The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
If you give a man a gun, he can rob a bank. If you give a man a bank, he can rob the world. To misquote Shakespeare, "Exit Diamond, pursued by a huge wad of cash."
If he didn't do anything illegal, why shouldn't the terms of his contract be honoured?, right-wing commentators bleat. Depends on your definition of illegal really, doesn't it folks?
If you define it as not contravening laws expressly drawn up by tame politicians to enable money-obsessed, boring City pinstripes to wallow in obscene levels of wealth while laughingly sticking two fingers up at the rest of us then no, he's done nothing illegal.
But in any decent society people like him would be on Desert Island Discs. And I don't mean Sunday mornings on Radio 4. I mean dumped on Rockall with a boatload of Phil Collins LPs.
Tell us something we don't know. A recent study by something called Democratic Audit warns that the state of representative democracy in this country is in terminal decline due to "an unprecedented growth in corporate power" which "threatens to undermine some of the basic principles of democratic decision-making."
Threatens to? On that basis Spain "threatened" to win the Euros and this English summer "threatens" to be rather disappointing unless you're a bream.
McDonalds is the official restaurant of the Olympics. Was that a) because the people of London, overcome with love for the manna from heaven which flows from the golden arches, voted in their droves to bestow that honour or b) because McDonalds handed over a big wad of dosh and the local Olympic organisers yelled: "Praise the Lard!"? Answers on a postcard to Democratic Audit.
It's a shame that politicians and corporations don't give a flying rat's testicle about how the rest of us live, because there are some lovely people out there doing great stuff - and I keep meeting them.
Wandered through Wales last week and had a lovely gig at the Druid in Goginan, just outside Aberystwyth. It's a haven of creativity and fine ale and - fellow singers and poets - a bloody good gig and highly recommended!
Then I cycled from Barmouth along the beautiful Mawddach Trail before another fun night at the beautiful Kazimier in Liverpool and finished up at a Wrexham Supporters' Trust gig alongside the hilarious and Half Man Half Biscuitesque Declan Swans.
After much prompting I tried a pint of Wrexham Lager, now run by a small independent brewery and much better than it used to be. But it's still not a patch on the wonderful stuff which flows from the Dark Star Brewery here in Sussex.
As I always say, Favourite pub: Evening Star. Favourite newspaper: Morning Star. Favourite beer: Dark Star. Favourite comedian: John Cleese. Cheers!
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