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The loveliest of all

was the Froggicorn

Kay Green & Katy Jones

"A finalist and highly recommended." - Wishing Shelf Awards 2016




Bother, Trouble and an RAF childhood - excellent blog post from S P MOSS 



The Driftwood Tree

by John Benn &

Catherine Edmunds




Gustav Holst

the Man and his Music

by Michael Short



Guest publication



CORBYN: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics

by Richard Seymour



Guest publication:



The Prostitute State

by Donnachadh McCarthy






The meeting place of eight poets

*eight of the best from the Earlyworks Press Poetry Collection Competition*



Georges Perec is my hero

by Caron Freeborn

*Winner of the Earlyworks Press Poetry Collection Competition, 2014*




Read before voting            Circaidy Gregory Guest Publication 2015

The Prostitute State by Donnachadh McCarthy

and other political books available from Circaidy Gregory

and from Bookbuster, 39 Queens Road, Hastings

To buy The Prostitute State:

Order by Paypal for post to UK addresses

£12 + £2.50 p&p = £14.50 (if you have any trouble

with Paypal, or want a book sent overseas,

please email.)



You learn a lot hanging out in a bookshop. It's my experience that you learn a lot more if it's a locally run, independent bookshop. My adventures so far at Bookbuster have ranged from a talk by local historian Ann Kramer, where I learned a lot of things I didn't know I didn't know about Conscientious Objectors to a riotous poetry slam at which I had lots of fun and learned that there are a lot more poets in Hastings than I thought. I also get to find out about far, far more local events and organisations than a town our size deserves just by reading the window.

(NB the following was written for the 2015 election. If I wrote it now, in 2017, the booklist would include The Candidate by Alex Nunns, and Corbyn by Richard Seymour )

 They say you can't have a proper democracy without a properly informed electorate. personally I am trying to learn as much as possible about politics and politicians between now and May 7th so, if you want serving when I'm minding the shop, and you can't see a member of staff anywhere, have a look in the political section where you'll find me bashing it out between Bookchin and Russell Brand, or the Green Party versus direct action anarchists...

the BBC does not help, the newspapers are rubbish. Without recourse to books and bookshops, I would by now be looking at the up-coming election and crying...

This isn't apathy, this is despair! 

…  So here's a book(buster)-based revitalising tonic:

Are you wondering who to vote for? Or if your vote can possibly count? Or if there's any point, even if it does? I don't have that good a memory but my memory isn't as bad as Nick Clegg (we will stop tuition fees, we will take the bickering out of politics); David Cameron (we will reduce the deficit); Ed Miliband (we will save the NHS); Nigel Farage (the spoiled rich-kid funded by bankers) seem to think it is. I read Russell Brand and decided not to vote at all - not through despair, but from the suggestion that human energies might be better spent on local action - then I read Shahrar Ali and decided to vote Green. The Green Party – they have by far the best policies and practice – but their challenge will be to stay clean in the corrupt, competitive party-political bear garden that is Westminster. I read Bookchin (why do we want a state at all?) and then Donnachadh McCarthy (what exactly has gone wrong with the state we have?) and I'm still pondering that one...

They say the last person who should be allowed to do a job is the person who's keen to do it. That's particularly true of jobs which bring power and wealth along with them, so how about getting a political education from a classical ballet dancer. That ought to be safer. Donnachadh McCarthy danced until a few seconds before someone said “you were supposed to catch him just then.” Then (after a lot of physio) he got involved in a research trip to the Amazon. I don't know what the research project was, but what McCarthy learned was that the end result of trans-national corporate capitalism is the horrible death of a lot of innocent people (human and non-human, robbed and left to starve or directly massacred because they're in the way). He went home and got involved in save-the-rainforests campaigns. From there, he backed into politics, opted for social democracy and rose to be deputy leader of the Lib Dems (back in the days when they were a proper party).

For me, this is where it gets really interesting because for several years, he struggled to behave in a democratic manner in the Lib Dems. (The nice party!) He got popular following from the rank and file but any proposals that went against the privilege of lobbyists or wealthy party donors got slapped down. Eventually, he left in despair. Why does that interest me so much? Because I’ve spent so much time staring at politicians and thinking, “if you're not a criminal, how do you stand it? Why are you not screaming at your paymasters and punching out furious press releases?"

Here, at last, is the man who did just that. Funny how it passed off so quietly at the time (his walk-out came in the 1990s, shortly after Paddy Ashdown tried to sell the Lib Dems to Tony Blair (the proposed Lib-Lab pact) against the wishes of the great majority of the party members.) Why we didn't hear much about McCarthy's furious walkout is explained, among other things, in “The Prostitute State”. The book presents the evidence for his theory that the Prostitute State has four pillars:

 A Corrupted Political System

 A Prostituted Media

 A Perverted Academia and

 A Thieving Tax-Haven System

He explains, with examples, how the key players in each of these areas have been bought, bribed or threatened into complicity with trans-national, corporate interests so that whether you're listening to an MP's campaign speech, a think-tank report, or a 'scientific expert' on TV, the chances are that what they are saying has been influenced, led or just plain written by an agent for a corporation with a direct financial interest in the result. You will find most of the names you know from politics in this book, and you will emerge knowing that the differences between  “Murdoch's Four Rent Boys” (Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage) are purely there to add colour and the impression of choice. No need to get suicidal though. It is still worth voting – as long as you stick to smaller parties or independent candidates, and as long as you take up some of McCarthy's many suggestions about what we can all do to weaken the pillars of the Prostitute State. There are many options. Here are a few:

  • Critical listening and thinking. I now do this with a copy of “The Prostitute State” at my elbow – I can look up whoever's doing the talking, find out who they really work for and filter their words accordingly. It's very enlightening.
  • Divestment. Money is power, and removing money from the corporate bullies is easier than it sounds – remember, there is one thing and one thing only that supports the Prostitute Sate – our money. Make sure you aren't paying the corporations more than you need to. For example, I realised that the energy company that supplies my gas and electricity funds fracking so I did a switch-search and discovered an energy company that guarantees no investment in fracking or nuclear power – and it acutally works out a few pounds a year cheaper than my current company. I discovered that the Nationwide Building Society is less predatory than other high street building societies, and I found a place near me where I can buy locally produced fruit and veg that does not involve air-miles or the exploitation of Kenyan workers – and those examples just came from five minutes Googling after putting the book down.
  • Protest and non-violent direct action. I won't put these down as easy and they certainly aren't for the faint hearted, especially in London where (flips through “The Prostitute State” … yes, the Met... Boris Johnson... Rupert Murdoch...) it’s unlikely the police will be getting unbiased orders.
  • Stay positive. Remember the UK Uncut theme – we are the 99%. It will be easy to kick the pillars down as soon as the majority of us realise we are a majority. Do what you can do, keep talking and thinking, and always remember, democracy only works if you have a well-informed electorate. Reject media sensationalism as information and do your own news-gathering.
  • And finally (this one's from me) Please do vote! Vote nationalist, choose a local, independent single issue candidate, vote Green, NHS Action Party, even, if you're an incurable optimist, vote Labour or LibDem but you'd have to join the party too, and try to save it from its pro-fracking, pro-nuclear, pro-privatisation, anti- party-democracy, not-very-anti-TTIP  executive. It's not my business who you vote for but I am on a mission to get the highest possible turnout (think Scottish Independence - people *can* be persuaded to vote!) Please vote any way  you like except Tory. If there's a really high turnout and the Conservatives get pushed back to 10% or less, even David Cameron's den of thieves will have to admit that our party-political, first-past-the-post, corporate-influenced, vaguely monarchist, minority-bashing political system is not ferkin' working!

 Back to the book: “The Prostitute State” is not cheap, because McCarthy is a man of principle so it's printed on recycled paper, and produced by a British printers who pay their workers properly but it is around the price a book ought to be at £12 (and it's not available on Amazon except as an ebook (and if you're active in protest, campaigning or non-corporate-influenced politics, McCarthy will gladly give you a .pdf copy)) but the paperback is available in Bookbuster in Hastings (which definitely is not a trans- national corporate bookshop) or by post from Circaidy Gregory (Paypal button below right).

The Prostitute State

Who do MPs work for?


Green political books


Occupy Rupert Murdoch


Wealth of Nations


Capital, Karl Marx


Tony Blair


Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Bookchin and Russell Brand

Classless Society


Cruel Harvest, The Islamic State

Brute Reality, Poisoned Spring

Boris Johnson, Michael Foot


To try out any of the books above, 

if you're in Hastings, call in to Bookbuster,

39 Queen's Road, Hastings (opposite M&S)

To buy The Prostitute State:

Order by Paypal for post to UK addresses

£12 + £2.50 p&p = £14.50 (if you have any trouble

with Paypal, or want a book sent overseas,

please email me.)




For more from Donnachadh McCarthy