The fateful day of Great Britain's EU Membership Referendum is almost upon us, and it's safe to say that the fear-filled rhetoric and misleading statistics employed by both 'Leave' and 'Remain'
campaigns has guaranteed that the majority of the public will be voting on a purely emotional basis.
The referendum was given the go-ahead by a beleagured David Cameron following the 2015 General Election to honour a desperate electoral bribe offered before the election to stop the Conservative vote haemorraging further as thousands of traditional Conservative voters jumped ship in 2014-2015 to join the right-wing populist UK Independence Party (UKIP) which was created in 1991 with the sole intention of taking Britain out of the EU.
Led since 1993 by charismatic bar-fly Nigel Farage who campaigned exhaustively on an often borderline racist fearmongering anti-immigration platform, UKIP's membership had sky-rocketed since 2013, and in the two Local Government Elections prior to the 2015 General Election an energised UKIP won a shockingly high number of local council victories. Suddenly there were 497 UKIP councillors in office up and down the country - predominantly at the expense of ousted incumbent Conservative councillors. Farage's aggressively Euro-sceptic party was already the dominant British contingent in the European Parliament, providing 11 out of a total 24 British MEP's.
At Conservative Party Headquarters massive existential panic ensued, and David Cameron had a massive UKIP problem to deal with. His position as leader of the Conservative Party was on the line. Something had to be done to save his skin.
Relentlessly tapping in to the darkest reaches of the insular British psyche, Farage's lurid Enoch Powellian speeches threatened that, for example, the first day that newcomer Romania became an EU member there would quite literally be a tsunami of 17 million eligible, desperate, devious Roma gypsies heading to Britain to live off state benefits and be immediately given free council housing. Farage's fear-laden racist rhetoric appealed massively to those on the far-right and, increasingly, the Tory base. UKIP was already littered with former British National Party and National Front members, and Farage knew that if he could clean up UKIP's tarnished image enough he could convince disaffected Euro-sceptic Conservative voters to the UKIP cause.
Following the attention-grabbing defection of two Conservative MPs to UKIP which triggered Bye-elections and produced UKIP victories for Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless - on the promise by Nigel Farage that if the public voted for UKIP in the General Election he would demand an EU referendum - Farage's star was in the ascendant.
Europhile David Cameron and his strategists had no choice but to match Farage's referendum promise to his own restive, dwindling Conservative Party membership. Cameron promised in his election manifesto that if he won the election Britain would have its referendum, and by doing so was successful in beating off the UKIP threat in the 2015 General Election. Mark Reckless lost in Rochester and Strood, leaving UKIP with the solitary Douglas Carswell in Clacton. Even though UKIP polled a massive 13% of the total votes cast nationally, sensationally, party leader Nigel Farage failed to win his contested seat in South Thanet and the Conservatives squeezed home to victory.
David Cameron then embarked on a high profile PR campaign to try and renegotiate various elements of Britains obligations as EU members to further placate his increasingly stroppy Euro-sceptic MPs and the party's influential financial backers. He made several visits to Brussels where he pitched his list of hissy-fit reform demands, trying to win over the powerful German Chancellor Angela Merckel and French President Francois Hollande with the repeated threat that Britain would leave if he didn't get these concessions. Cameron failed miserably. There were key issues absolutely central to the core philosophy of the European Union which were not up for negotiation, like the free movement of labour across internal EU borders, adherence to the Human Rights Act, acceptance of rulings from the European Court of Human Rights and the level of Britain's annual contribution to EU coffers.
Like the pathological PR man that he is, David Cameron returned home claiming that he had won some important concessions on European Reform, but the truth was that though he had managed to score some minor victories, he had succeeded in alienating the political allies that mattered in Europe, and had been told in no uncertain terms that he had squandered all his political capital in Brussels and everyone was tired of his whingeing. Cameron was losing influence rapidly and becoming side-lined in Europe, and his future as Conservative leader was whispered to be on shaky ground.
Back in London the 43 year long festering tribal divisions within the Conservative Party between pro and vehemently anti-European Union MPs opened up like fault lines across colliding tectonic plates, and so a date for the referendum was announced and a Referendum Bill passed in Parliament. There was to be state funding for both official "In" and "Out" campaigns and, rather than demand that his Cabinet Ministers observe collective responsibility to the Government's official pro-EU membership position which would force Cameron to sack dissenting Ministers or see them resign in a flurry of damaging press attention, Cameron had no option but to suspend collective responsibility and give his Ministers permission to campaign publicly for the "No" (or "Brexit" - British Exit) position if they wished.
By now it was estimated that 50% of his MPs wanted Brexit. The fight was on.
After a power struggle between three rival Brexit campaign groups to become the official, richly-funded "Out" campaign, the matter was finally settled and the keys to the petty cash tin were handed to "Vote Leave", on whose campaign committee sits (amongst others) Michael Gove MP, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Chris Grayling MP, Liam Fox MP, Priti Patel MP, Daniel Hannan MP and Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP - a committee comprised (strangely enough) largely of power-hungry Conservative MPs who are all jockeying themselves into position to get themselves nominated in the inevitable party leadership challenge and blood-letting if the internally-unpopular Cameron's "In" campaign fails - none more so than dilettante faux-buffoon Boris Johnson, whose trophy-hunting plans for getting Cameron's crown are widely known.
Parallel (but now only self-funded) campaigns are being run by the obscure "Get Britain Out" group and Nigel Farage's UKIP-centric "Grassroots Out (GO)" campaign, fronted by Farage, Tory MP Peter Bone and (to the confusion and disbelief of just about everyone) controversial former Respect Party MP George Galloway. In no time at all the various In and Out campaigns started bombarding the nation with their supposedly passionately held beliefs, backed up by a blizzard of highly manipulated statistics and dire predictions for the future of Britain if you didn't vote for them.
Soon after the official campaigns were launched, US President Barak Obama flew to London to lend his support for David Cameron's 'Remain' campaign, drawing howls of complaints of foul play and derision from the 'Leave' camp who, rather than listen to Obama's official position that whilst it is a matter for the British public to decide, Washington believes that leaving the EU would be a strategic geo-political mistake which would weaken Britain's standing in the world and might destabilise the EU, Boris Johnson penned a shocking response in Rupert Murdoch's Sun Newspaper in which he accused the President of hypocrisy and then went on to imply that the "part-Kenyan President" harboured "an ancestral dislike of the British empire".
The long weeks that followed have seen a bewildering succession of outright lies, unfounded exaggeration and the use of statistics so chronically manipulated to serve each campaign's needs that the general public have been left completely bewildered and unable to discover (let alone understand) the crucial facts behind what has become a purely emotion-driven campaign as each side has forgone the professionalism expected of them and has chosen instead to rely on dog-whistle politics and highly emotive, divisive statements - none more so than on the issue of immigration, which has massively legitimised the bigoted, hysterical claims from the far-right and UKIP with their entrenched, insular "Little Englander" claims that the United Kingdom will implode any second beneath the sheer weight of millions of theoretical refugees and bloody immigrants if we don't pull up the drawbridge immediately and close our borders to Johnny Foreigner.
The tragedy is that as June 23rd approaches and Britain is about to make the most important decision it has made in over four decades of mutual European prosperity and peace, we may be about to throw it all away on the basis of small-minded prejudice and fear of the Other...
So the big day finally arrived. The world's press (and a large crowd of enthusiastic onlookers) gathered outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster to witness the dramatic denoument of one hundred days of campaigning by the four Labour Party leadership candidates.
At last we would all witness together the final act of what has been the most dramatic political upheaval in Labour Party history as three so-called Blairite candidates, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendal went head to head against the 200-1 outsider; the veteran left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn, whose last second acceptance into the competition to find a replacement for former leader Ed Miliband unleashed a political earthquake which has rocked the party to its core as hundreds of thousands of people registered as Labour Party supporters so they could cast their votes.
As we all now know, Jeremy Corbyn won by a landslide despite (as it seemed to appear to the entire country) the best efforts of party workers on the orders of the comfortable, tone-deaf Blairite party grandees to purge thousands of people from the voting list when it became obvious that the patronising inclusion of Corbyn to patronisingly placate the "old Labour" elements in the party had gone disastrously wrong - won by a landslide. The share of the vote cast was: Jeremy Corbyn 59%, Andy Burnham 19.0%, Yvette Cooper 17.0% and Liz Kendall 4.5%
To helpfully bring some historical context to the day's events, Kaya brought along three paintings which beautifully illustrated the history of Labour's fall from grace in the eyes of the electorate - Tony Blair the warmonger, standing in a lake of blood with the American flag wrapped around him as he sticks two fingers up to the millions of people who demonstrated against UK involvment in George Bush's disastrous meglomaniac war in Iraq; Ed Miliband holding up his election manifesto - a large blank document, devoid of any policies, and his latest painting portraying the Labour Party's unwanted nightmare Jeremy Corbyn as a new-born baby (complete with halo), being held up by a midwife's blue-gloved hands in front of his horrified mother - the party which gave birth to him.
In memory of little Aylan Kurdi, who died alone and terrified because peace is less profitable than war.
Following the shockingly swift resignation of Labour party leader Ed Miliband after his general election defeat in May which saw the party comprehensively ousted from their traditional Scottish stronghold and Labour's number of Westminster MPs drastically reduced, the process to elect a new party leader was triggered... but the Miliband legacy has really put the cat among the pigeons, as they say. In a move which at the time must have seemed like a terribly good (but surely harmless) idea to the party grandees, Ed Miliband convinced the party's National Executive Comittee to change the rules to allow ordinary party members and, crucially, anyone who was willing to pay £3 to become an official supporter of the party, to have a vote in the leadership process.
In a rather patronising recognition of the fact that there had been much public criticism that the party leadership was becoming more and more distant from ordinary members as the party moves further and further to the right in their aspirations and this has contributed to Labour's ever worsening election performances, there was seen to be a need to pay lip-service to the traditional left of the party and so it was suggested that a left-wing MP be put up for nomination in the leadership race - they were sure to lose anyway, because Hey! We're all neo-liberals now, right, guys? - but who was there left in the Labour party who could claim socialist credentials? Didn't they all die off in the 1980s?
Eventually, veteran back-bencher and determined campaigner Jeremy Corbyn reluctantly allowed himself to be talked into making a run at the leadership, but could he get enough supporters within the Parliamentary Labour Party to qualify? The race was on to drum up support and long story short, Corbyn just managed to get the required number of endorsements literally in the final couple of hours before the deadline.
What happened next has rocked the party to its foundations and has apparently triggered what appears to be the makings of an internal civil war which may yet completely tear the party apart. Within weeks, and to the abject horror of the self-satisfied so-called Blue Labour MPs who never thought for one second that this highly principled, honest, incorruptible, straight-talking self-confessed socialist MP - a dinosaur throwback to the 1970's who not only has a beard but who shockingly only claimed £8.79 in MPs expenses in 2014 - could ever get the public's support, there followed an unprecedented avalanche of sign-ups by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who had deserted the party in droves since Tony Blair lied to the country and took the UK to war against Saddam Hussein.
Within a month the party membership had tripled. Panicking, the party officials started a massive purge of new registrations, claiming massive infiltration by malicious Tories, Marxists, disloyal former party members and (probably) two-headed dragons, but to no avail. Corbyn went on the road, speaking in packed public venues the entire length of the country, speaking to thousands of people - the so called Corbynistas - who suddenly had reason hope that finally, after all these years of imperious party machine-politics, here was a Labour politician who cared about them, whom they could trust. A humble man who bought his clothes from Marks and Spencer, not Savile Row.
Hope and rediscovered enthusiasm exploded into the open and, despite the astonishingly savage attacks, smears and insults launched not only against Jeremy Corbyn but also his army of "deluded, naive, foolish" supporters by every national newspaper - including the traditional left-leaning papers - it has become crystal clear that there is a rapacious hunger among voters to hear what Corbyn has to say as he quietly, calmly lays out his principles and suggestions for steering the country away from the austerity ideology which has done so much damage to millions of people in the UK.
The three rivals for the leadership, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendal have found themselves struggling and losing support at a rapid pace. What Corbyn is offering is so completely different from their virtually identical austerity-light policy proposals that it has brought into sharp focus that they don't seem to be offering anything remarkably different from the moderate wing of the Conservative party.
To mark this extraordinary political upheaval, Kaya Mar has produced a new artwork which portrays a horrified Labour Party mother staring uncomprehendingly at her unwanted Corbyn baby, complete with beard and halo, bearing the communist party symbol carved on his forehead - put there by his critics.
You'll find a photo and short video of Kaya at the bottom of this Independent i100 online article linked below. Click on the image to view the article on the i100 site.
Those lovely people at BuzzFeed News travelled all the way to wildest Ealing recently with their photographer and spent the day at Chateau Mar interviewing Kaya about his work. To read their excellent article, just click on the picture below. Go on... you know you want to...
Here's a clutch of pre and post-election articles from the Telegraph, the Scottish edition of the Sun and the Independent, which featured Kaya Mar's paintings. Click on each image to read the article.
"How to write a political comedy", written by comedy writer Andy Hamilton (Ballot Monkeys, Drop the Dead Donkey) appeared in the Telegraph on April 20th 2015.
"Election laughs you can count on" featured in the Scottish version of Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper, May 8th 2015, and only used paintings of Alec Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
"The general election, as told through the art of Kaya Mar" appeared on the Independent newspaper's i100 website on May 8th 2015, and featured all of Kaya's election paintings.
After months of wall-to-wall spinning and briefings and smear tactics, acres of partisan printed editorials and endless hours of mind-numbing TV news items from political correspondents trailing up, down and across the UK as they followed the most relevant political party leaders on the election campaign trail, we finally arrived at May 7th - the day of the 2015 general election was finally upon us.
The tension was palpable. On the political Right, Prime Minister David Cameron and his band of bilious Old-Etonian prefects had ensured that their favourite newspapers stayed on message, regurgitating cynically manipulated statistics and insidious sound-bites carefully crafted by the handsomely paid Downing Street 'Nudge Unit' to ensure that the official national narrative never once drifted from the dishonest assertion that thanks to five previous years of punishing austerity aimed solely at the most vulnerable (who by a strange coincidence are the most likely to vote for the Labour party), not only was UK PLC (Registered in the Cayman Islands) just entering a new gilded age of national prosperity and wealth not seen since the halcyon days of the Raj, but also to remind the public that the poor and unemployed are poor and unemployed because they are lazy indolent scroungers who must be starved and forced to work for nothing for obscenely wealthy corporations who pay no taxes; that the sick, disabled and dying are all a bunch of freeloading liars and charlatans who secretly play golf and go mountain-eering and are jointly responsible with the previous Labour party for crashing the global economy in 2008, and also (of course) that displaying a single shred of human empathy for those cast further into poverty and despair by Conservative ideology is a frivolous weakness deserving only scorn and derision.
Cameron and his Slithereen heir-apparent George Osborne snaked the length and breadth of the country, donning their Gieves and Hawkes hand-stitched flourescent tabards and hand-buffed white hard hats to show us all how down to earth and just-like-us they are as they posed for photographers, hovering over frightened-looking teenage apprentices, star-struck zero-hours grocery distribution warehouse staff employed by Conservative party donors, tattooed builders building 'Affordable' housing that nobody (apart from arms dealers, drug cartels and Russian oligarchs on the run) can afford, and disinterested engineers in light industrial units.
They pushed red buttons like consumate professionals, pretended they knew not only what a screwdriver was but how to turn one, frowned studiously as they pretended to listen to what these dreadful people were saying at them, and spread small trowels of mortar onto house bricks just like the way nanny used to butter their hot scones in the nursery to prove to us that, thanks to them, "Britain is working again".
Facetiously claiming that "We've all made sacrifices", the privileged multi-millionaire Cameron pulled out every stop to create the illusion that he cared deeply about the pain that many people had suffered. "We will always" he said "take care of our most vulnerable". Meanwhile, in the shadows his pet Orc, Iain Duncan Smith was furiously at work eradicating the word "Poverty" from the statute books, to replace it with "Your child is cold, dirty, hungry and sleeping on the floor of a Bed and Breakfast because you are feckless drug-addled parents who are so drunk you can't afford the Bedroom Tax and it's all Labour's fault"...
Meanwhile, on the Extreme Right, UKIP's bon viveur bar-fly Nigel Farage - having discovered too late and to nobody's great surprise that many of his hopeful candidates just couldn't keep their oftentimes appallingly racist thoughts off their Twitter accounts, or had been caught with their hands in someone's till - had to completely abandon his rag-tag army of over-confident, inexperienced candidates to their own devices so he could give all his attention to South Thanet in Kent, where he was trying to oust the incumbent Tory and finally, gloriously, triumphantly get himself into the House of Commons, which would inevitably be rewarded with a touch of ermine and the title "Lord Farage" which he so badly craves... and £300 a day for doing nothing whatsoever in the House of Lords... oh, and all those lovely directorships...
On the Left, hapless Labour leader Ed Miliband flip-flopped and stumbled everywhere, never more than five minutes from the next media smear against his charisma-free presentation or his abilities. Picture editors and bloggers purred with delight as excruciating photos appeared of Miliband eating a bacon sandwich whilst seeming to having a stroke, awkwardly retracing his steps and handing 50 pence to a homeless man because the photographers told him it would be a good idea, or posing in front of his crowning glory - an astonishingly awfully conceived, huge engraved granite slab depicting his election pledges which soon afterwards became his political tombstone. Despite his attempts to suggest policy ideas which might marginally help those doing badly under Cameron's reign, Miliband was either too scared of being percieved to be drifting to the left and offending the bankers, hedge funds and corporate donors which Labour now completely depends on since Tony Blair disenfran-chised the trade unions, or perhaps (as many suggested) he was so enveloped in his rarified, intellectual bubble that he couldn't believe that he was actually doing very badly.
The Tory press had already branded him "Red Ed" and had cruelly attacked his late father Ralph Miliband in 2014, publicly accusing him of being a treacherous communist immigrant disloyal to Britain, and thereafter Ed Miliband was effectively neutralised. It seemed like everything he said was scorned or patronised by the press. His awkwardness in the following televised leaders debates did him no favours, despite a valiant Twitter campaign started by a 17 year old student which saw his popularity surge in the last weeks of the campaign.
On the fringes of the Left, the surging ranks of passionate anti-austerity campaigners who had spent five years organising and holding noisy street protests - opposed by the Met Police and the Territorial Support Group in their fetching black paramilitary clothing - in an attempt to push back against Cameron's government and win the public's support, were completely in the thrall of an unlikely false messiah in the form of narcissistic comedian and incoherent mystic Russell Brand, who made huge personal capital (and massive book sales) out of telling all the disaffected, frightened and weary that it was pointless to vote for politicians because they're all the same, but that Karma would give them a big hug and the Universe is made of kittens, right up one week before the election (by which time it was far, far too late to register to vote), when Brand suddenly contradicted everything he had said about voting and came out in support of Ed Miliband. Mr Brand is now livingly quiety with his money in his London and Los Angeles homes and no longer addresses the world through his YouTube channel...
Up in Scotland, Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon led a wildly successful election campaign to drive Labour out of every Labour-held seat but one, completely demolishing Labour's parliamentary presence in one fell swoop - fitting revenge for what was percieved by many Scots to be Labour's treachery during the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially after having imperiously ignored Scotland for decades. Thanks in part to former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown's intervention on David Cameron's behalf, the SNP currently has 56 MPs in Westminster.
Elsewhere, the Green Party membership swelled tremendously. The Greens had attracted a surprisingly large number of disaffected Labour voters; many of their policies were anti-austerity and the closest thing to a progressive left wing party running in the election. Hopes were very high for the election. Unfortunately, whilst promoting the eagerly awaited Green Party election manifesto, party leader Natalie Bennett had a series of absolutely calamitous TV and radio interviews, in which she froze, stuttered and stumbled and couldn't answer questions about the funding of Green policies, and in so doing Bennett squandered all the goodwill and impetus built up for many months by party activists.
Finally, former coalition government Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg managed to get a news item broadcast one evening of him doing something or other in a wind-swept car park with six enthusiastic young ladies wearing "I'm so, so sorry" tee-shirts somewhere in the country and was never heard of again...
The last week saw a repeat of the frenzied global press caravan parking up in a seedy lay-by outside St. Mary's Hospital Lindo Wing where Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to Royal Baby 2.0 to a deafening chorus of "Oooohs" and "Aaaahs" from royal watchers all over the globe.
Needless to say, Kaya Mar unveiled his new painting to mark the occasion as he did when Royal Baby 1.0 was born, and attracted just as much perplexed head scratching (but less death threats) as the last time from those who think that matters like this must only be treated with the utmost obeisance and sanctimonious reverence (yet who didn't appreciate Kaya's ironic portrayal of Kate Middleton as a Virgin Mary-type figure replete with halo, humble donkey and commoner's clothing)...
Press coverage using Kaya's paintings has been phenomenal again, so here's a little slideshow of a selection of articles from around the world:
Those nice people at Buzzfeed wanted to make a video piece on Kaya's royal portrait, which you can see by clicking on the image below. They decided to be a bit snarky in the end. That's show biz!
The video is also on their Buzz60 Facebook page. Scroll down to April 27th. We tried embedding the embed code they supplied, but that doesn't work.
For those of you who won't be able to come along and enjoy the full Kaya Mar experience in person, here's a small slideshow of the exhibition and the private view evening:
What a great way to start 2015!
Kaya Mar opens "Paint & Politics", a major exhibition of his world famous political artworks at Gallery 8 in London's St. James's, opening March 1st to March 7th 2015.
There were red faces all round on Wednesday morning when Nigel farage - leader of the anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) arrived at the Houses of Parliament in the arms of painter Kaya Mar to stalk the corridors of power looking for disgruntled Tory back-bench defectors several hours before any of the House of Commons eight licensed bars opened, thus depriving the ambitious nationalist politician of his 'proie du jour' - a room full of disaffected right-wing Euro-Sceptic Tory MPs willing to jump ship for the price of a hot dinner, a bottle of cheap claret and a verbal reach-around from UKIP's shadowy sugar daddy Stuart Wheeler, who made his fortune in spread betting and who permanently looks like he just swallowed a fly.
The frustrated Mr. Farage (who is running on an anti-EU, anti-immigrant, anti-state funded NHS, anti-paid holiday, anti-immigrant, anti-sick pay, anti-organised labour, anti-maternity leave, anti-immigrant, anti-pregnant women in the workplace, anti-gay marriage, anti-health and safety regulations, anti-immigrant, anti-employment tribunals, anti-welfare state, pro-fox hunting, pro-sending all the immigrants home - except the very rich ones, pro-handgun ownership ticket in the May 2015 General Election) knocked back his second breakfast pint of London Pride bitter and lurched round the corner to see if a side door had been left open.
Unfortunately for the millionaire public school educated former London Metal Exchange commodity trader and broker for Drexel Burnham Lambert and Credit Lyonnais Rouse who has artfully reinvented himself as "the voice of the common man" (despite openly planning to remove all the "Common Man's" hard fought-for employment and social welfare rights), there were heavily armed police guarding every entrance to the building, so he had to resort to hanging around on the wet pavement outside, haranguing passing women, telling them that they were obviously worth less in the workplace because they might become pregnant.
Kaya braved the early morning downpours on Wednesday morning to share his painting of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne with commuters and the odd bemused Chinese tourist photographing
all the bits of London now owned by Chinese hedge funds.
The painting portrays Osborne running round in circles in quicksand and waving a large red herring, which represents the Chancellor's massively overblown claims last week that he had heroically "halved" the infamous bill for an additional £1.7 billion from the EU - a sum based on Cameron and Osborne's absolutely fatuous claim that the British economy is now doing fantastically well - calculated using a fiscal formula previously agreed by David Cameron and other government officials during negotiations in the Council of Europe several years ago.
Though Her Majesty's Government knew the surcharge was coming as far back as May 2014, and the Chancellor personally knew about the bill and its December due date (but didn't pop next door to No.10 Downing street to let his friend Dave know), when news broke of the bill's existence, Prime Minister David Cameron went into full-blown, red balloon-faced spluttering mode in front of the assembled press feigning outraged surprise at "being mugged by Brussells" and he declared, furiously, that "Not a single penny will be paid, and certainly not by December 1st".
Cameron and Osborne - ever mindful of their political need to mollify the swelling anti-EU antagonists on the Tory back benches who are all threatening to jump ship to UKIP - made a huge PR show of rushing off to Brussells to do righteous battle with those dreadful Europeans, and emerged a strenuous four hours later claiming a huge, historic victory. George Osborne - wearing his best "very serious face" - claimed triumphantly that he had halved the bill to a mere £850m, and it would be paid in two interest-free installments next year, and wasn't he a brilliant Chancellor for standing up to Johnny Foreigner?
Sadly, within a couple of hours of Osborne's grandiose show-boating, his self-aggrandising story started to unravel when accusations started flying from European Finance Ministers that his claim to have re-negotiated this bill was a red herring... smoke and mirrors. The truth is that Cameron and Osborne's winning strategy was merely to apply the same kind of slimy, slippery accounting tricks employed by their devious mates in the City: 2015's automatic, unique EU rebate would be used in advance to offset the bill, hence the appearance of a reduced amount. The actual amount demanded by the EU was unchanged, and once again the British public had been brazenly deceived by the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, for whom there is not a statistic in the known universe which they are not willing to manipulate or misrepresent just to save their own miserable political hides...
The Tesco 'Savers' Dry Sherry flowed like Vimto at Chateau Mar this evening as the BBC's topical news quiz "Have I Got News For You" featured Kaya Mar's notorious painting of Chancellor of the
Exchequer George Osborne dancing naked, waving a huge carrot and holding an empty red Budget Box.
A week earlier the painting achieved national notoriety in the press when they gleefuly reported how it was unveiled by Sir Alan Duncan MP during his speech to gasps of shock and horror in front of 200 Tory MPs, ministers, party workers - and a stony faced George Osborne - who had all assembled in an exclusive hotel deep in the bowels of Oxfordshire where they had been summoned for an emergency summit to discuss "The Farage Problem". (The full story of the Secret Tory Summit can be found below this article.)
The painting is now owned by Sir Alan Duncan, who came across Kaya with his artwork one day as Kaya was taunting the Treasury with his ascerbic comment on the Chancellor's lack of substance, as he tends to do on Budget days. Kaya is already planning his new Budget Day painting, which will be revealed on Whitehall next month.
As for "Have I Got News For You", we may have another surprise to announce soon. Watch this space...
You know what it's like - you wait all day for a bus, then four turn up all at once!
There was a flurry of gossipy excitement in the 'quality' UK newspapers this weekend after word got out to the media that Conservative MP Sir Alan Duncan had attended an "Away Day" to an exclusive country hotel in Prime Minister David Cameron's Oxford constituency with 200 other Tory MPs and ministers to strategise against the threat to them posed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the fast-approaching general election.
During the summit Sir Alan gave a speech and suddenly whipped out one of Kaya Mar's notorious Tory Budget paintings which portrayed the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne dancing naked holding an open, empty red "Budget Box" in one hand and a large carrot in the other, representing Osborne's empty policies and failed promises.
It was reported that a stone-faced George Osborne was furious about being humiliated by Duncan, who went on to make comparisons between Kaya's typically fat-bottomed naked politicians in his satirical paintings and the Chancellor's own increasing waistline - a consequence, perhaps, of all those lavish breakfasts, luncheons and dinners paid for by grateful, un-prosecuted bankers and lobbyists working for corporate privateers and plunderers since he wafted into No. 11 Downing Street all those hundreds of billions of borrowed pounds ago...
By all accounts the so-called summit degenerated later on into the usual badly-behaved, drunken affair one comes to associate with a large pack of braying ex-Etonians and swaggering Bullingdon Club yahoos (though to be fair there were no smashed-up restaurants, paternity suits or arrests made).
There is, of course, a glaringly obvious subtext to that weekend's bad-tempered exchanges and barbs; namely the bitter acrimony felt towards David Cameron and George Osborne by a significantly large cadre of back-bench MPs, who have always disliked Cameron's slick PR style of policy-lite governance which many feel has done the party a great deal of reputational damage.
Coupled with Osborne's ideological slavishness to Austerity politics despite the fact that, despite the Chancellor's frequent abuse, misinterpretation and misrepresentation of official statistics, the plain fact is that in just four years George Osborne has borrowed more money than Labour did in 13 years, and it was under Osborne's watch that Britain lost its treasured "Triple A" rating, the consequence of which is that the Treasury now has to pay much more interest on borrowed money.
The general election is only six months away, and the internal blood-letting and back-stabbing which signifies that fiercely partiisan rival camps for the inevitable forthcoming leadership challenge are finally emerging from the shadows, and have now spilled out into the public view.
Cameron's greatest personal threat comes from the polar opposites represented by London Mayor Boris Johnson and former Education Secretary (recently demoted to Chief Whip) Michael Gove. Each man poses their own unique threat: Johnson is hugely popular for his well-honed theatrical 'bumbling' which he uses as an effective smokescreen to disguise his enormous ambition to be Prime Minister. Michael Gove with his patently British Empire beliefs around education, crime and punishment is well liked by the reactionary wing of the party, for whom he represents the best chance of putting the UK's cultural clock back ninety years.
Having endured many months of very open antagonism from a vociferous cadre of extreme-right wing Euro-sceptics in his Conservative Party, and as a desperate attempt to take the wind from the
sails of the populist challengers from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) who lie politically to the right of the Conservatives (and slightly to the left of Ghengis Khan...) and who are demanding that
Britain withdraws completely from the E.U., British Prime Minister David Cameron has made much of late in the UK media of his intention to stomp around Brussels waving the Union Jack and demanding
wholesale reform of the structure and economics of the European Union, and to renegotiate Britain's financial contribution.
Though Cameron's position has some slight political traction within certain corners of the European Parliament, it seems apparent that he is fast becoming a solitary petulant voice in Europe as his support melts away faster than the morning dew on a Summer's day. German Chancellor Angela Merckel, who has been the driving force behind the EU's seemingly successful economic strategy to recover from the worldwide recession has made it very obvious that as far as the rest of Europe is concerned the British have never believed wholeheartedly in the European project, and have sat on the sidelines for the last 40 years criticising and moaning about the institutions of Europe whilst massively enriching themselves on European farming subsidies and every other business grant they could get.
Kaya Mar's new painting portrays David Cameron draped in a huge Union Jack flag carrying an over-sized red ministerial despatch box on which is scrawled "Re-negotiation". He stares in shock at the figure of Angela Merckel who has lifted up her voluminous dress made of the E.U. flag, and is inviting Cameron to kiss her backside - a time-honoured insult towards your enemy on the battlefields of Europe which dates back to the Middle Ages (if not before).
Even though Cameron has promised his critics an In-Out referendum in 2017 on British membership of the EU, this is all seen as yet more political sophistry and a desperate attempt to placate the ever-growing groundswell of anti-European sentiment which has been whipped up for decades by the infamously backward-looking right-wing press in the UK which has suited the Conservatives all this time, but which is now set to blow up in their faces as a major threat to the Tories has manifested itself in the form of Nigel Farage and his UKIP party.
As thousands of Brazilian emigres descended on London's Trafalgar Square to celebrate 'Brazil Day' in anticipation of the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Kaya Mar joined a small-but-vocal group
of activists protesting against the vast economic cost to Brazil of mounting the World Cup, when so many in the country suffer grinding poverty and economic inequality.
Many thanks to photojournalist Luca Neve for the use of his photos of Kaya. Click on any of the images to view Luca's full photo-set of the protest.
As concern mounted within FIFA that the Brazilians would not be ready in time for the opening of World Cup 2014 because of massive construction delays, corruption and political unrest caused by the incredible cost of mounting the tournament in such an impoverished country, Kaya Mar's painting of beleagured President Dilma Rouseff portrays her in the Brazilian goal mouth, trying desperately to fend off a deluge of balls representing politics, corruption, politics, economic burdens and social unrest.
Kaya braved the elements along with thousands of trade union members on May 1st 2014 as they marched through Central London to celebrate International Worker's Day, which this year was tinged with great sadness following the deaths of former MP Tony Benn, and RMT Union leader Bob Crow.
Many thanks to photojournalist Luca Neve for the use of his photos. Click on the image to view Luca's full photo-set of the days events.