Do cartoons cause bullying?

Looks Good On Paper is a slightly spicy cartoon strip on GoComics.  This one is typical:

A cartoon dog blowing up a cartoon cat

It prompted some discussion about cartoon violence ‘back in the day’ and whether it really caused any harm.  And whether the newer sanitised cartoons have made things better.

“The new cartoons haven’t taught kids not to be bullies”

It’s not the cartoons. Superheroes use violence to do what they want, the TV cops use violence to deliver justice, many movies based on righteous anger-driven violence, the news is full of governments using violence to achieve their aims.

We now know the police going in to schools to show kids knives and other weapons does not deter them, it makes them frightened that everyone else is tooled up and results in them being more likely to carry knives.

We know gun sales go up after every mass-shooting is publicised and guns are glamourised in the media.

Despite almost all of us living peaceful lives from day to day – that is most people’s reality – the media is packed with images and stories about violence, often suggesting it is how people are getting what they want, need or deserve.

I don’t think Jerry making Tom trip on a rake or Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff have much influence on a young mind compared to that lot.

When will Middle East conflict end?

From a social media post:

“Hamas and the Israeli forces have sowed the seeds of another century of hatred and conflict…”

Not sowed the seeds. It is already a well-established and ancient forest of hatred and conflict. It has been fed and watered frequently with bitterness and blood since before records began.

They like it this way. It is embedded into people’s culture and lore, into their tradition and values.

It can be changed, but not until:

  • they want it to change;
  • the rest of the world stops interfering to make it worse;
  • the privatised arms industry is dismantled or otherwise not allowed to profit from provoking war; the women say “enough!” (which is hard when the cultures suppress women’s voices);
  • they recognise that people with different value and beliefs are equal;
  • they accept compromise and forgiveness over vengeance;
  • they accept mistakes and harm are caused on all sides;
  • they convince one another that getting along without bloodshed is what they want;
  • they recognise that everybody has to live somewhere;
  • they accept we are not entitled to anything when we are born other than what we are given by other people and that means someone else has to go without so we must share.
  • In the above ‘they’ means ‘everyone’ and anyone who says otherwise is part of the problem and not ready for change.

It can be done, and has been done many times around the world. But this one is particularly tricky.

It is International Women’s Day today.  I wonder how many will be killed in conflict today.  Probably about 10 to 20 in Gaza, some more in Yemen, some more elsewhere.  Does anyone keep count?  Perhaps someone should.  How’s that for a global metric?

All quiet on the Western Front

Military clichés are everywhere.

Six months and no posts. Been too busy, too confused.

Could have written about the incredible blatant racism I have witnessed in Milton Keynes.
Could have written about job searching.
Could have written about working for the NHS during lockdown and going in to work every day.
The paranoia of people seeing my NHS id. This misleading and terror created by the media.
Reflections on how easy it was to implement a global lockdown.
Reflections on what happens when the leadership does not follow its own instructions and gets away with it.
Reflections on the relevance of Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince as a guide book in 2020.
Could have written about getting work with the Cabinet Office.
Could have written about my reflections on my two degrees.
Could have written about the silence of the 75th anniversary of the Japan nuclear bombings and the celebration of war for VJ Day.
Could have written about how my plans have been on hold for six months.
Could have written about how some employers have been superb during lockdown and others have been utter and absolute spineless and evil bastards.
Could have written about the falsehoods around online activity being high CO2 consuming activities. I had promised the SGR I would.
Every day there has been something to write about, and my ToDo list does say, every day, “Post something on the blog”. But time, where does it all go?

It is hard to be an unemployed jobseeker and be positive and creative to wrote blog posts. Then, when doing a new job, one is tired and busy.

It is hard to change the world when changing one’s own. It is hard to write when busy doing. I shall try again, from today, now I feel a little more settled in my new role.

You know, bite the bullet.

Ducks, planes, horses, teacups and tanks

You must have been on a fairground merry-go-round as a child.  Was it a traditional carousel with horses that go up and down as it goes round?  Or a toddlers’ one with teacups?  Maybe it was zoo-themed with lions and zebras and elephants?  Emergency service vehicles such as police cars and fire engines?  Trains are quite common, such as a Thomas the Tank Engine themed ride.

Talking of tanks, how about this?

Image taken from Children in Peace site

The campaigning body ForcesWatch worries about the militarisation of society in the UK, with lengthy arguments as to why it is not right to encourage guns as playthings.

But even they have not got started on the concept of toddlers in tanks.


I did email Children of Peace and ask them via their contact form what that image was supposed to be.  I got no response.  Within a few hours they had changed the image on the news page.  I presume they have realised there are links to it and removed it from the media section of their site – hence it appears broken above.  This was the image:

This is the email I sent on 26th Jan 2020, as at 3rd Feb 2020 I have had no reply:

——– Forwarded Message ——–
Subject: A query regarding an image on your site
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:02:26 +0000
From: Simon Reed


Can you tell me what is going on in this picture?

I am referring to the headline photo for the news story “/A new group joins us. The Palestinian group SHAMS joins us as an affiliate./”

It appears to be small children on a merry-go-round of tanks. It looks like one of the most appalling images of child military indoctrination I’ve ever seen.

What is the place and who are the children?


Johnny Mercer MP approves of and promotes killing over values

Johnny Mercer MP has posted on his Tweet feed:

The application of violence to defeat the enemies of the nation has become worryingly unpopular.  Nothing wrong with fighting (yes killing) for values/what you believe in.

I was under the impression the current War on Terror was specifically trying to stop people doing just that.

And he is concerned that violence is becoming less popular.

To the point where he publicly writes there is nothing wrong with killing people.

What hope is there when people vote for people like him?

Morecambe Poppy Scatter

Every street light in Morecambe has a red plastic poppy attached to it.  No explanation provided, none needed.  There are hundreds of them and I had assumed it was done by the council or the Royal British Legion.  I have had mixed feelings about it: partly unhappy about the glorification of war, partly supporting the ‘never again’ concept, partly interested there are no words required.

Now it turns out it has all been done by one individual to “to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War 1“, rather than as an act of remembering “Never again”.  It all came out because he is refusing to pay the owner of the copyright to the image he used.  He said he wanted to use it for one limited purpose last year and has instead used it for this two-year long street display.  It has turned into a public row in the local media.  The council won’t get involved: they said no permission was sought but they won’t be asking for them to be taken down.

Having seen the Facebook page of the person responsible and their web site, I have emailed them some questions:

I am confused about what you are doing here. Why are you celebrating the start of the Great War? I don’t understand why anyone would celebrate the start of such carnage.


Your Facebook page says you intend to send money to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but they are already fully funded by commonwealth countries.


You are collecting money, but are you a registered charity? Do you publish accounts? How much of the money raised is spent on administration, etc.?

They claim to be a charity, but do not give any details of the organisation address, let alone a registered charity number.  They say proceeds from sales and donations will go to the Royal British Legion and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission but give no details of how much has been raised or donated.

I have three times come across fake ‘charities’ raising money for our troops, once in a shopping centre, once outside a supermarket and once in a train station.  They claimed to be charities, but were not registered, and I could find no details of them online.  In one instance, in a shopping centre, one of the two chaps working the stall physically challenged me when I was trying to work out who they were and suggested it was in m health interest to move along.

The one in the train station was staffed by two people in incomplete British Army uniforms (as in, bought in an army surplus store or online) who, when I challenged them, eventually admitted one of them was ex-services and the money raised was for his upkeep.  They claimed to be a charity but were not, they just kept what they raised.

The one outside a supermarket was using a mixture of Help for Heroes and Royal British British Legion logos, images and material, which is very odd.  I asked who they were raising money for and the old boy with the collecting tin said he wasn’t sure, he was volunteering to collect money because he was asked to.

The more I read about Morecambe Poppy Scatter, the less I like what I read.  I’d like to be wrong, but they appear to be celebrating the Great War, gathering money, using other people’s copyright and there’s no record of who they are, what has been gathered or what has been given out or to whom.

But it does show just how easy it is to raise money to celebrate killing people, with no questions asked.

Celebrating weapons of war … in a cathedral

As part of their celebration of the RAF’s 100 birthday, Lincoln Cathedral staff decided to exhibit a Spitfire fighter aircraft within the cathedral itself.  As a cathedral with a long-established link to the RAF I can understand why they fancied doing this: the Spitfire is am emblem associated with the Battle of Britain.  It is significant in being associated with the RAF’s role in ensuring the Luftwaffe did not get control of the airspace above the UK, meaning a German invasion of the UK could not go ahead.

But is it appropriate in a church?  It is a killing machine, after all.

Spitfire in Lincoln Cathedral

It was flagged up in the Facebook group A social audit of #EverydayMilitarism and from their shared to the Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War group which is where I saw it.

Some (edited) comments made:

A weapon of war in Lincoln Cathedral…RAF100 Dinner being set up.  Is it here to be symbolically disassembled by the church? To sit as a reminder of war as one of our “foolish ways” to be turned aside from? To sit alongside a display of the horrors of destruction and death which all such things are designed to bring? To be bathed in tears?  I hope so. I really hope so. I don’t believe any weapon of death should be allowed in to church – save the cross: the site of our evil, our wrongdoing, our sin, and the triumph of Jesus Christ who says: “forgive them father for they know not what they do” and extends his hands in love.


Glorification of war. Perhaps they’ll put on a nice display of barbed wire and machine guns for Remembrance Sunday.  I should have thought a bomber would have been more suitable: Bomber Command were vital to the destruction of Germany’s production.  I wonder if it will it still be there when the German Neustadt Liedertafel choir come for the War Requiem later this year?


Yes, it is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF, and the Battle of Britain was their finest hour.  But celebrating it in a religious building by showing off a finely crafted, excellently designed, utterly superb killing machine is a strange way of going about it. The Supermarine Spitfire was a highly manoeuvrable, high-speed platform for delivering 2,800 machine gun bullets into an aircraft and its crew in 18 seconds.

In the USA they have churches who celebrate automatic rifles and take them to church:…/hundreds-of-worshipers…/ They are barking mad – what is the difference?

Remembering the sacrifices of the crews of fighter command and bomber command is one thing. Celebrating the killing machines – in a church – is quite another.


It would be better to celebrate in terms of the international strengthening of human rights and outlawing of fascism, the non-violent resolution of conflict and ( if one is religious) the understanding of difference and ( in my view) the dispelling of the class system.  I suspect Christ might have preferred that.

I sent a message to the Lincoln Cathedral events staff (17/08/2018 11:57):

If Lincoln Cathedral can celebrate the glorification of war machines (the Spitfire), it is equally acceptable for mosques to celebrate the mujahideen participating in military Jihad. It is the same thing.

You need to stop teaching people – especially children – that religion approves of violence and that killing people is the way to solve problems.

That wasn’t the message of Jesus as I was taught it.

I look forward to their response.