Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Needling away

The protests are building up.
No, I’m not referring to Tunisia or Egypt but to Cumbria. And to be geographically exact, Grizedale Forest.
The Government’s dim notion to flog off the UK’s national forests has sparked a bonfire of protest, with a YouGov survey reporting that 84% of the population is opposed to it. A protest website has been established with its own Twitter account, a petition launched, the local MP is getting involved and even media heavyweights like Lord Melvyn Bragg are wading in. (He said he would sign a petition like a shot, apparently oblivious to the fact that it has been in existence for over a week and already has over 241,000 signatures.)
Now there is a protest rally in Grizedale on Sunday at 1.00 p.m. See you there. Bring sandwiches.
The story features in this week’s Westmorland Gazette, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to have another go at it. Those of you with long memories may recall that I last tackled this a fortnight ago. On that occasion a cartoon about a different story got in the paper. However, one joke struck me as worth dragging back for editorial scrutiny, so it went into today’s mix of sketches. And lo, here it is again, subtly altered to confound the editor.
As usual, you can see which one appears on the front page by purchasing tomorrow’s Westmorland Gazette. Or, if you are too busy rioting in Tunisia or Egypt, you can view the cartoon on my website from 8.30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Shooting yourself in the foot

Over the years, the local council in South Lakeland has come up with a number of brilliant schemes. One of the most spectacular was to close a number of public toilets. Just the thing to encourage coach parties to a tourist area. What could be finer than being cooped up in a coach for a few hours, disgorged into Grasmere or Bowness and then discovering the loos are all closed?
Now they have a scheme to withdraw Blue Badge free parking, stop funding Shopmobility and generally make it difficult for the disabled to park and shop in Kendal. This is an area where 1 in 17 are registered disabled. (Or at least have a Blue Badge, and they can’t all be lazy 4x4 drivers.)
However, at least the council can be relied upon to provide me with material for my Westmorland Gazette cartoon.
Below are the four preliminary sketches for this week’s. As usual, these are scanned direct from the scruffy scribbles I present to the editor. They are always designed to get the idea across, not be works of art, so look rather hectic and scribbly. Rather irritatingly, sometimes the final artwork doesn’t have the same charm.
See if you can pick which one the editor chose. You’ll find the finished cartoon in the newspaper or over on my website from 8.00 a.m. Thursday.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


This week’s Westmorland Gazette features two splendid candidate stories for the front page cartoon.
The first story is a plan to reduce costs by selling off police stations in some of the local towns and villages. This will, of course, leave the local bobbies with nowhere to complete their usual reams of paperwork. So we’re going to have mobile police stations.
Eschewing the obvious Tardis joke, I pitched a couple of ideas for this.
The second story also involves vital resources being flogged off for short-term gain. The government is proposing to sell off the Forestry Commission forests and hand them to the private sector. Genius. That should ensure no one gets access to them for recreation. And it will almost certainly reverse the Forestry Commission’s enlightened policy of planting broadleaf trees in amongst the conifers.
Once again, I pitched two ideas to the editor for this story.
You can see all four ideas sketched out below, as the editor saw them. Now, if you were in his position of power and authority, tasked with the responsibility of choosing a cartoon to amuse the inhabitants of Lakeland tomorrow morning … which would you have chosen?
Find out which the editor chose by buying the Westmorland Gazette or hiking over to my website tomorrow morning, where I’ll put up the final cartoon. I may even colour it in for you.