I am delighted that this issue is receiving more and more attention and support. I hope the Prime Minister will take note and act appropriately. If Mr Junker and his cohorts wish to bargain with people’s lives in this way, we in the UK should make it clear that there is a moral high ground and we have taken it. I am astonished m. Junker did not seize such ground himself but I am deeply disheartened that Mrs May has, even now, left it so long.
We need to reassure EU citizens resident here at the time of the Referendum that, whatever the outcome of future negotiations with the EU, we acknowledge and confirm that their faith in Britain was not and will not be misplaced.
Here are my scribbles during the lunchtime news a few minutes ago. I am afraid I am so busy with Edward Lear, he has crept into this page anyway… Apologies.
There are plenty of people today barely making ends meet, and there is a huge mass of refugees suddenly penniless on the border of Europe, while at the same time, there is an ever-expanding waistline of “fat cat” executives often controlling the very charities who say they are helping to ease the misery they themselves seem to defy. I hope there is not a whiff of jealousy or envy here (is there a difference?) but while I was sketching our two cats this morning and at the same time, thinking of a couple of lectures I have to write, I found myself wondering about the recent fiasco involving “Save the Children” and the distasteful posting of a scurrilous manga cartoon. The campaign to replace that image and to help is well-underway with the hashtag “Yeswhynot”. I contributed a picture of a cat towards this effort.
I worry that one of my cats is slightly overweight.
It’s cats all round at the moment…
So, I checked the internet, and I was staggered to find that the chief executive, Justin forsyth (an ex-Oxfam man, but also a former labour planner for Tony Blair in No 10) earns £163,000 a year- that is, to put it in persepective, about £20,000 more than David Cameron. Anabel Hoult apparently exceeded her boss in a mix of take-home pay and pensions. I have just started to follow Charlie Elphicke on twitter and he describes this bonus culture as “inappropriate and objectionable.”
There is no doubt these executives can defend their exorbitant salaries, and Forsyth in particular took over at a time of crisis for the charity and while it was going through a nasty merger with merlin, and having drawn him quickly, I must add, he has an engaging smile- but still- it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
As for “fat cats”- the dictionary tells me they would be people with a political bent and lots of money. I do not encourage you to do the maths but, well, miaow!
The crime of injuring the monarch, whether physically (which would be treason), or verbally, is a serious one. I wonder whether caricatures fall into this sphere and indeed this very question was debated a deal in the 18th Century when George III and his son were routinely held up by the early political cartoonists as figures of fun.
Defacing banknotes even today I think is a crime based on the principle of Lèse-majesté.
Does this crime ever result in actions- well, yes, there was a Polish case where a man was fined about £6000 for insulting John Paul II during one of his last visits to Poland. The specific words used in the offensive article are these- that John Paul II was “an impotent old man offering a spectacle of horror to the public,” though the article itself was entitled “The Walking Sado-Masochist”. In the article similarities were drawn between the Pope and the dying Leonid Brezhnev. This, in turn, was heavily criticised by the international press and especially “Reporters sans frontières” which argued that freedom of expression was effectively denied to Jerzy Urban and that Poland had agreed to freedom of expression when it joined the EU in 2004. More recently, there was a case where a man farted to express concerns about the Prime Minister lech Kaczyński, one of the twins and the man who was killed on the way to commemorate the Katyn massacre in the plane crash in 2010.
Now, it is one thing to gag the press or to try to cork the wilder expressions of political discontent, but it is quite another when a senior politician is heard mouthing off about his monarch. School-boy gossip, gloating is not really something we should tolerate from a statesman. So in the UK, there is a clear example of Lèse-majesté in the garrulous stupidity of our own Prime minister. I cannot see that an apology can really explain the smug contempt of the word “purred”. Alex Salmond spoke quite clearly about his shock at the way Cameron openly discussed what he had said to the Queen. Salmond is right and Cameron wrong. But it goes further. If Cameron cannot be trusted to respect the Queen, how can he be trusted to respect the Country?
Here is an earlier Cameron cartoon. I think this one is better actually:
Personally, I must confess that this leaves me in a bit of a dilemma: I had intended to stand for some form of Political office with a Conservative ticket in May and had gone through the struggle of selection. I am really not sure this would be right now. I have never liked Cameron – I remember being encouraged by one of his Eton contemporaries in Oxford to cross the street so that we might avoid meeting him – but now I am afraid I think he is a twit and a liability. If Boris were leading, it would be a different matter, but with Cameron there… well, I have to think very seriously! This is not just a gaff; it exposes the way the man thinks and it is not a pretty image I am afraid. Mrs Thatcher (she of the deepest curtsey ever) would be shocked, shocked, shocked.