Coarse Art

By Paul Halas The democratisation of the image Art is everywhere, whether it’s highbrow gallery art, pulp, throwaway art, or the vast array of moving images available to us. Perhaps because my parents excelled in the production of animated films – possessing talents I sadly didn’t inherit – I was always fascinated by the incredible […]

Continue Reading

A lifelong buddy

Tench: always there for me, even after years of neglect by Paul Halas Most anglers have a favourite fish, even if, like me, they don’t spend their entire lives obsessing about a single species. I’ve fished for well over sixty of my seventy-plus years, and a great affection for the first “serious” fish I ever […]

Continue Reading

War on wokies

Is “our” culture in peril? By Paul Halas The right wing press doesn’t pull its punches: an army of do-gooders, snowflakes and lefty killjoys are out to rob us of our freedoms and force us to abandon our cherished traditions. Our history is being re-written, monuments are being torn down, our favourite books, films and […]

Continue Reading
light man people art

the apathetic nation

ARE WE A NATION BEYOND CARING? By Paul Halas They partied and broke their own rules; they’ve been rumbled but will there now be a reckoning? The whitewash is already underway, Allegra Stratton is the blood sacrifice and an inquiry, of sorts, is to be held – led by someone who allegedly attended one of […]

Continue Reading

The Labour Party – sifting through the wreckage

Will activism become a cottage industry? By Paul Halas The news that the selection process for prospective Labour candidates is to be changed to allow yet more Tories to represent the party will surprise no one. It is only the latest increment in Keir Starmer’s drive to make the party a safe place for venture […]

Continue Reading

the fishing question

Is there a place for angling in the 21st Century? By Paul Halas I’m going to declare an interest, because I’ve been a keen angler for over sixty years, but during that time angling has been the subject of its fair share of controversy. My more Woke friends know I practise “the gentle art” and […]

Continue Reading

a socialist at number 10…

How would the grandees of the Civil Service, the heads of industry, the aristocracy, the media, Global big business, the military, MI5, the CIA, shadowy organisations such as the Ditchley Group, the dark money brokers, the Trilateral Commission, the City, the Chipping Norton Set, the hedge funds, the oligarchs, and all the other unelected holders of power react to a socialist UK? They have an absolute belief in their entitlement, something akin to the divine right of kings – democracy be buggered.

Continue Reading

A bas le fast-food

French cuisine ain’t as good as it used to be. The rot set in well before Chirac made his famous remarks, and seems to be accelerating. As someone who has visited and stayed in France frequently over the decades, I chart this decline with great sadness. French cuisine has always been celebrated for its excellence and variety, and has been inextricably a big part of my seventy year bout of Francophilia.

Continue Reading

The case for a coalition of the progressive left

But communities helping themselves, breaking free from corporate tyranny, building sustainable, more localised economies, getting representatives who actually represent them rather than vested interests – now that should be one hell of a draw.

A coalition of the left might achieve that. But if Labour is ever to be reborn, it will have to shed the centrist dead wood and learn to live with like-minded progressive groups. Ditch first past the post. Cooperate.

Continue Reading

Stroudwater Magic

Everyday natural wonders. By Paul Halas ON THE TOWPATH of the Stroudwater Canal a curious woman stopped and asked what I was staring at so intently. Across the water from us, perched on a twig, scanning the shallow water margin for tiddlers and tadpoles, was a kingfisher. Suddenly aware of our presence it flew off, […]

Continue Reading

“Though cowards flinch…”

If not Labour, then who? In football you write off teams that miss open goal after open goal, and that is precisely what Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has done for the past year. Remember the centrists’ mantra during the Corbyn years, “with the Tories making such a mess of things Labour should be at least […]

Continue Reading

Jeremy Corbyn is dead – long live Jeremy Corbyn!

The Peace and Justice Project could kick-start the renaissance of the left. The end of Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader of the Labour Party left many left-wingers in a state of mourning. When Keir Starmer took up the baton he pledged to stick to the democratic socialist principles the party had been pushing for five […]

Continue Reading

Vive les BDs!

Bandes dessinees (comics) – the French do it so much better. Most of my working life was spent churning out comics scripts for the Disney characters, but much of my comics background was shaped by a culture on the other side of the Atlantic from “the evil empire”. I read and was influenced by French […]

Continue Reading

What has the EU ever done for us?

Most of the problems people have, which caused them to vote Leave, are created by our own governments and NOT the EU. By Wanda Lozinska, Wanda Lozinska, a stalwart of Stroud Labour Party and ardent Remainer on the left, responds to James Tweedie’s article: “Don’t Remain in Denial about Brexit” “The UK’s trade with non-EU […]

Continue Reading

A tale of two rivers

THE SAD PLIGHT OF OUR RIVERS I have little time for The Guardian these days, but when it comes to reporting on the state of the environment it ain’t so bad. Several articles in recent years – such as “How clean are our rivers?”, “Migratory fish populations plunge 76% in past 50 years” and “Pet […]

Continue Reading

Labour – The end of the affair

Or, “I really think we need to take a break”. By Paul Halas After several months of running on empty I’ve finally decided to leave the Labour Party. It’s a wrench, to put it mildly. For the past few years the party has been very central to my life, occupying much of my time and […]

Continue Reading

French working class noir

The birth of a genre, French noir 1930 – 1960 When thinking of “film noir” the names that spring immediately to mind are Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Orson Welles, Raoul Walsh, Sam Fuller… Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Lauren Bacall, James Cagney, Robert Mitchum… But across the Atlantic the genre was also gaining […]

Continue Reading

Wilderness years for the Labour Left, by Paul Halas

By Paul Halas With the Labour Party once more appeasing the “Establishment”, can it still be home to left wingers? Like many, I’m one of those who has found the past year thoroughly dispiriting. Leaving aside Covid, these have been dark days for the left. Keir Starmer’s virtual opening speech at the virtual Labour Party […]

Continue Reading

They drew the 20th Century

By Paul Halas Cartoons that were art. Growing up in a family that was immersed in the visual arts – chiefly in the form of animated films – it’s little wonder I had access to all kinds of books filled with the most wonderful illustrations. From children’s illustrated books, to old “Punch” almanacs, ditto New […]

Continue Reading

TV situation comedy – a Tory secret weapon?

By Paul Halas A favourite saying amongst Tories, not least the late demented Margaret Thatcher, is that the Conservatives are the natural party of government in the UK. Simply in terms of incumbency that statement is just about correct: since the end of the Second World War, when regular TV schedules really began, the Tories […]

Continue Reading
%d bloggers like this: