Pilgrimage through the detritus of growth

 

This piece arose from a reference photograph selected by Outside Authority.  Their interpretation of the same elements (with reference to both Henry Moore and Matisse I think) is here and here.

I flooded my original doodle with water, ink, white acrylic paint and ground chalk pastel, heated it dry and then worked back into it with knife, ink and watercolour.

 

Red Black 1

 

A long time with little drawing, save these sketches on a simple app on the iphone.  Most are abstract, reflecting my moods and thoughts.  Only one of these relates directly to our having lost our European citizenship and soon to be rights and trading partners, for a bright new future as supplicants of American corporations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democracy is not only on election day

 

Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough may turn out to be the catalysts for change, but only if we wake up and act both as individuals and collectively. The election defeat for progressive parties (south of the border) wanting to address climate change is a significant step backwards; the middle aged and old putting our present comforts or despair ahead of hope, against the interests of our clearer-sighted children.

I have pasted below the links to the excerpts from the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, in which the two talk, linked between London and Stockholm, and also the interview with retiring Bank of England governor Mark Carney.  The interview with a spokesperson from Shell does not appear to have been posted by Radio 4.  Shell’s perspective appears to be that activism is good if it changes consumers’ opinions which in turn creates markets for green energy and so will drive green investment in a capitalist economy; in other words, when the local neighbourhood is burning, reluctant punters might decide to switch provider.

Greta says “Read up. Inform yourself about the actual science and situation… Be an active democratic citizen… Democracy is not only on election day, it’s happening all the time”.

Of these sketches, the one immediately below was done outdoors from my bike.  The rest were from photos, practice at expressing a landscape and sky with black and brown lines, bleeding ink, wash and conte crayon.  I finished with the drawing that headlines this piece.

Enter Creon

Chorus:

“King Creon.  All hail to Creon.

He’s the new king but he’s right

For this city at this moment.”

Creon:

“Gentlemen.  We have entered calmer waters.

Our ship of state was very nearly wrecked

But the gods have kept her safe.”

 

The Burial at Thebes: Sophocles’ Antigone.  Seamus Heaney

Results – Vote for Policies

Results – Vote for Policies
— Read on voteforpolicies.org.uk/survey/results/qW3Xx3Nc2lNWfguV

So this survey site seems safe and not selling on our data.

They compare policies across national party manifestos and let you pick blind (not so blind as Tory and Brexit party’s’ policies stand out like a box of frogs).

These is a profile of my preferred policies. Looks like I am Green. I still plan to vote Labour. That’s my best chance tactically anyway and what’s striking is how close the three progressive parties are to each other.

Tactical voting is crucial now if we don’t want to crash out of Europe, be sold off to Trump and have our democracy crushed under illiberal measures.

Now this is not the end …

Once more, on the brink of a deadline for Britain to leave the European Union, teetering there on the precipice, barely held from toppling by parliamentarians demanding scrutiny of the executive, more than a million people gathered from across the country in Parliament Square to strengthen the hand of democracy.

For democracy does not rest simply in a single vote: the plebiscite can be the tool of the rulers, who control the information and who deceive, reward and punish at will.  Democracy sits also within Human Rights, the Rule of Law and public scrutiny, available to all and applying to all.

Boris Johnson is the man of our times: a self-invented shell of a person, without principle, whose sole purpose is to rule.  He believes himself a Man of Destiny, a second Churchill in his own mind.  If you believe that history pivots on the actions of strong or catastrophic individuals, this may prove to be one such time.

Perhaps, in this time, we are coming to an end of a beginning.  We may split first from Europe, then disintegrate to petty nation states, ruled covertly by corporations and led by minor potentates for whom a never-ending quarrel with neighbours serves to distract the populace from poverty, the burning atmosphere and rising waves.

The EU is a means, not an end in itself.  Our real task is building a community, binding together peoples and nations, re-purposed away from supporting privilege, as a tool for social justice and environmental action.

By chance, in Piccadilly, I found myself in a small part of Yorkshire, with a white rose flag and a song book.

 

 

 

The warrior

Henry Moore’s sculpture grew from the shape of a pebble.  I stood behind the bronze to make this sketch, aiming to use just white and light and dark sanguine to define it.  Once home, I couldn’t resist working over the lines again.  I perhaps should have left well alone.

Brexit day has been and gone since I last posted from the Peoples’ Vote march but we seem to be in the same place as that weekend.  I notice that the Labour Party is desperately looking for candidates to fight the European Parliamentary elections.  If you are short of something to do for a few months, it seems a good idea, a political taster.  It might be a way of having fun and meeting new people!  You have to have been a member for a year to stand for Labour, but if you are, you already know they are looking for candidates- check your email feed.  If not, there’s always the independent group who are less fussy who they take.

 

 

 

 

 

Bollocks to Brexit

Here is Parliament Square this evening, as people mill about not quite ready to go home after the People’s Vote march.  The statue of Churchill facing into the gale is silhouetted against the white cladding covering part of St Margaret’s Church.

We are in this odd position in which Parliament cannot bring itself to ratify the treaty by which we leave the European Union with a transition period and without immediate chaos.  All arrangements ending our membership are detrimental to the wider economic and political interests of the UK,  so whatever might be the stated opinions of individual Members of Parliament, psychologically and collectively they just cannot bring themselves to commit this act.

The small number of die-hard radicals of the Conservative Party actively want to leave without a treaty, the so-called No Deal, so they and their class can profit financially from the chaos that will impoverish the majority.  The even fewer Northern Irish Democratic Unionists prop up the government and are unrepresentative of the people of that province.  They reject the treaty because it makes transparent the political reality:  after Brexit, Northern Ireland must have a status different to mainland UK if there is to be no return to a hard border with Eire and the sectarian polarisation that would bring.  My party, Labour, reject the treaty not because it is bad (because all routes out of the EU are bad) but because we have three more years of government by a wretched Conservative Party unwilling to seek a consensus vision for Britain after Brexit.  It is a certainty that the Conservatives will cast in law a post-Brexit settlement which undermines workers’ pay, conditions and rights and environmental protections.  They will be free to enter trade deals with other countries to reshape our National Health Service on the USA for-profit model and prevent government limiting the exorbitant prices of pharmaceuticals.  This is the one chance for Labour to bind the government’s hands.  However, strategically they are on the back foot as Theresa May doggedly refuses to compromise, beyond all reason.

So here I was at the the largest political protest in the UK’s history: a million people united in demanding a second referendum and a chance to reject Brexit this time round or at least a way out the impasse Parliament has created.  Still, even if Brexit were to be overturned, what will we do about the conditions of austerity and inequality which so disaffected people in the first place, and which are frankly so much more important than whether we stay in or leave the European Union?  I begin to realise Brexit is a side show.  In or out of the EU, what we need is political vision which addresses with intelligence and compassion the real issues: planetary destruction, violence and poverty.

Note the most middle class insult ever on a banner (or is this reverse snobbery?) “Theresa May puts the milk in first” with a picture of a cup of tea.

Four meditations on lines by T.S. Eliot: part I

CHORUS:

…King rules or barons rule; we have suffered various oppression, but mostly we are left to our own devices, and we are content if we are left alone.

We try to keep our households in order; the merchant, sly and cautious, tries to compile a little fortune, and the labourer bends to his piece of earth, earth colour, his own colour, preferring to pass unobserved.

Now I fear disturbance of the quiet seasons: winter shall come bringing death from the sea, ruinous spring shall beat at our doors, root and shoot shall eat at our eyes and our ears, disastrous summer burn up the beds of our streams and the poor shall wait for another decaying October.

Murder in the cathedral: part I.  T.S. Eliot

 

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