Archive for February, 2007

The 2020 lack of vision…

February 28, 2007

Clarke and Milburn’s 2020 vision website was launched today.
Maybe they shouldn’t have bothered, and just left it with the email…

Paul ‘Guido’ Staines, frustratingly sums it up better than anyone:

It is yet another “participatory” website, policy orientated, debating the future direction of the Labour party, blah, blah, blah. Yawn.

The sorry thing though, is that it might have worked, had it been done well.
This could have been a truly intersting and worthwhile experiment, had the Clarke/Milburn vision stretched beyond opposing Gordon. Looking at the lacklustre efforts behind, the only conclusion you can draw when you see it, is that this is nothing more than a swipe at the Brown campaign. The page has no milage as a forum for visionary debate…

If that however is what they’re trying to create, it is obviously premature to argue that the venture has failed, even before it has properly got off the ground. Nevertheless, when the website itself doesn’t support the message, it doesn’t bode well for the continuation.

Just a few examples:

1. First impression.
The page could be for and about absolutely anything. Insurance company, events organiser, venture capitalists, health care… Nothing sets it apart. At all.

2. Design.
The colours are different shades of new Labour red pink and red – pale, weak and unimaginative. The type and layout is equally dated, lazy and formulaic.

3. Picture(!).
There is one picture on the entire site. One visual. A photograph of a girl looking through a pair of binoculars.
A box with the main slogan “Towards a progressiv century” is tucked into the bottom right corner of the picture – as if to somehow justify the use of an image that is entirely unrelated to either progress, policy discussion or political vision. Clarke/Milburn choose to sell this journey towards a progressive century – by in effect draping a scantily dressed women across the bonnet of a dull Volvo 240 stationwagon people carrier (..To use an extreme, but sadly appropriate metaphor)

In a very brutal way, the opening page – which should draw people in and encourage discussion, fails in itself to reflect the message that they supposedly want to convey.

It is only the first day, and the contents will – when it starts coming in – hopefully lift the quality somewhat…
But until the design reflects the message, this project is going nowhere.

Despite having taken a curious liking to the design, Daniel Finkelstein on Comment Central makes a characteristically interesting point on the effectiveness of participatory debates as a source of renewal in Political parties.

Leading article in The Times.

Another problem has been brought to my attention, that I didn’t pick up on regarding the design. A much more important issue than anything I mentioned. There are no threads in the debating forums. So rather than real debates on issues, all you have is a list of uncategorised opinions. This is a vital point, but one that quite easily can be put right if the people behind the page are as serious about discussion as they claim to be.


Satirising huggies…

February 28, 2007

I have a feeling that Alistair Beaton’s comment piece in the Telegraph today, reflects what most satirists across the land are thinking these days.

I urge you to read the whole thing, but here are some snippets:

I am seriously worried about David Cameron. I feel he’s about to let me down. David’s fluffy all-things-to-all-persons routine may provide material for a three-minute comedy sketch, or even prove the perfect foil for a telephone-wielding impressionist, but unless he comes up with a serious set of policies very soon, then I fear he is going to be a dead loss for satirists.


Most satire is born of anger, and bland nice-guy acts just don’t generate it.
To be perfectly honest, Tory Dave is already boring me stupid.


The Shadow Chancellor was so nice I wanted to shoot myself. (…) Instead of crushing me, he smiled sweetly and explained that what he was doing was really very useful. ”Oh God,” I thought, ”I really want to hate this man, and I can’t.” Exit satirist, pursued by a bear hug.


Gordon Brown. Oh dear. My heart sinks. The man emanates a worthiness that withers the satirical spirit. There are, I suppose, a few rays of sunshine.


There’s always Ming Campbell, I suppose, but, well, he’s such a decent old cove, I really don’t have the heart.


David Miliband needs to stand for leader – and win!
What a joyous and glorious dawn for satirists that would be. Little David, his ambition popping forth like the shirt of an eager schoolboy not quite in control of his clothing, would be guaranteed to try to lead us into some crazed new dawn.

Hands up any cartoonist/satirist who hasn’t recently thought precisely this.

Miliband will have to stand, and after Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn started to clear the path for him yesterday, it’d be foolish not to give it a go. Feeble even. Then again, all the more material for us…

Where I think the article doesn’t quite go far enough, is on Gordon Brown.There might only be “a few rays of sunshine” now, but if he indeed does become PM, I think a whole new Gordon will appear.
He is not a natural PM, and consequently, how he performs and what he does to compensate for that lack of a prime ministerial personality, will be much enjoyed by anyone with satirical intentions.

Still, provided he doesn’t suffer from the same political cowardice as the Chancellor and subsequently fails to stand, I’m putting a hopeful tenner on Miliband.

An animated goody…

February 27, 2007

No no, this is not about the lovable English Rose currently on a intensely private trip to India accompanied by her best Asian friends and a press corps that just happened to find here there, visiting the slum, full of regret…and with her wallet out.

It’s not that, thank goodness.
This is the latest from Mark Fiore.
And in contrast to the other story, this is really worth a link and a look.

30 years of Dredd…

February 26, 2007

judge reid

On BBC online there’s an interesting article on the 30th birthday of 2000AD and its fabulously over the top character, Judge Dredd.

The comic book hero is a much used metaphor for draconian law and excessive use of force. However, somewhat worringly, although not entirely surprising, it seems many of the dire predictions made by the magazine in the early days, are now part of our normality.

It reminded me of a cartoon (above) I did last summer – of Dr John Draco Reid – based on a great 2000AD cover by the legendary British comics artist Mike McMahon.

Oscar success for the homeland…

February 26, 2007

The Norwegian animated short The Danish Poet won an Oscar last night. Joy. Pride. And national celebration.
So raise your glass – and be jubilant.

The entire film can be enjoyed here.

It’s about love, which is nice.

A Cabinet study…

February 26, 2007



Ukip, just say NO!

February 25, 2007


Ukip, bless them, are in a spot of bother. First the eurosceptic party get the Electoral Commission on their backs, for having accepted a sizable donation from Alan Brown despite the fact that he wasn’t on the electoral register at the time.
Secondly, according to the Sunday Telegraph:

An investigation has been demanded into claims that the euro-sceptic UK Independence Party has been funding activities in this country with money that should only be spent in Brussels.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the Sunday Times reports that Ukip MEP Tom Wise is being investigated by European anti-fraud watchdog for allegedly channeling in excess of £39,000 in public funds into his personal account.

Now, I’ll let others discuss the politcs of this – or the legal issues.
Let’s just look at the funny side.
Apart from the demise of an annoying political party, or the fact that the Ukip member accused of embezzlement is called Wise, it’s funny because any slogan or campaign put forward by the party, somehow seem to incriminate them further.



“Say NO to EU regulation”

..or rules or laws…

“Cut Crime with zero tolerance, effective deterrents and more disciplined prisons”

…very wise.

And what about that logo, eh?
I think they might be in it for the money…

The stories just keep coming… I wonder how Tom Wise feel about the EU these days. Having gone there to expose the corrupt nature of the whole institution, only to discover that it’s only corrupt because of people like himself… Or maybe his defence will be that the European Union was what corrupted him in the first place.


Tom and Jerry a Jewish conspiracy?

February 23, 2007

Daniel Finkelstein on Comment Central has found this gobsmackingly amusing yet ultimately terrifying film on YouTube (Or is that “terrifying yet ultimately gobsmackingly amusing?”)
When not sure whether to laugh or cry, maybe we should just do the former – and hope for the best.

What’s for certain though, is that it’s hard not to share Finkelstein’s concern…

Cartoon round-up…

February 23, 2007

Ever excellent Peter Brookes in The Times has got a fine piece on Blair’s moral duality.

Others to see:
Steve Bell in the Guardian returns to familiar territory.
Peter Shrank in the Indy focuses on Prince Harry – and Blair.
Garland in the Telegraph – still going strong. Notice his subtle yet devestating use of scale.


A brief Animation round up…

February 23, 2007

Ebolaworld creator Sam T has released a new installment of the Dubya-Doo Movies. As always an impressive one man project.

There’s a newish episode of Current TV’s Super News out, about the battle between Gates and Jobs.

A new Mark Fiore cartoon is probably right around the corner, but I never linked to his Valentine’s day special, so here it is!

Too Stupid To be President has a rare new installment: Meet What Passes For the Press”

Oh, if you want a break from politics, have a look at the excellent “It’s Jerry Time”.

Also, from our own shores, increasingly prolific Matt “Hack” Buck has got a new animation on his blog which is well worth a look!