Jeremy Corbyn as Obi Wan Kenobi

I was tickled by the joke that new leader of the Labour Party resembles Alec Guinness as the heroic Jedi Master who comes in from the wilderness to guide the resistance against the evil Empire.  It is easy to cast George Osbourne as Darth Vadar.   I am not sure who is Yoda though.

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Jeremy Corbyn as Jedi Master coming in from the wilderness: pencil and charcoal and photo-shopped with glow filter.

In real life we need a strong and credible Labour Party holding the government to account and building alternative policies.  Corbyn has the overwhelming  support of the Labour Party but not the Members of Parliament.  As ordinary voters, in or out of the Party, we need to tell all of them, leadership and backbenchers we absolutely expect them to bury their emotional differences and work together to hone credible policies that challenge the failed economic orthodoxy and support social justice.

It would be great if we could contact our MPs and tell them this.  A twitter campaign might look like this:

I am an NHS consultant and LP member. I ask Labour MPs to unite for social justice and to protect the environment. #MPspleasebackCorbyn

The idea would be each of us to say who we are and, if we want, our political affiliation, and also the issues topmost in our mind, but keep the same message and hash tag.  This is not a matter for Labour supporters and members only: all of us need a strong opposition functioning in parliament and now is the time for all of us to shape Labour into the party that reflects our concerns.

If anyone knows how to start a twitter campaign on these lines, now would be a good time to start.

Slothful weekend

My son states that not one of my attempts to draw him actually look like him.  He thinks I should simply draw cartoon sloths because they have a similar hair style to him, and seem to be always smiling, like him.

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It seems a harsh criticism because he does not stay still long enough to allow me to draw.  Here, he is attempting to control a column of air wound round in a brass tube such that there is an interval between the emerging tones and a gap between the notes.  This challenge  keeps him in the same spot and doing the same thing for a few minutes.

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My oldest son sent these youngest a book of ideas for building from Lego.  They dragged the crate of accumulated pieces into the living room and I realised I had five minutes to draw while they constructed.

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Even then, it is remarkable how lively they were, gyrating through different positions on the floor while preoccupied with their task.  Quickly this descended into a chase across the furniture as their constructs were caught up in a narrative.

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In the picture below, he has perched on the stairs to read the Lego book.  I draw from under the table tennis table in the hall.  Perhaps the odd angle explains why I gave him puny forelimbs like a Tyrannosaurus.

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The play park in the cold is an inauspicious setting to draw.  Here, he perched for a minute on a high log.  There is something missing from this sketch … I think it is half his leg.

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One trick is to do a deal.  I drew her in return for her drawing me.

She needs to talk about a talent in class next week.  Her original plan was to play the ukulele.  I was a bit sceptical: initial enthusiasm a year ago quickly faded when pressing the strings hurt her fingers.  She thinks I could teach her enough in the next 5 days.  Her faith in me is touching but misplaced. My playing is limited to messing around, mostly in a G minor harmonic scale with a drone on the low G hit by my thumb, fantasising I am Ravi Shankar.

She has a better chance with drawing.  Given a spare moment she draws.  So I gave her a pad with decent cartridge paper and a 4B pencil.  She was willing to listen to my explaining about 3D shapes and shadows because she has five days before presenting this talent, which is pressing a little on her mind.  If she allows, I will post her drawings soon.

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Today, we did an experiment.  Could a sloth lie on its back in the water with all four paws vertically upright allowing a sail to be hoisted?  We think the answer is no.  We sank.

Can a sloth swim on its back

Margaret Thatcher – in memorium

Socialists get nostalgic for the days of Thatcher.

She was a grocer’s daughter, a grammar school girl, a woman who clawed her way by ambition and intelligence to the top job against class prejudice and misogyny.  She did many mad bad things but now we have the real thing, posh boys in charge, risen through ranks of their own by exercising privilege and wealth, demonising people who graft for low wages as scroungers and workshy.

I dug out these remnants from the 80s of my early attempts at political cartoons.


I notice not much has changed in our relationship with Europe across the decades.

She left a massive legacy, resetting the political consensus such that her successors continued what she had begun, dragging this nation away from manufacturing and into a dependence on service industries and financial bubbles.


Civil society was militarised: battle lines formed between police and pickets in the sad drama of the long drawn-out doomed-from-the-start miners’ strike, the sequence of defense and attack filmed and shown in reverse for the evening news.

Jeremy Clarkson swallowed whole by giant pterodactyl

This week, on national TV, influential broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson proposed that striking public sector workers should be “shot in front of their families”.

In the interest of balance,  I propose that Mr Clarkson be eaten by a giant pterodactyl.

I first envisaged a giant eye at the studio window followed by the stabbing tips of an enormous beak.  Then, what turns out to be a giant pterodactyl grabs its prey, throws back its head and drops Clarkson into the maw.

But this cannot be right.  This excellent and accessible paper by Witton and Naish describes the functional anatomy of the Azhdarchids, which were the biggest pterosaurs (   They were constructed like giant pickaxes, their necks rigid and the huge head fixed at a near right angle.

How might a giant pterodactyl get the food from beak tip to the throat.  Herons usually manoeuvre their prey in the beak by short chopping motions, opening the bill to allow the object to fall, but catching it again higher in the beak, closer to the mouth.  They can do this with their beaks pointing down.  Look at this for an example  Perhaps this is how the pterodactyl might feed.  What a terrible fate for the great man – the oscillation of hope and mounting despair at each release and catch, being ratcheted towards the gullet.

But depicting Mr Clarkson being eaten by a giant pterodactyl is demonstrably not to be taken seriously.