The Noticeboard Daily

When I was 17 years old, I wrote for the student newspaper at Varndean Sixth Form College in Brighton. It was called The Bernard, after Bernard Butler from Suede. We were never sure how this happened. It was edited by a nice chap called Tom, who probably ended up going to a fancy university and being incredibly successful. My friend Rob and I took it upon ourselves to squeeze as much puerile, pointless and irrelevant bullshit into the magazine as possible. Tom was too nice to stop us, but you could see the conflict behind his eyes. He clearly envisaged a proper student newspaper with politics, poetry, reviews and so on. We submitted reviews of ‘Alco-fish’, exposes of radiation leaks from the photocopier in the library and hastily drawn posters of tiny mammoths scaling daisies. He must have hated us. But, he was nice and a bit posh and he let us get away with it.

Fast forward fifteen years. Tom is probably editing the Times or something. I dunno, I can’t remember his surname. I am still producing puerile bullshit for no money, but now describing it as political satire. Somewhere out there, a new generation of Toms is bunkering down and preparing to overtake those of us who spent our youth properly, with drugs and that.

Well, it’s happening already. I’ve been tracked down on social media and talked into contributing to a political commentary website by someone who should really be sitting in the park taking acid and drinking cider. I’ve never met him and know nothing about him, but I suspect he’s nice and a bit posh, will go to a fancy university and will be wildly successful in 15 years while I continue producing puerile bullshit for no money. Feel free to visit The Noticeboard Daily and mutter bitterly about the precociousness of youth. I’ve got a cartoon on there (also below), plus you can write abusive comments under an article written by a Tory MP.

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The House at Blue Corner

in which Davey the Blue invents a new game and Clegglet joins in

By the time it got to Westminster, the river had congealed, so that it was almost a swamp, and, being congealed, it did not happily skip and sparkle along as it used to do before it entered London, but oozed and glistened as it seeped slowly past the grand buildings of Parliament.

There was a busy road leading from Downing Street to the South Bank, but before it could come to the South Bank it had to cross this river. So, where it crossed there was a stone and iron bridge, with iron fences on each side of it. Blue could get his chin on to the fence if he wanted to, but it was more fun to lie down and poke his head through the holes in the fence, and watch the river oozing along beneath him. And this was the only way in which Clegglet could watch the river at all, because he was so small and nobody would help him look over the top of the fence.





One day, when Blue was walking towards this bridge, he was trying to make up a piece of poetry about poor people, because they were all around, lying untidily on each side of him, and he felt queasy. So he picked a poor person up, and looked at it, and said to himself, ‘This is a very ugly and smelly poor person, and something ought to be done with it.’ But he couldn’t think of anything. And then this came into his head suddenly:


It’s really very funny,

How some people get so scummy,

When they could just charge people money

To sit with them and eat some honey.


‘It really doesn’t make a single bit of sense,’ said Blue, ‘because there are a great number of people who want to eat honey with me and they give me lots and lots of money. Why don’t these poor people help themselves, just like I do, and like my friends do?’



He had almost crossed the busy road and almost reached the heavy iron fence, but as he was concentrating so hard on not being hit by the traffic, he tripped over the kerb and the poor person flew out of his paw, over the fence and into the river.

‘Bother’, said Blue, as it disappeared under the bridge, and he went back to get another poor person, of which there were many. But then he thought that he would just look at the river instead, because the sun was peeping through the clouds and making the water glisten in a most agreeable way. So he lay down and looked at the river, and it oozed slowly along beneath him . . . and suddenly, there was his poor person oozing along too.

‘That’s funny’, said Blue. ‘I dropped it on the other side, and it came out on this side! I wonder if it would do it again?’ And he went back for more poor people.

It did do it again. In fact, it did it almost every time he tried. Then he dropped two in at once, and leant over the bridge to see which of them would come out first; and one of them did; but as most poor people look basically the same, he didn’t know if it was the one which he wanted to win, or the other one. So the next time he dropped one who could only afford to eat from Greggs and one who couldn’t even afford to eat at all, and the fat one came out first, which is what his advisors had said it would do, and the little one came out last, which was what his advisors had said it would do, so he had won twice . . . and when he went home for tea, he had won fifty-three and lost forty-six, although when he thought about it, really, he had won every single game, because of all the people on that bridge that day, he was the only one that wasn’t now at the bottom of the river.

And that was the beginning of the game called Poorsticks, which Blue invented and which he and his friends used to play in Westminster. But they mostly played with disabled people instead of poor people, because they were easier to catch.

Now, one day, Blue and his good friend Clegglet were playing Poorsticks together. They had dropped their disabled people in and shouted ‘Go!’ and then they had rushed over to the other side of the bridge, and now they were all leaning over the edge, waiting to see whose disabled person would come out first. But it was a long time coming, because the river was very lazy, and disabled people could be even more lazy than the river, often too lazy even to float for that short distance.



‘I think I can see my disabled person!’ cried Clegglet. ‘No you can’t,’ said Blue. ‘I can’t see mine, so it stands to reason that you shouldn’t be able to see yours.’ Clegglet solemnly agreed.

‘I expect they’ve sunk again,’ he said.

‘Nonsense,’ said Blue. ‘They’re probably not even properly disabled. I’m sure we’ll see them sailing past any moment now.’

‘I can see yours, Blue,’ said Clegglet suddenly, leaning as far over the side as he could.

‘Mine’s a sort of greyish pink colour,’ said Blue.

‘Yes, I think this one’s quite pink. Come on disabled person!’

‘That doesn’t look like mine at all,’ said Blue. ‘I think I recognise it though. I think I had lunch with it last week.’

And out floated a banker.

‘Banker!’ cried Blue and Clegglet, terribly excited.

Calmly and happily, the banker floated along down the river, turning gently with the current and disappearing off into the distance. Then another banker floated past, and then another, and then another.



‘They float along very well,’ thought Blue, ‘so well in fact, that I think they should become part of our game.’ And so, for the rest of the day, Blue and Clegglet raced their disabled people and their poor people against the bankers. It was a fine game, but for one problem. No matter how many times they tried, the bankers always floated off down the river, whereas the disabled people and the poor people always sank to the very bottom. Even Blue, who was by all accounts a Prime Minister of Very Little Brain realised that he could quite easily win every time, by always choosing the banker and never choosing the poor person or the disabled person. Still though, they played on until the sun was low and it was time to go home and to bed.

The very next day, Blue had an Idea, of which he was very proud. He raced down to the bridge to meet Clegglet, who had already been up for an hour or more.





‘Clegglet’, said Blue, ‘I was sat in my best arm-chair this morning, thinking as hard as I could, when I had an Idea.’

‘An idea, Blue?’ exclaimed Clegglet?

‘An Idea,’ replied Blue. ‘I hope it’s a Good Idea, but I don’t suppose we can really know for sure until we try.’

‘Do tell’, squeaked Clegglet. ‘I’m sure it will be a fine idea.’

‘Now the problem we have, as far as I can understand it, is that the bankers float along quite happily, whereas most of the poor people and most of the disabled people sink to the bottom of the river, because of their heavy wheel-chairs or their heavy ear-rings. So, according to my Idea, if we can make the bankers heavier somehow, then this might make the game a good deal more interesting.’

‘That’s a very good idea,’ said Clegglet, ‘but how can we make them heavier?’

Blue paused for a moment, straightened his back and proudly proclaimed, ‘Why, by throwing heavy things at them of course! I have lots of heavy things at home. In fact, we can just use all the bags of money people have been giving me recently. I have lots and lots of them.’

‘But how can we be certain that we’ll hit the bankers and not the poor people or the disabled people?’

Blue considered this for a moment, then came up with his Second Idea of the Day.

‘Rather than throwing bags of money at the bankers,’ he said, ‘we can just deposit the money directly into their overseas bank accounts.’

Later that day, having ensured that the bankers were as laden with money as they could possibly be, Blue and Clegglet returned to the bridge. To their surprise though, not only were the bankers still happily floating down the river, but many of them were now chugging along in shiny new speedboats! Blue sighed and sank to the floor.



‘What on earth are we to do now?’ asked Blue, sadly. ‘Making the bankers heavier hasn’t slowed them down at all. If anything, it’s made them even faster.’

‘It certainly is a problem,’ agreed Clegglet, ‘but couldn’t we just give some money to the poor people and the disabled people?’

‘We’ve given every last bit of it away to the bankers,’ said Blue.

‘Then can’t we just use some other sort of Heavy Thing?’ asked Clegglet.

‘I suppose we could just use these rocks,’ said Blue, ‘but I’m not sure you can deposit rocks into an overseas bank account. I’m not even sure poor people have overseas bank accounts.’

‘Oh Blue,’ said Clegglet, ‘Everyone has an overseas bank account! I think you could be right about the rocks though. I suppose we’ll just have to throw the rocks at the poor people and do our very best not to hit the bankers.’

And so they did.





Of course, the rocks didn’t speed up the poor people and they didn’t speed up the disabled people, but they were such fun to throw and it was such a nice day that it really didn’t matter. And after a while, Blue and Clegglet forgot all about the original rules of the game and realised they had invented a brand new game, which they considered to be superior in many respects and which they could happily play every day, or at least until they ran out of rocks.







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Draining the Swamp

Bigger version here.

Alex Salmond is generally described as being a bit of a political genius, by friends and foes alike. Rupert Murdoch is generally described as a cartoon supervillain presiding over a hive of Mafioso, merrily distorting the political system for decades. Some might think that cosying up to Murdoch when no other fucker wants to be anywhere near him would be an odd move. These people forget that Salmond is a Political Genius. Others may wonder whether people in Scotland would feel a bit uneasy about the prospect of Murdoch corruption travelling north of the border. These people also forget that Salmond is a POLITICAL GENIUS. There may even be those who think the idea of Salmond writing an article in the first edition of the Sun on Sunday in return for Murdoch support is the political equivalent of Dr Fausten sending Mephistopheles a quick text to see if he fancies a pint. POLITICAL GENIUS POLITICAL GENIUS POLITICAL GENIUS.

Michael Gove on the other hand is not a political genius. Michael Gove is a clammy, balloon-cheeked amphibian with delusions of divinity. When he attempts to crawl up Murdoch’s arse, he is just following the natural nesting instinct of his species. When Salmond does the same, it is POLITICAL GENIUS.

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Letter to a Lord Ignored

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Looks like Lord Birdseye had his fish fingers crammed firmly in his ears over the past week, going against the public, the health professions and democracy by voting with the government and helping the NHS bill become law. I’ve not had a reply to my letter yet, but I’m going to give him another few days and then send him another, then another, then another. I’ll probably send him a few emails too. Maybe sign him up to some mailing lists. I’m sure we’ll end up being good friends.

I know this Adopt-a-Lord scheme is expensive – it only costs a few quid a month to adopt a snow leopard – but now we’ve sold off the NHS, we might as well get our money’s worth. We may not get things like accountability, democracy and a welfare state, but look at what your Lord Adoption Pack DOES contain! As well as your own cuddly toy Lord (see above for mine), you receive a booklet of interesting facts about your Lord (don’t worry your pretty head though, there’s nothing as scary and complicated as a Risk Register), you get to hear regular updates about developments in your Lord’s village, PLUS you get a voucher for 50% off the Liberal Democrats at the next election!

Remember, we’ve already paid the price, so to adopt a Lord you do not need to pay any more. Just send them a letter. Then another. Then another. Don’t send them emails though – the Lords have spent many years living away from the influence of the modern world and we need to work together in order to preserve their unique, traditional way of life.

If you need inspiration to decide which Lord to adopt, you may like to try here. You’ll need to select the 2010/12 Session and the 19th of March 2012 to see how they voted on the Health and Social Care bill.

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Letter to a Lord

The older I get, the more letters I seem to write to MPs and Lords. I’m not sure if this is entirely due to the ravages of age, or if it’s just that I enjoy getting multiple identical responses from Gerald Kaufman’s intern. I do have a thing for House of Commons notepaper, maybe this could explain it. I stole some once when on a tour of the House of Commons at the age of 16. Always intended to use it to cause an international incident, never got around to it. Anyway, here’s a letter I’m about to post to Lord Greenway. Apparently the correct way to address the letter is to “The Lord Greenway”. As opposed to just any old Lord Greenway, I suppose. Incidentally, should you want to pester a Lord, you can do so using this.

Dear Lord Greenway,

I am writing regarding the Third Reading of the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill. I have attempted to research your current views on this bill, but have not found anything conclusive and so beg your forgiveness if we are already of the same opinion.

There are many faults with the bill, which have been widely debated in the press and which I will not waste your time with here: I am sure you are already well aware of the implications. However, the elements of the bill that I consider to be dangerous will be seen by some as being desirable. While I believe in a National Health Service, there are some who believe a privatised system to be the superior system. While I believe that healthcare should be equally available to all, there are some who believe that the quality of care should depend on the amount one is able to spend. I do not expect the opinions of either side will ever change. However, one principle that I would hope both sides share is that of democracy.

The Government entered Parliament under a promise that they would not attempt a top-down reorganisation of the NHS. Instead, they are attempting to shoehorn this convoluted, labyrinthine, Trojan Horse of a bill through Parliament. The medical establishment are against this bill, the public are against this bill. The only people in support of this bill, so far as I can see, are those who will profit from it. If the Government wishes to privatise the NHS, they should not do this through stealth. They should go to a General Election, laying their plans before the public. The debate should be had before the public eye and the public should have the option to decide for or against this dramatic change to their health service.

I believe that the duty of the House of Lords is to protect our democracy. The second chamber exists to provide checks and balances against the first. If ever checks and balances were necessary, it is now. I beg you to attend the vote on the 19th of March and vote against the Bill receiving the Third Reading. If you do not feel you can go this far, I beg you to vote to defer a final decision until the risk register has been released. In short, I beg you to use your vote to ensure the National Health Service remains in the hands of the British people, rather than in the hands of multinational private health companies.

On a final, personal note, I would like to tell you about my grandfather, Jim Turner. He was in the Navy during and following the war and was stationed in and around Singapore. He was always of the opinion that the best thing to come out of the war was the founding of the NHS, that it was an example of something truly worth fighting for. These days, few of us have to physically fight to protect the things that make Britain great. When institutions like the NHS are threatened however, we must fight with whatever means are available to us. You have a far greater power to influence the course of events than I and so I implore you to use your vote.

With hope and the kindest regards,

Jamie Turner

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Lansley SMASH NHS…

Here’s a new one. Lansley has actually done this before, it’s not a metaphor.

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Back from cartoon limbo…

So, following a four year break from cartooning, I’ve been lulled out of retirement. Partly because the exciting office job that drew me away from drawing turned out to be, well, an office job. Partly because Twitter now exists, so people might actually see my work. Partly because I now have a computer that won’t freeze for ten minutes every time I try to draw a line. Mostly though, it’s thanks to the catastrophic attack of amnesia and stupidity that led the befuddled masses of Britain to elect Cameron’s army of salivating ghouls to parliament, allowing them to resume their campaign of victimising the weak and selling off the nation’s few remaining assets. I don’t expect to bring down the government with cartoons, but if I can make just one Tory or Lib Dem voter think to him or herself, “Yeah, what a fucking ridiculous arsehole I was to vote for these parasitic, privileged, self righteous, thieving, corrupt, chinless wraiths” then my work will be done.

 

If you are not one of the seven or eight people who saw my stuff last time I bothered doing anything, here are some examples of old cartoons:

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From when Boris Johnson was actually elected to be in charge of a proper capital city.

 

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From when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall did stuff to chickens.

 

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From when the Olympics made everyone realise China existed.

 

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From when Blair’s insanely delusional self regard brought on the terrifying speculation that he might end up being President of Europe.

 

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From when lizard creatures invaded.

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