been fought. Weapons

of mass destruction, unimaginable before the

development of industry, were now in the hands of

jostling gangsters and thieves – poised to kill millions.

Tanks and machine guns, gas and aircraft made this

the first war in which the majority of dead were the

victims of other soldiers, not of disease.

And if capitalist industry caused the war it also had

to keep the war going. Directed labour, censorship,

conscription and the bombing of towns made this the

first total war, a war fought at home as well as on the


And so in 1914, because of this imperialist/

capitalist rivalry; that facade of Empire, loyalty

to the Crown, was about to be tested – 450

million people of every race and tribe, by a single

declaration of the King, were at war with Germany.

A popular history has banners and patrotic

fervour bursting forth in a spirit of willing sacrifice

impossible to comprehend or even describe

today. This mood of total commitment to war was

encouraged by leading figures of the day and

the popular press and any dissent was crushed

under the weight of this orchestrated and pervasive

propoganda. White feathers were handed out in

the streets to men who had not joined up and antiwar

sentiment, of which there was more than is

commonly accepted, was vigouressly suppressed.

In the days that followed that declaration, white

men in far-flung colonies of Britain and Germany,

which had coexisted, sometimes as intimate

neighbours, eyed each other with newly found

suspicion, threw a few punches and then prepared

to annihilate each other and anything else that got

in their way.

photograph: Arthur Beagle

artwork: Alan Rutherford





On the African continent, South African forces were

enlisted to capture German South West Africa and

destroy the powerful wireless transmitters there. But

before joining the war on the British side, South

Africa’s Premier Botha, and General Smuts, both

former Boer War generals, had to put down an

open rebellion in South Africa by units of their

armed forces and some influential veterans of the

Boer War who were totally opposed to anything

‘British’. With the atrocities of South Africa’s

Boer War still fresh in the minds of the Afrikaans

speaking population (Boers) some opted, quite

understandably, to support Germany. Despite the

level of animosity the mutiny was quickly dealt with

and Premier Botha (once Commander-in-Chief

of the Boer Army) returned to the field as General

leading the South African and British forces,

supported by Smuts, in a campaign which forced

the surrender of the German forces in South-West

Africa (now Namibia) in July 1915.

In East Africa, at the start of World War 1, the British

controlled Zanzibar, Uganda, and what were to

become Malawi, Zambia and Kenya; German

East Africa (comprising present-day Rwanda,

Burundi and Tanzania) was effectively surrounded.

Governor Heinrich Schnee of German East Africa

ordered that no hostile action was to be taken and

to the north, Governor Sir Henry Conway Belfield

of British East Africa stated that he and “this colony

had no interest in the present war.” The colonial

governors who had often met in pre-war years, to

discuss these and other matters of mutual benefit,

agreed they wished to stick to the Congo Act of

1885, which called for overseas possessions to

remain neutral in the event of a European war.

In order to preserve the authority of the white

colonial administrators and the concept of

the inviolability of white people in general in

Africa, only a few black soldiers were trained or

maintained. It was thought dangerous to train

black African troops (Askaris) to fight against

white troops, even in the case where both sides

were predominantly composed of black Africans

commanded by white European officers ... so

both colonies maintained only small forces to

deal with local uprisings and border raids.

In East Africa, the Congo Act was first broken

by the belligerent British when, on 5 August

1914, troops from Uganda attacked German

river outposts near Lake Victoria, and then, on

8 August, a direct naval attack by Royal Navy

warships HMS Astraea and Pegasus as they

bombarded Dar es Salaam from several miles

offshore. In response to this violation, Lieutenant

Colonel (later to become General) Paul Emil von

Lettow-Vorbeck, the commander of the German

forces in East Africa, bypassed his superior,

Governor Schnee, and began to organize his

troops for battle.

At the time, the German Schutztruppe in East

Africa consisted of 260 Germans of all ranks

and 2,472 Askari, and was approximately

numerically equal with the two battalions of the

King’s African Rifles (KAR) based in the British

East African colonies. But with the introduction, in

1916, of South African, Indian, British and other

colonial troops the outcome in East Africa should

have been swift, but from the outset the British

contingent were thwarted by the inspirational


leadership and military genius of General Paul

von Lettow-Vorbeck, the German Commanderin-Chief,

and the quality of his local Askaris

(European trained Black African troops).

It would appear, in hindsight, that Lettow-

Vorbeck’s philosophy was simple – by using

hit-and-run tactics he would tie down huge

numbers of British troops in East Africa and so

prevent them from joining the fighting in Europe.

But as warfare is an unpredictable affair even

Lettow-Vorbeck had to admit in his accounts,

My reminiscences of East Africa and My Life,

that luck and chance played a large part in

his campaign. Prussian officers, contrary to

the popular stereotype of rigid disciplinarians,

were often quite the opposite, in fact some

were extremely flexible and adaptable to their

surroundings, and Lettow-Vorbeck was a very

effective example.

For many, warfare in Africa was proving to

be an unsettling experience, and worse was

still to come. Although on the whole it was

characterized by a relic of nineteenth century

military etiquette, a ridiculous ‘gentleman’ code

which never extended itself to the lower ranks.

So that in Byron Farwell’s book, The Great War

in Africa, after the Battle of Tanga the officers

of the German victors and British vanquished

met under a white flag with a bottle of brandy

to compare opinions of the battle and discuss

the care of the wounded. Both sides exchanged

autographed photos, shared an excellent supper,

and parted like gentlemen.

The British and Germans employed Black African

labour as ‘support personnel’ for battles in

East Africa. In these overtly racist times ‘support

personnel’ was a euphemism for exploitation;

black people were treated like animals. Since

campaigns here were fought in remote territory,

military supplies were carried for long distances

on the heads of hundreds of Black African

porters to armies in the field. From an entire

ship, dismantled, carried from the coast to

Lake Tanganiyka, and there reassembled – to

dismantled trucks, everything had to be carried.

The deaths of many Black African carriers

or porters, as well as fighting men, resulted

from overwork and exposure to new disease

environments, in fact deaths were so numerous,

and recruitment to replace them so severe

that a revolt occurred in Nyasaland in protest.

Conditions for Black Africans were desperate, they

were the fodder, to be used up and discarded.

Black South Africans were rightly wary and

cautious of being involved in another ‘white

man’s war’ with the Boer War still a fresh

memory, but they were coerced to enlist by

officials desperate for Black African labour. So,

for example, in the Mahlabatini and Harding

districts of Natal the magistrates threatened to

arrest and fine headmen who failed to produce

a certain quota of recruits. Indeed, some

recruiting agents became so desperate that, to

the annoyance of the military authorities in East

Africa, even children aged fifteen and sixteen

and physically infirm Black Africans were signed

up. Black Africans constituted almost one-third

of the total number of South Africans (161,000



men) involved in the South West and East African

campaigns. In terms of manpower it certainly

was a significant contribution – one which

received no recognition at the time and has

subsequently remained largely ignored in South

African history.


Diseases like malaria and blackwater fever were

rife, and disease made no distinction between

Allied or German troops, or between black and

white. All the troops in East Africa suffered from

malaria, but blacks and whites did not suffer

equally. Lieutenant-Colonel Watkins, director

of the labour bureau for all military labour in

East Africa stated at the end of the war, ‘Where

a Medical Officer had to deal with white and

with black patients in times of stress, the latter

suffered. In a word, the condition of the patient

was apt to be a consideration subordinate to his


What was achieved militarily by 1916, when

South Africa’s General Smuts took over, had

been at severe cost and it was estimated that

when columns marched out of Kahe, 28,000

oxen had died on the three month trek to

Morogoro. Vast herds had been commandeered

to keep pace with needs, and what was yet to

come would defy imagination in its disregard

for animal life – and this was a contributory

cause for the famine that was the legacy of this

war amongst the local people during and after

it. Everywhere these armies rampaged in East

Africa, they took and devoured anything edible

and left the countryside barren – the survival of

local people was secondary to the war effort.


During World War 1 animals were still the main

means of transport and they were expendable,

their only medication were injections of arsenic

for tsetse fly and a bullet in the brain. In another

three month period Smuts’ army lost 11,000

oxen, 10,000 horses, 10,000 mules and 2,500

asses through overwork, disease and want of

grain – and this waste continued, for here in

East Africa the Black African carriers were also

considered expendable.

After most of German East Africa had been

captured Smuts left for the War Office in London,

considered a hero and remarking that the war

in East Africa was over. It was not ... as Lettow-

Vorbeck contined to harry the British in guerrila

skirmishes as they trailed him around the

‘captured’ colony, into Portugese East Africa and



Smuts’ replacement, General Hoskins, in some

desperation, was able to guarantee the numbers

of carriers, the forgotten and unsung (reluctant)

heroes of this campaign, with the introduction of

draconian compulsory service acts now coming

into force in Africa. This new legislation enabled

the virtual enslavement of tens of thousands of

Black African carriers, taken from their families

to face disease, overwork, and most likely, death

– all for a cause little understood, or had any

sympathy for.



Nowhere in Smuts’ report to their Lordships

in London, or subsequent reports from the

field is any mention made of the contribution

made by the carriers, often nameless, mainly

coerced, Black Africans. The British source

was inexhaustible from neighbouring colonial

territories, but the Germans were limited to

those they could pick up along the way. They

were accused of kidnapping and manacling

carriers, abandoning and even shooting those

too ill to continue. Of those serving the British

forces, a staggering 45,000 carriers died of

disease and neglect, 376 were killed and

1,645 were wounded. And of those serving

the Germans, between 6,000 and 7,000

men, women and children (carriers were often

accompanied by their families) died from

wounds or sickness.

Not only in East Africa was there this terrible

waste of life amongst the carriers, who were

regarded, like the horses and mules, totally

expendable, but many returning to Durban in

the last stages of dysentery and fever died at

sea, where not only their bodies, but also their

identity discs, were thrown overboard – as if

they never existed! Their families were left to

wonder their fate. Little was ever recorded of

these men, but in the book, They Fought for

King and Kaiser, Private Frank Reid of the 9th, a

maxim gunner, recalls carriers who carried and

serviced his gun:

‘They were called bom-bom boys, they carried

the gun, ammunition, spare-parts box, the

tripod and the water-can for cooling the barrel.

There were about a dozen to each gun and

a few more to carry their groundsheets and

blankets. They carried their loads on their heads

on a circular pad of twisted grass. Their necks

were strong, but they could not get the loads on

to their heads without help.’

Reid’s Native Machine-gun Porters (their official

title) were named Gertie, Piano, Wall Eye and

Magoo. Others were nameless. According to

Reid, in an ambush that wiped out most of his

gun team ‘their black and battered bodies were

found in the grass near the spot.’

From Anne Samson, in her proposed book, World

War One in Africa: The forgotten conflict of the

Empires, on the financial cost of the East Africa

campaign and the subsequent ‘carve-up’, we have,

‘Of the British Empire forces, approximately 75% of

the men died from disease and malnutrition. The

campaign cost Britain £72 million or four times

the 1914 military budget. The cost to South Africa

(including South West) was £39 million. Britain

achieved what it desired, except for Ruanda and

Urundi, India failed to obtain colonial territory and

South Africa failed to expand. Belgium gained

more than it wanted and only Portugal was satisfied

with the Kionga Triangle.’

Anne goes on, ‘As a final assessment, Lord

Kitchener was right. There had been no need to

fight the East Africa campaign. Why exactly he

was against the campaign in East Africa is for

another day, as is the reason why South Africa

has not done much to remember the loss of so

many young lives on the African continent. Had


it not been for that one year, 1916, when Jan

Smuts and Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck faced each

other, the East African campaign would probably

still be as unknown as the West African and

Palestinian campaigns of the same war.’

The aftermath of the war in Africa was more

than just a matter of the jubilant victors and

the honourably vanquished. The East African

campaign left the country ravaged. More than

100,000 troops and tribespeople died as a

result of the conflict, either during the fighting

or from the subsequent famine. In Dodoma, for

instance, reckless appropriation of the villages’

grain supplies and cattle by both the Germans

and British eventually led to the death of 30,000

Black Africans. Two words were coined by the

stricken people during those years: mutunya and

kaputala. Mutunya, meaning scramble, refers to

the frenzy of the starving crowd whenever a supply

train passed through. Kaputala refers to the shorts

worn by the British troops. It was these soldiers,

according to the local Gogo tribespeople, who

were responsible for their plight.


The East Africa Campaign does at times, read

like fiction – with warships doing battle inland,

hundreds of miles away from the sea, zeppelins

attempting to fly the 3,600 miles from Germany

to East Africa with supplies, an exploited and

horribly abused native (sic) population ... and a

colourful mixture of brilliant soldiers, big-game

hunters, frontiersmen, killer bees and tsetse

flies all battling, for king or kaiser (and quite

inexplicably), for possession of a vast tract of

one of the most inhospitable parts of Africa.


This wonderful piece of artwork found in a

scrapbook of newspaper clippings, the artist is

unknown, apologies for its uncredited use ... if

the artist wishes, we can credit her/him ... or,

gulp, remove it.






Dear Editor ...

Blah-de-blah-de-blah ...








Well just a bit ....

the clever rant

I was promised

didn’t turn up,

so ...

Trident missiles, what are they good for? Jeremy

Corbyn has said that if he were prime minister he

would not use them, I don’t think anyone would,

so why are they being renewed with what seems

like an open-ended cheque. Britain assists Saudi

Arabia to get onto the United Nations Human

Rights Council when Saudi Arabia is one of the

worst countries for denying its citizens human

rights. British arms dealers sell arms, weapons

and torture equipment to countries like Saudi

Arabia and Israel ... and just about any old tinpot

dictator if the price is right, no wonder there are

refugees wandering the planet. Germany shows

up the whole EU with its take on refugees, Britain

acts like a shifty, mean old uncle ...

Right wingers in the Labour Party thwart newly

elected leader, so much for democracy!


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment

Partnership, which claims to boost trade by

removing non-tariff bariers ... you know the ones

that protect workers’ rights, health and safety

and the environment, is in fact a deal aimed

to make it easier for global companies to sue

governments for interfering with their profits.




2 0 1 5








Alan Rutherford 1984




Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Cover photograph: a fly

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in February issue,

No 5 is 15 January 2015

Articles and all correspondence to:

Opening 03

NHS Privatisation 05

Robert Arnott

Blair’s Chilcot Moment 11

The Country can’t afford ... 13

Chris Dillow

Thats why (we don’t comply with your war cry) 19

Steve Ashley

Trident and its replacement 20

[Diane Abbott]

Don Quixote 24

The Brodgan Boy 30

Brian Rutherford

The Blurts of Line ... 32

with Lizzie Boyle

What are you doing here? 39

[Jean Mohr]

Bristol: Urban 41

Chris Hoare & Rudi Thoemmes

Lone Wanderer 53

Cam Rutherford

Agitators needed now 58

Ships with Everything! 60

Lesson by Brian Rutherford

The Countryside 63

Joanna Rutherford

Electrif Lycanthrope 73

Keith A Gordon

Ranting and Raging Mad 79

Letters 81



Alan Rutherford





The December issue of Sheep in the Road as

a magazine contains opinions, thoughts and

ideas that aim for ‘sense’ as they cogitate on

the page, here in the better part of this planet ...

The UK, a civilised society in decline, where

the prime minister’s gaff is the home to visiting

despots looking for arms and equipment to

keep their respective populations in obeyance

... leaders from Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt

and India have recently been given the royal

approval despite their regimes featuring

prominently in a bad light in Amnesty

International’s reports. All the while, the UK’s

government proposes devilish cuts to the

welfare of its poorer citizens as it shuns the

plight of desperate refugees worldwide ... just

what kind of monsters have we uncovered with

the Tory election victory earlier this year?

Paris: 13 November 2015

‘The truths of religion are never so well

understood as by those who have lost the

power of reason’



Until next time, get active, stay alive ...



Alan Rutherford


let this

man make

the NHS











putting profits

before patients

Robert Arnott

The response by the British Medical Association

(BMA) on behalf of junior doctors to Health

Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s attempt to cut their

wages and conditions of service has given a

focus for the anger of yet another group of NHS

staff who are joining others who have seen

the value of their pay slashed by years of pay

freezes and below-inflation increases as well

as the value of what they do. The underlying

problem behind this and the growing crisis

in the hospitals and front-line services, is the

five-year freeze in NHS spending, resulting in

two-thirds of NHS Trusts facing massive deficits.

The NHS as a whole is facing in the year 2016–

2017, a total deficit of over £2 billion.



The collective principle asserts

that no society can legitimately

call itself civilised if a sick

person is denied medical aid

because of lack of means.

Illness is neither an indulgence

for which people have to pay,

nor an offence for which they

should be penalised, but a

misfortune. the cost of which

should be shared by the


Nye Bevan

However, the biggest threat to the NHS is

privatisation; part of Tory Party dogma.

Already the NHS has been made even more

fragmented and inefficient by efforts of Clinical

Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to contract

out services, as encouraged by the toxic

Health and Social Care Act 2012. In parts

of NHS England, for example, services in the

geographical area of one trust have been

contracted out to another, which has chosen not

to provide it directly, but to bring in a third, even

more remote NHS Trust to do the work; sheer


Up and down the country we have seen contests

by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to

carry through the daftest contracting exercise,

from one trust trying to undermine the only

acute hospital trust in a county by contracting

out most of its elective services, to another,

which was determined to privatise elective

musculoskeletal services, despite BUPA refusing

to take the contract for fear it would bankrupt

two local Accident and Emergency services, or

the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

exposed by Pulse magazine, taken up by some

national newspapers, as offering cash bonuses

of up to £11,000 to GPs to refer fewer patients to

hospital, raising huge concerns about the effect

on doctor-patient trust and their commitment to

the fundamental principles of the NHS.

However the worst example is the private

healthcare provider Circle’s failure to meet any

of its targets or make anything but losses at

Hinchingbrooke Hospital before finally pulling

out just two years into a ten year contract. This is

a reminder that despite the privatising frenzy of

some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs),

that it is not so easy for private operators to

guarantee any profits from the NHS. Another

big name, Serco, has withdrawn from bidding

for healthcare contracts after a series of highprofile

failures and mounting losses. Virgin is

losing money on most of its NHS contracts.

One would have hoped that this experience

would have stopped the onward march of

privatisation. However, private firms have won

£3.54 billion of £9.62 billion worth of contracts

awarded within NHS England last year; almost

40 per cent. It’s useful to remember that these

big figures are the total payable for the whole

contract over five or more years, and not by

any means the profit firms can make from each

deal. Now the cash squeeze is forcing down the

amounts of money on the table and therefore

how much the private sector can scoop in

profits. That is, of course the good news, but not

before the damage has been done.

That is why all private bids but Interserve

pulled out from the controversial contracts for

cancer services in Staffordshire; the deal was

so underfunded that the local NHS Trust also

pulled out of the proposed £600 million fiveyear

contract, saying they could not guarantee

to provide services on this funding, leaving

the prospect of no local services for cancer

patients in Staffordshire. In Cambridgeshire too,

the private sector realised the apparent £700

million five year contract for older people’s




services was nowhere near as generous as it

seemed, and the contract went to a consortium

of local NHS trusts.

One hope for the private sector has been the

fact that despite the ruinously expensive cost

of disastrous Private Finance Initiative schemes

in various parts of the country, Government

Ministers are still pressing Trusts to sign up for

a new scheme, in which a larger share of the

upfront funding comes from the public sector,

while the private sector still makes good,

guaranteed profits on the rest.

The real boom sector for private operators

has been in the new bureaucracy of the NHS,

with high-priced management consultants

crawling all over NHS trusts, steering Clinical

Commissioning Group (CCG) decision-making

through commissioning support units and

developing fancy graphics and neat PR (Public

Relations) spin for Clinical Commissioning

Group (CCG) reconfiguration projects. Capita,

who’s past service failures has emerged on

the scene, grabbing a £1 billion contract to

supply support services to GPs. McKinsey and

Company alone has been picking up tens of

millions from dozens of projects like Shaping

a Healthier Future, the plan to axe Accident

and Emergency Units and whole hospitals

and perhaps their most cynical act was to

organise a secret meeting exposed by the Daily

Mirror where the demise of the NHS and its

replacement by private health insurance has

been plotted. They were desperate to stop

details of the meeting being made public, but

thanks to the Care Quality Commission, the

plot has been revealed. What is even more

alarming is that Lord Prior, now a minister in

the Department of Health, was present and on

being found out has had to retract his support

for the venture. They will, of course, be stopped

by the collective act of the people of this country.

This is all a far cry from the NHS as set up by

Aneurin Bevan with its basic organisational

structure, minimal overhead costs and exclusive

public-sector provision of services ensuring that

every penny of NHS spending was delivering

patient care, not profits to capitalism. To rescue

the NHS from fragmentation and the grasping

private sector, we need an end to the cash

freeze and the internal market that has triggered

this madness. There is an immediate need to

repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and

the whole apparatus of the internal market, and

to reinstate the NHS as it was before Thatcher,

Blair and Cameron. But there is common cause

to be made with all that share a commitment to

repeal the Act, to bring privatised services back

in house and stopping the cuts and closures

which are reducing NHS trusts to little more than

an emergencies-only safety net.

Everyone now realises that much more funding

is needed to rescue primary care from the

disastrous neglect and relieve the intolerable

pressures on GPs. More funding is also needed

to restore NHS pay levels, improve staffing

levels and quality of care and meet the needs

of a growing population with growing numbers

of older people and demographic changes


in population and disease patterns. With the

Trades Union Congress (TUC), a Labour Party

led by Jeremy Corbyn, NHS trades unions,

patient organisations and others joined

together, we can win. The Government’s

majority is just twelve. If we can now hope

to mobilise a campaign effort targeting key

cuts and privatisation, we can shake the

Government and build a movement that can

seriously fight to defend and restore our NHS

that works for patients not big business. It may

be that the champion of the NHS in the future is

the House of Lords.

Professor Robert Arnott is a researcher in

Healthcare Policy at Green Templeton College,

Oxford and Secretary of the Oxford Branch of

Left Unity.

Pamphlet from 1948

hmm... tony still

has those skeletons

in his closet




Say no

to a



Alan Rutherford







Alan Rutherford








by Chris Dillow


from the blog


and mumbling

7 October 2015

There’s one thing George Osborne said in his

Conference speech this week which looks odd.

It’s this:

We simply can’t subsidise incomes

with ever-higher welfare and tax

credit bills the country can’t afford.

However, recipients of tax credits are part of

the country too. The Institute for Fiscal Studies

estimates that the 8.4 million of these will

on average lose £750 per year because of

Osborne’s cuts. For a lot of the country, it is

not tax credits which are unaffordable, but the

cuts in them.



What’s going on here? Part of the answer is

that Osborne is perpetuating an error which

the Tories – and indeed journalists – have

been committing for years: he is equating the

government’s finances with the nation’s. Mr

Cameron did just this when he justified the cuts

to tax credits by speaking of a “need to get on

top of our national finance.”

Of course, any fool can see that this is wrong:

the country and the government are not the

same thing. For a large part of the country, tax

credits improve their finances.

There’s a related error – what I’ve called the

cost bias. The cost of tax credits is NOT the

£29.5bn which the government spends on

them. This is a transfer. Instead, the costs are

the deadweight costs associated with them:

for example, the cost of administering a

complex system (which is one reason why I

prefer a basic income), or the disincentive

effects they create – for example, the higher

taxes levied on other people to pay tax

credits. The big purpose of tax credits is to

raise in-work income and so incentivize work.

Whether tax credits are therefore a cost at all

is thus questionable.

I fear, though, that what we’re seeing here

isn’t just a neutral intellectual error. In defining

the country and the nation to exclude the

low paid, the Tories can create the illusion

that the interests of the worst-off are not part

of the national interest. This is an old trick

of the ruling class. Here’s C.B. Macpherson

describing 17th century attitudes:

The Puritan doctrine of the poor, treating

poverty as a mark of moral shortcoming,

added moral obloquy to the political

disregard in which the poor had always

been held ... Objects of solicitude or

pity or scorn and sometimes of fear,

the poor were not full members of

a moral community ... But while the

poor were, in this view, less than full

members, they were certainly subject to

the jurisdictions of the political community.

They were in but not of civil society.

The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism

Jeremy Hunt’s claim that tax credit recipients

lack self-respect and dignity echoes this.

In this way, Osborne’s rhetoric serves to create

an illusion that the interests of the poor are

antagonistic to the “national interest” ...





hmmm ... this

chancellor is


Say no

to a


Alan Rutherford




a hint at dickensian times to come ...?



I am really looking forward

to that ‘after-dinner mint’

moment ...


That’s Why (we don’t comply with

your war cry)

There are no poppies for the children

Or for their mothers left to cry

They’re only for the ones who kill them

When the bombs and bullets fly

There are no cenotaphs for old men

Who were simply standing by

Their story’s never told

When the bands go marching by

That’s why we don’t comply

With your war cries

Like you really couldn’t care

And left a million people dead

On the lies of Bush and Blair

That’s why we don’t comply

With your war cries

You raise the call to arms

You place them all in harm’s way

Ready to invade another nation

And if the brave ones you train

Are traumatised and maimed

They’ll be forced to fight again

For compensation

Photograph: Alan Rutherford

If a soldier is a hero

What do we call the child

With a life blown apart

And a memory defiled?

What do we call the mother

Once considerate and mild

Deranged out on the street

Vengeance running wild

That’s why we don’t comply

With your war cries

We remember all the dead

From the last World War

In defence of a true just cause

But no one ever said

We will for evermore

Consent to every war

There was a demo for Iraq

Two million people came

We said if you attacked

It would not be in our name

But you went in all the same

We keep two minutes silence

We remember all the dead

But we can’t forget the violence

And the words never said

About the murder of civilians

And all the casualties of war

And all the poppies in their billions

That should be falling to the floor

And that’s why

That’s why

We don’t comply

With your war cries

Bring them home

Bring them home

Bring them all back home

Words and Music

Steve Ashley © 2014

Album: This Little Game (2015)










by Diane Abbott


from the Guardian

1 October 2015


This week Jeremy Corbyn restated his well-known

position on nuclear weapons. Asked if he would ever

use the nuclear button, he replied: “No. I am opposed

to the use of nuclear weapons.” Nobody should have

been surprised. He has held this position all of his

adult life. What would have been absurd would be for

him to say anything else.

So Corbyn will have been as taken aback as anyone

else by the kerfuffle this caused in some quarters of

his shadow cabinet. His statement was described as

unhelpful, although no one explained who it was

unhelpful to. Arms dealers, perhaps?

The truth is that the complainers say more about

political attitudes during the New Labour era than

about defence policy. On the specific issue of Trident,

three senior military officers, Field Marshal Lord

Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir

Hugh Beach, summed up the case against it in a letter

to the Times in 2009.


Among other things they pointed out: “The force

cannot be seen as independent of the United

States in any meaningful sense. It relies on

the United States for the provision and regular

servicing of the D5 missiles. While this country

has, in theory, freedom of action over giving

the order to fire, it is unthinkable that, because

of the catastrophic consequences for guilty and

innocent alike, these weapons would ever be

launched, or seriously threatened, without the

backing and support of the United States.” This

shows how utterly pointless the “finger on the

button” question is.

And the generals went on: “Nuclear weapons

have shown themselves to be completely

useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale

of violence we currently, or are likely, to face,

particularly international terrorism; and the

more you analyse them the more unusable

they appear … Our independent deterrent has

become virtually irrelevant except in the context

of domestic politics.”

The uselessness of Trident has been long

understood. So clinging to it as a Labour party

commitment is all about presentation and

nothing to do with serious defence policy. Yet

renewing Trident will cost £100billion.

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has

admonished us all that we have to live within

our means. So why spend billions on a cold war

weapons system that is effectively useless?

There are more general questions, too, raised

by the response to Corbyn setting out his

views on Trident. The first is: have colleagues

really learned the lessons from the leadership

campaign? One of those lessons is, surely, that

people are tired of obfuscation and spin. They

want politicians who believe in something and

who set out those beliefs honestly.

But there is also an issue about what constitutes

leadership. Critics of Corbyn on Trident seem to

think that leadership consists of a willingness to

press a button and incinerate millions of people,

or even to send thousands of British troops

to risk their lives in wars of dubious legality. I

suspect the public is weary of this kind of socalled

leadership. Instead, Corbyn is trying

to offer leadership on issues such as putting

human rights at the top of our foreign policy

agenda, even if it involves challenging allies like

Saudi Arabia.

In the world we face in 2015, that kind of

leadership is both more relevant and much


Trident = suicide

Artwork: KW Kaluta





The Ingenious


Don Quixote

of La Mancha

Miguel de Cervantes


... Its theme

discussed in


The novel’s structure is in episodic form. It is written

in the picaresco style of the late 16th century, and

features reference other picaresque novels including

Lazarillo de Tormes and The Golden Ass. The full

title is indicative of the tale’s object, as ingenioso

(Spanish) means “quick with inventiveness”,[7]

marking the transition of modern literature from

dramatic to thematic unity. The novel takes place

over a long period of time, including many

adventures united by common themes of the nature

of reality, reading, and dialogue in general.

Although burlesque on the surface, the novel,

especially in its second half, has served as an

important thematic source not only in literature but

also in much of art and music, inspiring works by

Pablo Picasso and Richard Strauss. The contrasts

between the tall, thin, fancy-struck and idealistic

Quixote and the fat, squat, world-weary Panza is a

motif echoed ever since the book’s publication, and

Don Quixote’s imaginings are the butt of outrageous

and cruel practical jokes in the novel.



Even faithful and simple Sancho is forced to deceive

him at certain points. The novel is considered a

satire of orthodoxy, veracity and even nationalism.

In exploring the individualism of his characters,

Cervantes helped move beyond the narrow literary

conventions of the chivalric romance literature

that he spoofed, which consists of straightforward

retelling of a series of acts that redound to the

knightly virtues of the hero. The character of Don

Quixote became so well known in its time that

the word quixotic was quickly adopted by many

languages. Characters such as Sancho Panza and

Don Quixote’s steed, Rocinante, are emblems

of Western literary culture. The phrase “tilting at

windmills” to describe an act of attacking imaginary

enemies, derives from an iconic scene in the book.

It stands in a unique position between medieval

chivalric romance and the modern novel. The former

consist of disconnected stories featuring the same

characters and settings with little exploration of the

inner life of even the main character. The latter are

usually focused on the psychological evolution of

their characters. In Part I, Quixote imposes himself

on his environment. By Part II, people know about

him through “having read his adventures”, and so,

he needs to do less to maintain his image. By his

deathbed, he has regained his sanity, and is once

more “Alonso Quixano the Good”.

When first published, Don Quixote was usually

interpreted as a comic novel. After the French

Revolution it was popular for its central ethic that

individuals can be right while society is quite wrong

and seen as disenchanting. In the 19th century it

was seen as a social commentary, but no one could

easily tell “whose side Cervantes was on”. Many

critics came to view the work as a tragedy in which

Don Quixote’s idealism and nobility are viewed by

the post-chivalric world as insane, and are defeated

and rendered useless by common reality. By the 20th

century the novel had come to occupy a canonical

space as one of the foundations of modern literature.

from Wikipedia

Don Quixote on my book shelf












“Archaeologists found this tiny clay figurine while

working on a spectacular Neolithic settlement

complex between two stone circles on the Ness

of Brodgar in Orkney. While archaeologists have

speculated that the Orkney Venus may have

served a ritual purpose, representing a goddess

or ancestor, Nick Card of the Orkney Research

Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), who is directing

excavations at the Ness of Brodgar, suggested

that this latest find might represent something

more personal – perhaps a casual piece of art, or

even a lost toy.”

The Orkney News, 2011


After your sharp, regular ribs,

The soft curve of your breast was a puzzled surprise.

I smelled the spent cattle on your skin and your hips,

Pressed against mine in the silence.

Then, during winter, you made me a boy,

There on the stones of the killing room floor.

Who was small and as quiet as the little stone toy,

I dropped in the mud by the door.


Brian Rutherford









Alan Rutherford

with Lizzie Boyle

Comics and Graphic Novels

I have always been attracted to ‘comics’ and

comicstrips. As a boy I sat for many an hour

with my brother and friends engrossed in

a communal appreciation of all manner of

graphic japery ... Walt Disney, Dell Comics,

DC Comics, Marvel Comics ... This often led to

heated discussions on a comics merits, which

was our way to weedle out the shit and ensure

we only bothered with good stuff.

Considered by some as trash, and the

delinquent stuff to interfere with your reading

abilities, accused of creating a short-term

concentration syndrome in otherwise healthy

enquiring minds, I think by careful selection and

pruning we managed to avoid this (?). Even so,

although there may be a case for this argument

with some poor examples of the genre, I believe


Stop putting us

in these fucking

comics, you jerk!

Alan Rutherford






the good ones, with their dynamic odd angle,

new perspective view of subjects and situations

within frames of reference ... added another

element, other meanings, another point of view

... and possibly as much imaginative stimulus a

‘text only’ book can achieve.

Over the years, as my interest in graphics has

grown, I discovered that the ‘odd angle, new

perspective’ was also what made the work of

Russian Constructivists of the 1920s interesting

to me. Designers like Alexander Rodchenko,

in his photographs, used this heightened

dynamism to develop new, fresh views by

photographing subjects and locations from

odd, unexpected angles, to create an attractive

tension ... I love this.

I am grateful to Lizzie Boyle of Disconnected

Press who replied to my email with some

interesting insights into the comic-world:

The “odd angle, new perspective” thought is

actually very useful when thinking about comics.

Often, visually, normality is presented head-on

or in over-the-shoulder movie-dialogue type

angles. We generally exist at head height /

shoulder height in TV and film, when there’s a

conversation going on. Something like the TV

series of Fargo mess with this, giving you tracking

shots, low shots, things to mess with you a little,

all with the purpose of rooting you in the bizarre

isolation of the Minnesota landscape. Kubrick

was also great at this, particularly with his use of

the slightly disturbing, straight on, symmetrical

shot: see

In comics, odd angles should subvert the image

and the story. If everything seems everyday and

mundane, but the angle is odd, the creators are

trying to inform you of something, to keep you

on your guard, to make you notice (however

subtly) that something is not quite as it seems.

Tilted horizons, camera shots from very low

or very high, half faces, and tricks like panels

without borders can all be very effective. The

key is that the oddness needs to contribute to

the story. Too many comics jump around – high

angle, low angle, close up, medium shot – for

no real reason other than to make the page look

more dynamic. Creators need to ask themselves:

which way are we moving on this page? Are we

getting closer to revealing a hidden truth in the

story and therefore getting physically closer to the

characters? Are we losing trust in the character

and perhaps pulling away, feeling a distance

between us and them? Is the camera holding

steady, teasing us, making us hold our breath for

something that’s going to happen as we turn the


In an ideal world, every comic would be

produced with this level of care and attention to

detail (I’ll confess: some of ours have been and

some haven’t. Deadlines are deadlines!). I think

at the very least there needs to be mindfulness

of choice of angles so that things contribute to

the story more rather than just jumping around.

In film and television, we’re happy to linger on

a shot, to let the tension build up by changing

absolutely nothing. Perhaps a little more patience

in comic story telling would help...


Also at:

you can order the excellent

Sentinent Zombie Space

Pigs by Conor and Lizzie Boyle.

Right: the cover of ‘CROSS:

a political satire anthology’

published by Disconnected

Press, it came out before the last

election ... a time to get CROSS!

Cover design: Pye Parr

Very good satire on UKIP’s ankle-biting

englishman, Nigel Farage, as he puffs up to

imagined migrant threat in great little

englander send-up, Agent of the Crown,

taken from CROSS.

script: Richard Clements

art: Nick Dyer

lettering: Jim Campbell


From Another Way of Telling

by John Berger and Jean Mohr



A Sunday afternoon in autumn. The large market

square of the market town of B—. It was sunny,

but it wasn’t a sun that warmed, it simply shone

with its violent light on people and things. Some

were directly in this light, some were in shadow.

There were no half-measures about this light.

The peasants from the neighbouring countryside

paid little attention to the quality of light, they had

come to the fair to buy or sell cattle.

As for me this violent sunlight posed certain

technical problems. I would have preferred a

cloudy sky, even mist. Making my way between

the cattle, the peasants and the cattle dealers, I

was looking for some angle of approach. Warming-up

– in both senses of the word. I wasn’t

playing any games, I don’t like that, I wasn’t pretending

not to take photographs. In any case its

not easy to trick a Savoyard peasant. And I prefer

to be frank about what I’m doing, whenever its


Near a line of calves some men were talking.

Dryly. They had seen me but were pretending to

ignore me. Suddenly one of them spoke out, not

really aggressively, but rather more to amuse his


‘So what are you doing there?’

‘I’m taking some pictures of you and your


‘You’re taking some pictures of my cows! Would

you believe it? He’s helping himself to my cows

without having to pay a sou for them!’

I laughed along with the others. And I went on

taking my photos. That is to say, taking in my

own way what was before my eyes and what

interested me, without paying and without asking


Jean Mohr







Portraits: Chris Hoare

Location: Rudi Thoemmes

Alan asked me to contribute a few of what

he called “your urban photographs.” I am

not a photographer but enjoy taking snaps of

my ever-changing neighbourhood, it gets me

out of the house. I do however know a few

photographers and one of them is Chris Hoare

who has been taking portraits for the last two

years or so around East Street, Bristol.


I suppose we both come under the

documentary umbrella whatever that means

these days. In the case of the East St it is to

do with a rapidly changing and disappearing

social landscape. Gentrification is part of the

story but it is not the only one, it never is.

Rudi Thoemmes

November 2015



• The Portraits

Chris Hoare is a young and experienced

photographer based in Bristol, UK. He has a

passion for telling stories with his images and

capturing cultures beneath the mainstream.

This is evident through his first solo publication

Dreamers, a three year photo story that comes

together to give an insight in to Bristol’s

underground Hip-Hop scene. Outside of telling

stories with his images Chris has a diverse

palette of photographic skills and is available

for commission.

• The Cityscapes

Following ventures in antiquarian books and

publishing, German-born Bristolian Rudi

Thoemmes established RRB Photobooks to share

his passion for interesting rare and out of print


A keen photographer of develping Bristol.

















Cam Rutherford



Ten years after the nukes fell from the sky.


Somewhere on the outskirts of future Los

Angeles. Nothing in the distance but orange

mountains and dead trees, the landscape

distorted by furious heat-waves. No sign of

life; Barren.


The drought started the second American Civil

war, and when the water-situation turned even

more sour the new-age World War began,

the drought spreading globally meant every

country was fighting for water. Soon enough

the fighting turned to all-out suicide warfare for

all parties included. Nuclear War had begun

behind every civilian’s back. Near the beginning

of the end the struggle of the Everyman

changed from finding water to finding shelter. I

can’t remember how, but I survived the nukes.

The sound of a dying motorbike engine in the




The LONE WANDERER (30s) handsome-butrugged,

short beard, medium length hair and a

ripped cowboy jacket with a holstered revolver.

Riding a rusted rumbling CS550. It begins to

slow down a noticeable amount; black smoke

pouring out of the engine. The Lone Wanderer

looks at the gas dial - Empty.



The sky has darkened. The large black space

occupied with vibrant purple and red clouds

creating a lush toxic-waste painting. The Lone

Wanderer is now pushing his bike, fatigued

and exhausted, he has travelled this way for

a long time now. He notices a rusted sign

standing near a rusted skeletal structure of an

abandoned car. The sign says NORTH.

He looks disappointed;


God damnit. Everyone knows North is no man’s

land ... the toxic-levels mutated everything. But I

need the gas.

He continues walking.


Later on, the wind whistling loudly rustling the

dead trees back and forth. He stops, standing

in admiration and curiosity. Standing lone in

barren terrain; a half-collapsed 1940’s style

Diner/Gas station. Strangely the vibrant neon

sign lights are still working, and are illuminating

the exterior of the structure against the night’s

darkness, DANS GAS N DINER


As the Lone Wanderer walks closer he becomes

illuminated in vibrant neon green and red. He

looks back and scans the area before kicking

out his bike stand and resting it. He walks

towards the decayed structure.


The Lone Wanderer walks through the red-door,

with an OPEN sign hanging on it. The interior’s

power doesn’t work, mainly due to half of the

main rooms ceiling has collapsed, fallen onto


The interior is dark, segments of it being lit-up

by a somehow-still-working glowing jukebox,

that’s playing an occasionally muffled I WALKED

WITH A ZOMBIE by Roky Erickson. An emptiedout

cash register lies on the desk, next to an old

smashed “QUICK GRAB” vending machine.

He hears a crack of glass in one of the other

rooms, he spins around and draws his revolver -

A YELLOW-JACK; a mutated being with cracked

yellow skin and glowing blood-shot eyes, jumps

out and sprints towards him.

The Lone Wander shoots his revolver, the bullet

penetrating the Yellow-jack’s forehead and

leaving his parietal bone, bright-yellow blood

squirts onto the jukebox.


Goddamn Yellow-jacks. Mutated scum.




The gunshot was loud against the silent night.

The Lone Wanderer is cautious, and worriedly

walks to the big front windows. Nothing in the

dark distance. The hanging television set up in

the corner of the room switches on suddenly,

causing him to jump.


An old advert from before the nuclear war.

A SALESMAN (30s) with a suit and fedora hat

stands in front of a tin-trailer.


Hi there, if you’re watching this then you are in

for a hell of a deal! This here is a Radi-Van; a

state-ofthe-art trailer that is one-hundred

percent resistant to them god-awful nukes. You

a family man? You a hardworker?

Well, make sure you live to see the morning sun

with a Radi- Van!

The TV flickers into static.

The Lone Wanderer begins scavenging, turning

every room inside out, filling his ripped rucksack

with old tools and potentially useful scrap. He

finds an old Radi-Van leaflet half burnt.


After more rummaging he kicks the back-door

open. The back of the shop illuminated by a

miraculously stillworking gas pump. The Lone

Wanderer fetches his bike.



He’s filled up his bike to the max; and even

found a couple gas canisters that he rigged up

onto his bike for the journey ahead. He reloads

his revolver, and holsters it.


He arrives back at the rusted North warning sign.


I wanted to go South, I used to have a life there

before the nukes. It would’ve given me closure...

But I know there’s nothing for me there


The sky’s lush backdrop splattered in toxic

vibrancy begins to change, forming into a

bright green. Thundering rumbles roaring in

the distance. Lightning strikes as flashes of

highvoltage electricity streak through the sky.

The Lone Wanderer climbs off his bike, and lifts

the seat up. He takes out a dark-green military

looking box, and opens it. He pulls out a light

metal suit, that attaches separately limb to limb.

He proceeds by putting on a metal gas-mask.


North seems like the place to be. I could die

up there... Then again you spend enough time

wandering this barren land and your pretty

much dead already.


He closes the seat. And jumps back onto

the bike. He violently kickstarts it, revving it

powerfully, and driving off into the distance, up

North; towards the toxic-storm.


The Frontier (2015)

Post-Apocalyptic Short film by

Cameron Rutherford, Blaze Rowe, Jason Givens

and Thomas March can be viewed at:

Something you don’t read everyday ...


The present system cannot be patched up – it

has to be completely transformed. The structures

of the parliament, army, police and judiciary

cannot be taken over and used by the working

people. Elections can be used to agitate for real

improvements in people’s lives and to expose

the system we live under, but only the mass

action of workers themselves can change the


Workers create all the wealth under capitalism.

A new society can only be constructed when

they collectively seize control of that wealth and

plan its production and distribution according to


We live in a world economy dominated by huge

corporations. Only by fighting together across

national boundaries can we challenge the rich

and powerful who dominate the globe. The

struggle for socialism can only be successful if it

is a worldwide struggle.

This was demonstrated by the experience of

Russia where an isolated socialist revolution was

crushed by the power of the world market – a

market it could only contend with by becoming

state capitalist. In Eastern Europe and China

similar states were later established.

We oppose everything which turns workers from

one country against those from another. We

oppose all immigration controls and campaign

for solidarity with workers in other countries.

We support the right of black people and other

oppressed groups to organise their own defence

and we support all genuine national liberation

movements. We campaign for real social,

political and economic equality for woman and

for an end to all forms of discrimination against

lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender


Those who rule our society are powerful

because they are organised – they control the

wealth, media, courts and the military. They

use their power to limit and contain opposition.

To combat that power, working people have

to be organised as well. The Socialist Workers

Party aims to bring together activists from the

movement and working class. A revolutionary

party is necessary to strengthen the movement,

organise people within it and aid them in

developing the ideas and strategies that can

overthrow capitalism entirely.

We are committed to fight for peace, equality,

justice and socialism.

The Socialist Workers Party




Alan Rutherford

The maritime world may be losing its

glamour, with ever-larger tankers and

bulk carriers it is becoming an industrial

process, a technical boredom of

navigating minimal risk.


But it wasn’t so long ago that ships of

every flag that set to sea faced unknown

adventures, tramped across oceans

and seas carrying cargoes of just about

anything you can imagine, haphazardly

steaming the planet to deliver these

goods, familiar and exotic ... anyway

thankfully, even today, despite the

building of ever larger computerised

leviathans, there are still little ships with

everything in their holds.







What is it child, that pulls the eye and draws the body down?

The sea, sir, and its milky mind that stretches out to draw and drown.

What is it child that slides and shifts the sun to jar the eye?

The sea, sir, speaks in glass and green two words, stumble, die.

Brian Rutherford







Joanna Rutherford

Mention the countryside and you will find yourself

deluged with all kinds of different responses.

It is an area of the UK under attack, encroached

upon by samey-same housing, scandalously

adopted by the god-awful Countryside Alliance,

still the playground of wealthy ... and where a

profit can be made its beauty and uniqueness is


From blood-grubby hoity-toity and still active

fox hunts, grouse shoots, hare coursing ... to a

badger cull of dubious value, this is one version

of countryside.

Joanna, enthusiastic country/nature person,

presents photographs that show despite all that is

done to it, the countryside is still out there ... go
























Little Feat

Bootleg from1974

re-released 2014

Review ripped from

Keith A Gordon

& Excitable Press

Little Feat never achieved the sort of commercial

success expected of its overwhelming critical

acclaim. Formed in 1969 by Mothers of

Invention alumni Lowell George (guitar, vocals)

and Roy Estrada (bass) with George’s friend

Richie Hayward on drums and pianist Bill Payne,

Little Feat released a half-dozen studio albums

and a live set during their ten-year run. In spite

of developing a brilliant mix of rock ‘n’ roll,

blues, boogie, R&B, country, and funk music

that today would be considered ‘Americana’,

the band built a loyal, albeit small following

with their raucous live performances, but they

enjoyed little commercial success. No single

Little Feat album charted until 1974’s Feats,

Don’t Fail Me Now (peaking at #36) and

Waiting For Columbus, their double live 1978

LP, proved to be the band’s only true hit (rising

to number18 on the charts).




Electrif Lycanthrope was the first Little Feat

bootleg LP that I ever saw, and I quickly snatched

up a copy at a Detroit record show around

1980. The original vinyl version, released

by The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label

sometime in the late 1970s, featured nine

songs taken from a live September 1974 radio

broadcast on WLIR-FM in New York City, with

the band performing at The Ultrasonic Studios

in Hampstead NY, a common venue for these

live-to-radio performances. Electrif Lycanthrope

wasn’t Kornyfone’s first Little Feat bootleg – they

released a number of other Little Feat titles,

including Beak Positive (a fine 1975 show) and

Aurora Backseat (documenting a 1973 show)

– but it’s widely considered by the Feat faithful

to be the best of the band’s handful of bootleg


Aside from its original vinyl release by TAKRL,

Electrif Lycanthrope was available for a short time

during the 1990s as a dodgy ‘European import.’

This new CD reissue of the album includes three

additional ‘bonus tracks’ for a total of a dozen

red-hot performances, and while I can’t speak as

to the legality of this particular release, it seems

to be part of a series of live recordings trickling

out of either WLIR-FM and/or The Ultrasonic

Studios (check out the great recent Bonnie Raitt

and Lowell George release, Ultrasonic Studios

1972). Regardless of its origin, or how long

it may or may not be available to buy, Electrif

Lycanthrope offers a simply mesmerizing

performance by the band in a casual, laid-back

environment that allowed them to stretch out and

display their tremendous musical chemistry.

Electrif Lycanthrope features material from

1973’s Dixie Chicken and the following year’s

Feats, Don’t Fail Me Now. Kicking off with

the band’s classic ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor,’ the

rhythm section of bassist Kenny Gradney and

drummer Richie Hayward establish a fat groove

from the beginning, frontman Lowell George’s

thick Southern drawl belying his California

birthplace. George’s fretwork here is stunning,

full of texture and great tone. ‘Two Trains’ is

slightly more up-tempo, with Bill Payne’s funky

keyboards leading the charge, a loping rhythm

dancing behind George’s soulful vocals. While

George’s instrument is busy in the background,

threading a subtle but wiry lead between the

rhythms, Payne takes centre stage with his

imaginative and charming keyboard runs.

A cover of the great Allen Toussaint’s ‘On Your

Way Down,’ from Dixie Chicken, is provided

an additional minute here for the band to

shows off its instrumental chops, beginning

with Payne’s church revival piano intro and the

syncopated rhythms provided by Hayward’s

steady, hypnotizing drumbeats. George’s

reverent vocals here display a different facet

to the man’s talents, his equally nuanced

fretwork providing an additional dimension

to the classic song as the band chimes in with

backing vocals. George’s breathtaking solo

three minutes in underlines the subtlety of the

band’s performance. A fan favourite, ‘Spanish

Moon’ showcases both the band’s harmony

vocals behind George’s spry performance,

but also his sultry guitarplay and a strong

rhythmic backdrop provided by the band’s often


overlooked other guitarist, Paul Barrere. Payne’s

keyboards are dominant here, offering a fine

counterpoint to George’s guitar.

‘Fat Man In The Bathtub’ is another longtime

crowd pleaser, and here it offers a look into

the band’s evolving New Orleans blues and

R&B influences at the time. With a cacophonic

instrumental backdrop that incorporates

plenty o’ Crescent City funk, the performance

provides plenty of foot-shufflin’ moments

amidst its seemingly free-form jam. The

popularity provided George’s ‘Willin’’ may

have become a bit of an albatross around

the singer/songwriter’s neck, but this gentle,

affecting reading – based around George’s

weary voice and acoustic guitar, and Payne’s

subtle piano – proves the strength of his lyrics

and performance. Of the three additional

tracks included on this CD reissue of Electrif

Lycanthrope, the band’s signature ‘Dixie

Chicken’ fares the best, the song’s ramshackle

arrangement providing plenty of space for

Payne’s nimble piano-play and George’s rowdy


If you’re a hardcore Little Feat fan, you may

already own Electrif Lycanthrope in one of

several formats, but if you don’t, you really

should grab up a copy of this CD while you can.

If you’re a newcomer to the band, or simply

‘Feat curious,’ this live recording provides an

excellent introduction to one of rock ‘n’ roll’s

best – yet criminally unsung – outfits. The

recording captures the band at the pinnacle of

its chemistry, cranking out songs from what are

arguably two of their three best studio albums

in front of a token audience, but playing like

they’re headlining an arena.

The sound quality here is amazing considering

the relatively primitive recording technology of

the era, although it does get a little muddier

on the last three songs, which may have been

taken from a second-generation tape. Many

fans prefer Electrif Lycanthrope to the authorized

live set Waiting For Columbus, which is widely

considered one of the best live rock albums of

all time. Why argue over semantics? Get ‘em

both and revel in the joy that was one of the

era’s most dynamic and electrifying live bands!

Copyright Keith A Gordon & Excitable Press



Alan Rutherford







More of the same ...

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has warned Islamic

terrorists would blow up iconic Irish landmarks

Newgrange and the Rock of Cashel if allowed to

spread their reign of terror through Europe.

Mr Kenny made the comments when addressing

the escalating migration crisis in Europe, which

has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees flee

war zones controlled by tyrannical Islamic militants

in the Middle East.

‘Look at what’s happened in Syria with the growth

of ISIS. Purely from a historical point of view, they

want to blow up Newgrange and the Rock of

Cashel, and they want children shooting others in

the head. This is horrendous,’ he said.

The so-called Islamic State has destroyed

numerous cultural heritage sites as part of its war

of terror in Iraq and Syria.


Ben Carson stands by belief that pyramids

were built by biblical figure Joseph

Republican presidential candidate Dr Ben Carson,

a retired neurosurgeon, tells reporters on Thursday

that a belief in the Bible is not ‘silly at all’ in

response to a question about his statements on

the origin of the Egyptian pyramids. In a speech

made in 1998 Carson explained his theory that

the structures were built by the biblical Joseph to

store grain and not, as is now generally accepted,

meant as burial tombs for pharaohs







Dear Editor ...

Blah-de-blah-de-blah ...





2 0 1 5



XMAS 2015





‘tis the season

to be jolly





Opening 03

The Visit of George V 05

James Connolly

Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Cover artwork: a cup of tea up north

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in the next issue,

will be the 15th day of the

next month

Articles and all correspondence to:

Go hug a tree! 11

Get on the Train 12

Assad must go! 14

Tale of Greed 21

For Fox Sake! 25

West Midland Hunt Saboteurs

We can do it! 37

When reason dies 39

Burford Church 41

Barcelona 46

Rust 61

Letters 64


XMAS 2015









Welcome to magazine number 5, a xmas

cogitation. Several people have promised

stuff to fill your head with serious worries

and trivial flights of fancy pertaining to life

on Earth ... but have not delivered.

Because of the afinity this publication has

with Leveller and Digger philosophies I

approached ‘Friends of Burford Church’

with a request to use their pamphlet on the

3 Levellers shot at Burford Church in 1649.

They were executed as an example to the

others who had mutinied due to grievances

with Cromwell, one being not wanting

to serve in Ireland. Anyway, the ‘Friends’

turned me down ...

A poverty of ideas indeed!

West Midland Hunt Saboteurs have supplied

a good article.

Best wishes for this festive time.

Until next time, get active, stay alive ...


XMAS 2015







by James Connolly




As you are aware from reading the daily and weekly newspapers, we

are about to be blessed with a visit from King George V.

Knowing from previous experience of Royal Visits, as well as from

the Coronation orgies of the past few weeks, that the occasion will

be utilised to make propaganda on behalf of royalty and aristocracy

against the oncoming forces of democracy and National freedom,

we desire to place before you some few reasons why you should

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unanimously refuse to countenance this visit, or to recognise it by

your presence at its attendant processions or demonstrations. We

appeal to you as workers, speaking to workers, whether your work

be that of the brain or of the hand – manual or mental toil – it is of

you and your children we are thinking; it is your cause we wish to

safeguard and foster.


The future of the working class requires that all political and social

positions should be open to all men and women; that all privileges of

birth or wealth be abolished, and that every man or woman born into

this land should have an equal opportunity to attain to the proudest

position in the land. The Socialist demands that the only birthright

necessary to qualify for public office should be the birthright of our

common humanity.

Believing as we do that there is nothing on earth more sacred than

humanity, we deny all allegiance to this institution of royalty, and

hence we can only regard the visit of the King as adding fresh fuel

to the fire of hatred with which we regard the plundering institutions

of which he is the representative. Let the capitalist and landlord

class flock to exalt him; he is theirs; in him they see embodied the

idea of caste and class; they glorify him and exalt his importance

that they might familiarise the public mind with the conception of

political inequality, knowing well that a people mentally poisoned

by the adulation of royalty can never attain to that spirit of selfreliant

democracy necessary for the attainment of social freedom.

The mind accustomed to political kings can easily be reconciled to

social kings – capitalist kings of the workshop, the mill, the railway,

the ships and the docks. Thus coronation and king’s visits are by our


astute neversleeping masters made into huge Imperialist propagandist

campaigns in favour of political and social schemes against democracy.

But if our masters and rulers are sleepless in their schemes against us,

so we, rebels against their rule, must never sleep in our appeal to our

fellows to maintain as publicly our belief in the dignity of our class – in

the ultimate sovereignty of those who labour.

What is monarchy? From whence does it derive its sanction? What has

been its gift to humanity? Monarchy is a survival of the tyranny imposed

by the hand of greed and treachery upon the human race in the darkest

and most ignorant days of our history. It derives its only sanction from

the sword of the marauder, and the helplessness of the producer, and

its gifts to humanity are unknown, save as they can be measured in the

pernicious examples of triumphant and shameless iniquities.


Every class in society save royalty, and especially British royalty, has

through some of its members contributed something to the elevation

of the race. But neither in science, nor in art, nor in literature, nor in

exploration, nor in mechanical invention, nor in humanising of laws,

nor in any sphere of human activity has a representative of British

royalty helped forward the moral, intellectual or material improvement

of mankind. But that royal family has opposed every forward move,

fought every reform, persecuted every patriot, and intrigued against

every good cause. Slandering every friend of the people, it has

befriended every oppressor. Eulogised today by misguided clerics, it

has been notorious in history for the revolting nature of its crimes.

Murder, treachery, adultery, incest, theft, perjury – every crime known

to man has been committed by some one or other of the race of

monarchs from whom King George is proud to trace his descent.

XMAS 2015

‘His blood

Has crept through scoundrels since the flood.’

We will not blame him for the crimes of his ancestors if he relinquishes

the royal rights of his ancestors; but as long as he claims their rights,

by virtue of descent, then, by virtue of descent, he must shoulder the

responsibility for their crimes.


Fellow-workers, stand by the dignity of your class. All these parading

royalties, all this insolent aristocracy, all these grovelling, dirt-eating

capitalist traitors, all these are but signs of disease in any social

state – diseases which a royal visit brings to a head and spews in

all its nastiness before our horrified eyes. But as the recognition

of the disease is the first stage towards its cure, so that we may

rid our social state of its political and social diseases, we must

recognise the elements of corruption. Hence, in bringing them all

together and exposing their unity, even a royal visit may help us to

understand and understanding, help us to know how to destroy the

royal, aristocratic and capitalistic classes who live upon our labour.

Their workshops, their lands, their mills, their factories, their ships,

their railways must be voted into our hands who alone use them,

public ownership must take the place of capitalist ownership, social

democracy replace political and social inequality, the sovereignty of

labour must supersede and destroy the sovereignty of birth and the

monarchy of capitalism.


Ours be the task to enlighten the ignorant among our class, to dissipate

and destroy the political and social superstitions of the enslaved

masses and to hasten the coming day when, in the words of Joseph

Brenan, the fearless patriot of ’48, all the world will maintain

‘The Right Divine of Labour

To be first of earthly things;

That the Thinker and the Worker

Are Manhood’s only Kings.’

Transcribed by

The James Connolly Society

in 1997


James Connolly, 1868–1916

A revolutionary socialist, a republican, a trade union leader aligned

to syndicalism and the Industrial Workers of the World, and a political


As one of the leaders of the Irish Easter Rising of 1916 he was severely

wounded and his execution by firing squad was carried out with him

tied to a chair.

XMAS 2015






From the standpoint of a

higher economic form of

society, private ownership of

the globe by single individuals

will appear as quite absurd

as private ownership of one

man by another. Even a whole

society, a nation, or even

all simultaneously existing

societies taken together, are

not the owners of the globe.

They are only its possessors,

its usufructuries, and, like

boni patres familias (Good

Heads of Household),

they must hand it down to

succeeding generations in an

improved condition.










so must

all tyrants





‘I said, Assad must go!’

XMAS 2015


The question that

should have been

posed during the vote

on further bombing

in the middle east by

Britain is, not whether

it would be good to do

something like bombing

but, whether something

good can be done?


XMAS 2015






XMAS 2015







An exerpt from

The Guardian

23 December 2013

of an original story

by George Monbiot

‘... So here’s the story. Two men

established a small stake in the mines,

in a remote valley some distance from

the nearest airstrip. They cut down the

trees and began to excavate. They found

the digging and hosing and sifting

of the gravel exceedingly hard and,

though they had discovered very little,

they decided to hire two other men to

do it for them. They agreed to split any

findings equally with the workers.

The two hired men dug for four months

without success: with high pressure

hoses they scoured great pits into which

the trees collapsed; they turned the

clear waters of the forest stream they


XMAS 2015

excavated red with clay and tailings;

they winnowed the gravel through

meshed boxes; they dissolved the

residues in mercury and burned it off;

but they produced almost nothing. Then

they hit one of the richest deposits ever

discovered in Roraima: in one day they

extracted 4kg.

If you find a lot of gold in the garimpos

you keep quiet – very quiet. A single

shout of triumph can amount to suicide.

You gather it up, hide it in your bag and

explain to anyone who asks on your way

out that months of work have brought

you nothing but disease and misery. But

first it must be divided.



The two men who owned the stake

began to comprehend, for the first time,

the implications of the deal they had

done. “We risked our lives to establish

this stake. We spent every cent we had

– and plenty we didn’t – travelling here,

buying the equipment and the diesel,

hacking out a clearing in the forest,

hiring these men. And now we have to

split the gold equally with people who

are no more than manual labourers,

who would normally be paid a few

dollars a day.” They told the two workers

that they wanted a special meal that

night, and sent them to the nearest

airstrip to buy the ingredients.

As the two workers walked they began

to ruminate. “We’ve nearly killed

ourselves in that pit. We’ve been up

before dawn every day and have worked

until dusk. We’ve had malaria, foot rot,

screw worm, sunstroke, while those two

bastards have done nothing but lie in

their hammocks shouting instructions.

Now we’re expected to give them an

equal share of the gold that we and we

alone found.” When they reached the

store, they bought cachaça, rice, beans,

a packet of seasoning and a box of

rat poison. They mixed the poison into

the seasoning and set off back to the

camp. Before they reached it, they were

ambushed by the two owners and shot.

The owners then picked up the bags

and went back to the camp to celebrate

over the first hot dinner they had had in



From Ben Traven’s The Treasure of Sierra Madre,

made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart ...

Howard: Say, answer me this one, will you? Why is

gold worth some twenty bucks an ounce?

Flophouse Bum: I don’t know. Because it’s scarce.

Howard: A thousand men, say, go searchin’ for

gold. After six months, one of them’s lucky: one

out of a thousand. His find represents not only

his own labour, but that of nine hundred and

ninety-nine others to boot. That’s six thousand

months, five hundred years, scramblin’ over a

mountain, goin’ hungry and thirsty. An ounce of

gold, mister, is worth what it is because of the

human labour that went into the findin’ and the

gettin’ of it.

Flophouse Bum: I never thought of it just like that.

Howard: Well, there’s no other explanation, mister.

Gold itself ain’t good for nothing except making

jewelry with and gold teeth.


XMAS 2015










An article from

West Midlands

Hunt Saboteurs

Are you interested in writing an

article for inclusion in a left leaning

online magazine called ‘Sheep in

the Road’? Deadline for issue 5 is 15

December. See previous issues at www.

Yes we are, we could write an article

giving our views on why bloodsports

are allowed to continue, how the

state supports the bloodlusts of the

establishment and how the police

reinforce it.

Yes please, let me know if you can make

the deadline and if you will also be

supplying artwork (logo, photographs)?

Yep we should make the deadline.

is there a word limit? We can supply

photographs and a logo, thanks.

No word limit, look forward to it ...


XMAS 2015


A perspective from a West Midland

Hunt Saboteur on fox hunting,

policing and the state.

When I was a teenager I remember

coming across an Animal Rights stall

and picking up a leaflet on fox hunting.

I always remembered thinking that the

idea of killing an animal for anything was

immoral but to think people organised

on a weekly basis to go out with a pack

of hounds to chase and disembowel a

sentient being for ‘sport’ was just barbaric.

How can we ever call ourselves a civilised

society when we still allow bloodsports?

The fact that we have a hunting act set

in criminal law shows that the majority of

people do think bloodsports are abhorrent

and have no place in modern society so

a benchmark has been set by the hunting

act it just needs strengthening to stop these

numerous accidents from occurring.

The first hunt I went to was with the

Oxfordshire hunt monitors to the Bicester

hunt. I remember thinking how aggressive

the atmosphere was and how many people

on horses with hounds all to terrorise a

sentient wild animal. The first time I heard

hounds in cry sent a shiver down my back.

I knew from the first time I went out that

this was something that I wanted: to try

and help stop-fox hunting.

I went out with the hunt monitors for a

while who, although they do a fantastic

job gathering evidence for prosecutions,

wasn’t enough. I wanted to go directly

into the field to try and help the hunted

fox from being ripped apart.

With this in mind, I got in touch with the

Hunt Saboteurs Association to see how

I could get involved. I was put in touch

with folks from Birmingham and have

never looked back.

From working full time in my local

community I began to see how the

world can be so different if you

challenge something that the state

wishes to protect. Obviously I had

heard of police corruption, read about

it and watched T.V programmes on it,

but I never thought I would witness it

myself first hand. You don’t when you

live a life that the state is happy with –

contributing to taxes, working full time,

buying commercialised goods everything

really that a capitalist and functionalist





in pursuit of

the uneatable

Oscar Wilde

XMAS 2015


political system likes people to do – to

keep their idea of society functioning

how they think it should.

Fox hunting is not only cruel but its

cruelty is endorsed and supported by the

state. Hunts claim that anti hunt views

can stem from a class war perspective,

but in my opinion this is not true as

sadly all walks of life support and go

hunting. What is apparent though is

that people of influence such as police

officers, magistrates, judges and

politicians support and go hunting. Our

current government is pro-bloodsports

and this filters down through the right

wing media and our policing structures.

Anyone who uses direct action to stop

what they believe is morally wrong, and

questions laws, is vilified and the police

will try to stop these direct actions as

they are a threat to the status quo, just

like how the suffragettes were treated.

One hunt I attended in Oxfordshire, we

hadn’t even got out of the van when

police surrounded it and demanded

we all got out. We rightly asked under

what section they were stopping us,

they didn’t answer but kept shouting

for us to get out of the van. They then

started smashing the windows of van

and detained me for a search whilst also

ordering two other male comrades to

kneel on the floor with their arms behind

their heads. They accused us of having

offensive weapons (our homemade

whips) funny how the hunt’s big hard

heavy whips are fine but ones made

from skipping rope and soft small

wooden handle are dangerous (hounds

respond to the noise of a whip crack

and can be held up from chasing a fox

using this method). They also accused

me of having acid in a bottle. When

I said that it would be hard for me to

have acid in a plastic bottle they still

convinced themselves that it was a toxic

substance, not an essential oil mixed

with water (which it was and is used to

mask the scent of hunted foxes), so the

three of us were arrested for carrying

offensive weapons. Held long enough

in police cells so the hunt could carry on

their killing spree uninterrupted.

Again whilst sabbing in Derbyshire hunt

saboteurs were arrested using the trade

union act that we were interfering with

a lawful activity. This time helicopters,


dog units and lots of police cars were

deployed. The van was seized and we

were all arrested, spending around 23

hours in custody.

Another time hunt saboteurs were

standing at the meet of the South

Shropshire Hunt (Otis Ferry’s Hunt) when

a very macho police unit arrived and were

obstructive from the start. This resulted in

a rough arrest on me, involving 3 male

officers on a woman, taking me to the

ground and subsequently arrested me.

While I was detained in the police car I

could hear the officers saying that they

wanted the footage we had taken of

their actions and arrest (no doubt to go

accidentally missing). I shouted through

the windows of the car to another sab

informing her what they were trying to do.

Whilst I was detained at the police station

and asleep two male officers came into

my cell and dragged me from my bed

by my hands and demanded to recheck

my fingerprints saying they thought I

wasn’t who I said I was. I was charged

and later the charges were dropped and

I successfully sued West Mercia Police

for damages, including wrongful arrest

assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Two weeks after this incident hunt

saboteurs were set upon whilst sabbing

the South Shropshire Hunt. As ‘sabs’

were walking in a field around 15-20

big men in masks jumped out of a bush

and began attacking us. I was knocked

out and when I came around I could

not see for a short period. I sustained a

fracture and a broken nose. I still have

a click in my jaw to this day. Men were

also waiting for us on the road and a

tractor turned up with big spikes trying

to overturn the sab van. Hunt saboteurs

were being punched and kicked on the

road and when we finally managed to

get to our vehicle a hunt supporter tried

to drag one of us out of the vehicle. They

began smashing the sliding van door on

his legs, but somehow we managed to

get him into the van. Once we arrived

at the hospital the police seemed more

concerned about the fact we had driven

with headlights smashed out (by the

hunt) than what had happened to us.

During my triage at the hospital a

male security officer was in attendance

which at the time I thought was strange

but I wasn’t obviously feeling myself

to challenge why this was happening.


XMAS 2015



Once I started to feel better I asked

my solicitor to find out why a security

guard was present during my triage. The

reason given was because the police

had told the hospital that they thought I

could be potentially dangerous.

I was also able to identify my attacker to

the police who asked him in for interview

... he was never arrested. Nothing ever

came of it.

Another example of how the police

protect fox hunting happened a few

years ago with the Quorn hunt. The

police claimed that they were using a

section 60 and section 60 aa power to

be able to detain sabs. (Section 60 is

part of the Criminal Justice and Public

Order Act 1994 which allows a police

officer to stop and search a person

without suspicion) They demanded the

right to search sabs. I refused believing

this was an unlawful stop and search.

I was arrested and charged with

obstructing a police officer. I was given

ridiculous bail conditions including that

I couldn’t go to any organised fox hunt

in the UK (funny that as there shouldn’t

be any organised fox hunts since it’s

supposed to be illegal). I also couldn’t

enter Leicestershire at all. Bearing in

mind I was charged with ‘obstructing a

police officer’ these bail conditions did

not reflect the charge ... so yet again the

police mis-use their powers to protect the

blood junkies.

This also happened during the first

badger cull in Gloucestershire, where

I was arrested for apparently waving

a torch in the field and therefore

breaking a high court injunction. My

bail conditions imposed then were that I

could not enter Gloucestershire. All this

for apparently waving a torch in a field.

What I witnessed that night was shocking,

around 50-60 police officers surrounded

a badger sett trying to stop protestors

from stopping the badger cull. The police

always claim that they are impartial

at protests ... utter bollocks! On this

occasion the police accused me of trying

to set fire to the police van whilst in

handcuffs in a single cell compartment.

How could that even be physically

possible? However it was enough for the

police officer to ask the desk sergeant

for me to be strip-searched at the police


XMAS 2015


station. Fortunately the desk sergeant

didn’t permit it.

Going back to the section 60 ‘stop and

search’ in court, the authorising inspector

said, while being questioned on the stand,

that he believed disruption of the hunt

was going to take place. Thats not what

a section 60 is supposed to be used for

... section 60 was intended for football

hooligans where a real threat of violence

using weapons is likely to happen.

Because of a mis-use of section 60 ‘stop

and search’ my charge was dropped as

potentially disrupting a hunt would not

warrant a section 60.

These are just a few examples of how the

state via the police protect blood sports

that I have personally been a part of.

I have been arrested numerous times

nothing has ever came from them in terms

of prosecutions, its just a way of the police

getting hunt saboteurs out the way so

hunts can have a care free killing spree.

More recently some of us have been

documenting the Atherstone Hunt. What

we have found happening on a weekly

basis came as no surprise to us, that is,

a hunt flouting the law and hunting foxes

everytime they go out. We have witnessed

foxes running for their lives, hunt

saboteurs have been assaulted numerous

times trying to help foxes escape the hunt.

As well as seeing foxes hunted we also

witness every week hounds out of control

and loose on main roads. We have

documented blocked badger setts in areas

where the hunt go and artificial earths

(homes created by hunts to encourage

foxes to live in them and also used to hold

foxes on the day of a hunt so they can be

bolted from them to chase).

We consistently film this hunt as they stick

two fingers up to everyone. As a member

of the public you would think the police

would act upon this evidence we provide

of blatant law breaking. Leicestershire

Police were given footage showing two

identifiable terrier-men blocking an active

badger sett, putting a terrier down a

hole and using a tracker to monitor its

movements. Even though police were

supplied with names for both men they

only charged one man and the case

collapsed because the police failed to act

in time with a court directive.


Warwickshire Police were given footage

showing racist language towards a hunt

saboteur. Yep you guessed it, the police

again failed to charge in time and two

men faced no charges and the remaining

third man was found not guilty in court

even though he used racist language.

Whilst the witnesses were on the stand

they weren’t even asked about what

happened on the day but were asked

who was the leader of the group, what

personal relationships people in the

group were in and demanded to know

peoples’ addresses.

Lecestershire police were also present

when the Atherstone huntsman and a

hound ran the wrong way up a duel

carriageway, when sabs went to formally

log this incident the officer present denied

that he had seen the hound running the

wrong way up the duel carriageway.

Leicestershire police also issued two

‘police information notices’ (PINs also

known as ‘harassment notices’) to two

hunt saboteurs based on no proven

evidence even though the hunt film us

all the time. Hunt saboteurs contested

this using an online campaign and help

from their local supportive MP. The hunt

saboteurs also put a formal complaint

in into the police. After a hard fought

campaign Leicester police retracted the

‘police information notices’ (PINs) and

issued a formal apology saying the PINs

should never have been issued and

had been mis-used. Then surprisingly

and beggaring belief, one of the same

hunt saboteurs issued with the original

‘police information notice’ (PIN) has been

issued again with another PIN. This is an

obvious case of ‘official’ harrassment of

a hunt saboteur, who is contesting this

waste of police time, and has the support

of her local MP.

The Leicestershire police are now sending

out intelligence gathering officers to the

Atherstone Hunt meets but, despite our

filmed evidence, they are focusing their

attentions on us rather than the hunt.

So does the state protect fox

hunters, what do you think?

We will continue to document the

Atherstone Hunt and I am sure we will

see the state try and clamp its fist on

us. We believe that a small group of


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dedicated people can change the world.

... lets face it, its the only thing that ever


To watch West Midland Hunt Saboteur

videos and find out more about what

we do and to get weekly updates of

what has been happening please

follow the following: https://www.



West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs

Still Hunting the Hunters.


XMAS 2015



During World War 2 the language of

gesture was used extensively in propaganda

posters. An interesting example is J. Howard

Miller’s poster featuring Geraldine Hoff,

a seventeen-year-old metal presser in a

Michigan factory (sometimes confused with

Norman Rockwell’s iconic Rosie the Riveter).

Under the headline ‘We Can Do It!’ Hoff

was portrayed rolling up her sleeve to play

her part in the war effort by taking the kind

of manual job traditionally performed by


Rediscovered in the 1970s the poster, with

its gesture of female strength, was given a

new lease of life by advocates of women’s

equality in the workplace.


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Prejudice and

faith have

something in

common: they

both flourish

when reason



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abaft aft amidships anchor

astern ballast barnicle bilge

boatswain bollard bosun

bow bowline bridge bulwark

capstan captain chart deck

dry-dock ensign escutcheon

forecastle gangway gunwale

halyard hatch hawser helm

hold hull keel lanyard

poopdeck port rudder

quarterdeck screw sidelight

slipway starboard stern

stevedore tiller watch wharf



Artwork: Edward Wadsworth 1919

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Dear Editor ...

As you have no letters to publish I thought I

would take this opportunity to comment on the

the experience of putting together three online

issues of ‘Sheep in the Road’.

Without the fine articles, written pieces and

photographs supplied to be included this would

be a sad and feeble venture ... and, as we

are not talking about money changing hands

for any element of ‘Sheep in the Road’, its a

wonderful gesture, thank you!


The almost non-existant feedback ranges from

the banal, but well meant, ‘Yes its good’ to

a friend’s dismissive ‘Yeah yeah yeah yeah, I

haven’t got time for that now, I’m really busy ...’

with a couple of helpful suggestions in between.

And apart from a drink in a pub with two

prospective contributors (where only one came

up with something, which was excellent by the

way) ... not much contact ... probably how I like

it anyway.

More contributions please.


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2 0 1 5





Well, I stand

up next to a


And I chop

it down with

the edge of

my hand




Opening 03

Café Royal Books 05

Craig Atkinson

Asylum 13

The Situationists 14

New Clarion Press 17

Chris Bessant

Jimi Hendrix

Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Ambigram 23

Contempt of Conscience 25

Joe Jenkins

New Man 43


Cover artwork: Alan Rutherford

I Remember ... 45

Martin Taylor

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in the next issue,

will be the 15th day of the

next month

Cheltenham Socialists 53

British Foreign Policy 55

Fibonacci: Golden Ratio 57

Catastrophy: 50 Years Ago 59

Articles and all correspondence to:

Whither the Weather? 65

Underground 66

West Africa: Word Symbol Song 68

Letters 77






Welcome to magazine number 6.

Featuring the different stories and fortunes

of two ‘one-man-band’ publishers; their

histories and dreams quite rightly being

made known – I salute you!

Joe Jenkins’ account of the valiant struggle

for a peace tax is the story of the Peace

Tax 7 ... you could ask why the peace

movement did not make this their struggle?

The ‘rollercoaster’ coming of age tale

starting on page 45 is surely a taster for

Martin Taylor’s forthcoming book?

Eclectic spots of tosh jostle for your attention

and culminate in a frightening 50 year

anniversary, where your editor literally

floated through a major nuclear incident.

More on that voyage at http://www.yumpu.


Until next time, get active, stay alive ...





Monday, 15 December 2014

Craig Atkinson of Café Royal Books

We are delighted to re-present this blog from Craig, founder and sole

employee at Café Royal Books, looking back on ten years in publishing,

and sharing his insights on the subjects of small-scale publishing, time

management, and the nature of photographers and the photograph

itself. Originally written for in 2014.


Café Royal Books is ten years old. As happens in a decade, a lot has

changed; some planned changes, some happenchance. The reason I

started Café Royal Books was to enable me to disseminate affordably

my own work, quickly, internationally, and to many places at the same

time. I had spent the previous decade painting large abstracts which were

prohibitive due to their size and weight, so decided to return to drawing

for its simplicity and speed. ‘The book’ worked as exhibition spaces, and

‘the multiple’ as a ‘rapid fire’. The content of the books was unfocussed

and production fairly DIY, but considered. The excitement was in the

making and in using the book as a container.


Somehow, online mainly, word spread and I ended up collaborating with

other artists, illustrators and some photographers, publishing their work

as small editions of around 50 copies. Around 2006 my practice began

to shift from pen to lens based, partly because I could work faster and

more simply without as much ‘interference’ as happened with a pen /

pencil; also because I started to value more the recording of information,

possibly for the future. We had our first child around the same time which

probably had an impact on my way of thinking. Of course, as my own

practice and interests changed, so did what I wanted to publish. It wasn’t

until around 2010–11 that I started to become more focussed and direct

about what I was to publish, and about what I wanted to make in terms

of my work outside of Café Royal.

There has always been a bit of a clash, time-wise mostly, between the

things I do. I’m a full time lecturer on three separate degree courses. I

make work, exhibit etc my photographs – generally focussing on Brutalist

estates and the urban environment. I have two children, 3 and 6. Café

Royal has become a full time business, still run out of a small room, and

only me ... It’s hard work but really enjoyable and it’s a privilege to work

with so many artists and photographers.


What I do now is publish a book each week. I can’t possibly publish all

the work I’d like to, so have to remain pretty focussed in terms of subject.

The subject tends to be work that documents an aspect of change; social,

architectural, geographical ... I don’t know what drives people (or me) to

take photographs of things. It’s a strange compulsion, but somehow there

is a need. ‘Now’ is happening – people know ‘now’, so the photographs,

to my mind at least, become something else when the ‘now’ has passed


and is no longer accessible first hand. They gain historical value or

importance perhaps.


My experience of working with photographers is that generally they

work for ‘the now’ for various reasons. One is financial. We all need

money and work and so are focussed on ‘the now’. Others, who have

perhaps had their commercial career, may have other interests: books,

travel for example. In most cases there are vast archives of work that are

untouched, mainly because the photographer has no reason to touch

them. Feedback from many collaborators has been that Café Royal

Books has offered the photographer opportunity to revisit their much

forgotten archives. This has sometimes led to a rethink of current work

and to other opportunities for sales and exhibitions of older work. None

of this is intentional, it’s not why I started Café Royal, but knowing that

this occurs means a lot and has become an aim of what I do.

My books are inexpensive, both to produce and to buy, in comparison for

example to a coffee table hard back. They are limited run, generally of

200 copies. The conflicts with my desire of getting this forgotten archive

work seen by many. However, many galleries and museums now collect

my books. They are in a lot of ‘special collections’, photobook collections,

artist book collections, exhibitions and so on. This makes them publicly

accessible, looked after, ‘locked in’. So essentially anyone can gain

access to them without owning them. This has become a strong element

of what I do.


To have the work collected by galleries is important, if for no other reason

than to fill the gaps in UK gallery photographic archives, which are fairly

slim. Of course there are other reasons. To know MoMA, Tate, V&A and

other major international galleries want the books enough to collect

them means a lot. To have many shops stocking them and to have so

many customers from the website is priceless. To meet Peter Mitchell, Ken

Grant, Martin Parr, Daido Moriyama and discuss books, their work, their

past work is amazing. I think publishing has allowed me to do a lot that

perhaps otherwise I wouldn’t have done.


I once lost all of my own books, collected over 30 years – about 800

books, in a flood. I now have a strange relationship with books – I make

lots of them but am still fearful of buying too many. Publishing allows me to

make the books I’d like to collect; albeit a strange way of going about it!

The future. I’d like to start a PhD but need to fine-tune the question. It

might relate to some of the above. I want to continue to publish small

affordable well produced books / zines showing moments of change. I

see Café Royal Books as a kind of meeting point. I don’t just publish the

work of well known photographers but I do only publish work that I like

and often subjects or times that I couldn’t get access to myself. As long as

it’s enjoyable I’ll continue. There’s a lot of important work that needs to

be seen! In many ways I see what I do as a long term project, cataloging

the not too distant past.

Recently I’ve started a new project, ‘Notes’, which will hopefully become a

reference tool and work as contextual support for the books I publish.


A refugee, according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees is a person who is

outside their country of citizenship because they have well-founded grounds for

fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of

a particular social group or political opinion, and is unable to obtain sanctuary

from their home country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves

of the protection of that country; or in the case of not having a nationality and

being outside their country of former habitual residence as a result of such

event, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to their country of

former habitual residence. Such a person may also be called an ‘asylum seeker’,

however all such people deserve the compassion of others more fortunate and

should be made welcome!





in the


of european civilisation


The Situationists were the inspiration of the

slogans that appeared in the streets of Paris during

the student riots of May 1968, such as ‘Never

work’ and ‘Under the paving stones, the beach’.

A worldwide avant-garde collective initiated

in the 1950s, the Situationists were concerned

with poverty, daily life and the way the everyday

world was mediated by images. They focused

their analysis of capitalism on the alienation of

daily life produced by cinema, television, radio,

consumerism and advertising. They strongly

believed that the cultural machines of capitalism

produced problematic relationships between

people that were alienating and deafening. They

early on advocated what they termed ‘détourné’, a

reorganisation of advertisements to say something

else – to turn the culture of power against itself.

In essence the Situationists advocated a form

of cultural trespassing, a transgression that has

everything to do with the desires of graffiti itself.






Chris Bessant

New Clarion Press was born in 1990 with the ambition of making a

difference through publishing; it closed in 2012 with its aim (only) partially

achieved. Initially a workers’ cooperative of two people, Chris Bessant and

Fiona Sewell, it became a one-man band a few years in – albeit one that

played some good tunes.

It was appropriate for a Cheltenham-based publisher that the first book

off the press was A Conflict of Loyalties, an account of the ultimately

successful resistance of workers at GCHQ in Cheltenham to the removal

of their right to belong to a trade union. It was ironically titled, using

Geoffrey Howe’s phrase, which was the Thatcher government’s pretext for

depriving the GCHQ workers of a fundamental human right.


The press thereafter developed an eclectic list of publications, covering

challenging social issues from AIDS and drugs to the politics of the

human genome and pornography. The common thread was to challenge

acceptance of the status quo. Its most successful publication of this kind

was Domestic Violence: Action for Change, which went through three

editions, each a testament to the progress made by campaigners in the

field as the legal and policing environment changed to give survivors of

domestic abuse fairer treatment. The obscenity of the death penalty was


highlighted in two publications of correspondence and writing by prisoners

on Death Row in the United States, where three thousand prisoners

currently face execution.


Recognising that politics is only separated from history to the detriment of

both, the press developed a close relationship with the London Socialist

Historians Group, publishing several titles concerned with labour history

and Marxism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It reached back to

the Peasants’ Revolt of the fourteenth century, and came right up to date

with an underrated work titled Anti-Capitalist Britain, which considered

the burgeoning protests against capitalism at Genoa and elsewhere, and

deserved a wider audience than it found. One aspect of this movement

was the Green perspective, which found expression in a separate book,

Market, Schmarket, written by the Green MEP for the South West, Molly

Scott Cato.

Ultimately, New Clarion Press beat a retreat in the face of the decline of

independent bookshops and the squeeze on its very slender margins from

corporations like Amazon and from its own distributors in the UK and the

USA. Financially hamstrung and never reaching the ‘critical mass’ needed

to be commercially successful, it nevertheless remained always critical,

achieving some notable successes in its own terms and sounding a clarion

call to those in the movement who were able to hear.





Anti-Capitalist Britain is a collection of accessible and

informative essays on the emerging anti-capitalist movement in

the UK.Through accounts of recent anti-capitalist protests and

organizations, often by those involved, the book considers the

current state of radical politics in the UK. Its underlying theme is

the emerging relationship between Marxist and other radical

organizations and the disparate anti-globalization, anti-capitalist

and direct action groups fronting campaigns against institutions

such as the World Trade Organization and the G8.The study

argues that there has been a shift towards anarchism on the

British left and elsewhere.While it has a primarily domestic focus,

the book also considers British anti-capitalism in an international

context. It therefore includes contributions from authors whose

focus is beyond the domestic and who participate in wider


New Clarion Press


ISBN 1-873797-44-3












Anti-Capitalist Britain is an account of the

state of left and radical politics in the UK, delivered

through a study of recent anti-capitalist protests

and movements.The book is a collaborative project

involving writers from various universities in the

UK and recent participants in anti-capitalist actions.

The introduction examines the origins of the current

protest movement and its re-emergence from the

‘Victory of the West’ and the free market. Caroline

Lucas and Colin Hines then critique the dominant

neoliberal version of globalization from a green and

localist perspective.This analysis is complemented by

the work of Molly Scott Cato, who explores positive

and sustainable alternatives to capitalism and the free

market.Amir Saeed also takes the new geopolitics as

his starting point, examining the difficulties created

for Asian Britons after 9/11 and the subsequent

‘War on Terror’.

Other contributors consider the different forms

of protest and activism in current anti-capitalist and

green politics. John Carter and Dave Morland’s

overview of the UK anti-capitalist scene detects an

emerging shift towards a more libertarian mode of

struggle. One source of this is set out in Derek

Wall’s account of the Russian theorist Mikhail

Bakhtin, whose theories loom large in the ongoing

Carnival against Capitalism. Jon Purkis focuses on

the role of anticonsumerist campaigns, finding

echoes of radical movements from the English Civil

War period. Paul Taylor examines the creative ways

in which electronic ‘hacktivists’ have undermined

corporations and the powerful. How all this

diversity and seeming fragmentation produces a

functioning ‘movement’ is the concern of Alex Plows,

who explores the way in which groupings,

communities and individuals have supported each

other through fluid activist networks.The book

concludes with a vibrant account of the Anti-G8

mobilization in Genoa, written by one of the





An ambigram is a typographical

composition that may be read as one

or more words not only in the form as

presented, but also from a different

orientation – upside down, right side

up or back to front – or as a totally

different word or words. John Langdon,

an American typographer, ambigram

expert and author of Wordplay, says an

ambigram is a decipherable puzzle, but

it is also the basis for certain kinds of

intricate logos.

Earth Air Fire Water (2007)

John Langdon

The earliest known ambigram

was designed in 1893 by the children’s

book illustrator Peter Newell (The Hole Book),

who published various books of invertable

images, whereby the picture turns into a

different image entirely when turned upside

down. The last page in his book Topsy &

Turvys contains the phrase THE END,

which, when inverted, reads


Langdon’s ambigrams tend to be

more complex. His use of gothic, black

letter and swash lettering adds both to the

elegance and to the vexing nature of his

compositions, but once they are turned

around, the viewer’s cognitive

realisation triggers a unique

sense of accomplishment.

Steven Heller & Veronique Vienne








Joe Jenkins

‘Let them march all they want as long

as they continue to pay their taxes’

US Secretary of State Alexander Haig 1982


In 2003 this truism still applied … and still

applies today. As I write this, five years after

the end of British combat operations in Iraq,

the chaos and killing continues. It has been

13 years since Britain invaded Iraq and today

it is difficult to find apologists who supported

the invasion in 2003. However, in contrast

to those who supported the war it is no

exaggeration to say that millions of British

citizens held vigils, went on marches, lobbied

MP’s, signed petitions, and performed street

theatre and music to protest against the war.

But the government went ahead and executed

their war, in our name, and with our taxes.




In the days leading up to the war, dressed

as a Welsh Weapons Inspector, I protested

at Fairford, Gloucestershire, a sleepy

Cotswold village invaded by para-military

forces, B-52 bombers, Alsatian dogs,

armed military police, police with hand

held cameras: the policing of this USAF

base costing £8 million, in a war that was

to cost the British taxpayer £10 billion.

As part of the British state’s ‘defence’ {sic} of

the American B-52 bombers, I was stopped

and searched under section 44 of the

Terrorism Act 2000. But to no avail. Hours

later on 20 March these monstrous planes

known as BUFFS – big ugly fat fuckers – took

off to drop their payloads from 30,000 feet,

to shock and awe the citizens of Iraq, just as

they’d done 30 years earlier in Vietnam.

According to the Pentagon in 2003 the

aim of ‘shock and awe’ was to ‘produce a

simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear

weapons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,

not taking days or weeks but minutes …

to shatter Iraq physically, emotionally and


They succeeded and I, along with millions

of others, had failed. Alexander Haig’s

words haunted me. I decided, as a matter

of conscience, to withhold the proportion of

my taxes {10%} going to fund this illegal

and unnecessary war, and asked the Inland

Revenue to redirect these monies instead

to peaceful purposes such as International

Development. I explained to the Inland Revenue

that I’d faithfully paid my taxes in full for thirty

years and my decision to withhold taxes was

‘not taken lightly’, but, ‘no interpretation of

the law can allow deliberate state sponsored

killing or maiming of innocent people’.

In law, nothing entitles a person to pay to kill

another. However it is currently impossible for

any taxpaying UK citizen to live by this principle

without coming into conflict with the state, as

I discovered over the next two years with court

appearances, fines and bailiffs.

By refusing to pay I found myself in illustrious

company, including Henry David Thoreau, Joan

Baez, Noam Chomsky and Gloucestershire’s

own war tax resisters Arthur Windsor and

Roger Franklin; two men sent to Gloucester

Prison during the 1980’s for refusing to pay

for nuclear weapons. Like Thoreau before

them Windsor and Franklin maintained that in

matters of deliberate killing personal conscience

reigns supreme and no state can over-rule the

individual conscience and force its citizens to pay

to kill. By ignoring the unique personal urgency

of the issue of the deliberate taking of human

life - which is already conceded in the right to

conscientious objection to military service: a right

established exactly one hundred years ago at

the height of the First World War in 1916 – these

resisters held the courts to be in ‘contempt of




Since the end of World War Two the ability of

the British state to wage war has depended

less on abundant reserves of conscripts

and soldiers and more on technologically

complex and expensive weapons systems. The

conscription of financial resources has replaced

the conscription of human beings. With the

astronomical costs of military preparedness

taxpayers have become participants –

taxpayers have become financial conscripts.

‘It is as if we are disconnected from

the world outside: a world of rampant,

rapacious power and great crimes

committed in our name by our government

and its foreign master. Iraq is the “test

case”, says the Bush regime, which every

day sails closer to Mussolini’s definition

of fascism: the merger of a militarist state

with corporate power. Iraq is a test case

for western liberals, too. As the suffering

mounts in that stricken country, with Red

Cross doctors describing incredible levels

of civilian casualties, the choice of the next

conquest, Syria or Iran, is debated on the

BBC, as if it were a World Cup venue...and

the unthinkable becomes normalized’.

John Pilger

In 2004, with the help of CONSCIENCE:


taxpaying citizens who were currently also

withholding their taxes and we formed the

Peace Tax Seven campaign. The group

consisted of a retired teacher, an accountant,

a doctor, a toymaker, a storyteller, a single

mother and my self. Our aim was to obtain

a Judicial Review for a change in the law

so that conscientious objectors could have

the military portion of our taxes redirected

to peace building and conflict resolution

initiatives. Our lawyers, led by Phil Shiner

of Public Interest Lawyers, maintained that

since the Human Rights Act and the right to

freedom of conscience had been enshrined

in British law, we had the right to translate a

compelling conscientious objection directly

into tax policy on this specific issue.

Our stand took its toll on the seven of us

and alongside individual legal proceedings,

bailiffs, fines, possible imprisonment and

bankruptcy we had to fundraise £50,000 to

take this case all the way to the High Court

for a Judicial Review. But, such was public

outrage about the invasion of Iraq that we

raised the money and in July 2005 – days

after 7/7 – we appeared at the High Court in


Although the Judge found our arguments

‘forceful’ he turned down our request for

a Judicial Review of British tax policy. At an

Appeal Court hearing in 2006 it became

clear that the Judges acknowledged the

validity of our arguments, particularly when

three Lord Justices, while refusing permission

for a Judicial Review, cast doubt on previous

rulings that had previously prevented cases

like ours moving forward. The judges

recommended that having exhausted the

British legal process we could take the case

to the European Court of Human Rights.

Papers were duly lodged with the European

Court at Strasbourg but after a wait of three

years the Court, cited a similar ruling twenty

years earlier and ruled against us.

Building a culture of peace is a difficult,

complicated and uncertain process,

yet it is reasonable to suggest that tax

arrangements are one part of the political

and civic culture which must be developed

in peaceful directions. There is in no doubt

that in the modern world conscientious

objectors can fulfil all of their responsibilities

to the community including the responsibility

of paying for its safety and security without

giving a penny to state sponsored killing.

Experts in civilian and military fields stress

the importance to national security of conflict

prevention, civilian peace work and global

justice in its wider sense; and those who

insist on the right to refuse to pay to kill are

standing up for the rights and the well-being

of all victims of war and violence in our own

community and across the world.

‘If a thousand men were not to pay their

tax-bills this year that would not be a

violent and bloody measure, as it would

be to pay them, and enable the State to

commit violence and shed innocent blood’

Henry David Thoreau, ‘On the Duty of Civil








Ali Ismail Abbas, 2003



Ali Ismail Abbas, born 1991, is an

Iraqi man who drew a lot of media

attention after being severely

injured in a night-time aerial missile

attack near Baghdad in 2003. The

attack, known as ‘shock and Awe’,

was part of the 2003 Iraq war

commisioned by the USA, Britain

and their allies, based of very dodgy

information concerning weapons of

mass destruction supposedly held by

Saddam Hussein in Iraq (later found

not have existed).

During the attack, two American

missiles landed on Ali’s family home,

killing his parents (his mother was

pregnant at the time), his brother

and 13 other members of his family.

Both Ali’s arms had to be amputated

and third-degree burns covered

at least 35 percent of his body. He

was 12 years old at the time. His

plight and terrible personal loss, all

common fare when countries go to

war, shocked a ‘guilty’ response and

he underwent treatment in Kuwait,

and later in London, where he was

fitted with robotic prosthetic arms,

paid for by the Kuwaiti government.

Countries like the USA and Canada

offered him citizenship but in 2010

he received a British passport after

attending Hall School, Wimbledon.



elow: Robin Brookes, right: Brenda Boughton [members of the peace tax 7]







elow: Roy Prockter, left: Birgit Völlm [members of the peace tax 7]





elow: Simon Heywood, left: Sian Cwper [members of the peace tax 7]



Being filmed ... and right, Joe Jenkins [member of Peace Tax 7]











El Lissitzky


John Milner writes:

‘El Lissitky’s New Man recalls Leonardo da

Vinci’s Universal Man, the recurring image

passed down from classical times, of a

figure constructed within the square and the

circle, representing mankind’s relation to

geometry, the intellect, and his place in the

universe. El Lissitzky’s New Man has legs

and arms that are based on logarithmic

curves, and he explodes with energy, as a

confident sign for a new world.’

El Lissitzky wrote that: ‘In front of you is

a fragment of a work that originated in

Moscow in 1920–21. Here, as in all my

works, my aim is not to reform something

that already exists but to bring something

else into existence. Nobody pays any

attention to the magnificent spectacle of

our streets, for each is in the play himself.

Every bit of energy is employed for a

specific purpose. The whole is amorphous.

All energies must be organised into a unity,

crystallized, and put on show. In this way a

work is produced. It may be called a work

of art. We are constructing a stage on a

square, which is open and accessible. That

is the machinery of the show. This stage

offers the bodies in play all the possibilities

of movement. Therefore its individual parts

must be capable of being shifted, revolved,

extended, and so on. It must be possible to

change over from one elevation to another

quickly. Everything is rib construction so that

bodies circulating in the play will not be

masked. The bodies themselves are each

designed as occasion and volition demand.’








An exerpt from

Martin Taylor’s

forthcoming book?

I remember ... I remember a childhood

holiday in Bude, The caravan park, my

brother and me playing frisbee outside

the van as night begins to fall, we are

passing time, the time between day and

night, waiting for Mum and Dad. They are

sprucing themselves up as best they could in

the cramped environs of the caravan. Bats

were emerging into the beckoning darkness,

chasing the frisbee as it passed between us.

Dad stumbled out of the van, Old Spice,

lighting a cigarette as he negotiated the two

metal steps down into the muddy puddle at

their foot.


He looks down at his freshly polished shoes,

takes a good pull on his fag and while

reaching into the van door and pulling out

a half drunk pint of bitter he shouts, ‘come

on Rene, we wanna get a good seat!’

‘Coming!’ Mum replied, her voice slightly

muffled by the cloud of hairspray she was

spraying aimlessly around her general





She emerged, pulling a tissue from her

amazing handbag that contains everything

anyone would ever need in a semiemergency,

from packets of sugar to sewing

needle and thread; she wiped Dads’ shoe,

locked the door of the caravan then took his

face in her hands and kissed him, we were,

all three stunned; a bat swooped and we

ran laughing down the path in anticipation

of the somewhat predictable but always

uncertain possibilities of the summer night

ahead of us. We were heading for the club.

As we arrived, like moths to a flame, so

too did half the residents of the park.

A battle to reserve tables by deploying

children, handbags and coats ensued, but

the real fight was with the men vying for a

space at the bar. Once served they would

parade through the tables bearing trays of

drinks and snacks for their grateful brood

hunkered down at their chosen vantage

point. The evening began with bingo.

Mum would buy 8 books, she would deal

with 6 of them and my brother and me

would have one each. In fact she would

be watching all 8 books and prompting us

to mark off numbers we had missed right

under our noses, I still don’t know how she

did it.

Dad would spend this time mingling at

the bar or the toilet, smoking fags and

laughing. He was preparing himself for his

part of the evening, after the bingo and

after the drug induced performance by the

camp reps and after the happy birthday

song to the welsh granny in the wheelchair,

who ‘has been visiting the holiday park

annually for the past 40 years and never

got bored with it, hip hip hooray!’

He returned to the table to enquire if

anyone else might like a drink after the

third game of bingo. Still no winners from

our side of the room. Mum had another

half of shandy before she slips into whisky

and lemonade post-bingo mode. Dave

and me would have a bottled Coke with a

straw that refused to stay in the bottle and

became a great source of entertainment

and distraction during bingo.

Dad stubbed his cigarette lazily in the

ashtray, now occupied by three crisp packets

carefully rolled and tied into knots. ( I used

to love salt and vinegar but they’re just

not the same anymore are they?) he was

weighing up the possible competition, two

more pints and the ego will be in line with

the voice, theres a lot of Welsh here and

competition could be tough.


Dave was studying the patterns on the beer

stained gaudy carpeted flooring and I was

trying to decipher the hidden message

along the edge of the bingo book.(do they

still do that, have like words of wisdom or

amazing facts printed on bingo books, or

did I just imagine that?) something definitely

distracted me because Mum had to take

over my book proper by taking it and lining

it up under her own, such intense relief.

My mind drifted and I found myself staring

unwittingly at a podgy girl with unruly red

hair, what is that smell? It must have been

minutes past before I realised I was staring

at her and had become the laughing stock

of her red cheeked red headed table of

cackling siblings, dragging her into a

humiliation she was probably accustomed

to with three older brothers but made me

want to disappear from sight. That smell

again ... the ashtray was on fire, the crisp

packet producing a toxic black smoke rising

vertically to the ceiling ... Mum, like a bingo

ninja, in a blur empties half her shandy into

the ashtray quenching the fire, marks off

three numbers and throws me a wink and a

smile. She really is amazing ... I feel dizzy,

drifting again

I woke naked and sweating, my heart

pounding, breathe ... in a dim candlelit

room, Rebel Yell blasting from a thrown

together stereo system forming part of a

pile of belongings occupying a corner of the

room; bags of clothes, shoes, handbags,

makeup, all the necessities. I fell off the

bed, a naked form gasps beside me, I need

a bathroom, a door approached me and

burst open, I instinctively reached up for the

light-switch and dragged my hand down

the wall, I felt the water under my feet the

moment the room lit, Looking up at the

unshaded lightbulb, it was half full of water

that was coming from somewhere above

and forming a large bulge in the ceiling,

I grabbed a toothbrush off the side of the

sink, stood up on the toilet and plunged

the toothbrush through the bulging ceiling

releasing the water into the toilet bowl ...

the noise was deafening as I spun around

still groggy, disorientated I fell flat on my

back on the wet bathroom floor, my head

hit with a nauseating thump all the blood

rushed to my brain and rang pulsating in

my ears and eyes, the bare lightbulb burned

down on my face ...

‘C’mon its a nice day for a white wedding,

its a nice day to start again!’

A drop of electrified water fell toward my

face and hit my dry tongue, zoom out


‘I never did tell you about Marcus, he ...’

‘You told me enough about him,’ I

interrupted ‘thats finished now,’

I took her hands in mine, something jolted

in me, ‘I have so much to tell you!’

She looked up into my face almost

pleading, ’What, what do you have to tell


I was lost, why had I said this?

‘I, Well I don’t know now, lets just walk,


We ambled through the grounds of a

great house, hand in hand we were one, a

complete creature that had been wandering

the Earth in two halves, together the world

became a place of constant beauty and

wonder, everything – bug or bird or flower

or rock – sang out its song and shone its

own particular light around us as we glided

through the rainbow. We stopped and

rested under a Great Redwood, a slight

breeze sent a few strands of her hair across

her face, the sunlight catching them in a

captivating shimmering dance like when

young spiders all take to the breeze on an

Autumn day. My eyes locked with her chalky

blue pools, they pulled me in, my mind

drifted to that fateful day she appeared.

It was a sunny late August day, I sat on a

fold up chair, reading a good novel, the

slightest of breezes lifted the corner of the

page, I looked up and she was there in

front of me. She had her back to me and

was looking intently at my pictures that were

haphazardly arranged on the medieval

wall, along with several other artists work,

we were the fringe element of the annual

arts festival and proud of not being part

of the cheese and wine bullshit of the

established art scene.

I stood, laid my book down on the chair

and ambled up beside her. Somehow, our

fingers touched and I felt a rush of warm

electricity run through me and felt more

alive than ever before. I gasped, ‘Did you

feel that?’ I asked.

She turned her eyes towards me and smiled

‘Yes, yes I did’

She looked back to the paintings and said

’I’m only here until Christmas, then I must

go home.’

I just smiled, wallowing in the electrical bliss

that seemed to cocoon the two of us.

I had heard it but never questioned it. I had

never met this person in my life and am

normally a little awkward around strangers

but we were completely tuned in instantly,

I had been waiting for her without even





Muffled noises, head throbbing, drifting

again. Bang! bang! bang!

‘Open the door!’

Bang! Bang! Bang!

‘Wake up, wake up!’

I felt myself being hoisted up, the water

pulling back but losing the battle, I gulped

the hot moist air and slumped sputtering

over the edge of the bath. The taps were

running and the water cascading around

my ears and onto the linoleum.

The door crashed open and my Father burst

in, lifted my head, stared into my eyes with

a horrified stare. I blinked and sputtered

‘I’m OK’ and we shared a weak smile.

‘Too many late nights son’ he winked as he

turned off the taps.

‘I’ll put the kettle on, you better get some


He turned to leave and met Mum in the

doorway brandishing a mop and bucket.

I clambered out of the bath, grabbing a

towel to cover my bits as I stood.

‘You’re a Taylor alright’ boasted Dad.

I wiped the steam from the mirror over the

sink with my hand and peered into it, I did

not have time to be sure if it was me staring

back before the mirror misted over again,

then a question hit me; who had pulled me

out of the water?

I sat at the kitchen table, groggy and

confused, Mum poured me a cup of tea

then returned to the cooker to tend to the

scrambled eggs she was preparing, the

toast was in the rack already, I took a piece

and buttered it to the edge, took a bite, it

was noisy in my hollow head, a slurp of tea,

heaven. Some theoretical scientist was trying

to explain in layman’s terms that there are

in fact at least eleven dimensions but we

generally only experience life in three of

them, or four if you count time.

‘There’s only three dimensions I’m

interested in!’ It was Pete appearing through

the back door,

‘... 36, 24, 36. Just in time for breakfast,

morning Mrs. Taylor, your’e looking

beautiful, oh sorry didn’t see you there

Mr. T, ha ha!’

He sat at the table and tucked into some

toast. ‘What happened to you last night?’

He asked, grinning at me.


The Branch Secretary


Cheltenham SWP

c/o St James Hotel





unknown at

this address




The Cheltenham Branch of Socialist

Workers Party existed from 1978 to

1982, after which it amalgamated with

the Gloucester Branch. Over this 3-4

year period, reasonably well attended

weekly public meetings were held,

initially at the Russell Arms pub, then

at the Horse & Groom community

space, and finally, at St James Hotel.


Membership of the branch peaked at

15, but had a constant core of 7 or 8

dedicated comrades. Socialist Worker,

the party’s weekly paper was sold

on Boots Corner every saturday from

1978 to 1986.

A luta continua!















The Fibonacci numbers are Nature’s

numbering system. They appear

everywhere in Nature, from the leaf

arrangement in plants, to the pattern

of the florets of a flower, the bracts of a

pinecone, or the scales of a pineapple.

The Golden ratio is a special number

found by dividing a line into two parts

so that the longer part divided by the

smaller part is also equal to the whole

length divided by the longer part. It is

often symbolized using F (phi), after the

21st letter of the Greek alphabet.


In geometry, a golden spiral is a

logarithmic spiral whose growth factor

is F, the golden ratio. That is, a golden

spiral gets wider (or further from its

origin) by a factor of F for every quarter

turn it makes.







From Wikipedia,

and Ted Bruning

Many people are surprised to learn how

many air crashes or similar accidents

involving nuclear bombs there were in

the early years of the atomic era. The US

Airforce and the US Navy between them

suffered an amazing 27 between 1950

and 1968, in which 70 aircrew were killed.

In almost all cases the detonators of the

bombs being carried blew up, although

the bombs themselves didn’t. Well, you’d

probably already know if any had ... or

maybe not!

‘Amongst other ships innocently sailing

through from the Atlantic Ocean into

the Mediterranean Sea in 1966, the MS

Niceto de Larrinaga negotiated its way past

Gibraltar and the southern coast of Spain

in the second week of February. Unknown

to me and others on board we were sailing

through a developing nuclear incident ...

considered by Time magazine (belatedly in

March 2009) as one of the world’s ‘worst

nuclear disasters’.’ Alan Rutherford.

The 1966 Palomares B-52 crash, or

Palomares incident, occurred on 17 January

1966, when a B-52G bomber of the United

States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command

collided with a KC-135 tanker during midair

refuelling at 31,000 feet (9,450m)

over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast

of Spain. The KC-135 was completely

destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing

all four crew members. The B-52G broke

apart, killing three of the seven crew

members aboard.




The B-52G began its mission from Seymour

Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina,

carrying four Type B28RI hydrogen bombs

on a Cold War airborne alert mission

named Operation Chrome Dome. The

flight plan took the aircraft east across the

Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea

towards the European borders of the Soviet

Union before returning home. The lengthy

flight required two mid-air refuelings over


At about 10:30am on 17 January 1966,

while flying at 31,000 feet, the bomber

commenced its second aerial refuelling

with a KC-135 out of Morón Air Base in

southern Spain. The B-52 pilot, Major Larry

G. Messinger, later recalled, ‘We came

in behind the tanker, and we were a little

bit fast, and we started to overrun him a

little bit. There is a procedure they have

in refueling where if the boom operator

feels that you’re getting too close and it’s

a dangerous situation, he will call, “Break

away, break away, break away.” There was

no call for a break away, so we didn’t see

anything dangerous about the situation. But

all of a sudden, all hell seemed to break


The planes collided, with the nozzle of

the refueling boom striking the top of the

B-52 fuselage, breaking a longeron and

snapping off the left wing, which resulted

in an explosion that was witnessed by a

second B-52 about a mile away. All four

men on the KC-135 and three of the seven

men on the bomber were killed.

Of the four Mk28-type hydrogen bombs

the B-52G carried, three were found

on land near the small fishing village of

Palomares in the municipality of Cuevas

del Almanzora, Almería, Spain. And, of the

three bombs located on land – within 24

hours of the accident – the conventional

explosives in two had exploded on impact

without setting off a nuclear explosion (akin

to a dirty bomb explosion). This ignited

the pyrophoric plutonium, producing a

cloud that was dispersed by a 30-knot

(56km/h; 35mph) wind. A total of 2.6

square kilometres was contaminated

with radioactive material. This included

residential areas, farmland (especially

tomato farms) and woods. The third bomb

was found relatively intact in a riverbed. The

fourth weapon could not be found despite

an intensive search of the area – the only

part that was recovered was the parachute

tail plate, leading searchers to postulate

that the weapon’s parachute had deployed,

and that the wind had carried it out to sea.


The fourth bomb’s recovery would have been

considered a farce if it weren’t such a life

threatening tragedy: a Spanish fisherman,

Francisco Ortis, saw where the missing bomb

had splashed down and guided a recovery

fleet of 26 US Navy warships to the spot. The

bomb had rolled into a deep underwater

trench and took 3 months to locate and

recover: there was a rather heart-stopping

moment when a robot submersible managed

to tangle itself in the bomb’s parachute

lines; on both occasions it was human divers

who sorted out the mess. Ortiz, meanwhile,

claimed salvage rights to the bomb and was

awarded a very substantial but undisclosed

out-of-court settlement.

To defuse alarm of contamination, on 8

March the Spanish minister for information

and tourism Manuel Fraga Iribarne and the

United States ambassador Angier Biddle Duke

swam on nearby beaches in front of press.

First the ambassador and some companions

swam at Mojácar – a resort 15km (9 miles)

away – and then Duke and Fraga swam at

the Quitapellejos beach in Palomares.




Despite the cost and number of personnel

involved in the cleanup – 6,000 250-litre

barrels of radioactive material was shipped

to Savannah River Plant in South Carolina

for burial – forty years later there remained

traces of the contamination. Snails have been

observed with unusual levels of radioactivity.

Additional tracts of land have also been

appropriated for testing and further cleanup.

The US Government subsequently paid

out $120m in compensation to 500 local

residents who suffered radiation sickness;

no-one knows how many Spaniards died

as a result but local people working on

the clean-up operation were not issued

with the protective gear worn by the US

personnel engaged on the same task.



After Palomares the USAF seems to have learnt a

lesson either about air safety or about reporting

of nuclear incidents involving its aircraft, because

only one such has been recorded since ... on 21

January 1968 a B52 crashed immediately after

take-off in appalling weather in Greenland. The

detonators of all four bombs exploded, setting

fire to the plane’s 35,000 gallons of fuel and

generating such intense heat that one of the

warheads actually melted!

So, since 1968, what should we make of the fact

that there has been nothing reported on nuclear

incidents by the US armed forces ...?





Religious bigots, climate-change deniers and venture capitalist

arseholes have long used an assumed god-given ‘authority’ to

recklessly and ruthlessly push through their agendas – in their

attempt to both dominate and plunder our planet for their own

short-term gain. A special planet, I would argue, that rather

requires the so-called intelligent species to act as guardians of

the earth’s precious sliver of atmosphere. An atmosphere so

fragile that our robust pollution of it must surely be the height of

incredible stupidity – this 18km envelope of life supporting gases

supports the only life that we know of in an infinite universe.

Precariously clinging to the crust of this spinning molten ball an

ape with half a brain might have developed the chaos we now

find ourselves in – on the brink of catastrophe. The point then,

is to engage the brain’s other half, cooperate in the planet’s

maintenance and, in the words of someone or other, truly make

this a ‘heaven on earth’.








Russian 1906

SATIRICAL magazines

Left, Admiral Dubasov

Takes a Bath.

STRELY number 9, cover.


number 4, cover










Dave Katz

There’s something of a bittersweet irony in

the fact that the excellent exhibition West

Africa: Word, Symbol, Song is housed here,

because it showcases artistic aspects of

rebellion and anticolonialism as enacted in

this culturally rich part of the world, but it is

all displayed at an institution that is within

the heart of the colonial establishment

itself. Yet, that is all the more reason to

come and explore what is on offer here,

and the curators have obviously given a lot

of thought to what they would include and

how best to display it. The range of material

is staggering, taking in 2000 years of

history, spread over what now constitutes 17

different countries, with a total population of

340 million people, where over a thousand

different languages are spoken. Kudos are

certainly due to Marion Wallace, curator

of African collections at the library, and

her team for successfully creating a space

that does justice to the complex multitude

of voices, visions and histories represented

here. One could easily spend an entire

afternoon exploring the exhibition, so when

planning your visit, make sure to allow

adequate time.





The entrance to the exhibition is through

the library’s gift shop, which already makes

it feel as though you are undergoing a

back-to-front process of transformation to

reach another space, a secret passage to

another realm. Once inside the first section,

‘Building States,’ you are confronted with

a video loop of Sidike Diabate and his

ensemble performing the Manding Sunjata

epic; its timeless quality reminds that this

region had prominent empires that stretch

back at least 2500 years. A bit further

along, we’re given a chart that breaks

down the wheres and whens of the imperial

equation, with the Ife and Benin kingdoms

rubbing shoulders with the Wolof, Asante

and Oyo empires, and the Sokoto caliphate

established at the tail end of the slave trade.

There are troubling reminders of the trade

itself too, in the form of slave trader Jean

Barbot’s 1678 text, Journal of A Voyage

to Guinea, but we’re also treated to some

incredible artifacts, such as a 120-year-old

sheet-brass box from Ghana, which clearly

shows the figure of Anansi on it, as well

as some protective amulets of the Quadri

Sufi order. There are also some massive

atumpan drums from Ghana, used to

deliver the king’s messages to the people,

which anthropologist Robert Sutherland

Rattray recorded one Kofi Jatto playing on a

field trip in 1921.


Griot Soussou, a griot (musician and

storyteller) with his kora. Photograph by

Edmond Fortier, a French photographer

who spent nearly 30 years working in

West Africa

Moving into a section labeled ‘Spirit,’

there is diverse representation of the spirit

world and matters of faith, including an

Ifa divination board from the 1850s,

a film clip of a Gelede masquerade,

and a noteworthy masquerade book by

ethnologist Leo Frobenius, as well as Peggy

Harper’s evocative photographs taken in

the ’60s and ’70s. An extensive section on

Islam shows its presence in Mali in the 13th

century, with a Nigerian Koran of the 18th

century also on display, and photographs

of koranic boards emphasizing the

faith’s regional importance. This is nicely

contrasted by a section on Christianity,

which is present in the region from the

15th century, but does not take hold until

the 19th century, and another surprise

comes when we learn that missionaries

from Jamaica traveled to the region to

proselytize, translating the Bible into local

languages. Thus, we have the first Yoruba

Bible from 1850, and from 1811, a Bible in

Arabic from what is now Senegal.


A qu’ran written by Ayuba Suleiman Diallo featuring his portrait, 1734.



In the ‘Crossings’ section, the strange tale

of Catherine Mulgrave Zimmermann also

reminds of indelible links between this

part of the world and the Caribbean: she

was born in 1820 in what is now Angola,

enslaved and sent to Jamaica (where she

was raised a Christian in the home of the

governor of the West Indies), but made her

way to Ghana in 1842 as an emancipated

woman, where she married Johannes

Zimmermann, a missionary from Basel.

There is also Ottobah Cugoano, taken from

what is now Ghana in 1770 as a 13-yearold

slave to toil in Grenada and thence to

England, where he obtained his freedom

and became active in the abolitionist

movement. We learn of Ignatius Sancho, the

first black Briton to vote in a British election,

and Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (A.K.A. Job

ben Solomon), a nobleman from Bundu

in modern Senegal, who was shipped to

Maryland after being enslaved by Mandingo

traders, but who eventually gained his

freedom, writing a Koran from memory and

later having his memoirs published.

Musical items allow us to better appreciate

the many African elements that influenced

cultures across the Atlantic in this section.

The African origin of the banjo, in the form

of the akonting lute of the Jola people,

serves as a precursor to blues music and

bluegrass, and we can hear parallels of Ali

Farka Toure and John Lee Hooker’s work on

audio clips.

But part of the point of ‘Crossings’ is that

the traffic was not only one-way, so we

have a Jamaican gumbe drum, which was

introduced to Sierra Leone in 1800 by

repatriated Jamaican Maroons, becoming

firmly entrenched in local musical culture,

and Bob Marley’s work is contrasted by

that of Alpha Blondy, the Ivorian performer

clearly influenced by Marley and his peers.

We are introduced to candomble and

yemenja as cultural and spiritual practices

that survived the Middle Passage, and a

section on Carnival culture emphasizes that

African-Caribbean cultural elements have

gone on to make a huge impact in Britain.

Since the overall focus is on West Africa,

such elements could easily have been

overlooked, and thankfully the inclusion of

one of Ray Mahabir’s costumes, along with

film and audio clips, reminds of Carnival’s

vibrant and dazzling appeal.


Moving up to the ‘Speaking Out’ section,

which looks at dissent in the late colonial

era, there are iconic books by figures

involved in African freedom struggles,

such as Kwame Nkrumah, Leopold Sedar

Senghor, Sekou Toure and Amilcar Cabral,

as well as a prison letter from Ken Saro-

Wiwa. There is a stunning 1968 painting

by the Nigerian artist, Prince Twins Seven

Seven, and some lovely Bembeya Jazz

and Syliphone LPs from Guinea. Then we

reach the Fela room, a fitting tribute to the

maverick Afrobeat pioneer who put his

life on the line by perpetually challenging

Nigeria’s corrupt political leaders, with eight

of his albums prominently displayed, along

with a castigating letter he wrote to military

dictator Ibrahim Babangida in 1989. Oddly,

the film clip displayed is from the recent

Finding Fela, a behind-the-scenes look at

the Fela musical; there are more pertinent

film sources to draw from out there, so I’m

not sure where Finding Fela features, but no

doubt there was a practical reason behind

the choice of footage. There is also a 1954

pamphlet on woman’s rights, written by

Fela’s mother, Funmilayo; nearby, clips

of Rokia Traore performing ‘Manian’ and

Oumou Sangare singing ‘Dugu Kamalenga’

remind that African female artists continue

to strive for gender equality in the region.

The section labeled ‘Symbol’ has some of

the most fascinating material of the entire

exhibition. We are shown the 2000-year-old

Tuareg Tifinagh alphabet, some cowrie-shell

letters from 1888, the Vai alphabet from the

same period, and the Bamum or Shumom

secret script from colonial Cameroon of

the 1930s. We learn that the figure of a

crocodile can have many meanings, with

the example of a two-headed crocodile

from Ghana denoting either conflict or

collaboration. We are reminded of ways

in which drums can talk, and that whistles

and horns may also convey messages, and

along with examples of millet-pounding

songs, we see some hilarious-looking

Nigerian and Ghanaian pamphlet texts,

such as Life Turns Man Up and Down. A

section of beautiful Ghanaian cloths also

hold hidden meanings, with an eye-studded

design apparently denoting the proverb,

‘Your eyes can see what your mouth cannot

say,’ meaning that not every topic is fit for

discussion in public. There is cloth depicting

the Ghana Guinea Worm Eradication

Programme of 1989, and some lovely Aso

Oke wedding cloth, as well as another that

symbolically states, ‘Ask questions before

you marry.’




Then we head into the pertinent ‘Story Now’

section, looking at the post-independence

period. Here we find Senegal’s Leopold

Sedar Senghor collaborating with Marc

Chagall in 1973 (following Chagall’s 1971

Dakar exhibition), and the Atoka photoplay

magazine, produced in Nigeria in the

1970s. There is a fantastic aluminium relief

by Asiru Olatunde from 1968, showing

the legend of the Igbo raid on Moremi,

and there is footage of Chinua Achebe

speaking at the ICA in 1986, as well as his

letter to Jamaican novelist Andrew Salkey,

and a commemorative cloth of Achebe’s

literary landmark, Things Fall Apart. Other

prominent post-colonial authors included in

this section are Ama Ata Aidoo, Ousmane

Sembene and Wole Soyinka, while the role

of the Mbari Mbayo Club and its magazine,

Black Orpheus, in stimulating the Nigerian

literature of the pre- and post-independence

periods is also featured.

Past a circular hut that forms a kind of

communal reading space, there’s a final

section on the present and future of the

region too, with some shocking Nollywood

posters for films like My Virginity, My

Pride, and clips of contemporary authors

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Sefi Atta and

Lanrewaju Adepoju reading their work.


When you find yourself back in the book

shop, the most obvious thing to do is obtain a

copy of the companion photo book produced

for the exhibition, edited by Gus Casely-

Hayford, Janet Topp Fargion and Marion

Wallace. The book teases out the themes

explored in the exhibition, providing much

cultural and historical context behind what is

on display. Though always kept accessible for

the general reader, the book provides a lot

of further food for thought, and I particularly

enjoyed Insa Nolte’s chapter on religion;

the chapter on the trans-Atlantic crossings

of word and music by Fargion, Wallace and

Lucy Duran; and Casely-Hayford’s opening

chapter on West Africa in precolonial times.

West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song, succeeds

partly because it is so full of surprises. It

offers different ways of thinking about the

region’s history, evolution and popular

culture, yet leaves room for the audience to

draw their own conclusions. Exhibitions on

Africa are typically somewhat uncommon

and ones of such wide scope far less so;

related events, such as the Felabration

Afrobeat night staged to coincide with the

exhibit’s extended opening hours, also

makes clear that the viewpoint is not an

elitist one. The exhibit, at the British Library,

London, until 16 February 2016, is a mustsee

for anyone who has the opportunity to

experience it.

Fela Kuti album cover, Sorrow Tears and Blood








Dear Editor ...

Words fail me, what is the use of words when

the person you are saying them to is unable to

grasp your, and their, meaning?

Worryingly, we are heading down that irrational

road again, the one where stupidity reigns,

where basic facts and knowledge acquired over

time are being replaced by entrenched banal

myths, hearsay and superstition. The probability

that this age-old fudge of complacency and

mad spouters will be defended to the death

before reason can be accepted again (if ever)

is terrifying. For evidence of this I direct your

(giggling now) attention to Donald Trump

and his campaign to become US President.

As Britain’s government is a happy satellite of

US mischief in the world ... and a blindly loyal

follower of US foreign policy, what will our

government do if Trump suceeds and begins his

Term of Ignorance?


More contributions please.




2 0 1 6












Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Cover artwork: Alan Rutherford

Photographs and artwork sourced

from found, no intentional

copyright infringement intended,

so, for treading on any toes ...

apologies all round!

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in the next issue,

will be the 15th day of the

next month, in your dreams!

Articles and all correspondence to:

Opening 03

Untitled Poem 1 04

On Satire 06

America’s Pimple 09

Colonies of Empire 20

Endi Poskovic 22

Carbon Copy 25

Gin Lane 31

Spain 1936 32

Untitled: William Kentridge 35

The Circulus 29

Anarchists 41

Underground 42

A Boyle On All Your Bums 45

Brit Expats Sent Home 46

Untitled Poem 2 48

Just another short Story 51

Letters 61







Welcome to magazine number 7.

A piece about us all being carbon atoms

comes from a re-reading of the final

chapter in Primo Levi’s excellent ‘The

Periodic Table’ ... but does not actually

mention it? Coca-Cola suffers with other

companies willing to work with and

champion the devil, its a ‘just so you know’

piece to remind you of ‘Holocaust Day’ on

the 27 January.

Martin Taylor helpfully slips in 2 untitled

poems, and I have had fun nursing a sick

mac through the process ... half-inching

images from my scrapbook, giving credit if

known ... too much coffee, twitchy!

Until next time, get active, stay alive ...




New romantic

New Labour

New World Order

Brand new flavour

Drink your Coke

Eat your fries

Ask no questions

Tell no lies

Go to work

To buy more stuff

Pay your taxes

Drink your Duff

Believe in God

Walk with Jesus

Be good because

You know he sees us

Wave your flag

Honour your dead

Remember what your

Teacher said

We are right


They are wrong

Lets join together

With a song

Learn your history

As we tell it

Give us a “like”

And help us sell it

Strip the earth

Pollute the air

You’ll be dead soon

Why should you care

If you doubt this

World we live in

I suggest you

Never give in

Eat your greens

Drive your Prius

Hope the Martians

Come to free us

Martin Taylor






Nobody is doing what Joe Sacco is doing;

the writer-artist has visited some of the world’s

worst war zones and not merely written movingly

about them but carefully drawn them, as well.

The effect is transporting – Sacco drags readers

into war-torn Bosnia and gives them both a

sense of place and a sense of urgency, and like

the best journalists, he’s got an eye for the rich,

contradictory, infuriating people who can make

you care about something you ought to care


He is best known for his comics journalism, in

particular in the books Palestine (1996) and

Footnotes in Gaza (2009), on Israeli–Palestinian

relations; and Safe Area Goražde (2000) and

The Fixer (2003) on the Bosnian War.

In addition to his 1996 American Book Award,

2001 Guggenheim Fellowship, and 2001

Eisner Award, Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza

was nominated for the 2009 Los Angeles Times

Book Prize Graphic Novel award, was awarded

the 2010 Ridenhour Book Prize and the 2012

Oregon Book Award ... and awarded the 2014

Oregon Book Award Finalist for Journalism.






information correlated from

Mark Thomas on Coca Cola

An early taste-bud thrill for me as a child

was my first bottle of Coke, I think it

was bought for a thirsty-me in a store in

Durban, South Africa around xmas time,

the iconic bottle hoisted out wet from its

large red freezer box and opened at the

bottle-opener that was a fixture on the

side of Coca-Cola freezer cabinets. The

whole experience was wonderful, that

smokey vapour fizzing from the bottle as

the cap flew off and landed in its small

box below the opener, the foaming inside

threatening to waste, so quickly then, the

first few glugs which burnt the throat so

pleasurably, followed by the belch which

came from deep ... its only failing was

that there never seemed enough in the

bottle and that it did not quench my thirst.




Later in life, in my trampship travels visiting

faraway places, there was always comforting

Coca-Cola refreshing those childhood

belches and still leaving me thirsty.

A campaign by comedian/activist Mark

Thomas in 2004 to highlight Coca-

Cola’s poor human rights record in South

America where trade union activists at

Coke bottling plants were victimised, some

losing their lives mysteriously ... made

me reconsider my attachment to Coke ...

and feel the loss of a childhood friend.

That Coca-Cola is a successful monster

company of capitalism is not in doubt, but

that it takes its monster image seriously is

another thing, sinuating its phoney brand

of american consumerism worldwide.

Coca-Cola, according to www.killercoke.

org, is: complicit in the murders of

trade union leaders in Columbia and

Guatemala; guilty of cheating workers

and the government of Mexico out

of hundreds of millions of dollars; is

involved in trade union busting schemes

throughout the world; has a history of

racial discrimination in the US; is involved

in depleting and polluting water resources

in Asia, Africa, Latin America and

wherever there is a Coke bottling plant;

aggressively marketing harmful beverages

to the world’s children; benefiting from

hazardous child labour in El Salvador;

guilty of tax evasion ...

To find that during World War Two Coca-

Cola played for both teams is no surprise,

for while it was obviously the drink of

choice for American forces ... to find it

equally popular with the Nazis should be

surprising, but for some reason is not.

In his campaign to expose Coca-Cola,

Mark Thomas asked artists to supply

spoof Coke/Nazi posters to be displayed

at exhibitions he organised to highlight

Coca-Cola‘s murky past (see opposite)

Coca-Cola (GmbH) were the German

bottlers for Coke under the leadership of

the CEO Max Keith (pronounced Kite).

Coke sponsored the 1936 Nazi Olympics

where Hitler showcased his Aryan vision to

the world, while hiding the ‘Don’t shop at

Jewish shops’ posters.

Coca-Cola GmbH sought to be associated

with the Nazis, it became a bit of a joke

that if Hitler or a high ranking Nazi was

on the front cover of a magazine Coke

would advertise on the back. Coke

advertised on billboards that were by

the Berlin stadiums, so people attending

Goebbel’s rallies had to walk past them.


exhibited artwork: Alan Rutherford

We’d like to

teach das weld

to sing in




Coke financially supported the Nazis by

placing advertising with Nazi newspapers

and, in one instance, Coke published

denials to accusations from rival bottlers that

they were a Jewish company. .

After the Nazi invasion of the Sudetenland

Coke advertised in the Nazi Army paper with

a picture of a hand holding a bottle of coke

over a map of the world, the slogan was ‘Yes

we have got an international reputation.’

Coke opened up a bottling plant in the

Sudetenland shortly after the invasion.

From Mark Prendergrast’s book, For God,

Country and Coca-Cola we have, ‘Later

in the war, Keith used Chinese labour and

‘people who would come from anywhere

in Europe – the war brought them from

everywhere.’ For Keith to say blandly that

‘the war brought them’ implies that they

were willing refugees, which is somewhat

misleading. In fact, the wartime railroads

not only carried Jews, Gypsies and others

to concentration camps, but some 9 million

Fremdarbeiter, or forced foreign labour, who

accounted for a fifth of the German labour

force by 1944. Coke nearly certainly used

forced labour. Note: Coca-Cola in the US

have paid into a fund for the compensation

of people who were forced to work for the


As Max Keith’s supplies of Coke dwindled

in 1941 he gave his last batches to Nazi

soldiers. And after the US entered the war

in 1941, when he couldn’t get Coca-Cola

syrup from America to make Coke, he

invented ‘Fanta’ out of the ingredients he

had available to him. Fanta was made

specifically for the Nazi market and the

Third Reich. This new soda was often made

from the leftovers of other food industries:

whey (a cheese by-product) and apple

fibre from cider presses found their way

into the drink. The choice of fruits used

in the formulation depended on what

was available at the time. In its earliest

incarnations, the drink was sweetened with

saccharin, but by 1941 its concocters were

permitted to use 3.5 percent beet sugar, and

in 1943 alone Coca-Cola GmbH sold 3

million cases of Fanta in the Nazi empire.

Mark Prendergrast writes, ‘In March of

1938, as Hitler’s troops stormed across the

Austrian border in the Anschluss, Max Keith

convened the ninth annual concessionaire

convention, with 1,500 people in

attendance. Behind the main table, a huge

banner proclaimed in German, “Coca-

Cola is the world-famous trademark for

the unique product of Coca-Cola GmbH”

Directly below, three gigantic swastikas

stood out, black on red. At the main table,


Max Keith sat surrounded by his deputies,

another swastika draped in front of him

... The meeting closed with a ceremonial

pledge to Coca-Cola and a ringing threefold

“Seig Heil” to Hitler.’

At another convention Mark Prendergrast

notes ‘Then Keith ordered a mass Sieg-

Heil for Hitler’s recent fiftieth birthday, to

commemorate our deepest admiration and

gratitude for our Fuhrer who has led our

nation into a brilliant higher sphere.’

At the Reich ‘Schaffendes Volk’ (Working

People) Exhibition celebrating the German

worker under Hitler, Prendergrast describes

‘A functioning bottling plant, with a

miniature train carting Kinder beneath,

bottled Coca-Cola at the very centre of the

fair, adjacent to the Propaganda Office.

Touring the Dusseldorf fair, Hermann

Goering paused for a Coke, and an alert

Company photographer snapped a picture.

Though no such picture documented the

Fuhrer’s tastes, Hitler reputedly enjoyed

Coca-Cola too, sipping the Atlanta drink

as he watched Gone With The Wind in his

private theatre.’

Coke sales in Nazi Germany 1934 –

243,000 cases. 1936 – 1 million cases.

1939 – almost 4 and a half million cases.

After the War Coca-Cola ruthlessly

consolidated its position as one of the most

iconic brands of both the 20th and 21st

centuries. Promoting itself as the drink of

freedom, choice and US patriotism, the

company’s feel-good factor is recognised

worldwide and reflected in its enormous

profits. In its betrayal of its professed

ideals, Coke was just the tip of an iceberg,

for whilst people were being encouraged

to fight and die waging a noble and just

war against the fascist Nazis, big business

just went on with big business ... By their

enthusiastic and treasonous support of this

grotesque tyrany they helped give it birth

and then prolonged the suffering and agony

of the Nazis victims ...

Now, just so you know, from Sam

Greenspan at, see the

following roll-call of shame. During World

War Two, Kodak’s German branch

used slave labourers from concentration

camps. Several of their other European

branches did heavy business with the Nazi

government. And Wilhelm Keppler, one

of Hitler’s top economic advisers, had

deep ties in Kodak. When Nazism began,

Keppler advised Kodak and several

other U.S. companies that they’d benefit

by firing all of their Jewish employees.

(Source: The Nation)




In the 1930s, Hugo Boss started

making Nazi uniforms. The reason:

Hugo Boss himself had joined the Nazi

party, and got a contract to make the

Hitler Youth, storm trooper and SS

uniforms. That was a huge boon for

Hugo Boss ... he got the contract just

eight years after founding his company

... and that infusion of business helped

take the company to another level. The

Nazi uniform manufacturing went so

well that Hugo Boss ended up needing

to bring in slave labourers in Poland

and France to help out at the factory.

In 1997, Hugo’s son, Siegfried Boss,

told an Austrian news magazine, ‘Of

course my father belonged to the Nazi

party. But who didn’t belong back then?’

(Source: New York Times)

Ferdinand Porsche, the man behind

Volkswagen and Porsche, met with

Hitler in 1934, to discuss the creation

of a ‘people’s car.’ (That’s the English

translation of Volkswagen.) Hitler

told Porsche to make the car with a

streamlined shape, ‘like a beetle.’ And

that’s the genesis of the Volkswagen

Beetle... it wasn’t just designed for

the Nazis, Hitler NAMED it. During

World War Two, it’s believed that as

many as four out of every five workers

at Volkswagen’s plants were slave

labourers. Ferdinand Porsche even had

a direct connection to Heinrich Himmler,

one of the leaders of the SS, to directly

request slaves from Auschwitz. (Source:

The Straight Dope)

Bayer. During the Holocaust, a

German company called IG Farben

manufactured the Zyklon B gas used

in the Nazi gas chambers. They also

funded and helped with Josef Mengele’s

‘experiments’ on concentration camp

prisoners. IG Farben is the company

that turned the single largest profit from

work with the Nazis. After the War, the

company was broken up. Bayer was one

of its divisions, and went on to become

its own company. Oh ... and aspirin was

founded by a Bayer employee, Arthur

Eichengrun. But Eichengrun was Jewish,

and Bayer didn’t want to admit that

a Jewish guy created the one product

that keeps their company in business.

So, to this day, Bayer officially gives

credit to Felix Hoffman, a nice Aryan

man, for inventing aspirin. (Source:

Alliance for Human Research Protection,

Pharmaceutical Achievers)


Siemens took slave labourers during the

Holocaust and had them help construct

the gas chambers that would kill them

and their families. Siemens also has the

single biggest post-Holocaust moment of

insensitivity of any of the companies on

this list. In 2001, they tried to trademark

the word ‘Zyklon’ (which means ‘cyclone’

in German) to become the name a new

line of products ... including a line of gas

ovens. Zyklon is the name of the poison

gas used in Nazi gas chambers during

the Holocaust. A week later, after several

watchdog groups appropriately freaked

out, Siemens withdrew the application.

They said they never drew the connection

between the Zyklon B gas used during the

Holocaust and their proposed Zyklon line

of products. (Source: BBC)

Henry Ford is a pretty legendary anti-

Semite, so this makes sense. He was

Hitler’s most famous foreign backer. On

his 75th birthday, in 1938, Ford received

a Nazi medal, designed for ‘distinguished

foreigners.’ He profiteered off both sides

of the War – he was producing vehicles for

the Nazis AND for the Allies.

Standard Oil (shareholders included

Rockerfellers and IG Farben) The Luftwaffe

needed tetraethyl lead gas in order to

get their planes off the ground. Standard

Oil was one of only three companies

that could manufacture that type of fuel.

From Ethyl, a Standard subsidiary, 15

million dollars worth of Tetraethyl lead

was sold to the Nazis in 1939. Without

this, the German air force could never

have got their planes off the ground.

When Standard Oil was dissolved as a

monopoly, it led to ExxonMobil, Chevron

and BP, all of which are still around today.

(Source: MIT’s Thistle)

A lot of banks sided with the Nazis during

World War Two. Chase is the most

prominent. They froze European Jewish

customers’ accounts and were extremely

cooperative in providing banking service

to Germany. (Source: New York Times)

IBM custom-build machines for the Nazis

that they could use to track everything...

from oil supplies to train schedules into

death camps to Jewish bank accounts to

individual Holocaust victims themselves.

In September of 1939, when Germany

invaded Poland, the ‘New York Times’

reported that three million Jews were

going to be ‘immediately removed’

from Poland and were likely going to

be ‘exterminat[ed].’ IBM’s reaction? An

internal memo saying that, due to that




‘situation’, they really needed to step up

production on high-speed alphabetizing

equipment. (Source: CNet)

Random House publishing. Random

House’s parent company, Bertelsmann

A.G., worked for the Nazis ... they

published Hitler propaganda, and a book

called ‘Sterilization and Euthanasia: A

Contribution to Applied Christian Ethics’.

Bertelsmann still owns and operates

several companies. I picked Random

House because they drew controversy in

1997 when they decided to expand the

definition of Nazi in Webster’s Dictionary.

Eleven years ago, they added the

colloquial, softened definition of ‘a person

who is fanatically dedicated to or seeks to

control a specified activity, practice, etc.’

(Think ‘Soup Nazi’.) The Anti-Defamation

League called that expanded definition

offensive... especially when added by

a company with Nazi ties... they said

it, quote, ‘trivializes and denies the

murderous intent and actions of the Nazi

regime... it also cheapens the language by

allowing people to reach for a quick word

fix... [and] lends a helping hand to those

whose aim is to prove that the Nazis were

really not such terrible people.’ (Source:

New York Observer, ADL)

And I leave you with this summation

by Alfred Sloan, president of General

Motors, the US-based multinational, on

the out break of the Second World War.

‘We are too big to be incovenienced by

these pitiful international squabbles.’

Throughout the war Sloan remained on

the board of General Motors’ German

subsidiary, maintaining financial links

through JP Morgan to the Opel branch

of General Motors which was a major

truck manufacturer for the German army

during World War Two.

27 January 1945: The Red Army

liberated the Nazi’s biggest

concentration camp at Auschwitz in

Southern Poland.



Photograph: Auschwitz, May 1944,

photograph taken by a fucking nazi









From the 16th century onwards, a number

of European powers competed with each

other to establish colonies in distant parts

of the world – largely in order to control

the profitable trade in raw materials and to

provide new markets for their manufactured

goods – exploitation. By the 19th century,

inspired by a mixture of religion and rank

racism, colonialists had developed an

‘imperial’ ethos, with the high moral purpose

of bringing what they saw as the advantages

of Western civilisation to their ‘primitive’

colonial subjects. Barely disguised under

this veneer, however, ‘grubby’ commercial

interests played a crucial role – exploitation.

Any plan to keep matters as they were

backfired when exposure to Western values

of democracy and equality led the educated

elites in the colonised countries to question

the right of the imperial powers to ‘lord

it’ over them. – giving rise to nationalist

movements and a slow and sometimes

violent process of decolonization in the

second half of the 20th century.

Many now agree that political imperialism

as an aid to exploitation, has merely been

replaced by economic imperialism ... and

that the exploited still languish in penury.







Endi Poskovic

... the juxtapositioning of phrases,

rational and absurd, with abstract

images evoking ideas suggested by

memory ...


‘Poskovic’s relief-printing method

involves the use of around four

individual blocks. The first three are

inked with a blend of colours, overlaid

to make the vivid and vibrant sunset

and skyline-like imagery typical of

his work. One final end block, which

contains the main graphic and text,

will be printed in black on top to

complete the image.’

Caspar Williamson.




long-dead stars.

where the other building blocks of the universe come from they

have formulated an answer ... they were assembled in the hearts of

existed, hydrogen and helium. There was no oxygen or carbon and

therefore no possibility of life anywhere in the cosmos. To explain

Those that delve into things like this say, that when the universe

began, almost 14 billion years ago, only two of the basic elements

make salt, and so on.

Everything else is also made up of combinations of elements, such

as hydrogen and oxygen bind to form water, sodium and chlorine

Others, like phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, sodium and

chlorine, occur in very small quantities but are essential for life.

different ways. Most of our body is built out of just five of them –

oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and calcium.

Every human being on the planet is made out of around 60

chemical elements, basic building blocks assembled in millions of

R E I N C A R N A T I O N H U H ?







R E I N C A R N A T I O N H U H ?

Every human being on the planet is made out of around 60

chemical elements, basic building blocks assembled in millions of

different ways. Most of our body is built out of just five of them –

oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and calcium.

Others, like phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, sodium and

chlorine, occur in very small quantities but are essential for life.

Everything else is also made up of combinations of elements, such

as hydrogen and oxygen bind to form water, sodium and chlorine

make salt, and so on.


Those that delve into things like this say, that when the universe

began, almost 14 billion years ago, only two of the basic elements

existed, hydrogen and helium. There was no oxygen or carbon and

therefore no possibility of life anywhere in the cosmos. To explain

where the other building blocks of the universe come from they

have formulated an answer ... they were assembled in the hearts of

long-dead stars.



Most of the stars in the sky, including

our sun, shine by turning hydrogen

into helium, the process releases vast

amounts of energy ... for instance,

the sun converts 600 million tonnes of

hydrogen into helium every second. That

is a million times more energy than the

United States uses in a year. Of course,

this process can’t go on forever because,

even though the sun is so vast that you

could fit a million Earths inside, 600

million tonnes is a lot of hydrogen and

eventually, the sun will run out of fuel

and begin to collapse under its own

immense gravity.

Some perspective needed here to

reassure ... our sun has enough

hydrogen in its core to shine for at

least another 5,000 million years, but

eventually, like everything, our sun

will die. And as any dying star begins

to collapse, its core will heat up to

unimaginable temperatures ... the

temperature at the heart of our sun is

currently around 15 million degrees

Celsius, but when it eventually begins

to collapse its temperature will rise to

more than 100 million degrees. When

this happens, the helium in its core will

begin to fuse together to form beryllium,

oxygen and carbon. It is this process of

a dying star that is the origin of all the

carbon and oxygen in the universe.

And theres more ... really massive stars

in the universe continue, as they die,

sticking oxygen and carbon together to

make all the chemical elements up to


Brian Cox says, ‘We know this because

we can see it happening in the sky

today. Next time the sky is clear, have

a look for the constellation of Orion. If

you look carefully, you’ll see that the star

at the top left-hand corner glows a pale

red colour. This star is called Betelgeuse

(often pronounced “beetle-juice”), and

it is frantically building heavier elements

in a last desperate battle against gravity.

In the process, it has swollen into a true

giant. If you put Betelgeuse in the same

position as the Sun in our solar system,

it would completely engulf all the planets

out to Jupiter. Eventually, even stars as

enormous as Betelgeuse must run out of

their nuclear fuel and then gravity will

take over once more, forcing the star

to collapse catastrophically. For these

most massive of stars, the final collapse

gives rise to one of the rarest and most

spectacular sights in the universe – a

supernova explosion.’


Professor Cox gives an example of a

supernova, ‘A thousand years ago,

a great civilization existed in Chaco

Canyon, New Mexico. The Chacoans

were avid stargazers and built vast 700-

room mansions aligned with the sun,

moon and stars. On the night of July 4,

1054AD, the Chacoan astronomers saw

for themselves what happens when a

star like Betelgeuse finally loses its fight

against gravity. A new star appeared

in the clear, dark skies of New Mexico,

shining as brightly as the moon for

several weeks before gradually fading

from view. We now know they had

witnessed a supernova explosion that

happened 6,000 light years from Earth

– relatively close by cosmic standards. In

a single instant, the dying star emitted

more energy than our sun will emit

in its entire lifetime, casting shadows

on the distant Earth. The Chacoans

documented the explosion in a painting

that still exists on an overhanging ledge

in the canyon. It depicts the crescent

moon, a handprint pointing to the

place in the sky where the supernova

happened, and a brightly glowing new

star beside the moon. We know so

much about this explosion because we

can still see its remains today. In the

place in the sky where the star once

shone, there is now a brightly coloured

cloud of interstellar gas known as the

Crab Nebula. This cloud is filled with

the chemical elements that the star

produced in its lifetime, including the

carbon, oxygen and iron vital for life.’

Not sure if you remember something

from a previous issue of ‘Sheep in the

Road’ where a question of why gold is

considered so valuable arose ... hmmm,

well Cox goes on about that too ...

‘The assembly of the heavier elements

in the cores of stars stops with iron,

element No.26. Stars cannot in the

normal course of their lives build

anything heavier than iron because this

process does not release energy and

does not help the star in its fight against

gravity. So, if you are wearing a gold

wedding ring or gold jewellery, look at

it now. Gold is heavier than iron, so it is

not made in the hearts of stars.’

So where did gold come from? Cox says

that gold is made in the last seconds in

the lives of the most massive stars in the

universe, the supernova explosions.

‘Gold is so rare because the conditions

needed to make it are rare. On average,

in a galaxy of a 100,000 million




stars, there will only be one supernova

explosion per century, and the explosion

itself is only hot enough to make gold

for about a minute. In our topsy-turvey

world rare equals valuable. Throughout

the whole of human history, we have

only discovered enough gold on Earth to

fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools


OK, now back to the story of the origin

of the chemical building blocks of

human beings ... our ingredients were

cooked in the hearts of ancient suns,

thrown out into the universe at their

deaths and eventually brought back

together by the relentless pull of gravity

over billions of years to form our solar

system. The elements we constitute

were forged at the moment of these

magnificent stellar deaths, new life born

from the ashes of old. We are part of a

vast cycle of cosmic death and rebirth,

and when we die, the elements that

make up our bodies will be returned to

the universe to begin the cycle again.

What a wonderful thing to be part of

this universe, and what a story. What a

majestic story ... of carbon recycling ...


I was a highwayman

Along the coach roads I did ride

With sword and pistol by my side

Many a young maid lost her baubles

to my trade

Many a soldier shed his lifeblood

on my blade

The bastards hung me in the spring

of twenty-five

But I am still alive

I was a sailor

I was born upon the tide

And with the sea I did abide

I sailed a schooner round

the Horn to Mexico

I went aloft and furled the mainsail

in a blow

And when the yards broke off

they said that I got killed

But I am living still


I was a dam builder

Across the river deep and wide

Where steel and water did collide

A place called Boulder

on the wild Colorado

I slipped and fell

into the wet concrete below

They buried me in that great tomb

that knows no sound

But I am still around

I’ll always be around, and around

and around and around and around ...

I’ll fly a starship

Across the Universe divide

And when I reach the other side

I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can

Perhaps I may become

a highwayman again

Or I may simply be a single drop of rain

But I will remain

And I’ll be back again, and again and

again and again and again ...

Words: Jimmy Webb

Ready to explode ...

dying star Betelgeuse






William Hogarth


One of Hogarth’s best-known engravings, the setting is laid in a slum

street of St Giles in Westminster. the central figure, a drunken woman

with syphilitic sores on her legs, drops her baby in order to take a pinch

of snuff as she sits on the steps leading to the gin cellar with its flagon

emblem ‘Gin Royal’ and the characteristic inscription, ‘Drunk for a

Penny, Dead drunk for Twopence, Clean Straw for nothing.’ At the foot of

the steps sits a dying (or dead) gin-and-ballad-seller. Under the pawnbroker’s

sign, Gripe, the owner, is taking a carpenter’s saw and coat as

a pledge for gin money, while a housewife waits to pawn her household

utensils. In the background a naked woman is being buried and on the

barber’s shop (indicated by the pole) the barber has hanged himself,

perhaps because there is no need for his services in Gin Lane. The gin

merchants on the right, Kilman’s Distiller, are, however, doing roaring

business. All these details, powerfully juxtaposed, combine to make up

one of the most savage of all Hogarth’s prints








George Orwell


writing in June 1937

The anarchists were still in virtual control

of Catalonia and the revolution was still in

full swing. To anyone who had been there

since the beginning it probably seemed

even in December or January that the

revolutionary period was ending; but when

one came straight from England the aspect

of Barcelona was something startling and


It was the first time I had ever been in a

town where the working class was in the

saddle. Practically every building of any size

had been seized by the workers and was

draped with red flags or with the red and

black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was

scrawled with the hammer and sickle and

with the intials of the revolutionary parties;

almost every church had been gutted and its

images burnt. Churches here and there were

being systematically demolished by gangs of


Every shop and cafe had an inscription

saying it had been collectivised; even the

bootblacks had been collectivised and their

boxes painted red and black. Waiters and

shop-walkers looked you in the face and

treated you as an equal.


Tipping was forbidden by law; almost my

first experience was receiving a lecture from

a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy.

There were no private motor-cars, they had

all been commandeered, and all the trams

and taxis and much of the other transport

were painted red and black.

The revolutionary posters were everywhere,

flaming from the walls in clean reds

and blues that made the few remaining

advertisements look like daubs of mud.

Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of

the town where crowds of people streamed

constantly to and fro, the loudspeakers were

bellowing revolutionary songs all day and far

into the night.


And it was the aspect of the crowds that

was the queerest thing of all. In outward

appearance it was a town in which the

wealthy classes had practically ceased to

exist. Except for a small number of women

and foreigners there were no ‘well-dressed’

people at all. Practically everyone wore

rough working-class clothes, or blue overalls,

or some variant of the militia uniform.

All this was queer and moving. There was

much in it that I did not understand, in some

ways I did not even like it, but I recognised

it immediately as a state of affairs worth

fighting for.




UNTITLED (Chairs) from Zeno Writing II, 2002 by William Kentridge

By South African, William Kentridge,

this print comes from a suite based on

the novel, ‘Confessions of Zeno’ (!923)

by Italo Svevo, the imagery overlaid with

looping abstract calligraphy, like a visual

stream of consciousness. The novel centres

on a middle-class businessman in Trieste

shortly before the First World War, as he

recalls the moments of indecision and

irresolution that have shaped his life,

and coloured his familial relationships.

Written as if from the psychiatrist’s couch,

it conveys the hero’s weakness and guilt,

and the limitations of his self-knowledge.

It is this idea of guilt, and of impotence

despite self-knowledge, that Kentridge has

explored repeatedly as he confronts the

implications for individuals and societies,

of their responses to political events.

Kentridge writes, ‘When I first read Svevo’s

book some 20 years ago, one of the

things that drew me to it was the evocation

of Trieste as a rather desperate provincial

city at the edge of an empire– away from

the centre, the real world. This felt very

similar to Johannesburg in the 1970s. In

the years following this has persisted. And

caused me to return to the book.’






Oh shit!

Forgot to

remove the ...






In exile in Jersey, Pierre Leroux,

author of the first ecological utopia,

mixed sand and cinders with his shit

and grew haricot beans.

‘Don’t you find gentlemen, I am

a singular alchemist? Ordinary

alchemists look for gold and I’ve

found shit.’

‘Human excrement is the most fertile

there is.’

Leroux argued its use would

quadruple agricultural production.

There would be enough of it to

fertilise the land necessary for

growing cereals to feed the whole of

the human race.

In China, since the revolution,

traditional shit-collecting has been

mechanised and night-soil is still used

for fertilising the fields.





Anarchists suggest that humans

are by nature both benign and

cooperative, they are only corrupted

by government, which both exploits

and oppresses them. Anarchists

are anti-capitalist, maintaining that

industrial capitalism warps and

disempowers human beings and

prevents them from realizing their true

potential. Although perceived as on

the ‘left’ anarchists reject conventional

marxism’s endorsement of state control

as a necessary stage on the route to true



French philosopher and socialist,

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, 1809–65, the

first person to call himself an anarchist

declared, ‘Property is theft’ ...

and so it is!









the bastard

is onto us

chief ...


‘Of course, the representation of Labour in

corporate media is going to be everything

Cameron could hope for because he,

Murdoch and pretty much everybody they

know works for the same boss: FINANCIAL


is middle management and Murdoch is

more senior, something high up in their PR

department. Another problem for Corbyn

is the intrinsic conservatism of the concision

demanded by news shows: it’s difficult to

explain why an ingrained assumption is

wrong in a soundbite, and it’s to his credit

that he can’t seem to be bothered trying.

Then there’s the overwhelming lack of

context in our news coverage. How many

stories about the US’s recent deal with Iran

mention that the US overthrew the Iranian

government in a 1953 CIA-backed coup?

There’s bias there – no doubt if Russia had

sponsored a coup in Iran it would have

made it into the coverage – but there’s

another reason this happens. Removing

context makes it much easier to engage

readers with emotions such as surprise,

or outrage. Our news media instinctively

removes context, because “look at this

inexplicable shit that just happened” sells

more papers than the more depressing

“look at this inevitable shit that will no doubt

keep happening”.’




‘Faced with this level of inherent bias, the

rhetoric of anti-austerity is failing in a few

ways. The first is that it tries to construct

a persuasive moral argument against a

case for austerity that hasn’t been framed

morally. It has been very effectively framed

as a necessary evil. In any case, I’ve always

found the idea of “speaking truth to power”

faintly ridiculous. Powerful people are

generally quite well aware of what they are

doing and – should you ever make it past

their security – will respond to your truthspeaking

with a look that says: “you don’t

know the half of it”. The thing you can rely

on about self-interested people is that they

won’t really be interested in you. They don’t

care, and you’re not going to find the right

form of words that suddenly makes them


Frankie Boyle





95 percent

of Brit Expats

Sent Back to

UK for Failing

Language Test

Joe Mellor

The biggest movement of migrants since

the Second World War began today, as

countries across the world demanded UK

expats had to speak the language of their

chosen country, or they had to leave … and

most failed.

Foreign officials have said the test wasn’t

even that rigorous. You only had to know

how to say “Two Beers” “Please” “No” “Yes”

and “Do you have real brown sauce?” but

almost one hundred per cent flunked it.

A Foreign Office Spokesman said: “We

don’t know how to cope with the influx,

even some Brits in Australia failed the test,

as they didn’t add “mate” to the end of the

brown sauce question.”

Steve Tate, 35, who was packing up his

belongings in Alicante said: “I was just

about to learn the Spanish for ‘two beers”

but I just couldn’t find the time, I’ve only

been here eight years. I did integrate

though, I went to the Black Lion pub, with

Stevie, Gaz and Larry everyday. I remember

that day we ate squid, it was rank though,

never again.”

Shelia Predegast, 45, who lives in Albufeira,

was seething after being told she had to

leave, telling customs officials, “I didn’t want

to learn Spanish anyway.”



The moon and I,

We’re low tonight,

Not blue,

but golden glow.

Alone, together,

we search the sky

For a pinhole of hope in the

deepest darkest black.


The cold air gives away my breath,

Then takes my breath away,

A clue?

My companion, The moon,

though battered and scarred

will once more rise and

Face the Light of the Sun

Give me a reason to sleep tonight,

Give me a reason to rise.

• • •

Martin Taylor







Photographs: David Goldblatt (tweaked)

The kitchen was a hive of activity, Lucy moved from cooker to

worktop, occasionally to the sink and often exercising a knowing

expertise at the flip-top bin. Here, in her domain, she was queen,

and she knew it, she had learnt the hard way – years of patronising

guff – but now, she was showing off. Margo Van Niekerk watched

her from the open kitchen door, still giving unnecessary advice and

welling down a feeling of envy. Lucy acknowledged the superfluous

advice with a carefully rehearsed tight-lipped smile, playing the

kitchen like a TV chef, while cleverly deferring – showing she

knew her place in the scheme of things – keeping Margo sweet

and maintaining that smidgeon of dignity that kept her sane. The

dinner prepared, it was served to the usual crowd of friends the

Van Niekerks had invited. Lucy helped with the serving and Mrs Van

Niekerk, without a flicker, ingraciously and with throwaway modesty,

took credit for, what looked like, a wonderful meal.


As the after-dinner banter rose to shrieks Lucy dug her hands into

the soapy water and thought of Jerome, how she missed him now.

She remembered with tenderness the three nights last month they



had been together in her kaya, a room at the bottom of the Van

Niekerk’s garden. Mr Van Niekerk had said it was alright for ‘John’

to stay but had reminded her that it was against the law and they

should be careful. Mr Van was a great guy, she thought, but she

couldn’t understand why he kept calling Jerome ‘John’, or why

Jerome suddenly volunteered to cut all the lawns, front and back.

As she scoured the final pan, she pondered on this but came to no

satisfactory conclusion, or, for that matter, why Jerome had left so

abruptly… or why he hadn’t written since, now that was a worrying

thought. She left the house for her room catching ‘… you’ll have

to come over to us sometime, OK?’ and knowing it wasn’t for her

ears. Her once narrow bunk, in the neon glare of her whitewashed

room, became a vast ocean of tears in the gloom of the Transvaal

night, now too big for her alone …oh Jerome.

Priscilla was woken by the cockerel’s cry that cold grey morning,

the sun had not yet appeared from over the distant dark hills. The

plain was deserted, with only the odd hut breaking the flatness

with its grouping of goats, cattle, a tree standing proud in the

early morning mist. She rose quickly, her breath clouding the air,

she covered her nakedness with her best dress, today she would

see Umfons again. She paused in her dressing to remember; nine

months ago she and the boys had been taken from their home in

the city in an open truck and left on this plain; Umfons had cried as

they tied their belongings together with red and white string, they’d

all cried, but the officials, even though moved by the emotion, had




their orders to hide behind and whole families were uprooted – to

be scattered in their homelands. Umfons had stayed. The date on

the Dunlop calendar on the wall, today’s date, was heavily ringed.

Her smile shone as she noticed the sun already above the horizon,

wobbling in the heat haze like the egg yolk she’d just broken in the

frying pan. She started singing and woke the boys.


Umfons was already on the train, his awkward posture in the

crowded carriage dictated by the expensive, but ill-fitting new suit,

so obviously admired by his fellow passengers that they made extra

room for him, so’s he wouldn’t create new creases. He was going

home, he’d told them, although he’d lived all his life in the city and

this was his first trip to the Transkei. Good natured banter broke out

in the carriage as the sun warmed the sleep from the occupants’

eyes, the distantly familiar clicking of his mother’s Xhosa, now

all around him, brought back childhood memories – the slick

smoothness of the Zulu he had lived with for so long now seemed

ugly by comparison. Friendly suggestions on what to do when he

and Priscilla were alone together again were sheepishly laughed

off by an embarrassed Umfons, he enjoyed the attention but now

he wished he could become just another anonymous passenger

again. Someone started singing and he was happy and relieved

to join in. He stared at the unchanging, flat, barren plain as they

pursued their straight course, occassionally small boys would

appear from nowhere to wave and shout as the train trundled by.

His thoughts dwelled on the way things were; as a black man he


was quite well paid at the Dunlop factory and had managed to save

some money whilst staying in the hostel, even, after sending half

his wages to Priscilla. Now he had two weeks’ leave and a suitcase

full of presents, he was going home; they told him it was his home

although he’d never been there. How can this be, he thought?

Some of the men at the hostel had ideas about this state of affairs,

but even he, Umfons, could see their struggle, however just, was

almost impossible, yet when they spoke on Friday nights after the

stick fights he found he could not fault their thinking. He cursed

them for invading his homecoming thoughts.

The railway station was crowded with women and children and

everyone was craning their necks, looking out along the tracks to

the distant horizon, a small boy who had climbed the telegraph

pole was dangerously close to losing his grip as he sang out,

pointing to the distant smudge of smoke with his free arm. The

station heaved with agitated anticipation, the train was coming! The

women’s singing rose from the quiet murmur it had been for the

last hour to a chorus of pure joy, tears left tracks in the fine dust on

Priscilla’s cheeks. Umfons, and the others who were fortunate to be

near a window, hung their heads out, risking their sight as small

bits of coal from the locomotive peppered their faces. Umfons,

screwed up face, searched the track ahead for a first sight of his

destination. The station came into view, heads bobbed in and out of

the carriage windows as those unfortunate enough to occupy seats

in the core of the carriages were allowed a look. There were hurried





farewells to friends of convenience, smiles all round as the train

jerked into the station, the women’s far off singing had now become

a reality of wonderment.

Priscilla, with little Steve and Nelson on either arm, scanned each

carriage as it went by, Umfons saw her first, their eyes met and it

was just like that day they’d first met, all those years ago, at her

uncle’s wedding. As he stepped from the carriage, the awkwardness

of the suit was gone, his smile broke his face and tears so long held

back criss-crossed the folds of his grinning face, wetting both Steve

and Nelson as they broke free from their mother’s grasp, burrowing

their crinkly heads into his neck as he stooped to lift them. Priscilla

looked on, unsure of herself all of a sudden, nine months was a

long time, Umfons saw the hesitation and grasped her to him, the

four clinging to each other on the emptying platform, oblivious to

everyone and everything, two weeks would soon pass…


Dinertime and half-eaten sandwiches were being pushed through

the chickenwire fencing; Jerome’s attempts to catch the bits before

they fell to the floor were less than successful and soon his caged

space beneath the Science Labs was littered with crumbled bread.

The boys’ school was for the English-speaking elite; they used

convicts to work on their sportsfields. Jerome poked about in the

bread for the odd piece of meat, his eyes hooded, but defiant, as

he flicked looks back at the well-fed, healthy, happy schoolboys

who crowded around his cage – their curiosity not yet tempered



by the racial spite of their elders. Joshua, Jerome’s warder, who

was over six feet tall, impressively dressed in neatly pressed khaki

and carrying an assegai, which he had promised Jerome he would

never use, stood proudly on guard, his confident happy-with-mylot

smile countered by Jerome’s seemingly blank and acquiescing

facade. Behind the face, overwhelmed by the reality of his situation,

Jerome seethed and then simmered, his emotions in turmoil as he

battled to control his rage, his systems of survival near to collapse

and his only salvation being a relentless plotting of revenge, that

bastard, Mr Van, still fresh in his thoughts, had said he had had no

option but to report Jerome for his breach of the Pass Laws – and

this, after Mr Van had encouraged him to stay, and after he had

sweated blood cutting the lawns with a rusty old lawnmower! It

seemed to him, his only crime had been to refuse to wash Mr Van’s

car, Lucy, oh Lucy…

Written in 1982 with the vulgar and soul destroying absurdities

of Apartheid in mind, with its vile enslavement of black peoples,

draconian pass laws and upheavals of whole communities in the

name of racial segregation. This is dedicated to all the Umfons,

Pricillas, Lucys and Jeromes – some of whom I am honoured, but

equally, in those circumstances, regret to have known – and sadly,

initially, to have been a passive observer of their plight.

From ‘Writing some Wrongs’, Alan Rutherford

Published by Hand Over fist Press, 2007









Dear Editor ...

I say again, well, because the letters page is a

hopeless failure, I say again ... Words fail me,

what is the use of words when the person you

are saying them to is unable to grasp your, and

their, meaning?

Worryingly, we are heading down that irrational

road again, the one where stupidity reigns,

where basic facts and knowledge acquired over

time are being replaced by entrenched banal

myths, hearsay and superstition. The probability

that this age-old fudge of complacency and

mad spouters will be defended to the death

before reason can be accepted again (if ever)

is terrifying. For evidence of this I direct your

(giggling now) attention to Donald Trump

and his campaign to become US President.

As Britain’s government is a happy satellite of

US mischief in the world ... and a blindly loyal

follower of US foreign policy, what will our

government do if Trump suceeds and begins his

Term of Ignorance?


Whilst I remain optimistic about the future I am

absolute in my scepticism about whether the

Davos-business-arses and their sycophantic

political stooges whooping it up in the Swiss

mountains are the answer.

More contributions please.




2 0 1 6














Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Cover: Alan Rutherford

Photographs, words and artwork sourced

from ‘found in the scrapbook of life’,

no intentional copyright infringement

intended, credited whenever possible,

so, for treading on any toes ...

apologies all round!

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in the next issue,

will be the 15th day of the

next month, in your dreams!

Articles and all correspondence to:

Opening 03

Ireland, 1846 05

Detritus 19

An Age Old Question 29

Folly 35

Don’t Mark His Face 45

Dublin, Easter 1916 53

4 horsemen 60

Letters 63







Welcome to magazine number 8.

Articles by way of other sources, words

borrowed, and although I try to provide

artwork and photographs ... some odd

pieces catch my eye and are adopted to

illustrate an angle. Its a visual necessity if I

am to produce this ‘rag’ ... contributors are

a scarce breed.

Martin Taylor excels himself again, and if he

isn’t constructing a book of prose, then he


Otherwise its nuggets of the eclectic ...


Until next time, get active, stay alive ...


Photograph: Alan Rutherford





Paul Kaill

We buried Patrick in the early hours of this morning, choosing that time

so as not to fret the other little ones. They had seen enough of death to

know that their eldest brother had finally gone; they knew the symptoms

of The Illness, and knew there was but one cure. When The Sleep came

on him it was the first time for a year that Patrick’s young, wizened face

had shown peace. He was his father through and through: tall and silent,

save for when something needed to be said; a worker; yes, a worker

allright – lithe and muscled from the hoeing and lifting, his bared flesh

reddened by sun and prevailing wind. My son, and his death has rent this

family so deeply that it will never recover.


Photograph: Alan Rutherford

When the realisation came that the crop would fail, our neighbours

called a meeting for all those who, like them and us, were dependent

on the praties for their survival. One year before we had met in similar

circumstances, locked in conversation for a whole day, trying to decide

where our meagre supplies should be stored, how they should be

rationed, how they could be defended if raiders should try to pillage.

Hard it had been, but decisions were taken. Those with ample lost little,

and those with nothing gleaned just enough to survive. We did survive,

cursing our bad luck that the crop had been so bad, invoking the better

times that were sure to come.


It was to that end that we set about the planting of seeds, ready for the cycle

of nature to take its grip, holding all in its hands, caressing and nurturing

the seed into growth. And as we saw the first tiny green leaves begin to show

– we wept. Food to feed us all. Two full meals every day. Fullness and an

absence of want. One with nature. Now nature had become our enemy, and

the meeting of these forty souls had about it an air of inevitability and dread.

A year before there had been supplies to allocate, but now nothing was left

except the seed praties, and there were precious few of those. Families who

had used their seed to survive the winter were dependent on those whose

prudence, or good fortune, had dictated a careful storage. For that reason

many were dependent on us, and we gave what we could.


After the allocation was over the whole family had gathered in the yard,

silent except for the crying of the little ones, they not able to understand the

giving. We had to shield our eyes against the setting sun as we watched

our neighbours leave, thay laden with the givings; we full-hearted at having

given. As we watched them go Jonjo released us from his embrace and

returned to the house, and I knew – because I knew him as well as any

woman has known any man – that he was pain’d in his heart and had a

mind to leave. I followed, and the children cowered in the barn for they knew

that words would be said.

‘Is it the anger that makes you leave, Jonjo? Is it the hurt of Patrick’s death?

Must you leave, and us needing you so?’

He never looked up. He could not – for to look me in the eye would have

brought tears to his. The sack he had torn from the pile was opened and the

few items of spare clothing he had were thrust inside.


Photograph: Alan Rutherford





‘Don’t walk away from me my darlin’. Talk to me as other husbands

would. Take your anger and your pain and lay them on me, but do not

leave. Please.’

I followed him out of the house, through the yard and past the barn

where the babies were huddled. He took our only horse, frail and starved

though it was, and walked with a purposeful stride down the art track and


‘You will never be forgiven, Jonjo!’ was all that I could say. But it was my

heart that spoke, and the heart is seldom a guarantor of reason.

As I knelt and wept there the children came to comfort me, clinging so

tight that, when I tried to rise their weight held me down, and their tears

made me forget my own, and a strength born from shared deprivation

caused me to fuss them and cajole them back to the house. Strange that,

though their father’s going had torn a piece out of them, too, they wept

only for my weeping, and for the grieving of a brother taken and never to

be held again.


Photograph: Alan Rutherford

‘Help me with supper, children. Kate, put the kettle on the fire, and John –

fetch sticks to make the fire burn hot. The twins can help me skin and gut

the rabbit. We are very lucky to have caught this fine buck, for there are

few enough of them left to catch. Quickly now – fetch a pail to catch the

entrails, and fresh water for the cleaning of the skin before it is hung.‘

From tears to full purpose in the space of minutes, with nothing but

despair as a guide and guardian. The fire burned bright, and the scent


of roasting rabbit filled the house, and for a while there our troubles

were forgotten, lost in the anticipation of a full belly and the absence of

hunger. Our plates were licked clean, with no-one to scold for lack of

decencies; decency a thing which had been forgotten when want came to



One year before we had harvested what little there was to harvest, and

looked to this time, this harvest time in His year 1846 as a point on which

our thoughts could dwell; but in a night the parties were ruined, the stalks

firm and green but the leaves scorched black, and the waking to a new

dawn that day brought cries of anguish from those who were first afield.

Across a whole country came recognition of the misery which was to

come, and for some the knowledge of it was too great. The boughs of

the forest trees bore fruit of a wretched kind: the old who saw no point

in further suffering; and the young ones – whose killers took their own

lives when the writhing of the others had ceased; and none of them with

strength enough to watch the others suffer. Acts of kindness to which no

eulogy could ever do justice.

Amidst the hunger and the dying there was those whose hearts could

not be touched, even by the hollow-eyed gaze of the frailest infant. For

their concern lay not in the welfare of the tenant farmers and their kin,

but in the profits gleaned from the sale of that which was produced, and

the rent in money or kind that brought the tenant families to their knees

in the paying. Some of these profiteers were old and we, the earth-bred

and the hungry, wished them a swift and painful death; but some were

younger, enriched by bequest, whom we hated with a passion that, for

the most part, remained unspoken. While the harvest was good and


sufficient for our needs we dared not risk the wrath of our landlords, for

we had our homes and livelihoods to lose and no future without them,

but deprivation had aroused anger within us and now, when rents were

due, our monied masters had much to fear – and they knew this. One

such had ventured, foolishly, alone, to a tenant’s home close by, and had

tried to horse-whip a wife who was heavy with child, but her bairns had

screamed a warning and we had responded. They found him the next

morning, tied to a tree and whipped so badly that he was identified only

by the heavy gold rings on his fingers and the initials embroidered on a

fine silk handkerchief.

Now the landlords came with helpers tall and strong, carrying gun,

powder and shot to add to their powers of persuasion. None dared

rebel in such company, and those found wanting were evicted at once,

and their homes burned to settle the matter, and the lanes and villages

throughout the land began to carry traffic of the human kind. Whole

families wandered at the mercy of elements, seeking what shelter they

could, with no food at all to be bought or stolen, and those with an apple

or a hen’s egg traded life for these things, and young girls were taken

and sullied in ditches and empty barns, and many killed in the process.

It was a time of want and a time of evil, and a time when, for some,

revenge was the only thing which sustained life.


In the early hours of the following morning there was movement outside

the house, not enough to awaken the children but enough to rouse

me from a fitful sleep and cause me to reach for the shillelagh at the

bedside. One person, moving quietly over the sod, first to the barn then

towards the house, pausing at the door only to make himself known.




‘If you have it in mind to brain me, wife, you should know you’ll be

making yourself a widow in the process. Will you let me in, woman, or

will we both be standing here all night?’

A husband returned home and, not for the first time in the course of

human history, a wife ready to forgive and welcome.

‘You’ll be cursing me for leaving you, wife, and you have good cause to

do so.’

I looked into his eyes, there in the near-darkness, and saw that the anger

had gone from him, saw a man content, and I knew that someone had

felt his anger and suffered for it. Then I embraced him and he’d him

tight to my body and wished him to be passion’d by my kisses, so that he

would mate with me as other husbands would with their wives, so that the

hurt would be gone between us, and we could look to the new day for a

beginning, even though our failed crop warranted nothing but despair.

But the dampness of his clothing clung to mine, this not the new-morning

dew that enveloped any night walker but a tacky blackness which caused

me to pull away from him and look down to see my petticoats stained

dark from breast to knee, and I knew then why the anger had gone from

my man, and no explanation of events was needed nor sought.


Photograph: Alan Rutherford

‘You must leave now, Jonjo, and take what little food we have here.

Hurry. Here, take this sacking to carry what you need and keep you

warm on the cold nights. You must never return here, for nothing but the

hangman’s noose awaits you. Go, quickly.’


‘I must stay – to protect you and the bairns. You know what they will do?’

And full realisation of what he had done now came to him.

‘They will come in strength. Burn the house. Ravish me. Beat the children.

I know that. Jon, you must go!’

And he walked into the night, my husband, father to my children, a

wanted man with blood on his hands, and if I had worn his shoes that

night I know I would have murdered too, and had just cause to do so.


A mile and a half distant they could be seen – a dozen torches lighting

the way for a dozen men intent on retribution, fired by the discovery

of one of their kind hanging from a chandelier in the library of the Big

House, his eyes put out and his hands severed, and his gullet stuffed with

gold coins which were his preoccupation. I stared and stared then looked

away, wanting to weep but finding myself empty of such emotion; and a

nightjar churred its final September song, and I took the smooth leather

belt from the waistband of my only dress, choosing that implement so as

not to chafe the soft flesh of my children’s necks, and walked slowly over

to where they lay.

The nightjar flew from its tree roost and circled twice about the house

before commencing its southing, and as it passed over a copse a

half-mile distant a man, gaunt, bloodied, paused to look up before

recommencing his own flight – to safety and survival.












edited from

Charlie Gilmour

article in the Independent

12 February 2016

In Britain, if you’re a mass murderer, your fate

seems to depend largely on how many people

you kill. Slaughter a few innocents and you’ll

be counting bricks in Belmarsh for the rest of

your years; spill the blood of continents and it’s

Portland stone and a plaque in your honour.

Campaigners in Oxford recently made

headlines with their attempts to topple a

statue of Cecil Rhodes. Organising member

of Rhodes Must Fall (RMF), South African law

student Ntokozo Qwabe, even claimed the very

architecture of the city was laid out “in a racist

and violent way”. But can stone and metal

really engender such feelings? Well, a brisk

walk through central London certainly turns up

a killer on every street corner. Forget Clapton or

Moss Side: Whitehall’s the real “murder mile”.

Unlike in Russia, where from 1991 statues of

Stalin and other undesirables were dumped

unceremoniously in Fallen Monument Park,

or Germany, where you’d be hard-pressed to

find anything glorifying its most recent empire,

Britain has yet to exorcise its imperial past.

The short stretch from the Strand to Parliament

Square contains more butchers than Smithfield

Market. Together, they’re either directly

responsible for or implicated in the deaths of as

many as 30 million people.




When I arrive on the Strand to begin this

atrocity tour, the first item on the agenda – a

larger-than-life statue of Sir Arthur “Bomber”

Harris – is under armed guard. It’s nothing

personal: Princess Kate is gracing the nearby

RAF chapel with her presence. She blithely

greets current members of the air force beneath

a bronze of the man who, as commanderin-chief

of Bomber Command during the

Second World War, was, among other things,

responsible for the incineration of at least

25,000 civilians at Dresden.

Unlike in 1992, when the Queen Mother

unveiled the thing, there are no boos from

protesters – dubbed “peace idiots” by the Daily

Mail – just exited squeals from tourists who can’t

quite believe their luck. Nor are there any traces

of the splashes of red paint that meant it had to

be guarded by police day and night for several

months afterwards. The history of dissent has

been wiped clean, and the plaque beneath

contains no reference to what many consider to

be a war crime.

Harris is unusual – but not for his body-count.

Rather, he is one of the few statue-people whose

victims were mostly white. Passing General Sir

Charles Napier, conqueror of much of what

is now Pakistan, and Major General Sir Henry

Havelock, hammer of the First Indian War of

Independence – who still hold their ground at

Trafalgar Square, despite an attempt by thenmayor

of London Ken Livingstone to get rid of

“the two generals that no one has ever heard

of” – and walking down Carlton House Terrace,

we come to the feet of Lord Curzon.

As Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, Curzon

oversaw one of many famines to afflict the

subcontinent during the period of British rule.

As about 1.25 million people starved to death,

and a further two million perished from disease,

Curzon cut rations he considered “dangerously

high” and attacked “indiscriminate alms-giving”

that “weakened the fibre and demoralised the

self-reliance of the population”. Stringent tests

were introduced that deprived many of aid.

In the Bombay district alone, the government

boasted that it had deterred a million people

from claiming. The relief camps – in which the

starving were forced to engage in strenuous

physical labour in exchange for help – were

made as unpleasant as possible. Essentials such

as blankets and fuel were regularly withheld.

The Guardian’s horrified correspondent

described the situation as “a grand hunt of

death with scores of thousands of the refugees

at the famine camps for quarry”. But today

Curzon stands unchallenged, dressed in mock-

Roman garb, above a plaque that reads: “In

Recognition of a Great Public Life.”

Across the Mall, on Horse Guards Parade, Field

Marshal Viscount Garnet Wolseley sits proudly

astride his mount. Such a fine military leader

was he that the phrase “everything’s Sir Garnet”

became army-speak for “everything’s great,

thanks!” Engraved in the rear of the pedestal

is a list of the campaigns in which he served:

Egypt 1882; South Africa 1879; Ashanti 1873-

4; Red River 1870; China 1860-1; and, of

course, the “Indian Mutiny” of 1857.


A very British trade ...

• Opium from India bought

tea from China, which was

sent to Britain with Indian raw

materials like cotton.

• Imported raw materials were

processed into textiles and

other manufactured goods in

British factories, which were

then exchanged for slaves in

west Africa.

• African slaves were bartered

for sugar and tobacco and/or

sold for gold and silver in the

West Indies and America.


• The gold and silver helped

fund the industrial revolution

and the subsequent monopoly

of manufactured goods,

combined with cheap labour

at home, ensured British

dominance of world trade.

• The sugar, produced by

slave labour, was combined

with the tea, obtained from

opium trading, to produce what

became England’s national




Britain’s response to what is more correctly

referred to as India’s First War of Independence

was truly savage. A captain at the time,

Wolseley recalls having sworn an oath “of

having blood for blood, not drop for drop, but

barrels and barrels of the filth which flows in

these niggers’ veins for every drop” of British

blood that had been spilled by the rebellious

sepoys [Indian soldiers].

While most accounts suggest about 100,000

Indians were killed following the rebellion – in

many cases, forced to lick blood from the floor

before being hung, bayoneted in the stomach

or tied over cannon and blasted to smithereens

– historian Amaresh Misra has calculated that

almost 10 million were in fact wiped out over

the next decade. As one British official recorded

after the event: “On account of the undisputed

display of British power, necessary during those

terrible and wretched days, millions of wretches

seemed to have died.”

On the other side of the parade is a hero, at

last. Field Marshal Earl Kitchener of Khartoum

was one of the truly great men of the British

Empire – so much so that his image was

famously used for recruitment purposes during

the First World War: “Your country needs you!”

But it wasn’t just Britain’s youth that he ushered

into an early grave. During the Second Boer

War, in response to the guerrilla tactics of the

Afrikaners, he vastly expanded the use of a new

tactic: the concentration camp.

Tens of thousands were interred in filthy, undersupplied

and exposed camps. Emily Hobhouse,

a campaigner who made it her mission to

expose conditions, wrote that “the whole talk [in

the camps] was of death – who died yesterday,

who lay dying today and who would be dead

tomorrow”. The reward for her efforts was an

attack piece in the Daily Mail, written by that

great author of Empire, Edgar Wallace (Sanders

of the River, King Kong and scores more). It was

headlined, simply, “Woman – The Enemy”.

By the end of the war, 28,000 Boers, mostly

women and children, had perished in the

camps. The black victims of the policy

went uncounted. Years later, when the

British Ambassador to Germany expressed

concerns about Nazi use of concentration

camps, Hermann Goering reached for his

encyclopaedia: “First used by the British in South

Africa,” he announced. It’s hard to imagine a

more inappropriate figure for us to place on a

pedestal – yet there he stands.

Down Whitehall, giving a wide berth to General

Haig, the bloody-minded butcher of the Somme,

we arrive at Parliament Square, where statues

dot the green like giant chess pieces. To the

north, there’s Lord Palmerston, declarer of the

First Opium War and poster boy for “gunboat

diplomacy”, whose time at the Foreign Office

was described by the Liberal politician John

Bright as “one long crime”; next, Jan Smuts,

a South African statesman whose advocacy of

racial segregation laid the ground for apartheid;

and finally, Sir Winston Churchill himself.


True, Winston beat the Nazis. But a game of

“Who said it: Hitler or Churchill?” is still more

difficult than one might think. Who called for

the “feeble-minded” to be “segregated under

proper conditions so that their curse died with

them”; suggested “mental defectives...tramps

and wastrels” be sent into forced labour; and

warned that the “multiplication of the unfit”

constituted “a very terrible danger to the race”?

I’ll give you a clue: not Hitler.

Unfair? One of his own cabinet ministers, Leo

Amery, accused him of having a “Hitler-like”

attitude when it came to India. And remember

– the war effort bled India white. During the first

half of 1943, even as famine set in, 70,000

tonnes of grain were extracted for use abroad.

Churchill was reportedly unmoved. “The

starvation of anyway underfed Bengalis is less

serious than [that of] sturdy Greeks,” he said.

But then, he didn’t have time for most Indians.

Hindus were, he later said, “a foul race” who, in

any case, “breed like rabbits”.

The consequences were devastating. As Pier

Brendon writes in The Decline and Fall of

the British Empire: “Clutching infants of skin

and bone, skeletal women cried for alms...

Every morning corpses, decomposing in the

steamy heat and often gnawed at by rats or

jackals, littered the streets.” As many as three

million perished in what some refer to as the

“Bengali Holocaust”. Which sure puts Cecil’s

achievements into some perspective. Of course

Rhodes Must Fall, but so too must Churchill,

Kitchener, Wolseley, Curzon and the rest; in fact,

statues that deserve their pedestals seem to be

few and far between. So, what to do?

As the Oxford campaigners have been

discovering, resistance to change is, well, set in

stone. Lord Patten, Chancellor of the University,

responded to the demands of the Rhodes Must

Fall campaign by suggesting that its supporters

should “think about being educated elsewhere”.

Many online responses were just as bad. “Cecil

Rhodes did more for Africa then you’ll ever do,”

wrote one typical commenter.Then, after Rhodes

Must Fall campaign won an Oxford Union

debate, donors stepped in and threatened to

withhold funding. And so – for the present, at

least, – Rhodes Must Stand.

For insensitivity, perhaps? As Dalia Gebrial,

an organising member of Rhodes Must Fall

campaign says: “I wasn’t quite aware of the

level of cognitive dissonance that exists. People

really don’t know what the realities of the British

Empire were. It’s not that surprising – I studied

history to A-level standard and I never once

engaged with the Empire. But Rhodes is not

an exception. His statue exists within a wider

trend: the nationalistic distortion of history,”

says Gebrial. “This notion that we shouldn’t

interrogate one statue because it might compel

us to think more broadly about other statues

and history is absurd.”

Still, Britain’s nostalgic view of Empire seems to

be very much entrenched. A recent YouGov poll

revealed that more than 40 per cent of people

believe that British colonialism was “a good




thing” and remains “something to be proud

of”. Which might explain why – when some

Royal Holloway University students recently

posted a group-photo of themselves next to an

on-campus statue of the “Empress of India”,

with the question “How can we feel included

when there’s a statue that celebrates the

subordination of our people?” – they started an

online storm.

“I had some seriously nasty comments,” says

Grace Almond, vice-president of the Royal

Holloway Women of Colour Feminism Society.

“People trying to defend Queen Victoria, saying

that colonialism was the best thing to happen

to India.” She finds the sheer hypocrisy of her

attackers almost overwhelming. “People don’t

seem to have a problem with the fact that British

people were looting India and Nigeria and all

sorts of other colonised countries and bringing

it back over here. But, as soon as you suggest

knocking down a statue of someone who is

– in my opinion – one of the most evil men

to ever walk the planet, people get extremely


One soft option is to simply update the

monuments. In 2004, Italian artist Eleonora

Aguiari famously covered the equestrian statue

of another imperial figure – Lord Napier of

Magdala, who sits at the gates to Kensington

Gardens – entirely in red tape. “We have to

discern between what’s good about our past

and what is not – or no longer – good,” she

says. “I believe in transformation more than

destruction. It would be interesting to use

these statues as a base for a new message, to

transform them into something more in line with

the new moment and society.”

From a different perspective, Professor Mary

Beard, the TV historian, author and Cambridge

don, has consistently opposed the toppling of

Rhodes. “Wanting to preserve his statue is not

about saying that Rhodes was a good guy,” she

claims. “ But I think people have to see...what

we’re the beneficiaries of. I want to empower

[students] to put two fingers up to that statue

and say: ‘He was wrong.’ We’ve got to be able

to look these figures from the past in the eye;

otherwise we just push them underground, and

that doesn’t solve the problem.”

From across the quads, though, comes a

dissenting voice. Actually, says Dr Priyamvada

Gopal of Churchill College, Cambridge, tearing

down statues is an “interesting idea”. She

continues: “I would welcome any move that

actually began the process of undoing imperial

amnesia, a condition that afflicts large swathes

of Britain, not least élite institutions.” Britain, she

adds, needs to “look at itself in the mirror and

finally undertake a reckoning with a history that

is not beautified or sanitised”.

For her, Rhodes Must Fall campaign was, and

is, far more than a reductive debate about

masonry. “As the campaign has demanded,”

says Dr Gopal, “at a practical level, there needs

to be a totally honest accounting-for of Britain’s

imperial past, combined with a monumental

effort to acknowledge how the legacy of that


past shapes the present – including in relation

to immigration, racism and the Black and

Ethnic Minority presence in British institutions

such as Oxbridge – and a decolonising of the

curriculum in the arts and humanities to make

it not just more ‘inclusive’ but considerably less

centred on white Britons.”

She can take heart. While the statues might

not be torn down in the foreseeable future, the

structures that support them are slowly but surely

being eroded away. Rhodes Must Fall campaign

started in South Africa, spread to Oxford,

and now, across the nation, the legacies of

Britain’s colonial past are being interrogated on

campuses and in society at large. Meanwhile,

from new and popular cultural hubs such as

the Decolonising Our Minds Society, formed

by London students to “critically examine the

legacy of colonialism” through debates, poetry

nights and hip-hop events, to Facebook groups

such as Why Is My Curriculum White?, there is

a sense that a “reckoning with history”, as one

activist calls it, is at hand.

There’s an African proverb that Grace Almond

always bears in mind: “Until the lions have their

own historians, tales of the hunt will always

glorify the hunter.” And she’s a lion.

Pro-imperialist historians

often brag that, at its height,

the British Empire covered a

quarter of the world’s land

surface and contained a

population of over 400 million.

They neglect to tell us, however,

that it was drug trafficking and

the slave trade that helped put

the ‘Great’ into Great Britain.

Or that the famines in Ireland

and India, that caused tens of

millions of deaths, were the

result of an unyielding market

ideology - backed by official


While ‘civilisation’ and

‘Christianity’ were the oftdeclared

motives for empire,

many of the subject peoples,

over whose countries the Union

Jack flew, had their own view of

British rule. They called Britain’s

flag ‘the butcher’s apron’ and

when British politicians boasted

that the Empire ‘was the place

where the sun never sets’ they

added ‘and the blood never





Photograph: Alan Rutherford

Chicken says ‘Fuck it!’

... and crosses road








With our pockets stuffed with blackjacks and fruit salads we

strolled nonchalantly out of the shop, to the alley at the rear of the

shops where we would share our collective wealth equally amongst the

gang in a huddle on the ground.

“Hey you lot, I seen what you did!”

It was the weird goofy girl that worked in the shop on Saturdays.

Greg was supposed to be keeping her occupied, I looked up at him and

he shrugged his shoulders, I conceded with an upward nod, it was a

tough assignment.

We were caught like rabbits in the headlights, unable to move or speak.

“I want in, you better give me that Mars bar there, or I dob you in.”


Somebody grabbed the Mars from the pile and handed it to her. She

smirked, turned on her heal and disappeared around the corner, back

to work, where she could have quite easily robbed her own Mars bar if

she hadn’t her job security to worry about.

Silence for a few tense moments, then hysterical laughter accompanied

by exaggerated sifting of the treasure, pirate style.

“Pete nearly shit himself!”

“What do you mean, nearly?”

Once the haul had been shared out we headed for the cake shop,

impossible to rob anything here, all the cakes were behind glass, only


the wasps and flies could get in there and inevitably never get out.

However, come half four, Jean will be getting ready to close up.

“Hi Jean, any stale buns?” Angelic look.

“Aw, look at you little cherubs, let me see now...”

She filled a brown paper bag with stale buns and wrapped a custard

slice in greaseproof paper.

“This is for you hun.” She winked the wink that I tolerated for free buns.


I gave the custard slice to Mum when I got home, they were her


She was sorting and stacking dented and label less tinned food into the

kitchen cupboard, singing along to Desmond and Molly (or whatever

it’s called)


She worked at a cash and carry, where, once a month, she and

her fellow workers could purchase the unsellable tins at a cut price.

Generally you could tell what the contents were by giving the tins a

shake, but occasionally what looked like a tin of beans turned out to

be peaches. I think this accounted for most of Dads bizarre culinary

experiments he knocked up and tested on us while he was out of work.

It was all so easy then, I was a prince in my neighbourhood, a criminal

mastermind, a leader of men, a wooer of women, entrepreneur and

provider. Every moment was an adventure, even opening a tin can.

When did it all change?












Edited from an article by

Rafael Behr

in the Guardian

... and a wee quote

from Nicola Sturgeon

While accepting that the European

Union is a bosses club where decisions

are employer-led and commercially

driven, and the concessions to a working

class will be subservient to profit …

there is a vast raft of legislation which

is aimed at creating better working

conditions for workers. It is the idea of

removing some of this EU legislation –

rules which hamstring some employers

in their haste to the trough, and is often

decried by idiots as ’safety gone mad’

– that sits so comfortably with all the

racist claptrap in the ‘Brexit’ (a truly arse

acronym that should certainly disqualify

its supporters!) camp. IN or OUT the

working class will remain exploited by a

ruling class …




By thrusting a pointless referendum

on a country with divided opinion

encouraged by myths and lies is a

wonderful ruling class trick, an illusion at

democracy for us no-marks: Question,

do you want to be ruled by Brussels

fat cats or Westminster piggies? you

choose. Both sides of the argument –

to stay in the European Union or leave

– wander aimlessly the corridors of all

political parties unable to agree, such

acrimonious division is likely to leave a

bad taste whatever the result. Interestingly

both sides consistently argue their IN

or OUT will be wonderful for business

and ‘the county’s prosperity’ (whatever

that is?). We know what IN looks like

but other than visions of a rosy little

englander shiteland there is not much

telling information on what a successful

OUT vote will look like for citizens of the

UK … other than walls will go up, tattoos

of union jacks on foreheads will become

compulsory, dark people won’t be able to

find accommodation and business will be

great for business!

From Nicola Sturgeon: ‘While it’s

clear that being a member of the EU

has its benefits, within any institution

improvements can be made. If we are

to influence positive change in Europe,

we must remain within it – only that

guarantees our role in the EU decisionmaking

processes on issues that affect

our everyday lives. Right now, as a

member of the EU, the UK sits at the top

table in Brussels, with the opportunity

to shape EU policy and make a positive

contribution to Europe. As Norway’s

former foreign minister Espen Barth Eide

has said, as a member of the European

Economic Area as opposed to the EU,

Norway makes a substantial contribution

to the EU budget, but has no vote and

no presence when crucial decisions that

affect the daily lives of its citizens are


Two weeks ago, as European leaders

were forced to break off from discussing

the refugee crisis in order to negotiate

the taper rate at which the UK can cut

benefits for working EU citizens, I can’t

have been the only person wondering

whether the UK’s standing in the world

was really being enhanced by that

process. In the weeks ahead, both sides

of the debate must aspire to higher


Art: Dave Gibbons, Watching the Watchmen













Another article by Rafael Behr in the

Guardian gives an interesting outlook,

tweaked version reprinted below …

In the aftermath of a British vote to leave

the European Union, French wine and

Greek cheese would still be available in

the shops. Budget airlines would still fly to

continental destinations through skies that

would not have fallen down.

Campaigners for a vote to Remain warn

that an OUT strategy is hazardous but

there would be no overnight calamity,

only shock and political frenzy. The

prime minister might resign. Markets

would move. There would be great

disappointment too, felt as a sharp sting

by pro-Europeans but also as a slow

burn by sceptics. Remainers would get

over their defeat while the leavers would

spend years mining fresh grievances

from the newly blasted quarry of their


The first betrayals would flow quickly

as the government began negotiating

its way back through tiers of European

cooperation: access to the single

market; protections for UK workers and

pensioners in other member states;

cross-border policing and security

collaboration; the whole edifice of legal

harmonisation that allows people and

goods to flow unimpeded from one

member state to another. No serious

advocate of an OUT vote denies that a

partial Brrrr-entry would follow. Yet none

can agree how far to go back in, nor

how much to pay for the privilege.

Emulating the Norwegian or Swiss

models would require compromise

in terms of contribution to the EU

budget, acceptance of Brusselsderived

regulations and porosity of

borders. Any combination of those

would so dilute the severance package

advertised to British voters as to

constitute grievous mis-selling.

The leavers assert that the UK, with its

vast pool of consumers for European

exports, would be in a strong negotiating

position. Maybe so, but the hand

would be no stronger than the one

David Cameron held when striking his

renegotiation deal last week. Other EU

leaders were mindful of the need to

accommodate some British demands.


They did not want to provoke a response

that might exacerbate a simmering

European crisis of confidence and


The dynamic in post-referendum exit

talks would be quite different. Britain

would have spurned a hard-won deal

and aggravated the crisis anyway. The

economic leverage that Cameron (or his

successor) brought to the table would

be offset by a collapse in diplomatic

goodwill. The jilted council would need

to ensure, through punitive exit terms,

that the first state ever to leave the

EU would also be the last.

That an OUT vote might provoke

a less than conciliatory response in

other European capitals is taken by

hardline sceptics as proof that the whole

enterprise is an Anglophobe plot. The

argument appears to be that friends who

refuse to re-open a door once it has

been slammed angrily in their faces are

not true friends after all, which in turn

just goes to show that slamming doors is

the most effective way to deal with them;

it’s the only language they understand.

This peculiar reasoning flows from a

long-standing refusal to accept that

“Europe”, as a political process,

is something that participants run

collectively for their mutual advantage,

as opposed to something that 27

alien nations do to Britain, and which

we put up with because we lack the

gumption to do anything else.

There are solid historical, geographical

and cultural reasons why the UK’s

conception of European partnership is

sceptical and semi-detached. Only a

tiny minority of British Europhiles are

animated by the project’s founding

ideal: economic interdependence,

leading to elision of borders as

the antidote to murderous nationalism.

For most, it is a transactional affair,

and one in which the apparatus of

political union feels too clunky for the

commercial purpose it is meant to serve.

Even the least romantic, most mercantile

perspective on the EU recognises that

it is not some economic drop-in centre

where the decision to attend has no

bearing on other members. It is founded

on multilateral treaties whose genesis




was not pain-free. Britain is not the only

country with EU-related dilemmas, or

where politicians must strike a balance

between what they think is strategically

necessary and electorally viable.Yet we

expect our allies to be relaxed, indulgent

even, as we divert them from other

problems: an epoch-defining movement

of refugees across the continent; Russian

territorial aggression; aftershocks of

the last financial crisis; perhaps early

tremors of the next one. We hijack the

agenda with our demands for special

treatment in exchange for … what,

exactly? The good fortune to have us

still in the club. Maybe. Subject to a


Our collective responsibility in that

vote reaches beyond these islands.

Compared to David Cameron, other

EU leaders do not have as much

invested in the deal that was struck last

week, but they are still exposed. A British

rejection of membership on revised

terms would be a symbolic detonation of

inter-governmental compromise as the

EU’s vehicle for crisis management, and

a potential trigger for nationalistic and

populist contagion elsewhere.

It would not even neutralise those

forces at home. The leave campaign

channels appetites that cannot be met

by technical changes to the terms on

which Britain exchanges goods, services

and people with the rest of Europe. If

the UK votes to quit the EU, it will be an

expression of economic and political

frustration for which Brussels has long

been a convenient scapegoat, and which

cannot therefore be dissipated by a ritual

slaughter of treaty obligations.

Any workable application of an OUT

vote would end up looking like a partial

reconstruction of EU membership. Then

each segment of the coalition for leave

would feel betrayed, one by one. The

Tory libertarians would complain that not

enough regulation had been scrapped;

the hard left, like the Socialist Workers

Party who bewilderingly advocate an OUT

vote, would find corporate capitalism

still rampant; Ukip nativists would see no

sudden restoration of ethnic homogeneity

to the streets. The disparate pot of

resentments, heated and stirred through

the long campaign against “Europe”,

would break and its contents flow into

other political vessels and causes.


That is the tragedy of this referendum.

So much is at stake. A European

alliance, decades in the making,

could be undermined with no obvious

economic or political benefits in

exchange. And no option on the

ballot paper can satisfy all the people

for whom the whole destructive

campaign has been arranged. The

leavers may get what they vote for and

still never get what they want.










Hull Prison Riot, 1976

From Jamie Doran, 873409:

I was at HMP Hull at the time of the riot. We gathered on the centre

and made enquiries about the inmate who was beaten up in the

Segregation Unit. We spoke to the Assistant Governor, Mr Manning

who assured us that the inmate had not been beaten up. We then

requested to see the No. 1 Governor, and A.G. Manning went and

phoned him. He then returned and told us that the Governor could

not come in, as he was at a dinner dance, but, he had sent orders

for us to be returned to our cells. We then asked for a delegation of

inmates to see inmate Clifford, again this was refused. We then went

to A wing gate, which was opened for us by A.G. Manning, who

when we were all through shouted to inmates still on D wing landing,

‘Any more of you want to come through?’ He then locked the door

and gate to A wing, and had the rest of the prison locked up.


From Michael Davis, 682938

An inmate shouted through the window to the block which is joined

onto A wing and we all heard the answer back that it was true

Clifford had been assaulted and had suffered bruises to his eyes and

nose; at this time there were only three screws and A.G. Manning

standing on A wing ground floor near the door to the centre. After



a few minutes of murmuring among us a fire bucket full of water

was thrown down and the screws and Manning ran out locking the

gate and door, then things started getting smashed and it carried

on from there. At about 9.30 I saw officers in riot gear come out of

C wing onto the centre and start to chase inmates on D wing and

staff caught on and beat him to the floor with sticks, kick him about

the head and body and one of them jumped with both feet on his

head. He was bleeding from the head and laid out before his head

was jumped on. I also saw another man beaten on the head with riot

sticks, kicked and left laid ot bleeding from the head. I don’t know his

name but he was off my wing which is D wing. It was after this that I

saw no more staff on either A, D or C wings – they had left the prison

and stayed only on B wing and inside the grounds in riot gear.

Jamie Doran continues ...

When I was on the roof, I saw the inmate Clifford, who had two

black eyes and a long scratch on his face. He then verified that he

had been beaten up by four prison officers. From A wing roof I saw

several inmates who had given themselves up beaten by officers with

riot batons while they were handcuffed. John Oates gave himself

up after climbing down a drainpipe, when he reached the ground

the dog handlers set their dogs on him and beat him with riot sticks,

punched and kicked him then dragged him away. Several inmates

who wanted to give themselves up were told: ‘Stay where you are you

bastards we are coming in to get you.’




From R.T. Hoskins, 874880

It little matters what caused the riot at Hull prison. All kinds of excuses

have been given. Brutalities have been mentioned, and ‘three just

men’ have disbelieved us. Not only that, they have punished us.

You have all read about the riot, you have your own views on the

subject. Let me tell you what happened after the riot. Let me tell you

what I saw, and what I know the papers don’t know.


We all came down on Friday 3 September, we all expected a good

hiding, we had been threatened before we came down. We were

searched and all our personal property taken from us. Then we were

locked up, and apart from a bowl of soup at 7 o’clock, the door

remained locked. All I had in my cell was a mattress, two tatty and

damp blankets and no windows. During the night screws banged on

my door and told me what to expect when I was unlocked. They told

me they were going to cripple me, take out my eyes, rip off my arms.

They kept this up all night.

Breakfast 4 September. Before my turn came to go for breakfast I

heard screams, smacks and some tormenting words from the screws:

‘Kiss my shoes’, ‘Call me sir’, ‘Don’t mark his face’. This last from a

Senior Officer.

I watched through my door a man dragged from his cell, kicked and

beaten and jam spread all over his face. Two screws saw me looking


and screamed at me to get away from the door – one threatened to

kill me. I stayed where I was. I had already made up my mind that

one day I would write down what I saw happen.

My turn came for breakfast. I took off my glasses and went out of my

cell. I was kicked from behind. One screw stood on my stockinged

feet, and when I reached the serving table I received a bloody nose

and had tea thrown all over me, smacks and digs from behind and

then I went back to my cell with no breakfast.

Two minutes after being locked up a screw opened my door and gave

me a cup of tea. I went to drink it and realised it had piss in it. I could

smell it, and one taste was enough for me to know how low they had

gone in their revenge. I could write pages of what I saw after the riot

and during the riot. I saw a man attacked by three dogs. I had urine

poured over me. I have been threatened, kicked and battered.


You may find this hard to believe. One day I will prove it to you and

all the outside world. I will name names and I will dig out men I am

sure will back me up.

I am glad you have taken an interest in how British prisons are run.

As I’ve stated, I can and will write a more detailed thing about Hull


From: Don’t Mark His Face, The National Prisoners’ Movement

(PROP), 1979.







In the long history of colonial trampling

another rebuke to Irish aspirations ...




Edited from an article by Catriona Crowe, in The Irish Times

The decade of centenaries in which we are now engrossed provides

opportunities to interrogate and reflect on what happened here 100

years ago. On our small island on the edge of a powerful continent,

and next door to a large imperial power, we embarked in 1912 on a

decade of diverse thought processes, activities and interactions, often

diametrically opposed to one another, which resulted in outcomes as

varied as the achievement of an independent, albeit partitioned, state,

the establishment of a modern, highly defensive Unionism in the northern

part of the country, the birth of a modern trade union movement, mass

participation in the most murderous war yet seen in the world, the

achievement of the franchise for some women, the creation of a founding

myth for our state, involving heroism, hopelessness, high ideals and

self-sacrifice, the elimination of the political party which had enjoyed

overwhelming nationalist support for three decades, the creation of a

new nationalist party whose roots spread in many different directions,

a vicious civil war, and, most importantly, the deaths of almost 36,000

people and injuries, often seriously disabling, to many more.



The victims of violent conflict are often overlooked in the commemorative

exercises, many of them laudable, which occur on these anniversaries.

Ireland has tended to ignore victims, both of the struggle for

independence and the first World War, for many years. Eunan O’Halpin’s

huge project, The Dead of the Irish Revolution, will be the equivalent

for the decade of Lost Lives, that sobering and immensely impressive

record of death in Northern Ireland over the period of what is called “the

Troubles”, created by David McKittrick and others.


O’Halpin and his collaborators are laying out details of how many died,

who they were, who killed them, how many were civilians, which parts

of the country had the highest death tolls, and what kind of violence –

combat, riot or assassination – was the most common. The first volume

of this extremely important contribution to our understanding of the

period, covering 1916-21, will be published in the near future. The

release of the records of the Bureau of Military History and the Military

Service Pensions files (two separate collections) in the last decade has

transformed research by scholars and citizens on the nationalist struggle,

and changed the picture we have of what happened from something

simple and heroic to a far more complicated version of events. The 1901

and 1911 census records underpin these records as the demographic

basis for the study of the decade. All of these records have been released,

free to access, by the Irish State, and will be one of the most enduring

legacies of the decade of centenaries.

Some of the records released in recent years by The National Archives

in London and the Imperial War Museum shed valuable light on Irish

people involved and killed in the first World War, and on people in the


British military forces in Ireland, of different kinds and intentions. The

Imperial War Museum has constructed a huge digital resource, Lives of

the First World War, which links many different archival resources to give

a comprehensive picture of the histories of those who participated in the

war, including some of the 250,000 Irishmen who did so.

Joe Duffy, the RTÉ broadcaster, took a laudable early interest in the 40

children killed during and as a result of the 1916 Rising, and has now

produced a book, Children of the Rising: The Untold Story of the Young

Lives Lost During Easter 1916, which gives names, details of deaths and

family backgrounds, where possible, for each of them.

As he points out, we have not heard about child casualties of 1916

before; they became “collateral damage”, along with the rest of the

almost 300 civilian casualties. In all violent conflicts, military leaders

of all kinds often consign untold numbers of uninvolved people to

violent death and injury, and their families to trauma, bereavement and



This book performs a really important service: it humanises the most

vulnerable casualties of that week in April 1916 which has formed the

basis of (some) Irish ideas of how our state came into being. Dead

children are an essential part of the story, as are the terrible losses

suffered by their families. Duffy begins with the death of two-year-old

Sean Foster, shot in crossfire while being wheeled in a pram by his

mother, Katie, on Church St. His photograph reveals a beautiful blond

child; we learn that his father, John Foster, had been killed on the

Western Front the year before, and that Katie’s brother, Joseph O’Neill,


was fighting with the Irish Volunteers during the Rising, and was actually

on the barricades in Church Street from where it is surmised the fatal shot


Duffy uses multiple sources to bring the stories of these children to life:

census records, death certificates, statements from the Bureau of Military

History, pension applications, compensation claims, newspaper reports

and, valuably, testimonies from family members who came forward in

response to a public request for information. This painstaking approach

allows him to provide us with not just the riveting stories of the children,

but the family and social environments in which they lived.


As expected, a large number of them came from the notorious slums,

and Duffy’s use of the census and other records presents a relentless

account of appalling overcrowding, insanitary conditions, widespread

threats to children’s health and life, and endemic poverty. Class, as

always, played an important part in children’s chances of survival. There

is a marvellous chapter on looting, with descriptions of children grabbing

sweets, toys and clothing from shops all over the city. One account tells

of “a fresh-faced youth crossing the street [Sackville Street] with an armful

of boots. He is brandishing a pair of white satin shoes and shouting

hysterically ‘God save Ireland’.”

Fireworks were taken from Lawrence’s toy shop on Sackville Street and

set off in the middle of the street. At least three children died in the midst

of this risky but rewarding activity.


The effect of the book, as each child is dealt with in chronological

order, is to create an alternative history of the Rising, to make us focus,

not on heroism and idealism, but on the consequences of the conflict

for ordinary people. Towards the end of the book, Duffy gives us a

fascinating quote from a relative of 15-year-old Seán Healy, who was

a Fianna Éireann scout, shot outside his home in Phibsborough: “I

remember asking my granny – Seán’s mother – if she would like me to

die for Ireland. Her answer never left me as she said, ‘It’s easy to die for

Ireland. What Ireland needs is people to live honestly for Ireland.’”

Catriona Crowe is head of special projects at the National Archives of


















Dear Editor ...

Obviously wounded, but undaunted, I say

again, well again, because the letters page is

a hopeless failure ... Words fail me, what is the

use of words when the person you are saying

them to is unable to grasp your, and their,


Worryingly, we are heading down that irrational

road again, the one where stupidity reigns,

where basic facts and knowledge acquired over

time are being replaced by entrenched banal

myths, hearsay and superstition. The probability

that this age-old fudge of complacency and

mad spouters will be defended to the death

before reason can be accepted again (if ever)

is terrifying. For evidence of this I direct your

(giggling now) attention to Donald Trump

and his campaign to become US President.

As Britain’s government is a happy satellite of

US mischief in the world ... and a blindly loyal

follower of US foreign policy, what will our

government do if Trump suceeds and begins his

Term of Ignorance?


Whilst I remain optimistic about the future I am

absolute in my scepticism about whether the

Euro (pro and sceptic)-business-arses and their

sycophantic political stooges whooping it up in

their luxury apartments are the answer.




2 0 1 6




APRIL 2016



Editor looks

for word to

describe this


contents ...





Opening 03

Edit & Design:

Alan Rutherford

Published online by

Cover: Alan Rutherford

Photographs, words and artwork sourced

from ‘found in the scrapbook of life’,

no intentional copyright infringement

intended, credited whenever possible,

so, for treading on any toes ...

apologies all round!

Deadline for submitting articles

to be included in the next issue,

will be the 15th day of the

next month, in your dreams!

Articles and all correspondence to:

The Cage 04

Diggers 07

Royal Cafe 10

Nils Burwitz 12

Constructivism 16

Hope trumped? 18

Borders Folly 21

Nothing is Normal 33

Crossroads 41

Lower High Street 45

Duffer 61

Irish Women 65

Letters 69







Welcome to magazine number 9.

Articles and artwork by way of other

sources, words borrowed ... some odd

pieces catch my eye and are adopted to

illustrate an angle. Its a visual necessity if I

am to produce this ‘rag’ ... contributors are

a fucking scarce breed.

Otherwise its nuggets of the eclectic ...

flourish again!


Until next time, get active, stay alive ...

Artwork: print by Letterproeftuin, Rotterdam


... at its core, the cylinder too is poised

between rotations ...

transfixed upon its waste, within the

monotony of its wall ...


... only one object

still commands attention ...

... rooted firmly

in the centre of the plain ...

in Vaughn-James

Photograph: Alan Rutherford

The year 1649 was a time of great social unrest

in England. The Parliamentarians had won the

First English Civil War but failed to negotiate a

constitutional settlement with the defeated King

Charles I. When members of Parliament and the

Grandees in the New Model Army were faced with

Charles’ perceived duplicity, they tried and executed








Government through the King’s Privy Council was

replaced with a new body called the Council of State,

which due to fundamental disagreements within a

weakened Parliament was dominated by the Army.

Many people became active in politics, suggesting

alternative forms of government to replace the old

order. Royalists wished to place King Charles II on

the throne; men like Oliver Cromwell wished to

govern with a plutocratic Parliament voted in by an

electorate based on property, similar to that which

was enfranchised before the civil war; agitators

called Levellers, influenced by the writings of John

Lilburne, wanted parliamentary government based

on an electorate of every male head of a household;

Fifth Monarchy Men advocated a theocracy; and the

Diggers, led by Gerrard Winstanley, advocated a more

radical solution.



In 1649 Gerrard Winstanley and 14 others published

a pamphlet in which they called themselves the “True

Levellers” to distinguish their ideas from those of the

Levellers. Once they put their idea into practice and

started to cultivate common land, both opponents and

supporters began to call them “Diggers”. The Diggers’

beliefs were informed by Winstanley’s writings which

envisioned an ecological interrelationship between

humans and nature, acknowledging the inherent

connections between people and their surroundings.

Winstanley declared that “true freedom lies where a

man receives his nourishment and preservation, and

that is in the use of the earth”.

An undercurrent of political thought which has run

through English society for many generations and

resurfaced from time to time (for example, in the

Peasants’ Revolt in 1381) was present in some of the

political factions of the 17th century, including those

who formed the Diggers. It involved the common belief

that England had become subjugated by the “Norman

Yoke”. This legend offered an explanation that at one

time a golden Era had existed in England before the

Norman Conquest in 1066. From the Conquest on,

the Diggers argued, the “common people of England”

had been robbed of their birthrights and exploited by a

foreign ruling-class.

Action is the Life of All

and if thou Dost not Act,

Thou dost NOTHING

Gerrard Winstanley

St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey

The Council of State received a letter in April 1649

reporting that several individuals had begun to plant

vegetables in common land on St George’s Hill,

Weybridge near Cobham, Surrey at a time when food

prices reached an all-time high. Sanders reported that

they had invited “all to come in and help them, and

promise them meat, drink, and clothes.” They intended to

pull down all enclosures and cause the local populace to

come and work with them. They claimed that their number

would be several thousand within ten days. “It is feared

they have some design in hand.” In the same month,

the Diggers issued their most famous pamphlet and

manifesto, called “The True Levellers Standard Advanced”.

At the behest of the local landowners, the commander

of the New Model Army, Sir Thomas Fairfax, duly arrived

with his troops and interviewed Winstanley and another

prominent member of the Diggers, William Everard.

Everard suspected that the Diggers were in serious trouble

and soon left the group. Fairfax, meanwhile, having

concluded that Diggers were doing no harm, advised the

local landowners to use the courts.

Winstanley remained and continued to write about the

treatment they received. The harassment from the Lord of

the Manor, Francis Drake (not the famous Francis Drake,

who had died more than 50 years before), was both

deliberate and systematic: he organised gangs in an attack

on the Diggers, including numerous beatings and an

arson attack on one of the communal houses. Following a

court case, in which the Diggers were forbidden to speak

in their own defence, they were found guilty of being

Ranters, a radical sect associated with liberal sexuality

(though in fact Winstanley had reprimanded Ranter

Laurence Clarkson for his sexual practices). Having lost

the court case, if they had not left the land, then the army

could have been used to enforce the law and evict them;

so they abandoned Saint George’s Hill in August 1649,

much to the relief of the local freeholders.


Little Heath near Cobham

Some of the evicted Diggers moved a short distance

to Little Heath in Surrey. 11 acres (4.5 ha) were

cultivated, six houses built, winter crops harvested, and

several pamphlets published. After initially expressing

some sympathy for them, the local lord of the manor

of Cobham, Parson John Platt, became their chief

enemy. He used his power to stop local people helping

them and he organised attacks on the Diggers and

their property. By April 1650, Platt and other local

landowners succeeded in driving the Diggers from

Little Heath.

Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

There was another community of Diggers close to

Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. In 1650, the

community published a declaration which started:

A Declaration of the Grounds and Reasons why we the

Poor Inhabitants of the Town of Wellingborrow, in the

County of Northampton, have begun and give consent

to dig up, manure and sow Corn upon the Common,

and waste ground, called Bareshanke belonging to

the Inhabitants of Wellinborrow, by those that have

Subscribed and hundreds more that give Consent....

This colony was probably founded as a result of

contact with the Surrey Diggers. In late March 1650,

four emissaries from the Surrey colony were arrested

in Buckinghamshire bearing a letter signed by the

Surrey Diggers including Gerrard Winstanley and

Robert Coster inciting people to start Digger colonies

and to provide money for the Surrey Diggers.

According to the newspaper A Perfect Diurnall the

emissaries had travelled a circuit through the counties

of Surrey, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire,

Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Huntingdonshire and

Northamptonshire before being apprehended.

On April 15, 1650, the Council of State ordered Mr

Pentlow, a justice of the peace for Northamptonshire

to proceed against ‘the Levellers in those parts’ and to

have them tried at the next Quarter Session. The Iver

Diggers recorded that, nine of the Wellingborough

Diggers were arrested and imprisoned in Northampton

jail and although no charges could be proved against

them the justice refused to release them.

Captain William Thompson, the leader of the failed

“Banbury mutiny,” was killed in a skirmish close to the

community by soldiers loyal to Oliver Cromwell in May


Iver, Buckinghamshire

Another colony of Diggers connected to the Surrey

and Wellingborough colony was set up in Iver,

Buckinghamshire about 14 miles (23 km) from

the Surrey Diggers colony at St George’s Hill (see

Keith Thomas, ‘Another Digger Broadside’ Past

and Present No.42, (1969) pp. 57–68). The Iver

Diggers “Declaration of the grounds and Reasons,

why we the poor Inhabitants of the Parrish of Iver

in Buckinghamshire ... ” revealed that there were

further Digger colonies in Barnet in Hertfordshire,

Enfield in Middlesex, Dunstable in Bedfordshire,

Bosworth in Gloucestershire and a further colony in

Nottinghamshire. It also revealed that after the failure

of the Surrey colony, the Diggers had left their children

to be cared for by parish funds.

Royal is a new

imprint within Café

Royal Books.

Royal is a return

to the reason Craig

started Café Royal

Books ten years

ago; to exhibit

drawing and other

things, in multiple,

quickly, affordably,

globally, in a way

that isn’t reliant on

the gallery.

Lao Tzu Two -

Ian Pollock



Café Royal Books

shop & archive


Publisher & Editor

Craig Atkinson

Weekly limited edition

photographic publications

focussing broadly on aspects of

change, usually within the UK.

Nils Burwitz

Namibia: Heads or Tails?, 1979

A number of his prints are graphic

responses to apartheid in South

Africa,; the inhumanity of bureaucratic

language and the inherent

discrimination embedded in the

terminology is as chilling as any more

graphic abuse of human rights.


‘Heads or Tails?’ draws its power from

replicating and recontextualizing the

signs that policed the racial divisions

in society in every respect, in life and

death, labour and leisure. This is

perhaps his most famous image –

made in fact after he had left South

Africa for Mallorca. A double-sided

print, it reproduces both sides of a

sign: one side warns the spectator that

he/she is about to enter a prohibited

area (the Diamond Zone in Namibia);

the other is blank; both are riddled

with bullet holes. Burwitz simulated the

peeling layers of enamel surrounding

the bullet holes in the original sign

by repeated applications of thickened

inks forced through the silk screens.


Nils Burwitz

Namibia: Heads or Tails?, 1979

A number of his prints are graphic

responses to apartheid in South

Africa,; the inhumanity of bureaucratic

language and the inherent

discrimination embedded in the

terminology is as chilling as any more

graphic abuse of human rights.

‘Heads or Tails?’ draws its power from

replicating and recontextualizing the

signs that policed the racial divisions

in society in every respect, in life and

death, labour and leisure. This is

perhaps his most famous image –

made in fact after he had left South

Africa for Mallorca. A double-sided

print, it reproduces both sides of a

sign: one side warns the spectator that

he/she is about to enter a prohibited

area (the Diamond Zone in Namibia);

the other is blank; both are riddled

with bullet holes. Burwitz simulated the

peeling layers of enamel surrounding

the bullet holes in the original sign

by repeated applications of thickened

inks forced through the silk screens.

‘Hey man, it looks like black skin ...’


El Lissitzky was one of the most inspired

proponents of this ideologically driven

Russian movement, which became known as

Constructivism. His famous red, black and sepia

poster, featuring the hand of an architect holding

a compass, epitomised the basic principles of this

early Modernist aesthetic. Onto this simple and

bold layout, Lissitzky superimposed typographical

and pictorial elements at 90- and 45-degree

angles. He triangulated the heavy lines of

type, the fingers of the hand and the arms of

the compass the same way an architect would

have triangulated girders, timbers and beams

to strengthen a tall structure. The use of capital

letters, sans serif type and industrial-looking

colours reinforced the impression of stability that

this composition strove to achieve.

Perfected in Russia by Lissitzky and also Alexander

Rodchenko in the 1920s, triangulated layouts

went on to capture the imagination of designers

worldwide. Imbued with revolutionary thoughts

and new ideas about art, artists and their place

in society; hatched in a country embroiled in a

Socialist revolution – countless artists adopted

and further developed the Constructivist style. First

in the Netherlands, where Theo van Doesburg

and Piet Zwart borrowed some of its tropes to

spearhead the De Stijl movement; and later, in

the 1930s, in Germany, where the likes of László

Moholy-Nagy and Jan Tschichold combined

diagonals and angles with Bauhaus typography to

create their own distinctive signature look.

Edited from an article by

Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne

Artwork: El Lissitzky


Artwork: Shepard Fairey






OK ...

who trumped?







Jack Shenker

from The Guardian, under heading ...

Welcome to the land that no country wants

BIR TAWIL is the last truly unclaimed land on earth:

a tiny sliver of Africa ruled by no state, inhabited by no

permanent residents and governed by no laws. To get

there, you have two choices.

The first is to fly to the Sudanese capital Khartoum,

charter a jeep, and follow the Shendi road hundreds of

miles up to Abu Hamed, a settlement that dates back

to the ancient kingdom of Kush. Today it serves as the

region’s final permanent human outpost before the

vast Nubian desert, twice the size of mainland Britain

and almost completely barren, begins unfolding to the


There are some artisanal gold miners in the desert,

conjuring specks of hope out of the ground, a few

armed gangs, which often prey upon the prospectors,

and a small number of military units who carry out

patrols in the area and attempt, with limited success,

to keep the peace. You need to drive past all of them,

out to the point where the occasional scattered shrub

or palm tree has long since disappeared and given

way to a seemingly endless, flat horizon of sand and

rock – out to the point where there are no longer any

landmarks by which to measure the passing of your





Out here, dry winds often blow in from the Arabian

peninsula, whipping up sheets of dust that plunge

visibility down to near-zero. After a day like this, then a

night, and then another day, you will finally cross into

Bir Tawil, an 800-square-mile cartographical oddity

nestled within the border that separates Egypt and

Sudan. Both nations have renounced any claim to it,

and no other government has any jurisdiction over it.

The second option is to approach from Egypt, setting

off from the country’s southernmost city of Aswan,

down through the arid expanse that lies between

Lake Nasser to the west and the Red Sea to the east.

Much of it has been declared a restricted zone by the

Egyptian army, and no one can get near the border

without first obtaining their permission.

In June 2014, a 38-year-old farmer from Virginia

named Jeremiah Heaton did exactly that. After

obtaining the necessary paperwork from the Egyptian

military authorities, he started out on a treacherous

14-hour expedition through remote canyons and

jagged mountains, eventually wending his way into the

no man’s land of Bir Tawil and triumphantly planting a


Heaton’s six-year-old daughter, Emily, had once asked

her father if she could ever be a real princess; after

discovering the existence of Bir Tawil on the internet,

his birthday present to her that year was to trek there

and turn her wish into a reality. “So be it proclaimed,”

Heaton wrote on his Facebook page, “that Bir Tawil

shall be forever known as the Kingdom of North

Sudan. The Kingdom is established as a sovereign

monarchy with myself as the head of state; with Emily

becoming an actual princess.”

Heaton’s social media posts were picked up by a

local paper in Virginia, the Bristol Herald-Courier,

and quickly became the stuff of feel-good clickbait

around the world. CNN, Time, Newsweek and

hundreds of other global media outlets pounced on

the story. Heaton responded by launching a global

crowdfunding appeal aimed at securing $250,000 in

an effort at getting his new “state” up and running.

Heaton knew his actions would provoke awe, mirth

and confusion, and that many would question his

sanity. But what he was not prepared for was an

angry backlash by observers who regarded him not

as a devoted father or a heroic pioneer but rather as

a 21st-century imperialist. After all, the portrayal of

land as “unclaimed” or “undeveloped” was central

to centuries of ruthless conquest. “The same callous,

dehumanising logic that has been used to legitimise

European colonialism not just in Africa but in the

Americas, Australia, and elsewhere is on full display

here,” noted one commentator. “Are white people still

allowed to do this kind of stuff?” asked another.

“Any new idea that’s this big and bold always meets

with some sort of ridicule, or is questioned in terms

of its legitimacy,” Heaton told me last year over

the telephone. In his version of the story, Heaton’s

“conquest” of Bir Tawil was not about colonialism,

but rather familial love and ambitious dreams: apart

from making Emily royalty, he hopes to turn his newly

founded nation – which lies within one of the most

inhospitable regions on the planet and contains no

fixed population, no coastline, no surface water and

no arable soil – into a cutting-edge agriculture and

technology research hub that will ultimately benefit all


After all, Heaton reasoned, no country wanted this

forgotten corner of the world, and no individual before

him had ever laid claim to it. What harm was to be

caused by some well‐intentioned, starry-eyed eccentric

completing such a challenge, and why should it not be


There were two problems with Heaton’s argument.

First, territories and borders can be delicate and


volatile things, and tampering with them is rarely

without unforeseen consequences. As Heaton learned

from the public response to his self-declared kingdom,

there is no neutral or harmless way to “claim” a

state, no matter how far away from anywhere else it

appears to be. Second, Heaton was not the first wellintentioned,

starry-eyed eccentric to travel all the way

to Bir Tawil and plant a flag. Someone else got there

first, and that someone was me.

Like all great adventure stories, this one began with

lukewarm beer and the internet. It was the summer of

2010, and the days in Cairo – where I was living and

working as a journalist – were long and hot. My friend

Omar’s balcony provided a shaded refuge filled with

wicker chairs and reliably stable wireless broadband. It

was up there, midway through a muggy evening’s web

pottering, that we first encountered Bir Tawil.

Omar was an Egyptian-British filmmaker armed with a

battery of finely tuned Werner Herzog impressions and

a crisp black beard that I was secretly quite jealous

of. The pair of us knew nothing beyond a single fact,

gleaned from a blog devoted to arcane maps: barely

500 miles away from where we sat, there apparently

existed a patch of land over which no country on earth

asserted any sovereignty. Within five minutes I had

booked the flights. Omar opened two more beers.

Places beyond the scope of everyday authority have

always fired the imagination. They appear to offer

us an escape – when all you can see of somewhere

is its outlines, it is easy to start fantasising about the

void within. “No man’s lands are our El Dorados,”

says Noam Leshem, a Durham University geographer

who recently travelled 6,000 miles through a series of

so-called “dead spaces”, from the former frontlines

of the Balkans war to the UN buffer zone in Cyprus,

along with his colleague Alasdair Pinkerton of Royal

Holloway. The pair intended to conclude their journey

at Bir Tawil, but never made it. “There is something

alluring about a place beyond the control of the state,”

Leshem adds, “and also something highly deceptive.”

In reality, nowhere is unplugged from the complex

political and historical dynamics of the world around it,

and – as Omar and I were to discover – no visitors can

hope to short-circuit them.

Six months later, in January 2011, we touched down at

Khartoum International airport with a pair of sleeping

bags, five energy bars, and an embarrassingly small

stock of knowledge about our final destination. To an

extent, the ignorance was deliberate. For one thing, we

planned to shoot a film about our travels, and Omar

had persuaded me the secret to good film-making was

to begin work utterly unprepared. Omar – according to

Omar – was a cinematic auteur; the kind of maverick

who could breeze into a desolate wasteland with no

vehicle, no route, and no contacts and produce an

award-winning documentary from the mayhem. One

does not lumber an auteur, he explained, with printed

itineraries, booked accommodation or emergency

phone numbers. Mindful of my own aspirations to

auteurism, this reasoning struck me as convincing.

There was something else, too, that made us refrain

from proper planning. As the date of our departure

for Sudan drew closer, Omar and I had taken to

discussing our “plans” for Bir Tawil in increasingly

grandiose terms. Deep down, I think, we both

knew that the notion of “claiming” the territory and

harnessing it for some grand ideological cause was

preposterous. But what if it wasn’t? What if our own

little tabula rasa could be the start of something

bigger, transforming a forgotten relic of colonial mapmaking

into a progressive force that would defeat

contemporary injustices across the world?

The mechanics of how this might actually work

remained a little hazy. Yet just occasionally, at more

contemplative junctures, it did occur to us that in the

process of planting a flag in Bir Tawil as part of some


ill-defined critique of arbitrary borders and imperial

violence, there was a risk we could appear – to the

untrained eye – very similar to the imperialists who

had perpetrated such violence in the first place. It was

a resemblance we were keen to avoid. Undertaking

this journey in a state of deep ignorance, we told

ourselves, would help mitigate pomposity. Without

any basic knowledge, we would be forced to travel as

humble innocents, relying solely on guidance from the

communities we passed through.

As the two of us cleared customs, we broke into

smiles and congratulated each other. The auteurs had

landed, and what is more they had Important Things

To Say about borders and states and sovereignty and

empires. We set off in search of some local currency,

and warmed to our theme. By the time we found an

ATM, we were referring to Bir Tawil as so much more

than a conceptual exposition. Under our benevolent

stewardship, we assured each other, it could surely

become some sort of launchpad for radical new ideas,

a haven for subversives all over the planet.

It was at that point that the auteurs realised their bank

cards did not work in Sudan, and that there were no

international money transfer services they could use to

wire themselves some cash.

This setback represented the first consequence of our

failure to do any preparatory research. The nagging

sense that our maverick approach to reaching Bir Tawil

may not have been the wisest way forward gained

momentum with consequence number two, which was

that to solve the money problem we had to persuade

a friend of a friend of a friend of an Egyptian business

acquaintance to do an illicit currency trade for us

on the outskirts of Khartoum. Consequence number

three – namely that, given our lack of knowledge

about where we could and could not legally film in

the capital, after a few days we inadvertently attracted

the attention of an undercover state security agent

while carrying around $2,000 worth of used Sudanese

banknotes in an old rucksack, and were arrested –

transformed suspicion into certainty.

On the date Omar and I were incarcerated, millions

of citizens in South Sudan were heading to the polls

to decide between continued unity with the north

or secession and a new, independent state of their

own. We sat silently in a nondescript office block

just off Gama’a Avenue – the city’s main diplomatic

thoroughfare – while a group of men in black suits

and dark sunglasses scrolled through files on Omar’s

video camera. Armed soldiers, unsmiling, stood guard

at the door. Through the room’s single window, open

but barred, the sound of nearby traffic could be heard.

The images on the screen depicted me and Omar

gadding about town on the days following our arrival;

me and Omar unfurling huge rolls of yellowing paper

at the government’s survey department; me and

Omar scrawling indecipherable patterns on sheets of

paper in an effort to design the new Bir Tawili flag;

me and Omar squabbling over fabric colours at the

Omdurman market where we had gone to stitch

together the aforementioned flag. With each new

picture, a man who appeared to be the senior officer

raised his eyes to meet ours, shook his head, and


In an attempt to lighten the mood, I pointed out to

Omar how apposite it was that at the very moment

in which votes were being cast in the south, possibly

redrawing the region’s borders for ever, we had been

placed under lock and key in a military intelligence

unit almost a thousand miles to the north for

attempting to do the same. Omar, concerned about

the fate of both his camera and the contents of the

rucksack, declined to respond. I predicted that in the

not too distant future, when we had made it to Bir

Tawil, we would look back on this moment and laugh.

Omar glared.


In the end, our captivity lasted under an hour. The

senior officer concluded, perceptively, that, whatever we

were attempting to do, we were far too incompetent to

do it properly, or to cause too much trouble along the

way. Upon our release, we set about obtaining a jeep

that could take us to Bir Tawil. Every reputable travel

agent we approached turned us down point-blank,

citing the prevalence of bandit attacks in the desert.

Thankfully, we were able to locate a disreputable travel

agent, a large man with a taste for loud polo shirts who

went by the name of Obai. Obai was actually not a

travel agent at all, but rather a big-game hunter with

a lucrative sideline in ambiguously licensed pick-up

trucks. In exchange for most of our used banknotes, he

offered to provide us with a jeep, a satellite phone, two

tanks of water, and his nephew Gedo, who happened

to be looking for work as a driver. In the absence of any

alternative offers, we gratefully accepted.

Unlike Obai, who was a font of swashbuckling

anecdotes and improbable tales of derring-do, Gedo

turned out to be a more taciturn soul. He was a civil

engineer who had previously done construction work

on the colossal Merowe dam in northern Sudan,

Africa’s largest hydropower project. On the day of

our departure, he turned up wearing a baseball cap

with “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” emblazoned

across the front, and carrying a loaded gun. As we

waved goodbye to Obai and began weaving our way

through the capital’s rush hour traffic, Omar and I set

about explaining to Gedo the intricacies of our plan

to transform Bir Tawil into an “open-source state”

that would disrupt existing patterns of global power

and privilege – no mean feat, given that we didn’t

understand any of the intricacies ourselves. Gedo

responded to this as he responded to everything: with a

sage nod and a deliberate stroke of his stubble.

“I’m here to protect you,” he told us solemnly, as we

swung north on to the highway and left Khartoum

behind us. “Also, I’ve never been on a holiday before,

and this one sounds fun.”

Bir Tawil’s unusual status – wedged between the

borders of two countries and yet claimed by neither –

is a byproduct of colonial machinations in north-east

Africa, during an era of British control over Egypt and

Egyptian influence on Sudan.

In 1899, government representatives from London

and Cairo – the latter nominally independent, but

in reality the servants of a British protectorate – put

pen to paper on an agreement which established the

shared dominion of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The treaty

specified that, following 18 years of intense fighting

between Egyptian and British forces on the one side

and Mahdist rebels in Sudan on the other, Sudan

would now become a British colony in all but name. Its

northern border with Egypt was to run along the 22nd

parallel, cutting a straight line through the Nubian

desert right out to the ocean.

Three years later, however, another document

was drawn up by the British. This one noted that a

mountain named Bartazuga, just south of the 22nd

parallel, was home to the nomadic Ababda tribe,

which was considered to have stronger links with Egypt

than Sudan. The document stipulated that henceforth

this area should be administered by Egypt. Meanwhile,

a much-larger triangle of land north of the 22nd

parallel, named Hala’ib, abutting the Red Sea, was

assigned to other tribes from the Beja people – who

are largely based in Sudan – for grazing, and thus now

came under Sudan’s jurisdiction. And that was that, for

the next few decades at least. World wars came and

went, regimes rose and fell, and those imaginary lines

in the sand gathered dust in bureaucratic archives, of

little concern to anyone on the ground.

Disputes only started in earnest when Sudan finally

achieved independence in 1956. The new postcolonial

government in Khartoum immediately declared that

its national borders matched the tweaked boundaries

stipulated in the second proclamation, making the




Hala’ib triangle Sudanese. Egypt demurred, insisting

that the latter document was concerned only with

areas of temporary administrative jurisdiction and that

sovereignty had been established in the earlier treaty.

Under this logic, the real border stayed straight and

the Hala’ib triangle remained Egyptian.

By the early 1990s, when a Canadian oil firm

signalled its intention to begin exploration in Hala’ib

and the prospect of substantial mineral wealth

being found in the region gained momentum, the

disagreement was no longer academic. Egypt sent

military forces to “reclaim” Hala’ib from Sudan, and

despite fierce protests from Khartoum – which still

considers Hala’ib to be Sudanese and even tried to

organise voting there during the 2010 Sudanese

general election – it has remained under Cairo’s

control ever since.

Our world is littered with contested borders. The

geographers Alexander Diener and Joshua Hagen

refer to the dashed lines on atlases as the scars

of history. Compared with other divisions between

countries that seem so solid and timeless when scored

on a map, these squiggles – enclaves, misshapen

lumps and odd protrusions – are a reminder of how

messy and malleable the process of drawing up

borders has always been.

What makes this particular border conflict unique,

though, is not the tussle over the Hala’ib triangle

itself, but rather the impact it has had on the smaller

patch of land just south of the 22nd parallel around

Bartazuga mountain, the area known as Bir Tawil.

Egypt and Sudan’s rival claims on Hala’ib both rest on

documents that appear to assign responsibility for Bir

Tawil to the other country. As a result, neither wants

to assert any sovereignty over Bir Tawil, for to do so

would be to renounce their rights to the larger and

more lucrative territory. On Egyptian maps, Bir Tawil

is shown as belonging to Sudan. On Sudanese maps,

it appears as part of Egypt. In practice, Bir Tawil is

widely believed to have the legal status of terra nullius

– “nobody’s land” – and there is nothing else quite like

it on the planet.

Omar and I were not, it must be acknowledged, the

first to discover this anomaly. If the internet is to be

believed, Bir Tawil has in fact been “claimed” many

times over by keyboard emperors whose virtual

principalities and warring microstates exist only

online. The Kingdom of the State of Bir Tawil’ boasts

a national anthem by the late British jazz musician

Acker Bilk. The Emirate of Bir Tawil traces its claim over

the territory to, among other sources, the Qur’an, the

British monarchy, the 1933 Montevideo Convention

and the 1856 US Guano Islands Act. There is a

Grand Dukedom of Bir Tawil, an Empire of Bir Tawil, a

United Arab Republic of Bir Tawil and a United Lunar

Emirate of Bir Tawil. The last of these has a homepage

featuring a citizen application form, several self-help

mantras, and stock photos of people doing yoga in a


From our rarefied vantage point at the back of Obai’s

Toyota Hilux, it was easy to look down with disdain

upon these cyber-squatting chancers. None of them

had ever actually set foot in Bir Tawil, rendering

their claims to sovereignty worthless. Few had truly

grappled with Bir Tawil’s complex backstory, or of

the bloodshed it was built upon (tens of thousands of

Sudanese fighters and civilians died as a result of the

Egyptian and British military assaults that ended in the

establishment of Sudan’s northern borders and thus,

ultimately, the creation of Bir Tawil). Granted, Omar

and I knew little of the backstory either, but at least we

had actually got to Sudan and were making, by our

own estimation, a decent fist of finding out. We ate our

energy bars, listened attentively to tales of Gedo’s love

life, and scanned the road for clues. The first arrived

nearly 200 miles north-east of Khartoum, about a third

of the way up towards Bir Tawil, when we came across


a city of iron and fire oozing kerosene into the desert.

This was Atbara: home of Sudan’s railway system, and

the engine room of its modern-day creation story.

Until very recently, the long history of Sudan has

not been one of a single country or people: many

different tribes, religions and political factions

have competed for power and resources, across

territories and borders that bear no relation to those

marking out the state’s limits today. A lack of rigid,

“recognisable” boundaries was used to help justify

Europe’s violent scramble to occupy and annex land

throughout Africa in the 19th century. Often, the first

step taken by western colonisers was to map and

border the territory they were seizing. Charting of

land was usually a prelude to military invasion and

resource extraction; during the British conquest of

Sudan, Atbara was crucial to both.

Sudan’s contemporary railway system began life as a

battering ram for the British to attack Khartoum. Trains

carried not only weapons and troops but everyday

provisions too, specified by Winston Churchill as

“the letters, newspapers, sausages, jam, whisky,

soda water, and cigarettes which enable the Briton to

conquer the world without discomfort”. Atbara was the

site where key rail lines intersected, and its importance

grew rapidly after London’s grip on Sudan had been

formalised in the 1899 Anglo-Egyptian treaty.

“Everything that mattered, from cotton to gum, came

through here, as did all the rolling stock needed

to move and export it,” Mohamed Ederes, a local

railway storekeeper, told us. He walked us through

his warehouse, down corridors stacked high with box

after box of metal train parts and past giant leatherbound

catalogues stuffed with handwritten notes.

“From here,” he declared proudly, “you reached the


Atbara’s colonial origins are still etched into its

modern-day layout. One half of the town, originally

the preserve of expatriates, is low-rise and leafy; on

the other side of the tracks, where native workers were

made to live, accommodation is denser and taller. But

just as Atbara was a vehicle for colonialism, so too

was it the place in which a distinct sense of Sudanese

nationhood began to develop.

As Sudan’s economy grew in the early 20th century,

so did the railway industry, bringing thousands of

migrant workers from disparate social and ethnic

groups to the city. By the second world war, Atbara

was famous not only for its carriage depots and

loading sidings, but also for the nationalist literature

and labour militancy of those who worked within

them. Poets as well as workers’ leaders emerged

out of the nascent trade union movement in the late

1940s, which held devastating strikes and helped

shake the foundations of British rule. The same train

lines that had once borne Churchill’s sausages and

soda water were now deployed to deliver workers’

solidarity packages all over the country, during

industrial action that ultimately brought the colonial

economy to a halt. Within a decade, Sudan secured


The next morning, as we drove on, Gedo grew quieter

and the signs of human habitation became sparser.

At Karima, a small town 150 miles further north,

we came across a fleet of abandoned Nile steamers

stranded on the river bank; below stairs there were

metal plaques bearing the name of shipwrights

from Portsmouth, Southampton and Glasgow, each

company’s handiwork now succumbing slowly to the

elements. We clambered through cobwebbed cabins

and across rotting sun decks, and then decided to

scale the nearby Jebel Barkal – Holy Mountain in

Arabic – where eagles tracked us warily from the sky.

Omar maintained a running commentary on our

progress, delivered as a flawless Herzog parody, and

it proved so painful for all in earshot that the eagles

began to dive-bomb us. We set off running, taking

refuge among the mountain’s scattered ruins.


Photograph: Omar Robert Hamilton

Jebel Barkal was once believed to be the home of

Amun, king of gods and god of wind. Fragments of

Amun’s temple are still visible at the base of the cliffs.

Over the past few millennia, Jebel Barkal has been

the outermost limit of Egypt’s Pharaonic kingdoms, the

centre of an autonomous Nubian region, and a vassal

province of an empire headquartered thousands of

miles away in Constantinople. In the modern era of

defined borders and seemingly stable nation states, Bir

Tawil seems an impossible anomaly. But standing over

the jagged crevices of Jebel Barkal, looking out across

a region that had been passed between so many

different rulers, and formed part of so many different

arrangements of power over land, our endpoint

started to feel more familiar.

The following evening we camped at Abu Hamed, on

the very edge of the desert. Beyond the ramshackle

cafeterias that have sprung up to serve the artisanal

gold-mining community – sending shisha smoke

and the noise of Egyptian soap operas spiralling up

into the night – Omar and I saw the outlines of large

agricultural reclamation projects, silhouetted in the

distance against a starry sky. Since 2008, when global

food prices spiked, there has been a boom in what

critics call “land-grabbing”: international investors

and sovereign wealth funds snapping up leases on

massive tracts of African territory in order to intensify

the production of crops for export, and bringing such

territory under the control of European, Asian and

Gulf nations in the process. Arable land was the first


to be targeted, but increasingly desert areas are also

being fenced off and sold. Near Abu Hamed, Saudi

Arabian companies have been “greening” the sand

– blanketing it in soil and water in an effort to make

it fertile – with worrying consequences for both the

environment and local communities, some of whom

have long asserted customary rights over the area.

It was not so long ago that the prophets of

globalisation proclaimed the impending decline of

the nation-state and the rise of a borderless world

– one modelled on the frictionless transactions of

international finance, which pay no heed to state


A resurgent populist nationalism – and the refugee

crisis that has stoked its flames – has exposed such

claims as premature, and investors depend more than

ever on national governments to open up new terrains

for speculation and accumulation, and to discipline

citizens who dare to stand in the way. But there is no

doubt that we now live in a world where the power

of capital has profoundly disrupted old ideas about

political authority inside national boundaries. All over

the planet, the institutions that impact our lives most

directly – banks, buses, hospitals, schools, farms – can

now be sold off to the highest bidder and governed

by the whims of a transnational financial elite. Where

national borders once enclosed populations capable

of practising collective sovereignty over their own

resources, in the 21st century they look more and

more like containers for an inventory of private assets,

each waiting to be spliced, diced and traded around

the world.

It was at Abu Hamed, while lying awake at night in

a sleeping bag, nestled into a shallow depression in

the sand, that I realised the closer we were getting to

our destination, the more I understood what was so

beguiling about it. Now that Bir Tawil was in sight, it

had started to appear less like an aberration and more

like a question: is there anything natural about how

borders and power function in the world today?

In the end, there was no fanfare. On a hazy Tuesday

afternoon, 40 hours since we left the road at Abu

Hamed, 13 days since we touched down in Khartoum,

and six months since the dotted lines of Bir Tawil first

appeared before our eyes, Omar gave a shout from

the back of the jeep. I checked our GPS coordinates

on the satellite phone, and cross-referenced them with

the map. Gedo, on being informed that we were now

in Bir Tawil and outside of any country’s dominion,

promptly took out his gun and fired off a volley of

shots. We traipsed up a small hillock and wedged

our somewhat forlorn flag into the rocks – a yellow

desert fox, set against a black circle and bordered

by triangles of green and red – then sat and gazed

out at the horizon, tracing the rise and fall of distant

mountains and following the curves of sunken valleys

as they criss-crossed each other like veins through the

sand. The sky and the ground both looked massive,

and unending, and the warm stones around us

crumbled in our hands. After a couple of hours, Gedo

said that it was getting late, so we climbed back into

the jeep and began the long journey home.

Well before our journey had ever begun, we had

hoped – albeit not particularly fervently – that we

could do something with it, something that mattered;

that by striking out for a place this nebulous we could

find a shortcut to social justice, two days’ drive from

the nearest tap or telephone. In 800 square miles of

desert, we thought that we could exploit the outlines of

the bordered world in order to subvert it.

Jeremiah Heaton, beyond the “kingdom for a

princess” schmaltz and the forthcoming Disney

adaptation (he has sold film rights to his story for

an undisclosed fee) seems – albeit from an almost

diametrically opposite philosophical outlook – to be

convinced of something similar. For him, the fantasy


is a libertarian one, offering freedom not from the

iniquities of capitalism but from the government

interference that inhibits it. Just as we did, he wants

to take advantage of a quirk in the system to defy it.

When I spoke to Heaton, he told me with genuine

enthusiasm that his country (not yet recognised by

any other state or international body) would offer

the world’s great innovators a place to develop their

products unencumbered by taxes and regulation,

a place where private enterprise faces no socially

prescribed borders of its own. Big companies, he

assured me, were scrambling to join his vision.

“You would be surprised at the outreach that has

occurred from the corporate level to me directly,”

Heaton insisted during our conversation. “It’s not been

an issue of me having to go out and sell myself on this

idea. A lot of these large corporations, they see market

opportunities in what I’m doing.” He painted a picture

of Bir Tawil one day playing host to daring scientific

research, ground-breaking food-production facilities

and alternative banking systems that work for the

benefit of customers rather than CEOs. I asked him if

he understood why some people found his plans, and

the assumptions they rested on, highly dubious.

“There’s that saying: if you were king for a day, what

would you do differently?” he replied. “Think about

that question yourself and apply it to your own country.

That’s what I’m doing, but on a much bigger scale.

This is not colonialism; I’m an individual, not a country,

I haven’t taken land that belongs to any other country,

and I’m not extracting resources other than sunshine

and sand. I am just one human being, trying to

improve the condition of other human beings. I have

the purest intentions in the world to make this planet a

better place, and to try and criticise that just because

I’m a white person sitting on land in the middle of the

Nubian desert …” He trailed off, and was silent for a

moment. “Well,” he concluded, “it’s really juvenile.”

But if, by some miracle, Heaton ever did gain global

recognition as the legitimate leader of an independent

Bir Tawili state, would his pitch to corporations –

base yourself here to avoid paying taxes and escape

the manacles of democratic oversight – actually do

anything to “improve the condition of other human

beings”? Part of the allure of unclaimed spaces is

their radical potential to offer a blank canvas – but as

Omar and I belatedly realised, nothing, and nowhere,

starts from scratch. Any utopia founded on the basis of

a concept – terra nullius – that has wreaked immense

historical destruction, is built on rotten foundations.

In truth, no place is a “dead zone”, stopped in time

and ripe for private capture – least of all Bir Tawil,

which translates as “long well” in Arabic and was

clearly the site of considerable human activity in the

past. Although it lacks any permanent dwellings today,

this section of desert is still used by members of the

Ababda and Bisharin tribes who carry goods, graze

crops and make camp within the sands. (Not the least

of our failures was that we did not manage to speak to

any of the peoples who had passed through Bir Tawil

before we arrived.) Their ties to the area may be based

on traditional rather than written claims – but Bir Tawil

is not any more a “no man’s land” than the territory

once known as British East Africa, where terra nullius

was repeatedly invoked in the early 20th century by

both chartered companies and the British government

that supported them to justify the appropriation of

territory from indigenous people. “I cannot admit

that wandering tribes have a right to keep other and

superior races out of large tracts,” exclaimed the British

commissioner, Sir Charles Eliot, at the time, “merely

because they have acquired the habit of straggling

over far more land than they can utilise.”

Bir Tawil is no terra nullius. But “no man’s lands”

– or at least ambiguous spaces, where boundaries

take odd turns and sovereignty gets scrambled – are

real and exist among us every day. Some endure at

airports, and inside immigration detention centres, and


in the pockets of economic deprivation where states

have abandoned any responsibility for their citizens.

Other no man’s lands are carried around by refugees

who are yet to be granted asylum, regardless of where

they may be – having fled failed states or countries

which would deny them the rights of citizenship, they

occupy a world of legal confusion at best, and outright

exclusion at worst.

Perhaps that is why, as we switched off the camera

and left Bir Tawil behind us, Omar and I felt a little let

down. Or perhaps we shared a sense of anticlimax

because we were faintly aware of something rumbling

back home in Cairo, where millions of people were

about to launch an epic fight against political and

economic exclusion – not by withdrawing to a no

man’s land but by confronting state authority headon,

in the streets. A week after our return to Egypt, the

country erupted in revolution.

Borders are fluid things; they help define our

identities, and yet so often we use our identities to

push up against borders and redraw them. For now

the boundaries that divide nation states remain, but

their purpose is changing and the relationship they

have to our own lives, and our own rights, is growing

increasingly unstable. If Bir Tawil – the preeminent

ambiguous space – is anything to those who live far

from it, it is perhaps a reminder that no particular

configuration of power and governance is immutable.

As we drove silently, and semi-contentedly, back past

the gold-foragers, and the ramshackle cafeteria, and

the heavy machinery of the Saudi farm installations –

Gedo at the wheel, Omar asleep and me staring out

at nothing– I grasped what I had failed to grasp on

that lazy night of beer drinking on Omar’s balcony.

The last truly “unclaimed” land on earth is really an

injunction: not for us to seek out the mythical territory

where we can hide from the things that anger us,

but to channel that anger instead towards reclaiming

territory we already call our own.




open your mind

& open the



by Edmund at













The images and the comic as a whole were from observations in Presevo between 7-23 October 2015

Loads of help is still needed with this crisis all over Europe

To volunteer visit



Linocut: The Music Lesson by Tunde Odunlade







The United States

of Hoodoo

taken from Sensitive Skin

Part of a discussion on the film ‘The United States of

Hoodoo’, between Ghazi Barakat and Darius James,

who is in the film …

G. When I was living in New York, I was always

thinking, this is not America. Let’s move down south

and look for the real America where the blues and

rock & roll come from. But the fact that they’re

backwards gives it some wholesomeness – no change

is reassuring, its not torn by modern technology. When

Robert Johnson comes up in the movie, he seems to be

very much alive in people’s heads, although there is

barely anyone still alive who knew him.

D. There was one person who apparently knew Robert

Johnson, but he unfortunately didn’t make it to the

blues fest in Greenwoods Park.

G. But you found out how he actually died?

D. I was expecting to go to the actual crossroads where

Robert Johnson made his so-called deal with the devil.

That didn’t happen. What did happen was that I found

myself on the highway where Emmett Till was picked

up and murdered.

G. Who’s Emmett Till?



D. Emmett Till was a black teenager from Chicago

who was visiting relatives in Mississippi. He went into a

shop and he whistled at a white girl. She was offended

and complained, and some people in town got pissed

and lynched him [he was horrifically beaten-up, shot

and dumped in the river]. He was, like 14 years old.

It’s the first incident where white people involved in a

lynching were actually prosecuted. They were taken

to trial. I mean, they got off. That was sort of an early

trauma for me.

G. So you didn’t expect it, because you thought you

were far away from all this?

D. Yeah. One would think that the country had

evolved, and then you realise it gets more and more

retarded every day.

G. Well, that’s idiocracy. so, did you learn how Robert

Johnson died?

D. We were there during the Robert Johnson centenary

which seemed pretty ridiculous, because the centennial

and this exhibition were in a cotton museum, and

Robert Johnson apparently spent his entire life

avoiding the cotton fields. So you have all these weird

white people celebrating Robert Johnson. the same

people who would have shot him if they caught him

outside of the cotton field. There were all these weird

contradictions, like how far they had gotten. I got

into some stupid discussion about who owns Robert

Johnson. I kept wanting to make these nasty comments

about the rolling Stones, which I’m glad I didn’t, as a

result of reading Keith Richards’s autobiography. What

he says is true: that the Stones were probably singlehandedly

responsible for reintroducing the blues back

to America.

G. So what’s the story of his demise?

D. I discovered, as a result of all the activities around

the centennial, that the story that Robert Johnson told

about himself, as far as selling his soul to the devil,

was like early heavy-metal PR.

G. He was a blasphemer.

D. It wasn’t that he was a blasphemer. His audience

were sharecroppersand cotton-field workers. They

were basically superstitious Christians.

G. But he did sing, “If I had possession over

Judgement Day, Lord, that little woman I’m loving

wouldn’t have no right to pray.” Let’s say he was

against organised religion.

D. Okay, that’s fair, but I’m just saying that his

rebellion against black Christian conservatism, which

seemed to be prominent in his family – that’s the thing

I wasn’t expecting! His great-great-grandson was there

speaking at this church, which is also the graveyard

where Robert Johnson is buried. He comes to speak,

at the last minute – it was supposed to be a day to

celebrate the life of Robert Johnson because it’s his

birthday, which also happened to fall on Mother’s

Day. So what we get is this fat, greasy preacher who

comes out and tells us that he is Robert Johnson’s

great-grandson, and he proceeds to spew the most

repellent homophobic right-wing garbage I’ve ever

heard in my life. What I found particularly offensive

was when he went into the whole Robert Johnson thing

of selling his soul to the devil. (mimics Richard Pryor)

“How can my black uncle, grandfather or whatever the

fuck he was, sell his soul to the devil? His soul does

not belong to him, it belongs to god! How can you

trade with the devil something that belongs to God?”

That was particularly repellent, to see how the church

of the poor had been taken over by corrupt right-wing

Christian fundamentalists.

G. So, did Robert Johnson get poisoned?


D. You know, these are great stories, great myths that

add to the legend. I was sitting with a bunch of Robert

Johnson scholars at a blues bar early in the morning.

One of the things that seemed to be repeating itself

was that Robert Johnson died as a result of drinking

poisoned moonshine. The entire batch that had come

into the honky-tonk for that weekend was bad, and

the reason he died is because the audience he was

playing to – again, sharecroppers, people who work

in the cotton fields – had to get up and go to work on

Monday. He started on Saturday, played his gig, they

went home, they were sick on Sunday, but apparently

were well enough to go to work on Monday. Robert

Johnson, who didn’t spend a lot of time picking cotton

in the cotton field, stayed at the honky-tonk and

continued to drink this bad moonshine, got sick, and


G. At one point in the film, there is a discussion about

how much Afro-Americans are willing to identify

with their cultural and religious African roots. On a

recent trip to Burkina Faso, I noticed that Africans

are still mainly animistic, and that Wahhabite Muslim

and Christian Baptist missionaries have a hard time

persuading people to convert to monotheism. They

usually resort to materialistic means, since poverty

is the major issue on that continent. Many Afro-

Americans, on the other hand, have embraced

monotheism, be it through organisations like the

Nation of Islam or traditional Christianity. Can you

elaborate a bit on this?

D. In New York, and in other urban centres, you’ll

find African Americans – or black Americans, which

I prefer – who will identify with genuine animistic,

Afro-esoterics, but those numbers are smaller than the

great, unwashed majority, who are largely concerned

with the details of survival, not necessarily breaking

taboos. There was a large majority of blacks in

California who were opposed to gay marriage, which

revealed this really mean right-wing reactionary streak

in the black church now, which wasn’t always true –

Martin Luther King came from liberation theology.

G. A key moment in the movie is when you talk about

how the Africans and the Native Americans were

able to assimilate one another, since there were so

many cultural similarities between the two. This fusion

happened in places like New Orleans, and an island

like Haiti, and in South America, where slaves and

natives were outcasts and in large numbers. Vodoun

has survived and actually evolved into a gumbo of

cultural misfits. This is most obvious in the carnival

parades of all these places, but then, in the film there

is a voodoo ceremony where most people involved are

white women.

D. Well, Sally’s temple has always occupied a rather

controversial place because of that. There are vodoun

cults in the United States who recognise voodoo as a

way of getting back to roots and see Sally as polluting

the religion, that is not something that belongs to her,

which, clearly – it’s God we’re talking about here. God

belongs to everybody, the devine belongs to everybody.

The invisible is invisible for a reason.

G. So her cult is progressive and some are regressive,

although most non-African voodoo cults evolved or

became mutations as a political necessity.

D. It becomes an identity, but the whole point of

voodoo is to lose your identity in the face of the devine.

G. Besides the spiritual aspect, is there a political

aspect to voodoo?

D. Absolutely. The reason why voodoo has a bad

reputation is because a bunch of black people kicked

some white people off an island, you know, threw off

the shackles of slavery, and they’re still pissed.










Alan Rutherford, March 2016


This building once housed Cheltenham’s Dole Office: I remember

visiting to ‘sign on’ on a number of occasions in the 1960s. It was also

from where I was sent out to take up jobs like; labourer at Cheltenham

Caravans, Leckhampton; press operator at Cotswold Babycarriages, off

Bath Road; porter at Cavendish House, the Promenade; assembly line

at Dowty Mining, Ashchurch; stockroom keeper at County Clothes, the

Promenade ... none lasted very long, needless to say, I had a rather thick

file in that office.





John Crace

from The Guardian,

under heading ...

‘All very interesting, Boris.

Except none of it is really true, is it?’

Johnson gives ‘evidence’

to the Treasury select committee

(For ‘evidence’ read any shit you like)

“This is going on longer than a European fisheries

meeting,” grumbled Boris Johnson as the Treasury

select committee drifted well into its third hour.

“That’s bec