Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Nick Clegg can have my painting of him for nine grand

Posted on 12 December 2010 | 10:12am

If I have mastered the technology correctly (said the nervous non cyberwarrior) then if you click on here you will see my debut in political art.

Art and I never got on at school, possibly because we had an art-teacher who had a temper that was even worse than mine. But when I was asked to try my hand to help raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, despite knowing my ‘work’ would be published online, and then auctioned, I thought I would give it a go.

The art for Great Ormond Street project is called Hare Styling and if you click on here you can find out more, not least that it was started by Angelica van Clarke, who at two days old had a life-saving operation at the hospital and aged 15 drew a hare to raise funds. From little acorns and all that …

So all the ‘artist’ (moi et beaucoup d’autres) gets is a canvas with a pencilled outline of Angelica’s original hare. All is then left to the imagination and you can see what my fellow artists have done with their hares by clicking on here

I suppose mine is the only overtly political one, but all rather topical, in that I did it a few weeks ago and it has only just gone up on the Hare Styling Gallery. I confess to having an assistant who helped me prepare the colours – she is a neighbour, my daughter’s best friend, and a leukaemia survivor who was treated at Great Ormond Street – but I did all the painting myself.

My hare, as you can see from the long yellow tie, and the ‘I pledge NOT to raise tuition fees’ protest banner, is Nick Clegg. He is a crying hare. A sad hare. Because he feels he is a  hare who has been let down. Let down by David. And as a result all the people who used to love this little hare don’t like him at all, because they feel let down by him.

His big red tongue is still pointing up to the word David, and the v in David has been done as a big red loveheart, but he is nonetheless lamenting that David said if only he helped with all the cuts, he would get a proper job wahwahwah. This is a less sexual version of the cartoon in The Observer today that has a tiny Clegg having a post-coital fag while alongside him a giant and rather flabby Cameron (we only see his ‘pecs’) is telling ‘Clegg minor’ to think about the peerage that is surely coming his way for services to Conservative Party policies.

I confess my own offering is hardly subtle but like I said, I am a novice in this game, a bit like Clegg and his Lib Dems are novices in the power game after all those years saying everyone else was terrible, only they were straight and if only we would put them into government, there would be no more broken promises.

So while I am not much of a fan of police officers getting attacked, Cenotaph flags being used as playround equipment for rich students, Churchill statues being defiled, or politicians having to hole up in Parliament because of violence developing outside, I do think Clegg and Co can hardly be surprised in finding the lovebombs of the  pre-election swooning and post-election coalition coitus with Cameron have turned to a determination by so many young people never to trust them again.

But, if I may return to a recurring theme, the role of Cameron in this deserves more examination. We keep reading that one of his great strengths is his breeding and the good manners that entails. If I were my little hare, I would be saying to Dave he is not being very good-mannered at all in making me take all the flak for a policy that is his and George’s.

Ah, Dave will say, but you know what Nick, we never said we wouldn’t do this … and we never did the holier than thou thing either … so you’ve made your bed, now lie in it … poor Hare.

There is one way Clegg could help rescue himself though, albeit in a minor, PR, show you’ve got a sense of humour kind of way. When it comes to the auction at the glamorous Hare Ball in London, I reckon he should come along and buy my painting … nine grand should do it, Nick.

  • Mark Wright

    Very apt of you Alastair to feature a, if I may say so, hare today, gone tomorrow politician. Fnar fnar.

    “We don’t need no education.”, sang Pink Floyd’s David ‘not Dave’ Gilmour. And in the true spirit of rebellion his son has decided that, in fact, we do. Looking at the unkempt rabble on the streets of London last week…boy, ain’t that the truth!

  • Pauline McIlroy

    Not bad as a first effort … can’t see Nick buying it though. Lib Dems not exactly known for sense of humour

  • Harold Thurman

    Cameron is proving to be very good at not being where the flak is flying. The media still giving him the big red-tongued treatment as per your painting. But in part i think last week’s protests were but the latest sign of the gap between how the media and intellectual world see the coalition, and how the public see them. This is not a popular government and the polls are beginning to reflect that. Labour do need to do better though

  • Chris Morley

    Maybe your picture of Clegg should be on rogues’ gallery rather than Hare gallery. Good luck to the Hare project though … some nice pictures on there and a very good cause. Oh, and sorry about Burnley — you were getting some stick on twitter from Leeds fans last night. I take it your radio silence was an indication of your unhappiness at the capitulation of your side … sorry, did I mention I was a Leeds fan (part-time armchair variety)

  • Olli Issakainen

    Election promises should be more than just expressions of intent. But in coalitions you, of course, must make compromises. But how big ones?
    David Cameron was elected mainly for his looks, not for his brain. He really is a son of Thatcher who tries to blame Labour for the “mess”.
    His message is that Labour was incompetent.
    But there is an argeement in the academic world that the financial crisis was caused by banks, especially by big investment banks.
    According to IFS Gordon Brown put Britain´s public finances in a better shape in the run-up to the credit crunch than the Tories managed prior to the recession in the early 1990s.
    IFS says that Labour government under chancellor Brown had cut the level of borrowing and debt inherited from the Conservatives in 1997.
    IFS also adds that the UK public finances were in better shape when the financial crisis began than they were when Labour came to power.
    Under Labour much of extra public spending went to INVESTMENT and not general revenue budgets. And UK had the second lowest level of debt among G7 nations going into the crisis.
    According to Gordon Brown´s Beyond the Crash unregulated global financial system developed in the 20 YEARS before the crisis. There was a culture of unethical financial practices in world´s biggest banks. Recklessness was powered by greed.
    RBS did not check properly ABN Amro in a takeover. HBOS did stake everything on rising property market.
    Had Labour tried more regulation, banks could have taken their businesses offshore.
    There was a system-wide shortage of capital. Risk-taking was given priority over protecting the capital of the banks.
    Incentives maximised risks.
    If Britain´s bankers had paid themselves 10% less per year between 2000 and 2007, there would have been £50bn more to help to withstand the crisis. The extent of the undercapitalisation in UK was £50bn.
    The coalition must realize that the financial crisis was international. The challenge is still international on scale, and response to it must be bigger than just spending cuts.

    Ps. As for your painting, I recommend you not to give up your day job and pack off to southern France to do more. I am interested in art, and have a painting by a friend who was elected as a Young Artist of the Year here in Finland. I have also posters of works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Dali, Picasso and Tamara de Lempicka – my favourite (art deco).

  • Robert Jackson

    Excellent Alistair.

    You seem to have a pretty good grasp of your art history.

    To whit the strong diagonals developed in the Baroque give a powerful dynamism to the piece.

    Then there are the expressionist elements which show your knowledge of Emil Nolde and the early German Expressionists.

    Had there been no requirement to use colour the added piquancy of deep black would remind one of Kathe Kollwitz’s darker works.

    And now for something a little more serious.

    I do not refer to Kathe Kollwitz with any sense of irony. A visitor to the Kathe Kollwitz museum in Fasanenstrasse, Berlin cannot but emerge as a changed person. Kollwitz’s “Prisoner” series and works depicting the terrible suffering of the German working class should serve as a reminder as to where Britain is heading under this wretched coalition – Clegg or no Clegg.

    Any man or woman who stands before Kollwitz’s depiction of a mother and dead child without tears welling can ONLY be a Tory.

  • Robert Jackson

    The link has broken, sadly, at about 15.50.

    Apols for misspelling your name Alastair. Sorry.

  • Sarah Dodds

    Tuition fees last week. Today the pupil premium – a little £400 per child per year. Let’s all stand and applaud how noble and brave Clegg and Teather have been to win this for the sake of the poor little kiddie winks.
    So that’s how little you were preprared to pimp yourselves for?

  • Dave Simons

    Thanks Olli – I agree with all you say and I’m looking forward to reading Gordon Brown’s book, ‘Beyond the Crash’, especially after the review in yesterday’s ‘Times’ by Anatole Kaletsky. The Coalition has been unbelievably immature in its incessant opportunism relative to the near-crash of October 2008, and it’s about time some sense was reintroduced into political debate around the economic crisis. I had hopes of Vince Cable snapping out of the Coalition-induced mantra about the mountain of debt left by the previous government, but he seems to have decided to toe the line. He was much more level-headed when he was writing his book, ‘The Storm’. We’ve been having arguments about the problems of the capitalist mode of production for two centuries now and the absence or failure of alternative ways of producing, distributing and exchanging has resulted in the same problems recurring. That’s surely why we are where we are now? Marx’s proletariat has shown itself either unwilling or unable to fulfil the historical role to which he assigned it, so we’ve just oscillated between state control and letting market forces rip. For the last thirty years the latter option has been back and it’s led us to recession, but in the latter 1970s Jim Callaghan was talking about the failure of the post-war Keynesian consensus which had prevailed for the previous thirty years. Is capitalism the highest form of economic activity to which humanity can aspire? If it is then we’re a flawed and probably doomed species!

  • Quinney

    Ally, we not do a series of three to raise more money?
    1. Tuition fees increase. (as shown)

    2 Police cuts. (I suggest a painting of a three legged, one eyed guard dog to sybolise the dog unable to respond to burglars).

    3 Defence cuts (I suggest a flock ducks leaving a duck house on a lake to symbolise an aircraft carrier with no planes).

  • Teresa

    In a few interviews I’ve watched with Nick Clegg I’ve been taken aback by the way he shouts the interviewer down, he comes across as an angry controlling person. I don’t think he is a man with much compassion at all, I would be surprised if he bought your lovely painting Alastair.

  • Nicky

    Thought your painting was at least as good as Tracey Emin’s, and I daresay hers would be quite sought after.

    On the subject of painters, I remember reading about Andy Warhol describing how Yoko Ono persuaded him to join her in Christmas fundraising for a children’s AIDS charity. Yoko’s *great* idea was that they’d rattle collecting tins on Wall Street and wait for those bankers and wheelers and dealers to distribute their largesse. (This was the mid-80s when the bonus culture first came into being.) What happened, according to AW, was that folks who looked like they could ill afford it were the most generous … and the vastly wealthy bankers and wheeler dealers went scurrying past, studiously ignoring them.

  • Ehtch

    What happened to my interesting post I posted yesterday, feckbreath? Your not part of the nonsense that the New Statesman from 1913 site is not working at the miment? It wouldn’t suprise me, overloaded egos like your type.

    At a time like this, someone like you would have thought to keeep the lines of debate as much as possible. You’ve let me down, and Steve Kingdom, let alone Frank Casper.

    My post was about your paing, with reference to Tony Hancock the comedian with the pisstake movie in the early sixties, The Rebel.

    Some people really need to get a life…

    Love, from Carmarthenshire. southern english gits!

  • Dave Simons

    If it was as interesting as this one we haven’t missed much! Frankly I don’t understand much of what you’re trying to say, assuming you are trying to say something. As a point of information Alastair is from Keighley/Scotland. I’m from the North of England. Neither of us qualify as ‘southern English gits’, and maybe you should revise your attitude to those who do. As for getting a life, I’m sure there’s more to life than hurling unqualified insults at people.

  • Ehtch

    I was taking the pizzle, and I now apologise to grim up norths for my cutting sense of humour, now.

    It’s just that I posted a link to Alastairs excellent fine work of art, but it didn’t appear. And the New Statesman site hasn’t been working, so I was a bit worked up.

    Take care all.