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Google and that George Osborne Conservatives tax deal - why we all should be worried

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Opinion ·
Tags: googletaxgeorgeosbornetaxavoidancepoliticalbiaspropagandaautofillconservatives

Much has been made of George Osborne’s deal with Google allowing them to get away with hundreds of millions of pounds in tax. Not only is this amoral, but it also means that all taxpayers have to make up the shortfall created by such corporate sweetners. It is nice to see the media finally reporting fairly on an issue that is not positive for the Conservatives, but so far they have been almost silent on what is potentially an even greater scandal.

As the world’s most successful search engine people obviously put a certain trust in Google and the results they produce. But I wonder how many realise just how politically biased Google is and perhaps therein, I believe, lies the reason why this Conservative government has let them escape paying their full tax dues on profits made in the UK.

If you follow the instructions below you may begin to what extent the Conservative Party and Google are now working in collusion to the detriment of all our pockets and free democratic choice..

And this what you should see..

In the corporate world we now find ourselves in multinationals now brag they are more powerful than governments. It’s up to us then to show them they are not more powerful than the people. Since this propaganda debacle came to light I have switched to as my search engine, as they pledged not to track our search history. But I would urge everyone who has any sense of fairness to switch to any alternative search engine from Google.

Jeremy Corbyn - He's not the Messiah, he's not even a very naughty boy, he's just a bit of a lefty

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Political cartoons ·
Tags: JeremyCorbyncartoon

Here is the news for the media and the Blairites – Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour leader, elected with huge support from all sections of his party, except for the parliamentary Labour party. Which raises the immediate question: just who are the out of touch dinosaurs?

The torrent of media frothing and furious briefing against the new leader is actually just a continuation of what the right of the Labour party and the media did to ensure Ed Miliband would never become PM from day one of his tenure as leader. And what did they achieve? The election of the most left wing leader of the party for over 30 years, with a huge mandate for change. So if the Blairites want to blame anyone for ‘Corbynmania’ they need look no further than the nearest mirror.
Personally there are a number of Corbyn’s ideas I don’t support, but I know two things – he’s not a as far left as he is being painted and, more importantly, the people will now be given the opportunity to hear an alternative view to the right-wing-only rhetoric they have had piped directly into their brains for the past twenty years from both the major parties via the media. But here’s the thing the Blairites cannot grasp – winning isn’t everything and you can affect change from the Opposition benches as well as the Government ones. All that Labour positioning themselves just to the left of the Tories has done is deliver the most extreme government elected in Western Europe since World War II.

So how did we get here? We hear a lot of how Blair won three elections, but the Labour Party lost 3 million votes between the 1997 and 2001 elections, and then suffered a further 6% drop at the 2005 election and the Blairites have been at pains to understand the reasons why, which are of course are all too obvious to everyone else – people never wanted Tory-lite. Yes Blair won three elections, but that was off the back of grudging support, mistrust of the Tories and support for the incumbent. So when the economy finally hit the skids people couldn’t wait to either switch their vote to another party or to not vote at all.

Corbyn’s election has now created a buzz in politics not seen since Cleggmania, only this time the furore has split the nation between doomsayers and messiahbots. The former seem oblivious to the fact that all they are doing is making themselves sound like spoilt brats sulking at not getting their own way and the latter are in danger of resembling the followers of the Reverend Jimmy Jones.

My take is we should welcome this result for what it really is: an opportunity for us to not only see clear red-blue water between the parties, but also a refreshingly open and unselfconscious politics that cares less for what the media thinks than the electorate.

The inconvenient truth is that all it took for the media to win the last election for the Tories was a bacon sandwich and they wouldn’t have given whoever won the leadership election a fair hearing. Corbyn knows this and also knows better than anyone the media onslaught that lies head for him, with not only columnists and headline writers ferociously spinning their negative bile, but they will be ably assisted by the sulky Jeremiahs in his own party. His family have already suffered their vile attacks and this has quite rightly led to Corbyn, for now, unwilling to offer his head up for a hammering from the stuck record Labour bashers at the BBC and SKY.

My advice to the doomsayers: grow up, democracy isn’t just for when you get your own way and to the messiahbots: don’t drink the orange juice.#

Immigration: the gift that keeps on giving to the right

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Opinion ·
Tags: immigrationfreemarketcalaisright

It’s the political silly season again, when the right wing media searches desperately for a story to keep the masses incensed as parliament is in recess. This summer it’s Calais and immigrants.

What could be a more perfect way to keep the ‘politics is boring’ masses incensed than inflammatory immigration headlines accompanied by images of uniformed French men chasing people with batons and pepper spray, in an attempt to make us believe the country hasn’t faced a greater peril from invasion since 1940.

The cold hard facts are undeniable – the UK economy benefits greatly from immigration. But many are so opposed to immigration because they don’t personally see any benefit and the reasons are down to the complex way immigration is handled in the UK media. The same right wing press that deliberately riles millions on this issue are also fully aware that immigration is an essential element of their free market economic ideology.

Consider the words of one woman who had travelled across Africa, Spain and France to get to Calais with one aim – getting to the UK. When she was asked why the UK and not France she admitted all she knew of France was Calais. So why would this person who had gambled everything and probably spent every penny she had to be herded by people traffickers thousands of miles hadn’t even considered any other European country to try to settle in? But if you were living in abject poverty, with zero prospects of improvement and you heard about a country where immigrants get well-paid jobs (often ahead of other people who already live there), free housing and other benefits as printed almost daily as headlines in the right wing media what would you do? It’s obvious – you wouldn’t consider anywhere else, that’s the place you’d want to get to.

But what happens when such people get here and find out it was all lies? There is no free accommodation, there are no benefits and you cannot get a legitimate job. They do the only thing they can – they work in the black economy for rates way below the minimum wage and the black market thrives. But it doesn’t stop there, as this has a downward pressure on wage levels in the legitimate economy, as what were once legitimate jobs now disappear into the black economy and the jobs that are left now pay less as demand for them from people seeking employment increases.

It's too easy to simply blame people who are anti-immigration as ignorant - they are often the people who see their wages fall and not only that when people disappear into the black economy they are not part of official figures used to calculate funding for services and so these suffer too, adding to the impression that things are getting worse instead of better.

So immigration really is the gift that keeps on giving for the political right. It not only keeps the right wing parties popular with the electorate, through anti-immigration rhetoric, but it also provides a constant supply of cheap immigrant labour to control wage levels nationally that is an essential factor for their free market economic ideology. But if you are still opposed to immigration and looking for someone to blame, blame the right wing media that prints these stories.

Political cartoons, the future

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Political cartoons ·
Tags: politicalcartoons

I attended my first political cartoon Awards 'do' back in 2007, held by at The Guardian, which was then based on Farringdon Road. Ken Clarke was the speaker and his topic for the night was 'have political cartoons got a future on the internet?' His conclusion was that they did, but that as yet no one had made this a success. Having worked for the BBC Politics Show for the previous 6 months, producing a political cartoon that primarily was for the internet market I did of course take great exception to his comments and I did what any other self-respecting political cartoonist would do in my shoes - I clapped and smiled as everyone else did. But thankfully my partner, Jane, is made of sterner stuff and once Clarke had finished she let him know in no uncertain terms how wrong he was. They chatted for what seemed an age and she came back full of smiles telling me he was very interested in what she had told him and he gave her a tip for an upcoming job to pass on to me. And again I did what any self-respecting political cartoonist would do in my shoes - didn't act on it.

The point I am trying to make is that people may think political cartooning is a dying art in the age of the internet, but I have to disagree. Since 2007 my commissions have grown exponentially and it has not all been print editorial work - I now do a regularly political / industry cartoon for an entirely web-based organisation and have had numerous one-off commissions for purely online work.

My biggest fear for political cartooning is the growing threat of editorial interference and dictat, as editors seek to stifle creativity and enforce political dictat. One newspaper I regularly covered for was so bad they would demand four roughs a day, which they would then totally ignore and then dictate a cartoon they wanted doing, which was never anything short of propaganda. Thankfully we parted company some time ago and I have no wish to ever work for them ever again. At another newspaper (which again will remain nameless) one sub-editor was obsessed with political correctness and stamped on any ideas with even a sniff of controversy, which meant the cartoons I produced for them were often devoid of any real bite.

So the message from me is we can and will learn to adapt to the internet, but it is the enemy from within we have to worry about, if anything.

Oxi EU

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Daily roundup ·
Tags: oxitsiprasmerkeleu.eurozone

The Greek people have spoken and 60% of them agreed with their Prime Minister Alexis Ttsipras in saying oxi to the latest EU bail out plan for the suffering economy. Many seem content to keep pointing the finger at Greece, but that's the British condition, which became a disease and now threatens to make us gravely ill. We have been conned into blaming others while never considering we may be part o the problem. For once though the UK probably pretty much innocent in the dire straits Greece now finds itself in. More to blame is the EU itself and in particulat those who sought to expand the Euro to countries whose economies were not suited to the single currency and who have suffered gravely from this mistake since the 2008 crash. But where the UK must still shoulder some of the blame is in our almost psychotic reticence to hold the banks accountable to what is surely the mess they have caused. But who are the ones who have suffered the least since 2008? The bankers. Without their selfish and frankly criminal gambling with the world's economy no countries would be having to introduce 'austerity' measures, because we would still have all the money we bailed them out with to spend on services that are now being cuts. The truth is the banks still have all our money and this government is hoping we will forget this ind our persistent instistance to point the finger 180 degrees in the wrong direction i.e. at society's most vulnerable instead of it's wealthiest and guiltiest.

Tricky SEO problems

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Daily roundup ·
Tags: SEOW3Cvalidationsocialmedialinks

economy crashes cartoon

Quite a dweebie day for musings on the wonders and miseries of solving the greatest puzzle for the modern age - increasing site rankings in Google!

The particular puzzle I've been pondering today is why does W3C validation see adding direct links to social media pages as a licensing error? At first I thought this must be a mistake, but I have asked around and others who have posted direct links to their twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages on their sites have suffered the same fate - the dreaded INVALIDATION! The crux of the matter is that W3C appear to be impossible to contact directly with this question.

The duality of this problem is that many site SEO assessment tools social media share buttons does not register as links to individual social networks and so the site is penalised if it doesn't carry the direct links, which invalidate it on W3C. So the dilemma is which do you keep happy? If anyone should read this and has any suggestions I would be most grateful for any constructive input.

Cartoon originally published in Prospect Magazine

TTIP Trembles

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Daily roundup ·
Tags: TTIPanxiety

No tele-marketing wake-up call this morning and in fact nothing all day. So that's a big fat thumbs up for the first of the new month, brought sharply down to Earth with the Huff Post article reminding us of the looming corporate Armageddon that is TPP / TTIP and the real aim being the circumveting of due process to make democracy redundant and is all slaves to the free market and global corporate totalitarianism

That taken with the usual mental shrug it was time to take a hike up the hill to see my doctor re my body which beligerently defies all my efforts to stave off the onset of oldersterism.

The Greek Tragedy

Gary Barker Cartoons, Illustrations
Published by in Daily roundup ·
Tags: GreeceGrexit

Being woken by a call from an nuisance call trying to sell me SEO and then the same company calling me again ten minutes later might normally have caused me to try to eat my arm. But on this occasion I accepted it quite lightly having spent the previous day signing up to various0 online business directories. Something any real business person would have done years ago. But I'm a cartoonist and business to all of us is just something that gets in the way.

Finished and submitted the day's illustration - George Osborne telling us all to shush, before 3 o'Clock.<[/p>

Time for a little light tweeting around the impending Greek debt default and their 'Grexit' from the Euro.

Political Cartoons and Illustrations
Lancashire, Fleetwood, UK
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