The Arts Thatcherites - Arts Cuts of England

or, Aborting Excellence in the Arts

Casulaties include: The London Magazine, Ambit, Dedalus Press, Independent Northern Publishers among legion others

It is tragically appropriate that one of the most approachable of all the UK’s higher brow journals (not to mention the longest running, all of 276 years), The London Magazine, should have its entire funding cravenly cut by the Arts Council whose arbitrary actions of late are appearing more and more duplicitous – not to say grossly unpopular. It is getting to the point these days that writers and artists might well be asking themselves: what exactly is the point in an Arts Council which spends most of its time dismantling creative outlets rather than supporting them? In the past three years alone, we have seen inexplicable funding cuts to many highly respected and productive small presses and journals in a Herod-like sweep of the literary world. The canny might read between the lines and see ACE simply as a monkey to an increasingly autocratic organ-grinder government whose cultural – not to mention social and moral – standing has been practically bankrupt for years.

It is as unsurprising as it is shocking that the Arts Council have picked on one of the most notably non-conformist of literary journals. I mean ‘non-conformist’ in the sense of not submitting to the ease of fitting contemporary literary trends or choosing, like most other titles, to champion work considered ‘fashionable’ among the current literary establishment in order to increase sales in an ever-competitive market. Such is as artistically cynical a strategy as it is fairly fruitless, since in spite of all the New Gens of the literary scene of today, public interest in especially poetry still dwindles in decline. Attempts to re-popularise the medium have generally backfired: a morbid emphasis on ‘accessible-ising’ the form has missed the point entirely, leading to much less ‘poetic’ output from most big imprints in the field, seemingly in an attempt to compete with pop lyrics. But why buy pop poetry when one can get the same goods in a CD sleeve, with musical backing? Poetry – at least as it is understood by the more recusant* of current poets – is an intrinsically musical art-form where rhythm and cadence is an essential ingredient which differentiates it from prose. This essential differentiation has been disturbingly subsiding in the last twenty or so years for the sake of some misperceived ‘progressiveness’ (where have we heard that term before?), which seems to have a deep distrust of colourful language, an aversion to verbal flair, an obsession with verbal precision at the expense of creative spontaneity, with a stripped down, almost prosaic style - which perceives itself, for some reason, as forward-looking and ‘new’ - and an intolerance of any work that adheres to any different set of principles. A sort of stylistic communism which contrasts oddly with the deeply class-divided capitalist society it operates in. The world turned upside down indeed. Well whatever this style of writing is looking forward to, its aesthetic – not to mention dearth of challenging themes – is not very promising.

"we are supposed to be drawn to poetry
by epiphanies on peeling fruit"

Indeed, it is not simply style that is important – subject is too. In a society still morally and spiritually scarred by Thatcherism; betrayed by a corrupted Labour government’s capitalist duplicity, championing of privatisation, and catastrophic foreign policy; where tenant is pitted against landlord in a property grab of almost feudal proportions – with all this happening around us, we are supposed to be drawn to poetry by epiphanies on peeling fruit or limp meditations on oral sex (the Me, Me, Me Gen of poetry). Aren’t there more interesting, important and emotive issues to be writing about? There are legion. So why do most modern poets ignore these in favour of such domestic tedium; and more to the point, why do so many large imprints publish it? If ever in our history there was time for another Wasteland, this is it. Yet all we get is Wateryland: the downstream of ever-diluted verse, through passionless Drowned Books to poetry competitions on the theme of ‘water’. We seem to be languishing in some naturalistic infatuation while the planet crashes and thumps with wars, social division, internecine Middle Eastern conflicts, earthquakes and freak waves around us. Suddenly ostriches spring to mind.

The latest insult in this society still deeply unequal at practically every level is a contradictory and deeply hypocritical new notion of cultural redistribution – as if to offset the opposite trend in actual social, housing, employment and life prospects for a sizeable chunk of the country. But of course, the phrase ‘arts for all’, as with such new Labour-esque maxims as ‘jobs for all’, doesn’t necessarily – and demonstrably doesn’t at all – imply ‘decent jobs for all’ or ‘inspiring arts for all’. It is indeed possible to provide arts for all by vastly stretching the definition of ‘arts’ to the lowest possible denominator (as those such as the Stuckists for instance have demonstrated in visual arts in the past), and by vastly compressing the definition of ‘all’ (which invariably means ‘some’ or even ‘the few’). The fact that this capitalist sham-take on egalitarianism only seems to be currently impressed on the arts communities – but not on the employment (decent jobs for all?), housing (decent housing for all?) or sports arenas (an Olympics for all?) – is the final nail in the coffin of the upside-down thinking of political correctness. The hypocrisy is staggering: that in a country where the gap between rich and poor is the most glaringly wide it has been since possibly the turn of the century, we are expected to swallow some spurious school-uniform notion of ‘equality’ in the arts when that long treasured but historically eschewed ‘e’ word is utterly absent in every other sphere of British society. This is a country sundered by greed and opportunism, with on one end of the scale, a homeless street culture and underpaid (in spite of the belated minimum wage) working population priced out of the mortgage market and condemned to perpetual renting all their lives by the Buy-To-Let grab of the last twenty or so years – and on the other, shamelessly transparent nepotism and ‘Fuck You I’m Rich’ clubs abound. But don’t try to polemicise or protest against it, oh no, that’s 'so Eighties'. In any other European country, these vastly polarised circumstances would lead to mass protest, if not revolution. But in England…well, we just tend to moan in private.

Apparently McMaster, whose subjective report on Supporting Excellence in the Arts, which no doubt had some influence on ACE’s unfathomable stratagem – believes Britain is entering a new cultural Golden Age. With his constant use of the highly subjective term ‘excellence’ which he even more subjectively defines in terms of ‘accessibility’, it seems we are now entering an Orwellian world in which words are given new definitions, and we apparently have to quietly accept that. Personally I would argue that artistic excellence is best demonstrated in art and literature which is both highly skilled, emotive, intellectually stimulating and accessible at the same time. To my mind this perfect plateau of wide-sweeping, broadly appealing creative expression, which is rarely fully achieved, might be best exemplified in William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, George Orwell’s polemical journalism – all of which attempted, and largely succeeded, to involve all classes in a literary dialogue. TS Eliot (‘The Love-Song of Alfred J. Prufrock’ in particular) and Dylan Thomas (Under Milk Wood), arguably the two most influential 20th century British poets, also in the main achieved this difficult balance between excellence and accessibility (as did, to near comparable extent, Thomas Hardy, John Davidson, Harold Monro, Wilfred Owen, Alun Lewis, W H Auden, Robert Graves, Philip Larkin, Stevie Smith and a handful of others – but by no means do I mean these words in the ill-defined context of McMaster’s vague exposition.

"we are expected to swallow some spurious school-uniform
notion of 'equality' in the arts"

Where exactly are we to find an even vague plateau of social homogeneity on which to define this ‘all’ McMaster speaks of; this near-mythic commonality; this elusive ‘equality’? It’s culture turned on its head: a deeply un-meritocratic social system to be contrasted with a politically correct (i.e., politically missing the point), positively discriminating arts ‘renaissance’ in which perceived ‘accessibility’ (or possibly rather, perceived ‘marketability’) rather than true literary merit determines who gets funded or published, or who gets chucked onto the scrap heap. This new wave of cultural determinism is dangerous simply because it is so intellectually shallow. The apparent fact that the casualties of the latest ACE cuts on the whole appear to be the more non-conformist (cue my previous definition of this) journals and imprints, basically implies that an Arts Council is now seeking to dictate the style and even subject matter of the ‘arts’ it funds. This smacks of the (a-)moralistic nanny state of the new Labour brigade – and transparently it is. ACE is therefore being tarred with the same brush for being pressurised into administering such warped dogma.

The problem with McMaster’s sweeping statement of a document, is that if we are today to make all art and literature ‘accessible to all’, then we risk seriously dumbing it down to hitherto unfathomed depths of obviousness and dullness, since our present society is demonstrably less intellectually enquiring as it was say thirty years ago. Cue the contemporaneous ‘spoon-feeding’ of narrative content in most creative mediums today: in particular, on television through the scourge of tabloid-style titled docu-dramas (Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!) and cod-sociological programmes that are basically tantamount to Victorian freak shows (The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off). I think McMaster must be living in an entirely different society to me, since the one I live in certainly shows no signs of a cultural renaissance, only those of a burgeoning artistic dark age in which the few remaining true lights are being systematically snuffed out one by one for not conforming to a streamlined idea of literature.

McMaster’s fundamental thesis seems to be in many ways supporting more the arguments of the critics of ACE’s funding cuts, in citing boards of arts organisations needing more actual artists on board, to promote peer review and so on; however, by imposing a vague and broad mono-definition of ‘excellence’, McMaster’s report risks backfiring in an implied artistic homogenisation for the sake of an undefined ‘accessibility’. If the ACE cuts – in part influenced by his report – are anything to go by, it already has backfired. Accessibility is of course of great importance, in that some aspects to artistic and literary culture can sometimes tend towards the overly exclusive or wilfully encrypted, and naturally it is vital that in order for a society to benefit from culture and the arts, its must be, in the main, aimed at the many not just the few. But this can be achieved through a mature compromise between intellectual and aesthetic standards and communicability without having to impoverish the English language itself, stripping it of all its colour, imagery, metaphor and cadence – and even compelling narrative. Once this is done, this ‘all’ are merely getting artistic scraps.

"the only remaining permitted discrimination in our politically correct society
is that which mocks poverty"

Or is this un-defined ‘accessibility’ meant in terms of artistic participation, opening the doors of the Oxbridge-cramped publishing houses for a few more, less well-heeled feet to get in? I suspect not. There is no indication throughout McMaster’s report to indicate a drive to readdress the gross imbalance in, in particular, the British literary circuit, and wedge open the tight screens of the entrenched middle-class cliques that seem to perceive the world of letters as an inherited birthright. Still arguably most modern working-class literature, that of the more socially disenfranchised margins, is not getting the exposure it deserves, nor the support or patronage, since quite probably the literary establishment – or, ‘the clattering classes’ – perceive the notion of British poverty as a passé paradigm. Indeed, any writers from poor backgrounds who do make it through to publication are often sifted out of the labelling factory of political correctness – ‘disability’ being the most favoured label. But isn’t poverty a kind of disability, at least materially, socially and educationally? As it stands, ‘poverty’ seems not only to be sniffed at and overlooked, it is also clearly ‘artistically out of fashion’ too. A submission guidance comment by one leading literary journal regarding Dos and Don’ts actually includes in a list of those that don’t get accepted, ‘Parochial, I’ve-got-no-money ‘bed-sitter’ poems’. This is repulsive as it is snobbish, and implies the only remaining permitted discrimination in our politically correct society is that which mocks poverty and hardship. Interestingly too, mental health still remains an ambiguous quagmire, with many people feeling they have to hide their psychological problems to avoid social stigma and perceived ‘unemployability’. Of course, poverty and mental health often cross over into one another, and the former can also sometimes seem as invisible as the latter.

It is precisely in the cause of a more egalitarian and anti-clique literary culture that, for instance, the Recusant was created. But this move towards greater sharing of the arts needs to be done not in a half-cocked new Labour politically correct way, but fairly and meritocratically, which no more positively discriminates on basis of race, gender or disability as it does negatively discriminate against literary CVs that don’t cite an Oxbridge College, in spite of evident ability. The people need to be lifted up by and with artistic culture, not the other way round. Contrarily to the turn-of-the-century Fabian aim to encourage a more intelligent society by raising the intellectual and spiritual lives of the impoverished masses through painting (the Pre-Raphaelites), striking wallpaper and fabric designs (Morris) and challenging polemical literature (George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells et al), it seems the decision-makers of today seek to tramp us back into further philistinism by dragging art down to café-chain level. Are we seeing the hailing of the new trend of Mc-isms? Is McMaster hoping for culture to capitalise on McDonald’s new range of McQualifications with a new cultural renaissance into the McArts? It seems the new wave of arts administration has misinterpreted the meaning of ‘patronise’.

The London Magazine is one of the latest casualties of ACE cuts – but why? It’s a journal which still after an epic history eschews conservatism and innovates in its choice of contents, demonstrating artistic and scholastic excellence issue after issue. Well, apparently such opinions, spouted by alumni such as Harold Pinter, William Boyd, DJ Taylor, Melvin Bragg et al fail to convince ACE of this. It is also deeply disturbing that in an increasingly streamlining mainstream of current poetry, one of the few journals still holding out for more poetic music, passion and grit, has now been disinvested in. It’s difficult to think of who else is left to hold a candle to it.

But why pick on London Magazine of all journals? One with a healthy circulation, subscribed to by legion notable literary names, publishing a sizeable number of established, up-and-coming and hitherto unknown names, and also demonstrably championing cultural diversity – albeit, quite rightly, on its own meritocratic terms. It seems London Magazine was too busy doing the actual work of producing artistic excellence rather than trying to tick Arts Council boxes (cue my new-coined term for this, ‘ACE-licking’), that it was deemed too innovative for its own good. But then, in a celebrity-obsessed society, in which anyone can become famous for no particular talent, and mediocrity is lauded, pelted with prizes and excessive bursaries (cue the Damien Hirsts and Tracie Emins of this world), should we be surprised that an obviously high quality journal as London Magazine is disinvested in by an Arts Council that clearly doesn’t want to encourage the kind of artistic excellence which our culture of immediacy (through its deeply anti-meritocratic laziness) slanders as ‘high brow’, ‘esoteric’ or ‘elitist’?

"the more seasoned and older titles should not lose their subsidies
in order for their more youthful peers to acquire theirs"

It is also deeply disturbing that so much ageism is presently rife in the Arts Council’s funding cuts: in one broad sweep we have two of the longest running journals, London Magazine and Ambit utterly cut of monies. Possibly perceived as not appealing enough to the younger generations, they have lost their subsidies for seemingly standing out by maintaining very individual identities (though I’d argue Ambit had been courting ‘accessibility’ and a certain misjudged ‘sexing up’ for the past few years). Poignantly, ACE has awarded new and continuing grants to the young-up-and-coming journals, notably those edited and run by relative striplings. While these journals may or may not deserve financial patronage is not the point: the point is that the more seasoned and older titles should not lose their subsidies in order for their more youthful peers to acquire theirs. If this is truly the case, as it appears, it is shocking to say the least, and flies directly in the face of Blairite notions of anti-ageism. But it seems too coincidental. It also smacks of the very new Labour philistine contempt for history and the sagacity of the past, in its obsession with ‘progressiveness’, ‘modernisation’, ‘the future’. Hollow phrases when entirely planted in the ‘now-niverse’ of blue sky thinking, which heralded such cultural nadirs as the Dome and, no doubt, the oncoming, arts-sapping Olympics – both of which are arguably grossly frivolous wastes of public monies and the ubiquitous political motif of ‘the taxpayer’. The cynical merging of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has been one of the great philistine solecisms of the new Labour brigade. It has symbolised their contempt for the arts in favour of technology, which is intellectually redundant without influence from the former. There can be no progress in culture and society without the intrinsic questioning function of the arts. And are we, as recently implied by Peter Hewitt, supposed to seriously swallow the assertion that a massive financial cut of the arts in favour of more funding for the – largely un-accessible in principal – London Olympics is going to somehow benefit British creative culture? Of course it isn’t. And as if this country isn’t already irrationally obsessed with sport to a philistine degree: there are those of us who in many ways see sport and its increasing popularisation as, if anything, an enemy to the arts, if not at least its intellectual and ethical antithesis. But of course, we are now heading into the arena of Arts Thatcherism, in which competition is trumped as the shibboleth to ‘excellence’. Presumably the next Poetry Olympics will really be just that: a Dragon’s Den style pitting of poet against poet to the piggy-eyed entrepreneurs’ sulky phrase: ‘So why should I want to publish your volume?’ The ultimate poetry slam – accessibility, is it?

This prompts a digression back to McMaster’s report. The kind of ‘innovative’ he clearly envisions is that which fits purely in his own tight definition, which he incidentally fails to actually define throughout his report. We have other terms like ‘risk-taking’, which again could mean anything, and in not being defined too, comes out meaning nothing in particular. Is this the kind of ‘risk-taking’ which has inflicted the vacuous exhibits of the Stuckists on us? But it seems that these new ACE cuts, by keeping only the more mainstream of outlets going, none of which have succeeded in the last twenty years to entice any more public numbers to their pages (except of course aspiring and practising poets) in spite of their so-called ‘accessibility’, we are heading for the Stuck-in-a-Rutists movement. While it is true to say some of the more oblique poetry of today puts off much of the public in its wilful obscurity, by the same token, the more accessibly written poetry of the mainstream repels much of the public equally by its complacency and mundane subject matter. There of course needs to be a new artistic renaissance in the UK – and as it is, it is painfully belated – but this needs to be in a new and genuinely radical move away from post-modern apolitical complacency and in the direction of more politically and socially aware work. Unfortunately since the termagants of Thatcherism and the flag-carrying ‘Britishness’ of new Labour, the UK has demonstrably grown sick at heart both intellectually and spiritually, and has become a cynical, politically apathetic quagmire of sneering and sniping – inevitably reflected in its introspective artistic culture. We seem to be heading more for a Gold-Plated Age than a genuine 24 carat (or carrot as the case may be) one. The balance first needs to be found between quality writing and quality subjects.

One only has to scour most of the poetry journals of today to see there’s actually little ‘risk-taking’, save the odd token expletive or take on the very type of contemporary vernacular the poets themselves would sneer at as 'Chavish'. In a parallel to the growingly homogenous panoply of different titles on contemporary magazine racks – dozens on dozens
of glossy magazines offering slight variations on the same styles and themes – we have the literary/poetry journal ‘mainstream monopoly’, largely publishing interchangeably prosaic, plain-speaking free verse. In place of the emotional throes, the politics and passion of the past we have meditations on eating fruit; and mostly, not metaphorically – post-modernism in freefall. And yet of all the journals to pick on, ACE goes for one of the few that tries to expose obviously more challenging and polemical material, The London Magazine. As it stands, there are thankfully still one or two radical journals and small presses in existence which aren’t afraid to be political, challenging and outspoken (and all the other unfashionable things): The Penniless Press, Smokestack Books, Sixties Press, Five Leaves Publications, Other Poetry 
(see their manifesto which the Recusant fully endorses incidentally, at http://www.otherpoetry.com/) to name a few… but the numbers are worryingly thinning by each ACE cut. What we may very well end up with is an unchallenged array of interchangeable journals with marginally more commercial appeal, but far less intellectual reach. If it were not for the defiant fringe outlets and the new wave of stylistically liberated e-zines, we would practically already have this situation and be entirely in the thrall of the Post-Poetry movement.

"meditations on eating fruit; and mostly, not metaphorically"

Is this the march towards McMaster’s renaissance of innovation and risk-taking: stamping out one of the only true outlets for it? As with new Labour, it is all spin and no substance; undelivered promises; hypocritical cant; duplicitous u-turns. In the meantime, the interchangeable journals are allowed to continue fully funded. While the writing in many of them is accessible, it is also often rather dull. Does McMaster seriously believe a wider public can be drawn in to what is ‘not for them’ by such anaemic product as this? People don’t want to be patronised by being spoon-fed when just a little intellectual inquiry can open their minds to other perspectives and powerful writing – they simply want encouraging a little more to make that first initial effort. Rather like potential converts to the Church, more often than not put off by ‘accessible’ tambourine-bashing. For all those it converts, it drives as many (and possibly the sincerer) away.

To conclude, McMaster keeps saying that artists should speak out, be controversial, not sit on the fence, such is their expressive freedom and art is intrinsically a radical and outspoken medium and all the more affecting and powerful for it. What artist or writer wouldn’t heartily agree with this rhetorical statement? But it remains rhetoric, since in spite of legions of aggrieved creatives (most notably actor Samuel West et al) speaking out against the latest Herod-like swathe of arbitrary ACE cuts, at the fates of bastions such as London Magazine and the Bush Theatre, and ‘internationalist’ outlets such as Dedalus Press, ACE still completely ignore the backlash of artistic protest and polemic, continuing as stubbornly as their government to impose unqualified and irrational sanctions on the more non-conformist and varied of literary and theatrical output, but, contradictorily, in the name of greater ‘innovation’. This is clearly another strand of new Labour’s Big Brother approach, trying to condition culture and the arts to a conformist homogeneity just as it is trying to condition us socially with ASBOs, identity cards, surveillance, ‘Britishness’, and the recent deeply undemocratic smoking ban, which is imposing middle-class lifestyle values on the working class, without engineering a redistributive economic system that enables them to enjoy the other benefits of middle-class life. Amazingly, the biggest threat to our entire planetary environment, traffic fumes, is being addressed in a far more deferential sense, since naturally an equally authoritarian clampdown on car use as the smoking ban would seriously upset the middle-classes in their 4 by 4s, and topple the Government: votes before environments, naturally. So we can all look forward to an eventually smoke-free society, while petrol emissions poison all of us anyway. What a topsy-turvy world this is.

The sad reality of McMaster’s statement is that the McArts Council are indeed encouraging greater outspokenness from the arts community by provoking it into protest through their craven and arbitrary funding cuts. In the long term seemingly, Peter Hewitt, like our previous Prime Minister, hasn’t intended in the slightest to take any notice of what is actually being spoken. Going by the recent merciless cuts, it seems ACE is hell-bent on a Divide and Rule approach to the arts – if nothing else, to distract attention away from the fact that they clearly haven’t a clue what their strategy really is. All we get is Peter Hewitt’s empty, McMaster-inspired mantra in defence of craven slashes: ‘Supporting artistic excellence is a real priority’. This is meaningless political-style rhetoric, which says absolutely nothing at all and is as uninspiring as it is vague. (His recent ‘stepping down’, noted by this writer after composing the first draft of this article, arguably speaks volumes of his own possible doubts about the cuts). By such craven cuts, ACE is encouraging an arts culture in which artists and their outlets are pitted against each other just in the same way Thatcher pitted the workers against each other in her attempt to stamp out trade union solidarity and socialism. In desperation either to save their organisations, or just their own onion-skins, or both, some arts captains of small presses and journals resort to selling out or sexing up their product in order to sustain their subsidies from ACE, reducing themselves to ‘jargon poodles’ in the
mould of their funders.

"Crawl or Be Cut"

This is not to say necessarily that these grant-chasing hoop-jumpers should be completely pilloried for their complicity, only pitied really that they have felt it unavoidable to succumb to ACE pressure to compromise artistic standards in order to refill their coffers, often at the expense of equally worthy peers. The perennial debate: Means and Ends. As we have learnt from history, it’s not so much a case of Ends justifying Means, but of Ends being often entirely re-moulded by Means, thus negating the entire enterprise; the only real Ends to any dubious Means being always about Power. ACE’s craven, carrot-dangling tactics of late appeal to the worst, least creative, anti-artistic traits in arts editors, publishers and Directors. ACE is promoting a Divide and Rule culture, no doubt by which their own lack of vision and principle may be deflected through a pitted battle between funding hopefuls in a blind race to an intellectually and creatively arid finish. So as Thatcher broke the solidarity of the Unions and the miners and the general working population with various self-serving carrots (council house buys, shares etc.), ACE breaks the solidarity – and arguably artistic integrity – of writers, poets, artists, publishers, journals, even charities, with its sub-textual Social Darwinian Crawl or Be Cut policy. Anyone refusing to bow to this arbitrary scourge perishes, albeit principles intact. It is either the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, ACE, or both, that must accept culpability for this culturally-damaging Arts Thatcherism. The subsequent new morally and artistically compromised (or just plain desperate) wave of ‘ACE-licking’ is spreading rapidly like a cancer through the arts communities of this country, and for the sake of fairness, true meritocracy and just plain compassion – something integral to the arts – all artists must now make a stand to stamp out this damaging brinkmanship.

At least think on one of its latest casualties, The London Magazine. Demonstrating with humility and accessibility a wide range of artistic innovation and excellence, Sebastian Barker’s vision of The London Magazine bows out with a resonant howl, the true wolf among the sheep of contemporary journals, but senselessly the latest sacrificial lamb in the Arts Council’s culling of excellence for the sake of promoting further homogeneity and blandness. One of the few remaining bastions of sincere and important writing has been pointlessly disinvested simply because its output does not fit the tight and unqualified definitions of ‘excellence’, ‘innovation’, ‘risk-taking’ and ‘accessibility’. What’s a cut by ACE is a guillotine for the country as, in the words of Anthony Powell: 'If London Magazine shuts down nothing else whatever of that sort will ever take its place.' I have a feeling he will proven right.

In the end, posterity will be the judge, and I am completely convinced that in terms of true artistic contribution and vision, it will be far kinder to and praiseworthy of the Sebastian Barkers of this society than it will be of the Sir Brian McMasters, Sir Christopher Fraylings and Peter Hewitts.

* non-conformist

Alan Morrison © 2008

If you would like to add a comment to this ongoing debate then please email
the Recusant via the Comment link on the Welcome page of this site