Former geologist and environmental scientist, I got fed up with wet feet so moved in doors and became the BBC Politics Show’s political cartoonist in 2007.
I now create pieces for all sections of the media and business. My work appears weekly in Tribune and Estates Gazette and regularly in The Times and The Guardian. Other recent clients include the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Star, Channel 4 News, BBC News Magazine, Stern, Prospect and Wisden Cricketer.
Other recent clients include The Daily Telegraph, Express Newspapers, News International, BBC Politics Show, BBC News Magazine, Stern, Prospect, Channel 4 News, Estates Gazette, Parliamentary Brief, CRN, Accountancy Age, Financial Director, Institute for Learning, Inside Housing, Wisden Cricketer, Global Reinsurance, New Europe, Berlin Metro, E-
I am always happy to discuss ideas for commissions and you can either email me at email@example.com or use the email form on the right. Alternatively you can call me on 07624 478480
Gary Barker Illustration News
I've been working for The Times creating the Monday op ed cartoon for the last month and my current stint finishes with next Monday's edition. I have just filed my piece for the next edition of Tribune on US gun control and my property business piece for Saturday's Estates Gazette. Also doing the op ed piece for the next Sunday Sun.
The Michael Gove Dictatorship
Ever get the feeling you’re being conned? You know – people are telling you one thing when they mean the exact opposite. Using words like ‘freedom’ – when what they really mean is more restrictions. And ‘choice’ – but only if you can afford it.
It’s a bit like that with the right wing. They pretend they are all for less regulation and more individualism, when in reality the biggest regulator of freedom and individualism is the amount of available income one has and, as I’m sure most of us are aware, there is definitely not as much cash left for most to make any real choices at all.
I think it was George Orwell who warned that the first sure sign of dictatorship is when the meaning of words suddenly change.
The right has no greater advocate of this backwards thinking than the current Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. He preaches the democratic right to choose as though he is quoting directly from the Bible and yet he uses increasingly right wing rhetoric to denounce anyone who dares to voice an opinion that differs from his hard line.
Michael Gove by Gary Barker The Michael Gove Dictatorship
Just this week he attacked the critics of the Academy Schools policy by claiming they are ‘happy with failure’, when all that they were really stating was the reality, which is that so-
The people who criticise education policy are not the ones hooked on failure, far from it. In fact they are the ones trying to make the people realise that it is the politicians who are hard-
So we need to stop falling for the right wing rhetoric and start listening to what dictatorial politicians like Gove really mean; i.e. he is saying put up and shut – and you don’t get any more undemocratic that.
Mitt Romney and the best Democracy money can buy
Mitt Romney has finally emerged as the Republican nominee in November’s US presidential election. But is he really the best man for the job? Or is he just the puppet of the big business backers who funded his campaign, which allowed him to massively out-
So could America really elect their next president not knowing what he will do when he gets into the Whitehouse? And if the American people do choose this man to the most powerful position in world politics, was it true democratic choice which got him there, or simply capitalist advantage and privilege?
We are told a free press is fundamentally crucial to the operating of a free and open democracy. But anyone who has taken only the briefest of cursory glances at the Leveson Enquiry could not fail to see just how insidious the effects rich individuals can have on our whole society. Rupert Murdoch of course denies ever asking any prime minister for anything, but more than one prime minister called as a witness has contradicted his claims. It seems quite clear that every UK government of the last thirty years has hamstrung itself worrying about what Mr. Murdoch would think about their policies and how they would be treated by his media empire should he disagree with them. So even if Mr. Murdoch has never asked for anything in return for his support, the threat of losing it by introducing policy he isn’t in favour of has had a deeply undemocratic and harmful effect on our democracy and the common good for decades.
It is in the interest of big business to have a politically apathetic and ill informed society, but it can also be argued the newspapers are far less politically influential than they were in the past. However I would suggest newspaper sales are not the same as influence and in this soundbite age, partisan headlines may become part of the national lexicon with very few people having even read the headline, but had merely overheard them repeated in the workplace, in the pub or on TV. We live in a technology enabled age of media saturation and personal entertainment, with very little time given over to any single pursuit, so is it really any wonder people have so little time to ponder on the political realities and instead ingest their politics more by osmosis than by controlled intellectual curiosity?
The inconvenient truth is that democracy and free choice are an illusion and it is the relative wealth a person controls which determines the relative effect they have on our society as a whole, which includes who should rule over us. Nero understood the way to control the people was through bread and circuses. The only thing that has changed is our capitalist dictators have merely changed the bread for McDonalds and the circuses for X-
When all things are considered we are going to have to face up to the fact that capitalism and democracy are incompatible and the reality we need to face up to is how and when we tell the children.
The Illusion of the Free Press
The press plays a vital role in any country. In corrupt and oppressive dictatorships it is used to manage the message and control the minds of the masses to the will of those in power. The role of the press in a free democracy is to protect us all from those who would seek to harm us or abuse our trust. Two extremes, but the latter I’m sure is how we would all like it to act, but does it?
If you ask people in this country where they lie on the political spectrum most would yawn, but if pressed they would probably say they were either middle of the road, or just either side of centre. The problem is this balance is not reflected in the UK media. The UK quite correctly prides itself in being politically moderate, the problem is our media does not reflect this balance.
A free press is an illusion, what is really meant by the term is a press which prints the truth as is dictated by the owner of the publication, be it right wing, left wing or chicken wing, whatever, no newspaper has ever just printed the facts as they are known, and what a boring publication it would be if they did.
The Daily Mirror is alone to in expressing a left of centre position and every other national is either stated right wing (numbering six) or politically neutral, indifferent or Liberal (whatever that means these days). Indeed one of the few voices of the left to remain pulled back from the brink of closure today, but not because they were saved by big business, but rather the staff are to form a co-
I have no time for anyone suggesting we curtail the freedoms of the Press, when it acts legally, nor would I suggest we set quotas (besides monopoly controls). But what we have seen in the past few months is a Press that doesn’t act in the interests of the people, nor even in the interests of its own readership. Instead what we have seen is newspapers acting in the interests of the owners and their cronies in the Establishment, to the expense of the whole of society.
It is vital we take measures to cut the influence of the media barons on our politicians when they seek to influence and sometimes even dictate policy to what is supposed to be our government, acting in our influence. Just this last we week we have had scandalous revelations regarding Liam Fox and unregistered lobbyists acting against the interests of both good government and the people.
Ask yourself this question why was it up to one newspaper to break the phone-
In a healthy democracy all sides of the political divide have a right to be heard in equal measure so neither can dominate and drown out the other, and if we truly value fairness and accountability then we must demand change and a more fair and transparent press.
Tracey Emin, Porfessor of Drawing
Tracey Emin speaking this morning on the Andrew Marr Show espoused the virtues of what she now sees as our meritocratic UK. She claimed the last twenty years have seen a change from the class system hindering the most able to rise to the top to a country where the best can truly thrive. Ms Emin spoke proudly of her drawing skills and her role as a professor of drawing. She was then quizzed about her political views as a Conservative and her reasons were based around her notions of the meritocracy. She went on to describe her feelings that we all need to pull together to face the cuts that need to made and presumably she would include the huge cuts in arts funding.
As a professional artist I am not given to publicly criticising other artists, But I’m afraid Ms Emin’s views simply came across as naïve. If her
claims of a UK transformed over the last twenty years from a class riven system to a meritocratic utopia then surely she should be a New Labourite? As they are the ones who must have brought about much of this change about as they were in power for most of her mused period.of miraculous renaissance.
The inconvenient truth for Miss Emin is that as a conceptual artist she was in the right place at the right time, but her talents as a fine artist are limited and it’s very easy for someone to think the way she does when they are sat on top of the tree looking down. However I really do think that rather than preach us on how we should all grin and bear the cuts to the arts and everything else she should think herself very lucky to be where she is and appreciate not everyone can be as lucky as she a fact she appears to be completely oblivious to. But the comment that said most about what Ms Emin really thinks about the meritocracy came with her final comments on the Monarchy: ‘I really, really love the Queen.’