Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Friday, December 27, 2019

Alexei Sayles' message: Stay in the fight!

"The only people who like Boris Johnson are those who don't know him" (Max Hastings, Johnson's former boss). "The only people who dislike Jeremy Corbyn are also those who don't know him" (Alexei Sayle).

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019

Let's never go barmy

Attack of the Tiddly-poms

Mismatching socks may be considered charming,
Mismatching shoes are a bit more alarming,
Even if it's only yourself you are harming
And your nonchalance is completely disarming.

Please take care and let's never go barmy,
For if you do, I'll have to join the army,
The Foreign Legion, unless they debar me
But I'll never forget who you are and who are me.

What if we don't know each other from Adam
And disperse in perplexity neither can fathom?
If that should befall, I still want to say madam,
There are fine days ahead, let's have at 'em.

Stephen Moran

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Syd's Coffee Stall closes after 100 years in Shoreditch

And here is the richly illustrated report in Spitalfields Life. Stayed open round the clock during the London Blitz "serving refreshments to the firemen and auxiliary workers." It says the stall is now destined for the Museum of London.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

London is open!

From the London Mayor. This is some consolation while our new government tries to isolate the country and continue their reign of chaos and destruction, as they cosy-up to the Trump/Putin axis of corruption.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Hear what they're saying outside the media bubble

Now, how can you not vote Labour? It defies belief that anyone would, unless it's with a nosepeg to back someone who can block a Tory...

Don't hide in a fridge - vote!

If not now, when? "Get Johnson gone." It's polling day. You don't need your polling card, if you can't lay hands on it. Just go along and tell them your name and address and they'll find you on the list. Also if you've got a postal vote but forgot to send it, you can take that to the polling station too.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Vote tomorrow to evict the Tories

With the right number of Xs in the right boxes, tomorrow night we can breathe a sigh of relief that the Tory nine-year reign of anxiety, discord, chaos and vandalism is OVER. But only if you vote for whoever is best-placed to defeat the Tory candidate in your area. If you're not sure, you can find out who that is at It shows recommendations from all the tactical voting websites in one list.

If in doubt, vote Labour. Only Labour has a plan to resolve the Brexit impasse by putting a sensible deal to the people by summer. That summer vote will mark the end of Brexitmania and the resumption of progress and peace of mind. Labour will also nationalise the railways, restore the SureStart centres and much more. So go to it, do not fail to vote!

The alternative? Five more years of HELL under the government that has already brought you nine years of chaos. (Ed.)

Monday, December 09, 2019

Corbyn in Bristol: Save your NHS! Thursday's the day.

It ain't over till it's over! Coming around the final bend in the race, Corbyn is on the shoulder of Johnson, now for the sprint finish. He's giving it all he's got, so let's cheer him home. (Ed.)

Chingford: Retire sanctimonious I.D.S - Vote for Faiza

Watch this inspirational little video and listen to Faiza Shaheen talk about where she grew up in the constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green.

Thursday's election is a marvellous chance to give Ian Duncan Smith his P45 and start to repair the damage the Tories have done for nine years. End the chaos wrought by this bodging, amateurish government. Get Brexit resolved: a sensible deal, put it to the people, done, sorted by Summer. Don't vote for Bodger Johnson's three-wheeled crock of a deal, which will continue to drag the UK through more hell for years to come.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Revealed: Johnson's deal breaks up the UK

You cannot trust Boris Johnson. Award him the Order of the Boot on December 12th. Vote for the candidates best-placed to block a Tory. Locally in northwest London we have Tulip Siddiq (Kilburn & Hampstead), Dawn Butler (Brent Central), Barry Gardiner (Brent North), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Pamela Fitzpatrick (Harrow East) and Ross Semple Houston (Finchley & Golders Green). Who have I missed?

Tactical voting? Luciana Berger is a former Labour MP who is now likely to take a lot of votes for the LibDems in Finchley & Golders Green, where they were a distant third in 2017. But won't that only let the Tory hold what was a Conservative/Labour marginal? Hmm. It may be possible to evict even the horrible Boris Johnson from Uxbridge & South Ruislip with tactical voting, if everyone gets behind the Labour candidate Ali Milani.

All over the country there are chances to get rid of the hated right-wing government ministers and MPs with a bit of clever voting. The first-past-the-post voting system can only be ameliorated if we coalesce in a progressive alliance against the Tory & Brexit Party troglodyte alliance (they are one and the same now). Another good thing would be to support the newly independent Tory moderates, kicked out by "Britain Trump" (Johnson) from their party for having hearts and minds that function above lizard level, unlike the remaining members of the Johnson government.

Check recommendations for tactical voting to block a Tory in your local postcode by visiting (Ed.)

Thursday, December 05, 2019

I still wear shirts

I still wear shirts I used to like
when I used to like shirts,
going to places I used to go
when I liked going to places.

For old times' sake I'll pull on
the same old thing I used to pull on
when I was fond of pulling on
that same thing I pull on now.

Oh but it's not the same.

Stephen Moran

Vote Labour in Kensington marginal on December 12th!

Listen to these GPs and the group of nurses with them, out canvassing in Kensington. If it's lost by one vote, the Tory MP might be the one giving Johnson a majority to have his filthy way with the NHS, and you will not be able to live with yourself if you didn't vote Labour in "super marginal" Kensington. Just saying!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Harrow West: Vote tactically to stop the Tories

A vote for any candidate in Harrow West other than Labour's Gareth Hunt, the incumbent, is a vote for the Tories to continue their 9-year reign of chaos. It is not, in the words of the late Peter Cook, "time for a futile gesture at this stage of the war." Any vote that does not support the main challenger to the Conservative candidate in any constituency on December 12th, is a vote for at least another five years of HELL.

To find the candidate best-placed to defeat the Tory in your constituency, visit

Friday, November 29, 2019

Never mind Black Friday, it's Willesden Green Saturday

November 30th is publication day for Willesden Herald's New Short Stories 11. "Fifteen stories like the dreams of fifteen nights." We paid a posh PR agency (Hartley Ailive) forty grand for that strapline and the particular shade of red in the logo and a series of inconclusive meetings with people, most of whom said nothing.

If you have any friends, please order copies for them as a Christmas box from Book Depository by clicking this link or Amazon UK. Thank you.

Edmondo Redmond O'Woodward (prop.)

Whiteleys reduced to a skeleton

Where the hell am I going to park now, without that rooftop car park? I've got to get to Khans and Fortune Cookie with my guests and wander down to the art market along Hyde Park railings. Life is no longer worth living. {Don't post this, Feargal. I just wanted to show you what they've done. Edmondo}

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Willesden Herald's interview with God

Herald: Welcome, God, and thank you for honouring our very small blog, the last place I would have expected, with your first interview.

God: Not at all. As I think I said before, “The last shall be first.”

Herald: Haha. I like that.

God: I know.

Deadline Tuesday 26 November: Register before midnight

If you're in Willesden, your constituency is probably either Hampstead & Kilburn or Brent Central. Click the link to Register.
Hampstead & Kilburn is one of the most marginal constituencies in the country, at one time the most marginal, when Glenda Jackson won by just 42 votes. We don't like to mention it but the Willesden Herald did campaign for Glenda. In tabloid-speak, it was the Willy wot won it. (Or it might have been the opposite effect, almost causing a loss, but don't think about that.) At present, the seat is held by the redoubtable Tulip Siddiq, and she needs every vote to help defeat the catastrophic Tory B-team.

In Brent Central, Labour's Dawn Butler has been a good representative and let's keep her in place as well.

But you can't vote if you're not registered and you have up until 11:59 pm today (Tuesday 26 November) to register at your present address. If you're Irish (hello Kilburn!), UK or commonwealth citizen with a permanent UK address, you can register. Click the link:

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The people who did good things

The people who did good things
and the people who did bad
are equally dead. Jesus and Hitler,
Mam and Dad, all sleep together
in the same big bed.

Atom splitters and dealers of dope
will sell no more bombs
and blow no more smoke.
Monica from next door and Mohangi
the axe murderer, snooze like babies
and will wake no furtherer.

Humble grower of rice and joiner of racks
are stretched without the weight
of the sky on their backs. Kindly nurses
and torturers have all gone bye-byes
and are not coming back. Their feet
are no longer killing them.

Stephen Moran

Saturday, November 23, 2019

John Pilger: The Dirty War on the NHS

'John Pilger's new documentary, THE DIRTY WAR ON THE NHS, "goes to the heart of the struggle for democracy today", he says. Britain's National Health Service, the NHS, was the world's first universal public health service. Designed to give millions of people "freedom from fear", the NHS today is under threat of being sold off and converted to a free market model inspired by America's disastrous health insurance system, which results in the death every year of an estimated 45,000 people. Now President Trump says the NHS is "on the table" in any future trade deal with America. Filmed in Britain and the United States, this timely, compelling documentary touches us all and reveals what may be the last battle to preserve the most fundamental human right.' (Dartmouth Films)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

You cannot trust Boris Johnson with the NHS

Don't vote Conservative in any constituency. Vote for the candidate with the best chance of defeating the Conservative, which you can discover by entering your postcode at You can talk about policies and plans but the overwhelming priority is to ensure that Boris Johnson is not given five years to sell this country out to the Putin/Trump axis of neo-fascism.

Labour has a sensible moderate proposal that will actually settle the Brexit issue in a steady, sane way with voters given the choice between a workable Brexit deal that comes with a customs union and close market alignment or remaining in the EU. Those are the only two sensible options for this country and the Labour plan is the only way to resolve the Brexit impasse for once and for all, by next Summer.

All Johnson and the Tory B-team offer is another year of threatening "No Deal" and quite possibly ending up with that disastrous and stupid outcome, which they probably secretly want. Unless you're a hedge fund gambler, or offshore tax fiddler like Rees-Mogg, Redwood and the rest of the Tory B-team, your only sensible vote is for the candidate in your constituency most likely to block a Tory.

You cannot trust Boris Johnson. 
On December 12th, give him the Order of the Boot!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Coming Soon: New Short Stories 11 - preview

The 15 best international short stories, as submitted to the Willesden Herald in 2019. Editor: Stephen Moran. With an introduction by Gina Challen.

Front cover for New Short Stories 11.
Photo and design by Stratos Fountoulis.
Contemporary fiction from Britain, Ireland, America and Nigeria, from huge cities to very small towns and on several journeys. We're at work, at school, in homes, gardens, cities, in the countryside and on the road. There are crises, violence, tragedy, vengeance, reflection and recon-ciliation. Here are vividly evoked times and places, characters of every kind, and insights into their circumstances and relationships.

Editor: Stephen Moran. Fiction by JL Bogenschneider, Ursula Brunetti, Carol Dines, Derek Dirckx, Sarah Evans, Jeff Ewing, David Frankel, Ray French, N. Jane Kalu, Marylee MacDonald, Jaki McCarrick, Gerard McKeown, Jay Merill, Diana Powell, John Saul. With an introduction by Gina Challen.

Here are fifteen stories transporting us, like the dreams of fifteen nights. In one we remember a beloved teacher, a hated one and our friends. In another we are on a bus somewhere in Britain, on the way to losing our virginity. On another night we wake from a heartbreaking haunting in the changing seasons of Lagos, Nigeria. Or we're in Northern Ireland practicing with a friend's shotgun, and wondering if we can trust him. Then again we're in the Irish borderlands in a tale of neglect and revenge. We travel through remote parts of the US, a fugitive from the past, and hook up with a loner in his last days. Or we're in a surreal family circus, with a remarkable cast of characters, living out a poignant adventure. A nun travels on leave through small town America in search of family history and closure. We agonise over a doctor's ethical dilemma and a professor's marital crisis, drenched in a rainstorm. We're in Newport in Wales, trying to stay off the booze and achieve a reunion. We take something that's not really ours and turn over in our minds what would have happened if we hadn't. We spy on a swimmer as she swims naked in the sea every day till it all goes wrong. In a nightmare, there's a river, a forestry work camp, two labourers living on-site, and a dead body. We meditate and scroll through thoughts on the people, situations and how we interact with those around us, friends and neighbours. (SM)

Update 22 November
Now available for pre-order from Book DepositoryAmazon UK and At the time of writing, Amazon dotcom says it has availability within 2 days. Amazon UK is currently lagging behind that a little.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Lineup for New Short Stories 11 revealed


Introduction by Gina Challen – vii

JL Bogenschneider – Miss Maughan11
Ursula Brunetti – Satellites – 31
Carol Dines – Forgiveness – 47
Derek Dirckx – Dark in Here – 71
Sarah Evans – Only Human – 91
Jeff Ewing – Fireball Outfit – 111
David Frankel – Meadowlands – 125
Ray French – Voyager – 141
N. Jane Kalu – To Have a Ghost Baby – 159
Marylee MacDonald – Caboose – 167
Jaki McCarrick – The Emperor of Russia – 193
Gerard McKeown – Rabbit Season – 211
Jay Merill – Vole or Mole – 223
Diana Powell – The Watcher – 231
John Saul – The garden designer – 241

Notes on Contributors – 257


The book is being put together now. One of the next tasks is the cover design, which will be in the hands of Stratos, who has designed all the covers to date. Watch this space for news on the progress of the production and publication. (Ed.)

Monday, September 23, 2019

Kensal Rise Library reopens after 8 years campaign

Just in from Kensal Rise Library:

"This Saturday, 28th September 2019, we are joyfully re-opening as a public library! Come join us from 2pm. After more than 8 years of campaigning, fundraising and community activity - we finally have reached the moment that makes it all worth it. The library is back!

"Come join us for a day of celebration from 2pm on Saturday 28th September for live music, readings and refreshments."

Saturday, September 07, 2019

"Toryism Is Not Working"

Jacob Rees-Mogg's attitude to parliamentary democracy,
used to illustrate the collapse of the Tory government's majority

Monday, September 02, 2019

Pair of white feather foot doves, North Greenford

Spotted on Whitton Avenue West, Sunday September 1, 2019. They appeared fairly tame, probably escaped or released by someone, no?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Demos today (Saturday 31 August 2019): Stop the Coup

Boris Johnson is trying to bypass parliament and pursue his "gun to own head" national suicide policy over Brexit. Don't let the monkey play with that gun.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Short Stories: Accepting submissions, more required

Update 30 August 2019: So far we have selected and confirmed three out of 88. The closing date is 30 September but as we’re “optioning” as we go, it’s advisable not to delay sending your submissions. The contributors already span oceans both geographically and in theme and styles. There is no reading fee. Each writer receives two copies of the book when it’s published.

Update October 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Short Story of the Month, September 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

September 2019: Rip Rap by Dan Powell

"It is still dark when you finally arrive. A few streetlights set about the expanse of the cliff-top car park are dead, their bulbs ghostly and pale as blind eyes. All the parking bays are empty. The dim glow of the dashboard clock displays just after four, but like the speedometer, like the fuel gauge, like everything about the Astra, the hands are old and tired and worn and not to be trusted. It’s a miracle the car got this far."

Dan Powell’s prize-winning short fiction has appeared in the pages of Being Dad, The Lonely Voice, Unthology, The London Magazine and Best British Short Stories. His debut collection, Looking Out of Broken Windows, was shortlisted for the Scott Prize and longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Edge Hill Prize. He is currently working on a second story collection and a debut novel, is a First Story writer-in-residence, and a Doctoral Researcher in Creative Writing at University of Leicester. He procrastinates at and on Twitter as @danpowfiction.

Continuing our retrospective series, “Rip Rap” is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 8, together with stories by  Jo Barker Scott, Joan Brennan, Gina Challen, Nick Holdstock, CG Menon, Angela Sherlock, Megan Taylor, Medina Tenour Whiteman and Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Beautiful shop replaced with monstrous logo & void

Saturday, August 10, 2019

It's easier to tangle than untangle

Seconds and moments don't follow, they permute.
One on the microwave countdown cannot
be understood as two together tangle
with the next and prior but those are only
yours. The dusty vase on that shelf has its own
infinity. The fruit fly on the door, a few more.

Stephen Moran

Friday, August 09, 2019

Text of phone call from Boris Johnson to Leo Varadkar


Text from a transcript of the first phone conversation between Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar, as leaked to the Willesden Herald.

Boris Johnson: I want to assure you that we will never put physical checks or infrastructure at the border in Ireland after Brexit, Leo. If I may use a metaphor here, British businessmen - and women - will never wear clothes after Brexit, they will go naked, happen what may. The Irish can wear clothes, if they wish.

Leo Varadkar: Won't you be a bit exposed? No pun intended.

BJ: No, seriously! Do as you will. Cows, sheep, linen, pantechnicons - let them fly back and forth. Ramble where you will, we will not be concerned. You may put some obstacles on your side, if you insist but as for the UK, come one come all, as they say. And come as you are. We're naked, as it were, so anything goes.

LV: Ah now Boris, are you pulling my leg?

BJ: Not at all. By the way, Northern Ireland is in the UK, isn't it? You are aware. I think I'm right about that one. I found out the other day that the Isle of Man isn't. Who knew?!

LV: Ah Boris, you're winding me up.

BJ: Of course. Of course. But they do have marvellous kippers in the old I.O.M., Leo.

LV: And Norman Wisdom. And Nigel Mansell.

BJ: Norman is sadly no longer with us. But look Leo, I'll come to the point.

LV: Go on.

BJ: Rejoin the UK and you can have the Isle of Man.

LV: Nah, you're alright.

BJ: But if you do go through with this EU way of negotiating you're going to have your kippers cut off from Britain, old man.

LV: We're not doing anything, Boris. It's you who are leaving. You will have your olives cut off.

BJ: Right, right. Sounds dreadful! You're right, I completely forgot it's we who are leaving. I must tie a string around my finger. You're kicking us out on October 31.

LV: Not at all, Boris, you're welcome to stay. I know some of the winos in Brussels - no names no pack drill - might have said "Here's your hat" but don't mind them.

BJ: It wasn't me, it was Mrs May. They haven't said anything to me yet. It's almost as if they can't wait to be shot of us. This is a big mistake they've made, kicking the UK out of the EU.

LV: Well come over to Dublin and drown your sorrows. We'll talk again. Cheers.

BJ: Sláinte.

Feargal Mooney

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Short Story of the Month, August 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

August 2019: Dark Song by Roberta Dewa

“I slip into the water. I didn’t plan to swim, but there’s still static fizzing in my veins from last night’s concert and as the river laps me up I’m cooling down, the static disappearing into a string of bubbles streaming out all around me and rising up from the deep channel, like there’s a diver down there somewhere."

Photo: Roberta Dewa
(c) Ursula Kelly Photography
Roberta Dewa has always written fiction, and in her twenties published three historical novels with Robert Hale. While studying for various degrees she published poetry and short fiction, including a first short story collection, Holding Stones (Pewter Rose Press, 2009). In 2013 she published a memoir, The Memory of Bridges, and a contemporary novel followed: The Esplanade (Weathervane Press, 2014). Since retiring from university teaching, she has been writing poetry and short stories again, and in November 2017 won the Willesden Herald prize with her story Dark Song. She is currently coming to the end of the first draft of a new novel.

Continuing our retrospective series, “Dark Song” is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10 having won first prize in the WH short story competition 2017. Visit Robert Dewa – Author and Lecturer.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Partly to blame for Boris Johnson PM?

Boris Johnson is about to become prime minister of the UK. In the back pages of the Willesden Herald you will find several links to articles by him in his Wodehouse-like humorous style. As a columnist, he was a hoot but as prime minister he is more likely to be a scream. In fact he is now closely associated with screams, because of the sounds that emanated from his flat on the first night of his Tory leadership campaign. There is only one thing he could do now to return to the status of affable comedian: resign!

Here is a Guardian journalist confessing to helping, accidentally, Johnson to arrive at this catastrophe of becoming prime minister: "Boris Johnson, the prime minister? I’m sorry to say that I’m partly to blame" by Matthew d’Ancona

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Wellington Estate: Canal Club under threat

"Novelist Sarah Winman visited the Canal Club in Bethnal Green recently with Photographer Rachel Ferriman to report on the threat to the community spaces at the Wellington Estate.
"The proposal for the Wellington Estate is to demolish the Canal Club and remove the open space and community asset it provides. This is to construct a further twenty-two flats on an already densely populated estate which was built in the thirties as an answer to slum clearance – basically, it is taking space from those who have little to start with.
"...the Canal Club land was given by the GLC  to the people of the Wellington Estate in the late seventies and early eighties to offset the overcrowding and the lack of balconies and gardens."

Tower Hamlets Council wants to cram a few more flats into the space occupied at present by a communal garden beside the canal. Follow this link for the full report and photo gallery:

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Did you know? We're on

For many years, the Willesden Herald has been listed by Duotrope, for which we are very grateful as it has greatly helped in bringing writers from around the world to our submissions page. Why not take a look at their features for writers? You won’t see a more impressive resource for writers seeking opportunities to place their work. And while you’re there, you might like to take a look at their listing for New Short Stories 11. You can see the basic listing, which is excellent, and if you sign up you can get even more info.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

"Raft of the Twats" masterpiece by Cold War Steve

A parody of Théodore Géricault's painting "The Raft of the Medusa" is one of Cold War Steve's masterpieces.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Now reading for New Short Stories 11

We are open till September 30 for submissions to the latest in our series of short story anthologies, featuring the best new writing from around the world.

You can find plentiful examples of what we like in our back issues and also in our Story of the Month features, as well as in the periodicals listed under Links. We’re generally looking for literary fiction not genre stories.

The only payment we can offer at this time is two copies of the book when it is published.  Full details are set out in the submission form area.

“Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 11” will be published simultaneously in the US and UK in early 2020 and will be available from the main online booksellers by print on demand. We can also do print runs on favourable terms when bulk orders are requested.

See our New Short Stories blog and The Willesden Herald for updates and features that may be of interest. (Link: Submit)

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

New Short Stories 11 on the horizon

London, July 2: In that too rare spirit of international cooperation, the team behind the New Short Stories book series is getting together again to create another issue with the best short stories we can find. There won't be a competition this time, it will be a good old submit/accept/reject process with arbitrary editorial decisions completely unaccountable to the world. Yes, traditional, if you like. Details to follow. (Ed.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Short Story of the Month, July 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

June 2019: "Curtains" by Charles Lambert

"When Helen gets back from the hospital the house is empty. She leaves her weekend bag by the door and wanders from room to room, the kitchen, the hall, the living room, and then upstairs, pausing for breath on the halfway landing, her hands folded over her stomach. She rests her hand on the door to David’s study..."

Charles Lambert
Charles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life. His most recent novel is Prodigal, recently longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. His previous novel, The Children's Home, was praised by Kirkus Reviews as ‘a one-of-a-kind literary horror story’, while Two Dark Tales, published in October 2017, was described by Owen King as the work of a ‘terrific devious story teller’. Earlier books include three novels, a collection of prize-winning short stories and a memoir, With a Zero at its Heart, selected by the Guardian as one of its top ten books from 2014.

Continuing our retrospective series, "Curtains" is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6 together with stories by Eliza Robertson, Virginia Gilbert, Nick Holdstock, Geraldine Mills and others.

Visit Charles Lambert's blog on WordPress.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On reading "The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson"

The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson (Sam Knight, The New Yorker)

This is a very interesting and educational article, containing a potted biography of Boris Johnson, charting and explaining his political aims, which can be summed up nicely in his own words as "I have nothing." In short, he has no fixed beliefs and doesn't believe in the perfectibility of people or systems and treats life, journalism and elections as a rambunctious game of King of the Castle, which he is determined to win.

His main virtue, if you can isolate any, is that he cheers people up. I think that is very fair, the life and soul of the party but in more ways than one, "not the man you want driving you home afterwards," as Amber Rudd famously quipped. It is hard to be cheered up in the face of an oncoming juggernaut or cliff edge and a driver full of Pimms.

Johnson is portrayed as a real-life version of PG Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster. If the final two in the Tory leadership ballot turn out to be Gove v Johnson, it will be like a contest between Jeeves and Wooster, which does indeed happen from time to time in the books. Hunt, Javid or Stewart as the opponent would merely be one of Wodehouse's frequent unsatisfactory stand-in butlers. When it comes to Wooster v Jeeves, it's always Jeeves who wins but he lets Wooster think he's won. Johnson would be a figurehead and Gove the man with the plan:- and that's where the analogy breaks down.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Pressure-washing the pavements

Greenford Road
Harrow Council workers were out last night cleaning the pavements near Sudbury Hill station. This paving is relatively new, having just been redesigned and renewed over the last two years. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Impressive happy birthday sign

Spotted on the corner of Greenford Road and South Vale, Harrow
Whoever Pat is, here's hoping he had a happy birthday.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Short Story of the Month, June 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

June 2019: Set Dance by Angela Sherlock

“Suddenly, very precisely placing the oddity of individual lives in the perspective of a bigger, slower rural pattern where everything can be accepted…Angela Sherlock’s Set Dance, a very unusual story, a very interesting story.” (Maggie Gee)

Angela Sherlock has worked in engineering and in education, but now lives in Devon where she writes full time. She has published reviews and articles but now concentrates on fiction. ‘Set Dance’ comes from her collection, To know they dreamed, which explores the Irish diaspora. She is currently working on a collection that takes its themes from elements of the periodic table. Her stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies, the most recent online in Virtual Zine.

“Set Dance” is also available in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 5 together with stories by eleven other outstanding writers.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Advice for Rylan!

It's feels like a long time since we had a music video.

"Rylan you should try to get some sun" (The National)
Must be a different Rylan.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Short Story of the Month, May 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

May 2019: Rash by Megan Taylor

“The ancient hinged mirror reflected back three Frans, each one streaked. Beyond her, the walls of her bedroom were a faded peach, her teenage posters removed long ago, but in the lamp’s glow, the walls appeared duskier than usual and Fran also looked muted, almost satiny, despite the rash.”
Megan Taylor is the author of three novels, ‘How We Were Lost’ (Flame Books, 2007), ‘The Dawning’ (Weathervane Press, 2010) and ‘The Lives of Ghosts’ (Weathervane Press, 2012), as well as a collection, ‘The Woman Under the Ground and Other Stories’ (Weathervane Press, 2014), which includes her Willesden Herald’s shortlisted ‘Rash’.

Recent short stories have been placed in several competitions, and appeared in a variety of publications, including Dark Lane’s 6th and 7th anthologies and Neon.  A fourth novel, ‘We Wait’, is due out from Eyrie Press in 2019. (

"Rash" is also available in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 8 together with stories by nine other outstanding writers.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Be clear. Vote LibDem to say "Remain!" on May 23rd 2019

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Register to vote by post by Tuesday 7th, impossible?

The registration service offered by, as reported earlier this week, which offered to submit details for people who filled in a form online, has been closed down by the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission said: “We urge EU citizens that [sic] want to vote in the European parliamentary elections in the UK to only apply to register to vote through their local council or official websites. We welcome efforts by campaigners to encourage eligible electors to register to vote. However, our advice to anyone not yet registered is to only apply directly at” (From:

Postal applications must be received by Tuesday 7th, which is difficult at the time of writing, as it's now Saturday May 4th, and Monday is a bank holiday. It is believed that very few of the over 3 million EU citizens in the UK who need to register to vote in the European Parliament elections have done so.

There is still a possibility that the elections scheduled for May 23rd might be cancelled but that becomes ever more unlikely as days go by.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The thoughts of Red Woodward

A selection of "spokes", as he would probably call them, uttered by our legendary proprietor Eddie "Red" Woodward and shared among staff of the Willy in a long-running in-house email discussion.

1. Never trust anybody honest.

2. This everybody dying malarkey has got beyond a joke.

3. What a person says a lot about says a lot about a person.

4. Minimalism is the biggest load of crap ever.

5. There's no such thing as waiting. You are either doing something useful or you are doing something useless.

6. Meditation? It's a racket.

7. You can put me in a box when I pop my clogs but not before.

8. Evidently I'm past my sell by-date but not my use-by date.

9. In life, you either do something and feel guilty about it, or do nothing and feel guilty about it. There is no in-between.

10. You can't put everything right in the fourth act of a three-act play.

11. The only review worth a damn is written on a cheque.

12. We're not about to go bang.

Feargal Mooney

Sunday, April 21, 2019

EU elections: 96% of over 65s can vote, only 60% young

Register to vote: Deadline 7 May 2019.

If the elections to the European Parliament go ahead next month, it will very likely be the last chance to vote to say "Stop Brexit."

The neo-fascist sympathiser Farage and his fellow-travellers in parliament are out to seal Britain's fate of isolation from our European hinterland, at the mercy of ruthless grabbers in the Kremlin and the White House and at the cost of disruption and misery in Ireland.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What has the ECHR ever done for us?

Re-publishing this as a little reminder about the craziness the UK is subject to under the government of Theresa May. It owes something to Monty Python's "What have the Romans ever done for us?" sketch in The Life of Brian.

* ECHR = European Convention on Human Rights

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Need a laugh these days, by any chance?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Indicative votes: Results in sequence and plan for Monday

Analysis of Wednesday's "indicative votes" on the way forward for Brexit.

Results in the order voted on and announced, For-Against:
160-400 No Deal
188-283 Common Market 2.0 (aka Norway+)
65-377 EFTA & EEA (single market without customs union)
264-272 Customs Union (basic permanent customs union for starters)
237-307 Labour's Plan ("a" customs union and strong single market links, rights etc.)
184-293 Revoke Article 50 (if necessary to avoid No Deal)
268-295 Public Vote
139-422 WTO Terms

Arguably, Speaker Bercow made a mistake in declaring after each verdict "The Noes have it" because no one option "has it" yet. Instead, if you take account of the difference between Yes and No, you get this sequence:

Results in order by "goal difference" (all negative):
1. Customs Union: -8
2. Public Vote: -27
3. Labour's Plan: -70
4. Common Market 2.0: -95
5. Revoke to avoid No Deal: -109
6. No Deal: -240
7. WTO Terms: -283
8. EFTA & EEA: -312

However, it's simpler to forego "goal difference", and you get almost the same sequence by taking number of Yeses for each option, though the top two options swap places, which clearly could be significant*.

By focussing on the number of Yeses, it's easy to see how many votes are to be redistributed, each time the option with the least votes is eliminated. More importantly, the Noes are irrelevant for these purposes, since what we want to discover is the option of which most MPs are in favour. If someone doesn't put a Yes beside an option, that's effectively a No anyway. Therefore let's just count the Yeses from now on.

Results in order by number of Yeses:
1. Public Vote: 268
2. Customs Union: 264
3. Labour's Plan: 237
4. Common Market 2.0: 188
5. Revoke to avoid No Deal: 184
6. No Deal: 160
7. WTO Terms: 139
8. EFTA & EEA: 65

So on Monday, eliminate number 8 (EFTA &EEA) and ask its 65 supporters to vote again for one of the remaining seven options (eight if Mrs May's Deal is added). The next option to be eliminated would be whichever one ended up last out of the remaining options, probably either WTO Terms or No Deal - but we will only know when the votes are recast.

The process of elimination should be repeated, preferably discounting the Noes as irrelevant, till only two options remain. At that point the top one is the most favoured compromise option and should be adopted by the government.

Rearrangement of the ballot paper to separate two procedural options

1. In Wednesday's selected options, the Public Vote option was an anomaly, as it doesn't describe a future relationship. This can be resolved by moving it to a separate section of the ballot paper, to apply irrespective of which option is selected.

2. The same can be said for the Revoke to Avoid No Deal option, as that is not a way forward, simply an emergency brake in the event of no other plan being agreed. That too could have its own separate section on the ballot.

Suggested ballot paper layout & possible wording for Monday's vote

The option "EFTA and EEA" has been eliminated, having received the fewest votes. Additionally, the options "Public Vote" and "Revoke to Avoid No Deal" have been separated from the rest as they are procedural matters, which apply regardless of the other results."

Vote for one only of the following options. The option with the fewest votes will be eliminated and the voting procedure repeated with the remaining options:

1. The government's recommended withdrawal agreement and future arrangement
2. Customs Union basic foundation for a new deal as proposed by Kenneth Clarke
3. Labour's Plan for a form of Customs Union, close single market arrangement, rights etc.
4. Common Market 2.0 aka Norway+ which joins EFTA but not necessarily indefinitely
5. Leave with No Deal
6. Leave on WTO Terms

Answer Yes or No to the following questions:
a) In the event of no deal agreed with two days to go, revoke Article 50?: Yes or No
b) Should the eventual deal agreed be put back to the people with an option to Remain?: Yes or No

* 29/3/2019: Correction: Changed text to show that you don't get the same sequence by taking only the Yeses, rather the top two options swap places. Also added a mock-up of the possible ballot paper as a basis for Monday's votes.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Story of the Month, April 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

April 2019: Name by Sergey Bolmat

He looks at Anne with marked indifference, as if expecting her to introduce herself and explain the purpose of her visit, and then, after a second, makes a little twitch with the left corner of his lips indicating a smile.

‘Well,’ he says, ‘look who’s here.’ 

Photo: Sergey Bolmat by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
Photo by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
Sergey Bolmat published his first novel in Russia to great critical acclaim. To date, he has published three novels, two collections of short stories, many articles and essays in various periodicals, and a biography of Nikolay Chernyshevsky. Some of these books were shortlisted for literary awards, translated into many European languages, adapted for radio, and optioned and developed for film. His first short story written in English appeared in The Higgs Weldon.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The old dead tree has fallen

Willesden Herald Exclusive (tada!)

The old dead tree has fallen in the recent gales (Wednesday night, I think.) It's lying across the path that starts the walk along this small section of the Capital Ring. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

End of the line for the Water Poet pub

According to this, the Water Poet corner pub in Folgate Street is closing to make way for "a corporate plaza." London is disappearing, welcome to nowhere.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

EU Settlement Scheme sign

Bus shelter, Greenford Road
The sign says, "I'm an EU citizen, how can I find out more about staying in the UK? To find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme, including how and when you need to apply, visit".

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Plankton: Minemizu "Black Water Dive"

Monday, February 18, 2019

Keep Saturday March 23rd free! #PutItToThePeople

Friday, February 08, 2019

Storm Erik - a timely warning

Don't get near the waves in a dangerous place like this (above, from 2018). I was nearly swept off my feet into the sea from some huge rocks many years ago. You just don't know when a bigger wave will crash in. (Ed.)

Sunday, February 03, 2019

A walk through Grove Farm, North Greenford

"The road not taken" (took the right hand one, left goes west)

The not very narrow path to the not very deep north

Not much of a path here. Go up left towards exit or right to follow the stream. 

View towards the landmark Kellogg Tower (now flats) across the stream