Friday, 16 March 2012

News From Hoonaloon Books March 2012

We are going to be offline for a few days, but hope to be back on track and up and running as soon as possible.

To view a selection  of the books we have in stock, please visit .


Nick & Ann-Marie
Hoonaloon Books

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Hoonaloon Books Big Books Sale 2011

The Hoonaloon Books Pre-Xmas Sale has just begun.

During the period 1 Nov 2011 - 27 Nov 2011, all titles sold by us via sites run by ABE will be subject to a 20% discount.

Please note, this offer only applies to books sold via ABE-run sites (, etc ) during the period of the sale. Prices shown on those sites have already been discounted, so all you have to do is make your selection and place your order.

We will continue to add new titles regularly and new additions to our stock will also be discounted until the sale ends.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Quotation Station


`I quote the words of a Lord Justice of Appeal when he says ; "Environmental crime , if established, strikes not only at a locality and it`s population but in some measure to the planet and it`s future." Nobody should be allowed to doubt it`s seriousness.`

Judge Christopher Hodson quoted Lord Justice Sedley when sentencing a man to 30 months imprisonment for taking the eggs of peregrine falcons, a protected species, from the wild and attempting to smuggle them out of the country.

 The case was widely reported in the UK press, this quote came from the free paper, Metro, dated Friday August 2010.

I would hope that most people would agree with the views of the two judges. If this sort of thing interests you, you may like to read my article Poisons and Pesticides Provoke Perturbation (1 Sept 2010), online at  Angel Pavement.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sustainable Steve Wages War on Whitehall

Reading Steve Shaw`s article `Radical Bottom Up Democracy` in The Citizen this month I began to wonder if I`d unknowingly passed through a time-warp.

Steve`s article, commendable in it`s intentions, aimed to promote the Sustainable Communities Act of 2008. In that respect, I have no problem with it whatsoever.

What`s striking is his description of the obstacles he claims the Act has encountered. "Senior Whitehall civil servants" have tried to "block the Act" and are in fact "doing all they can to destroy the democratic core of the Act". "Sir Humphrey" (a reference to a character in a 1980s TV series) "is still at large." 

Reading the relevant passages, I felt as if I was reading a tract from either the Thatcherite right of the `80s or something from some 1970s ultra-left grouping, an impression furthered by the dated TV reference. Don`t be so shrill, Steve, people will stare ! 

I haven`t given up my time just to poke fun at someone who I`m sure is doing good and valuable work, I do have some serious points to make.

Firstly, I have some experience of  civil service work in days gone by, including a short spell in the HQ of a nationally known government agency. That particular job was one I hated, but it did have it`s educational side ! One thing I can state with some certainty is that, whatever may have happened in the past, these days if Civil Servants are deliberately obstructive or drag their heels, frankly it`s because politicians, probably those at a very high level, have either told them to do so or have indicated that they`ll turn a blind eye. 

The other point is that the Sir Humphrey character was a portrayal of a particular type of Whitehall culture which might have existed at one time, but didn`t survive the Thatcher years.  Mrs T, as you may know,  cut the power of  `Whitehall mandarins` by turning large parts of the old Departments into semi-autonomous Agencies run by Chief Executives brought in from the private sector on short term contracts. A number of the newly-formed Agencies were in fact moved out of London, and both the Conservatives and Labour have subsequently preferred the advice of businessmen and political appointees to that of career Civil Servants.

The resultant outcry against the `democratic deficit` thus created was in fact a great boost to Charter 88, one of the `ancestors` of Unlock Democracy, the very organisation Steve represents, so it`s odd if he is unaware of this.

My guess is that Steve has genuine concerns that the Act is being obstructed but is reluctant to antagonise the very politicians he needs to ensure that it is properly implemented. In an odd way I can see how that would be a dilemna, but I have to say one should be wary of half-truths as a vehicle for advancing a cause. By their very nature, Unlock Democracy supporters  tend to be well-informed people with a social conscience who have a rooted objection to the Westminster culture of the three main parties. I`m not sure they`re interested in reliving the battles of the past. 

Having said all this, it`s only right to stress that Unlock Democracy is an excellent organisation, that the Local Works project (a coalition of over 120 organisations ranging from Trade Unions to small business organisations, environmental groups and others  all wishing - quite rightly - to see the Sustainable Communities Act, which came into force in 2008, properly implemented) is extremely worthwhile  and that the hard work and commitment of Steve Shaw and his team is beyond question. I hope anyone reading this will be tempted to visit their sites at and and see what it`s all about.

 Lastly, The Citizen is a good read and obviously provocative or you wouldn`t be reading this article in the first place !

Monday, 30 August 2010

Blue Truck, Green Truck Update

See my article Blue Truck, Green Truck, this blog, 13 May 2010 for the background to this article.

Further to my earlier posting, US District Judge Christina Snyder has now ruled that the Port of Los Angeles is within it`s rights to implement a Clean Trucks Program. The Program makes trucking companies responsible for maintaining their own fleets of  `clean` trucks, reducing pollution levels etc. The American Trucking Association had contested the Port`s right to introduce such a program, but failed to convince the Judge.

The decision was welcomed by the Natural Resources Defence Council, The Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports and by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who stated that this was "real progress" and described the CTP as "a model for ports around the nation."

The American Trucking Association has accepted the verdict, but has launched a further lawsuit, contesting the Port`s right to insist that firms directly employ their drivers. At present, many firms depend heavily on a network of nominally independent self-employed drivers, roughly equivalent to the arrangement many catalogue companies in the UK have with self-employed couriers.

The following websites may be of interest ;


This blog will be carrying rather fewer topical articles in the future, as I simply don`t have the time needed for checking facts, keeping up to date with new developments. However, if you`re interested in community-based campaigns, charities, environmental groups etc, you may like to visit Angel Pavement at .

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Illustrated by Yaffle

The Labour Publishing Company Ltd was formed in 1920 at the suggestion of G D H Cole, at a meeting of a group called the Labour Research Department. Apparently, Cole had been approached by the economist J M Keynes with the suggestion that the LRD publish a book Keynes had been working on. In the event, that did not happen, but the seed had been sown in Cole`s mind.

Also present at the LRD meeting which approved Cole`s decision were George Bernard Shaw and Beatrice Webb.

The company was beset by problems from the outset, but managed to survive from 1920 - 1929. In 1926, they published a short play, Foiling the Reds or  The Heart of a Labourer by a playwringht using the name `Yaffle`. The play seems to be a satire on UK industrial relations at the time, though the playwright`s introduction to the LPC`s  published version of the volume is so studiedly ironic as to potentially confuse the reader as to his/her intentions.

Be that as it may, my main reason for penning this short article is to introduce you to the artistry of one `Flambo`, whose excellent work adorns this volume. Here are a few samples ;

Sadly, I`ve been unable to cast any light on the true identities of Yaffle and Flambo. It is true, apparently, that the children`s TV character Professor Yaffle (from Oliver Postgate`s TV series Bagpuss) was based on G D H Cole, but as far I know, this is just co-incidence.

At present, we do have a copy of Foiling the Reds on sale (3553 in our listings, but as I say, my main interest today is purely to introduce you to the excellent artwork. If anyone can cast any light on the identities of Yaffle and Flambo, I`d be interested to hear from you.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

National Mesothelioma Day 2 July 2010

Friday 2 July 2010 is National Mesothelioma Day, held to raise awareness of issues surrounding asbestos-related illness.

I take an interest in these matters as not so long ago an old friend of mine died of the effects of working with asbestos.

If anyone`s interesed, my article Asbestos Awareness and `Advocacy` - For Chris (this blog, 19 April 2010) provides a little background info and links to various interested bodies etc.