Vaccine Passports

More than 1,200 UK church leaders have urged Boris Johnson not to introduce Covid vaccine certificates, saying they are an “unethical form of coercion”. In an open letter, the leaders – who include Anglican and Catholic ministers – warn that passports could create a “surveillance state”.

So, it seems that church leaders get what the supposedly freedom-loving Tory government doesn’t. Vaccine passports are one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in British politics, and would signal the end of tolerant democratic freedom.

Bullying people to take the Covid vaccine – whether through incentives or punishments – is not social solidarity or social responsibility. It is a smug liberal conceit masquerading as those things, and is dangerously misguided.

Vaccine passports are not necessary, and are deeply discriminatory.

~ article by Jonathan Cook

I will not sign


Petition : Call for the UK government to formally recognise the State of Palestine

I will not sign.

Sadly, there is no Palestinian state to recognize, within the 1967 or any other borders. These petitions achieve nothing and merely serve to delay the long-overdue death of the so-called ”two-state solution”, the illusion of which has guaranteed Israel’s survival as a Jewish racist state for decades.

Crucially, such token ‘recognition’ accepts Israel’s survival in its current racist form, and even aims to impose  arrangements that prevent Israel’s collapse.

Well-meaning liberals and progressives, inside Israel and outside, who advocate a ”Two-State” solution are choosing to ignore an alternative, based on the principle of equality for all, on the separation of state from religion, and on an end to discrimination and racial apartheid — a One-State Solution : Liberated Palestine !

In Memoriam : Mike Pentelow

mike p

Among other things, my old mate Mike was founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fitzrovia News, reputedly the longest-running community newspaper in London. Here’s a link to the front page of the June edition, published today :

And some tributes from colleagues and friends :

Tributes paid to Mike Pentelow, editor of Fitzrovia News


The ‘Grauniad’ has also published this obituary (written by our mutual friend Peter Kirker).

My friend Mike Pentelow, who has died aged 73, was a journalist whose work and actions were instrumental in the preservation of the unique character of Fitzrovia, the London district north of Oxford Street from Soho in which he lived for 50 years.

His book Characters of Fitzrovia (2001) – a pantheon of artists, murderers, musicians and revolutionaries who had peopled that bohemian area – came to print after he squeezed his manuscript through the letterbox of a neighbour who was also a multi-millionaire publisher. Felix Dennis had been a defendant in the notorious Oz trial, and may have been persuaded by Mike’s scrawled note: “You’re on page 242.” Dennis’s friend Marsha Rowe wrote an introduction for the book.

Mike had been involved in the revival of the term Fitzrovia to describe the area many years before. In 1973 he and some local friends launched a festival for the then nameless community. They decided to call it the Fitzrovia festival, bringing back a name that had been used whimsically in the 1940s and 50s in the literary coterie around Dylan Thomas’s local, the Wheatsheaf in Rathbone Place, but that had fallen out of use in the 60s. A few years later the community newspaper, the Tower, which Mike went on to edit until his death, was relaunched as the Fitzrovia News.

Other books Mike authored included a walks guide, Freedom Pass London (2014), and A Pub Crawl Through History: The Ultimate Boozers’ Who’s Who (2010). He shared the credit for both with his long-term collaborator the photographer Peter Arkell.

Born in Sheffield but soon to move with his family to Staines, Surrey, and then Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Mike was the elder son of Joan (nee Topham) and Jack Pentelow, an accountant with Smiths Clocks and Watches.

Bashful about his private schooling at University College school, in Hampstead, Mike initially bypassed university and went straight to work in journalism with the Thurrock Gazette. This was in the late 60s, when the docklands were riven with industrial strife. As always thereafter, Mike’s sympathies were with the workers, but his copy was objective.

In his spare time he helped run a yearly rock festival in Grays, Essex (1969-71), giving amateur bands chances to play to sizeable beach audiences.

He was able to combine his love of football with his socialism when in 1970 he joined the Morning Star as a sports reporter. He took leave to study economics at Central London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) and discovered, when he returned with a degree in 1979, that he had assumed the industry brief and alarming political responsibilities. But he was soon a much-loved character in the industrial lobby, and took inspiration, perhaps in more ways than one, from two hard-drinking and erudite NUM leaders, Lawrence Daley  and Mick McGahey. In 1983 he went on to a colourful 20-year stint on T&G and Unite in-house titles, where he was known for his show-stopping dancing at work parties. As Unite’s chief of staff Andrew Murray wrote in the Morning Star: “Mike put the social in Socialism.”

Mike had a wonderfully kind temperament; he applied his journalism to the common good and was renowned for his sparkling repartee. He had no immediate family of his own, but developed wonderfully supportive friendships with the children of his friends.

Mike is survived by his brother, Guy, and a nephew and niece.

mike k and q

At the King and Queen pub, Foley Street, Fitzrovia,  September 2018.

I have lost a friend and colleague on Fitzrovia News

by Clive Jennings

The death of Mike Pentelow is very sad — I still can’t believe he’s gone. I have lost a friend and colleague on Fitzrovia News, and the Fitzrovia community has lost its chronicler, historian, archivist and activist.

The extent of his knowledge of Fitzrovia and its history was encyclopaedic. Mike was a lovely man, always very friendly and open with everyone he met, and he loved to socialise He had so much stored in his head, but was always ready to add more, eagerly showing interest in any new information, whipping out his little notebook and jotting it down, like the old school journalist he was.

He loved nothing more than a pint with friends in a local pub, and the talk would often be about Fitzrovia past and present — particularly poignant at the moment as I walk around the neighbourhood, and see all his favourite watering holes shuttered up.

He was enormously supportive to me when I first started writing for Fitzrovia News and continued to be so. He always thanked me profusely for my copy and was so good-natured when I filed it late, which was nearly always. I remember when I first realised that he was the co-author of Characters of Fitzrovia, which I had originally borrowed from the library. Typically self-effacing, he explained that I could get a cut-price copy from the discount bookshop on Tottenham Court Road.

Mike had assiduously applied himself to the life and times of Fitzrovia, be it a scandal from the 1850s or dodgy building practice in the twenty first century. His forensic and detailed research combined with a fluent inclusive style of writing resulted in many fascinating articles in Fitzrovia News, and he was no slouch when it came to ‘sticking it to the Man’ in his campaigning journalism.

He was a stalwart of The Sohemian Society: the combination of a Club devoted to great stories about Soho and Fitzrovia, books and beer, that actually met in a pub, was just made for him. He met my two younger sons there.

His generosity, and generosity of spirit, always came through. Two examples spring to mind: chipping in to finance having the Fitzrovia News delivered by post and making a large contribution to the cost of Fiona Green’s leaving Fitzrovia party.

I shall miss him very much indeed, and so shall Fitzrovia

DSCF0615 Above :  Mike Pentelow with Lemar and Jean Sveinsson, London, 2010





Above : Mike Pentelow and John Fisher. Bologna 2012


Michael Bond , John Fisher, and Mike Pentelow. London, 2011.

Michael John Pentelow :  26 May 1946 – 1 April 2020

DSCF0459”Well done team”  ~ Mike Pentelow  😊

The Masses and the Classes


I see that Liverpool University have just agreed to rename Gladstone Hall because he (quote) ”fell short of wholeheartedly fighting for the abolition of slavery”, and because Gladstone’s father was a slave owner.

To vilify Britain’s most progressive 19th century Prime Minister, a vehement anti-imperialist who proposed home rule for Ireland,  laid the basis of the welfare state,  and vastly extended voting rights, amongst many other important reforms, is beyond ignorant.

Sadly, these ‘woke’ students and academics fall a long way short too – not least in their capacity for joined-up critical thought and historical perspective.


”All the world over, I will back the masses against the classes”. ~ William Ewart Gladstone


….and a  thought on Edward Colston.

Colston’s involvement in slavery was as a director of the Royal African Company. The ‘Royal’ in that title is not meaningless. The company was set up specifically to make the monarch rich. A far more practical way to honour the memory of the slaves would be to abolish the monarchy. Now that would be a meaningful action.

”The word “slavery” conjures up images of shackles and transatlantic ships – depictions that seem relegated firmly to the past. But more people are enslaved today than at any other time in history. Slaves clean houses and flats; produce the clothes we wear; pick the fruit and vegetables we eat; trawl the seas for the shrimp on our restaurant plates; and dig for the minerals used in our smartphones, makeup and electric cars…..”

~ article by Kate Hodal

slavery map

Saint Greta of Davos

gretaThe world is facing many critical challenges, but the solution does not lie in elites meeting in mountain chalets and deciding what is good for the rest of us.

But it makes perfect sense that the founder of Occupy, as well as  eco-warrior Greta Thunberg, are at Davos These people need each other, and have much in common.

Indeed, the global elite loves nothing more than being told off by these pseudo-radical activists.

The corporate capitalists and corrupt politicians meeting at the so-called  World Economic Forum are cynically seeking a spurious veneer of moral legitimacy, nothing more.


Davos serves as nothing but an annual reminder of how very poorly God aims avalanches….. 😳

Wokeness and Neoliberalism

woke.png”We really should stop seeing ‘Wokeness’ or ‘Political Correctness’, or any other aspect of the so-called New Left as being left-wing at all.

‘Wokeness’ is a key part of the neoliberal drive against social solidarity. Wokeness makes a virtue of the atomisation that is a key feature of life in capitalist society.

Wokeness doesn’t challenge the individuation and corrosion of social solidarity that neoliberal society brings about. It simply repackages it as PC and celebrates it. It commodifies our atomisation and sells it back to us as right-on politics.

Far from being a new kind of leftism, the woke ideology is really the militant wing of neoliberalism. It is a campaigning arm of the neoliberal outlook. This is why woke activists and big business make such comfortable bedfellows. Banks and hedge funds and other capitalist outfits love to adorn their buildings in the Pride flag. These days there are really only two places where you see woke nonsense in action : among the trendy, supposedly leftist political class, and in the capitalist class. These people profess to hate each other, but in truth they have a shared outlook…

The bravest and most ambitious political parties today will completely oppose the anti-community, anti-democratic, anti-solidarity, anti-freedom outlook of the woke elites and the business elites. and seek to provide people with that sense of collective belonging and collective influence that they are crying out for. A free and democratic and connected society – that is what we need now.”

~ extract from a speech by Brendan O’Neill at the annual party conference of the SDP, 28/09/2019,  (edited).

Full Text :

The Amazon Fires : An Alternative View


”The idea that what is currently happening in the Amazon is shockingly unusual or apocalyptic, or proof of man’s fascistic disdain for his environment is an entirely politicised interpretation of a perfectly normal event….

Everything they say about the Amazon is wrong. Out-of-control fires, trees disappearing, oxygen in crisis, the climate being pushed to the edge – it is all wrong, all based in fear, not facts....”

The fires are not out of control. This is not ecocide. The Amazon is not the lungs of the world. And there are more trees on Earth today than there were 35 years ago.

But who is interested in facts nowadays, when apocalyptic ‘environmentalism’, a fundamentally anti-human creed, has effectively usurped the place once held by religion ?


‘Here the ways of men divide. If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

”The Brazil-bashers will not be convinced by reason. To them, the fact that there have been 74,000 fires in the Amazon between January and August is proof that human beings – well, stupid Brazilians – are plunging the planet into a fiery doom that will make Revelations look like a fairy story in comparison.
The Earth is ‘being killed,’ greens wail. ‘Our house is burning. Literally,’ says French President Emmanuel Macron, committing the grammar crime of saying ‘literally’ when he surely means ‘virtually.’
Unless the Elysée Palace really is on fire?
Leonardo DiCaprio says ‘if the Amazon goes, we the humans will go.’ So Brazil is killing us all. Bolsonaro, by giving a green light to development in the rainforest, is holding a gun to mankind’s head, apparently.
No wonder Macron has suggested holding an international conference on how to save the rainforest, while some greens have said we need to intervene.
Westerners going overseas to rescue natural resources from the ignorant natives? Yes, that went so well in the past.The discussion about the rainforest is not only unhinged, using Biblical language to describe fairly routine events.
It is also riddled with a colonialist view in which people in the developing world are presented as irresponsible and destructive, while Westerners, like the leader of France, are held up as the saviors of nature and mankind.
This expresses one of the key ideas in the environmentalist movement – that the developing world cannot possibly industrialize and modernize as much as the West has, because if it does the planet will die.
Hence eco-Westerners’ fury with ‘filthy’ China, their loathing of Modi’s promises of modernity in India, and now their rage against Bolsonaro for elevating economic development over natural conservation.
They cannot believe these idiot foreigners are defying green ideology and seeking the kind of progress we Westerners already enjoy.”

False Alarm : Almost Everything You’ve Heard About The Amazon Fires Is Wrong :…/false-alarm-almost-everything…


‘What everyone gets wrong about the Amazon’ interview with Michael Shellenberger, founder and president of Environmental Progress, who was listed as a ‘hero of the environment’ by Time magazine.

michael-shellenberger-800x480  ”The first thing people need to understand is that there has been a huge decline in deforestation since its peak in the early 2000s. Deforestation is still 75 to 80 percent lower than at this peak.

The other big issue is that the Amazon is not ‘the lungs of the world’. It does not produce 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. The idea that we need it for oxygen production is a myth. It’s just basic plant science: the Amazon uses about as much oxygen as it produces….

Thirty million people live in the Amazon. But whenever the Western media and environmentalists point to the people living in the Amazon, they only ever point to the indigenous people. But the indigenous people are just one million out of 30 million. There are a lot of normal Brazilians there. These tend to be descendants of slaves or mixed-race people who are trying to make a living. They are people developing the area in the same way Europeans developed Europe and Americans developed the United States,,,,.

In both of the two big environmental issues of our time – climate change and deforestation – you have the rich world saying to the developing world, ‘Oh, you know how we developed through deforestation and fossil-fuel consumption? You’re not going to be able to do either of those. And it just so happens that we have the science to show why you have to stay poor…..What a scam, right ?

The real ‘climate hoax’ is not that climate change isn’t happening. That’s ridiculous – of course, there is climate change. The real hoax is how climate change has been used to advance an agenda by rich nations to keep developing nations down, to deprive them of resources and to thwart their competitiveness internationally. It’s not a conspiracy, just a natural outcome of powerful countries acting in self-interest – but doing so in ways that you can talk about in polite company without sounding like an oppressive colonialist…..

And after the fall of communism and the failure of Marxism more broadly, the left needed a new apocalyptic religion. and that has become environmentalism.”

Red Marilyn


Marilyn Monroe was no ‘dumb blonde’. She was an avid reader with an extensive personal library, and embraced radical left-wing politics throughout her short life, which was terminated by agents of the State when she threatened to expose secrets she had learned through her affairs with the Kennedy brothers.

In 1960, she became a founding member of the Hollywood branch of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy; and was elected as an alternate delegate to the state’s Democratic caucus. She did not hide her pro-Castro views on Cuba, or her support for the then-burgeoning civil rights movement.

Fifty years after her death in August 1962,  files documenting the FBI’s close scrutiny of Marilyn Monroe were finally released. The files reveal that she was the target of intense FBI surveillance, especially in the months prior to her untimely death, because of her close association with communist activists and militant trade unionists. Her open contempt for the anti-communist witch-hunt under McCarthyism, which destroyed the careers of many of her contemporaries in the Hollywood film industry, had also made her a target.

mm mayday

”We human beings are strange creatures and still reserve the right to think for ourselves.’‘ ~ Marilyn Monroe


The Terrorist State

egypt prisoners 1967

Ever since its formation in 1948, the state of Israel’s behaviour towards its Arab neighbours, and the inhabitants of the territories it occupies, has consistently been characterised by a level of inhumanity and depravity more egregious than is considered ”normal” even in conditions of war — whether it be killing unarmed demonstrators, journalists and medics in Gaza, torturing and sexually harassing Palestinians in Israeli prisons […/sexual-harassment-and-vi… ], imprisoning children, deliberately bombing civilians – or here in this photograph from the 1967 war, humiliating Egyptian prisoners by removing their clothes and force-marching them in their underwear before killing them.

israel is a terrorist state

The current relentless attempts to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism must never be allowed to succeed, or justice for the Terrorist State’s countless victims over the decades will never be served.