Mark Thomas
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Joined: 25 Apr 2006

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:56 pm    Post subject: Mark Thomas Reply with quote

Fri 5 Oct 2007


NEVER cross Mark Thomas - as he doesn't get mad, he gets mischievous. At least one misquoting reviewer has been misquoted by him in turn in hyperbolic praise on this tour's publicity. Although an excellent example of Thomas' abilities to irritate the powers-that-be, this revenge tale offers no indication of the time, effort and intelligence he invests in proving that the media, the Establishment or the law is a tremendous ass.

In the last 14 months, he's been a regular fixture in Parliament Square, demonstrating against the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. He's been demonstrating for trolls under Hungerford Bridge, for and against surrealism and, most inspired of all, given the bureaucratic nightmare created, claiming a world record for 20 demonstrations in one day - demonstrating against police paperwork. Thomas sweetens the polemical pill by ascribing a human face to his endeavours, in affectionate sketches of his fellow campaigners and the police themselves.

After material introducing the campaign to get the Serious Fraud Office to reinvestigate BAE Systems for bribery, a shorter second half closed with the hugely funny fallout of his placing a bounty on George Bush's head in the New Statesman.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark thomas is cool Smile i see he's on the anti war march monday

this has parts of the show described above

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark's making merry mayhem
Marissa Burgess

MARK Thomas is particularly looking forward to his trip to Manchester. "I've performed at lots of venues and the Dancehouse has the right feel to it," he says. "It's the right size, the right proximity, the right feel of closeness. The people that run it are really good folk. They're good community folk, instead of some awful, corporately branded hell hole."

The venue certainly fits the Thomas ethos. For those who don't know, the once straight stand-up's shows now concern his campaigns against injustices, whether it be the arms trade, corporate corruption or the right to demonstrate. The last time Thomas performed in the theatre (this time last year) part of the show told of how his documentary on the Hinduja brothers' alleged dealings in Sudan had been pulled at the last minute by the BBC.

Never one to miss an opportunity, on the final night of the three night run he ran across the road to BBC North and, with a large banner and around 100 people, voiced his annoyance at the decision. Observing the turn out - many of the crowd were audience members - makes you realise that we're not all a nation of slipper wearing moaners loath to get off the sofa and be counted.

"I don't think mass apathy is as bad as people make out," says Thomas. "It's important to realise the size of the problem is much bigger than we think, but also the amount of power individuals have is much more than they think."

Another preoccupation of Thomas's that featured in the last show was the Serious Organised Crime And Police Act which forbids demonstrations around Parliament Square without an application submitted at least six days in advance. Thomas put in so many applications that he landed himself in the Guinness Book of Records for the most protests within 24 hours.

"When I last performed up there, it [SOCPA] was about 20 minutes of the show and now it's like an hour and 40. We've taken that as a starting point and it's just gone nuts, which has been really exciting. This is what all the court stuff and legal stuff that's happening today is about. The one we've got lining up today is to stop a demonstration that we're planning when the Saudi Arabian king comes to visit. The cops are going nuts, the legislation is really unclear, so we're playing one off against the other and threatening court actions and having fun," divulges Thomas gleefully.

One thing that's clear about Thomas is how much he enjoys stirring things up. So much so, that Thomas and friends have set up McDemos, where they will take on any protest sent to them for a small admin fee.

"There's a loophole that allows you to apply but us to do the demo. Everyone gets to choose their own banner and we do the demo and then send people a photo as a souvenir. There are five of us that organise the demos and they only last about two minutes. I've got a little photo album of the ones we've done here{hellip} Justice For Libyan Jews, Don't Park In Two Spaces - It's Just Selfish, Ban Pointless Demonstrations{hellip}" he recalls.

Given how involved Thomas is, it's perhaps surprising to learn that he has two children and a wife, who is well accustomed to his antics. "Once when I came home, the kids were sitting around the dinner table and I went `oh, great I'm just in time for dinner', and she said `I haven't cooked anything for you. I heard on the radio that you'd been arrested'."

His wife knows how to play Thomas at his own game. When McDemos are doing a day of demos, Thomas doesn't always get a chance to check out what they're protesting about. "I was putting up one banner and it said, Make Mark Thomas Spend More Time at Home. I grabbed the paperwork - my wife had ordered the demonstration. We now have a photograph demonstrating against myself on the family fridge. You have to say hats off there. That is a piece of cunning."

Mark Thomas is at the Dancehouse Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday. To find out more about his campaigns or order your own demo visit
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The green room: Mark Thomas, comedian
The Guardian,
Thursday 12 February 2009

What is your biggest guilty green secret?
Well, I don't drive, so it's not that. Although, on one tour, my manager ended up hiring a Jag, and we did the whole thing in that. It was so lovely, I have to admit.

Do you know your carbon footprint?
Last year I took a lot of planes to research my book on Coca-Cola, so I should think it's not too good. But I prefer to bury my head in the sand. The tar sands.

What was the last nice green thing you did?
Well, I'm a shareholder in the Ethical Property Company: it builds green buildings and rents them out to people doing good things. I like that. Also, last year I visited this amazing place in India where the whole village has taken up rainwater harvesting: I was very cynical about it but actually it's amazing. You're in the middle of this desert and then suddenly there's a papaya tree. It really works. I was absolutely converted.

What is your favourite green habit?
I like cycling. I often used to go along to Critical Mass [cyclist go-slows in cities, aimed at reclaiming space for bicycles]. Not Naked Critical Mass though. I think it's best for everyone else if I don't.

If you could buy any green gadget, what would it be?
I've already got photovoltaic slates on my roof, a wind-up radio, wind-up torches and rechargeable batteries. Maybe a wormery? Or a cycle-powered laptop?

What skill do you have for a post-oil world?
I have committed the entire Mad Max series to memory: I'm sure that will come in handy in some way. Don't they include some useful information about powering your cars on pig shit?

What would you save, apart from your family and friends, come the floods?
Hmm, I'm torn between sentimentality and practicality. But practicality has to win: my wind-up radio so I'll be ready to hear the instructions from the emergency government.

Belching out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola (Ebury Press) is out now.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Thomas - 'It's the Stupid Economy'
Crusading comedian Mark Thomas talks about his radical new satire on the banking crisis, 'It's the Stupid Economy'.
By Dominic Cavendish
21 Apr 2009

A couple of months ago I wrote a piece castigating the arts world – and theatre-makers in particular – for missing the warning signs of economic mismanagement and having nothing to report, either prior to the crash or as its impact began reverberating across national life.

I got a swift reply from the playwright Lucy Prebble explaining that getting to grips with the ins and outs of the financial w orld took time and that her new play broaching the banking crisis, Enron, would be with us shortly. In the meantime, the cavalry has arrived in the tenacious form of Mark Thomas, who launches a new live show titled It's the Stupid Economy, a tilt at Bill Clinton's famous catchphrase, next week.

Thomas, 45, has carved out a niche for himself as a stand-up comedian who doesn't just stand there, mouthing off. He gets things done, too. "I get called all kinds of things – an investigative comedian, a comedian activist – I've lost track of what my job title is," he says when we meet in Clapham, south London, where he grew up, the son of a builder and lay preacher.

On stage, television, and in print, Thomas has tackled abuses of power at home and abroad. He got a Kurdish National Congress Medal of Honour following his campaign against the building of the Ilisu dam in Turkey as well as a UN Global Human Rights Defender Award. And he made it into the Guinness World Records for organising the most protests on a single day – in defiance of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

Punctilious about research, raising the bar for political comedians, he relies on scores of contacts that would be the envy of Fleet Street. A number of those working for NGOs got in touch towards the end of last year, he explains, as the credit crunch deepened into a freefall recession, and told him he needed to get up-to-speed with the systemic collapse.

Thomas began conducting an extended period of work-in-progress, inviting over 30 experts from a range of related fields to chat to him and comedy club audiences. Those consulted included Vince Cable, Hugh Willmott, an authority on building societies, and Richard Wilkinson, a specialist in social inequality issues. Thomas mugged up on such brain-daunting topics as fractional reserve banking, microfinance and quantitative easing.

Is there a gag in all this, though? Isn't there a point at which a serious-minded stand-up show about market failure will fail to raise a laugh? Thomas insists there will be jokes and that the show's mission is to dig for positives. "Comedy always has a role to play in getting people celebrating things in times of hardship but the bigger point is that the crisis gives us a chance to do something radical," he says. "With banks moving into government control, we could start to direct policy more from a grass-roots level."

During the show, he'll ask audiences to scribble down ideas as to what would make Britain a better place. "Then we will try to construct policies. Each policy will have an action plan to see how far we can go with it." Thomas's favourite idea so far is the notion that MPs should have their assets liquidated upon their election, and the amount they recoup at the end of their term in office would be index-linked to the country's overall performance.

He's aiming for a manifesto of 55 policies in total, and is even lining up a debate at the Scottish Parliament when the show reaches Edinburgh.

En route, though, will we get a proper assault on Gordon Brown, who has so far escaped the kind of comic censure that dogged Margaret Thatcher? "Brown is up to his neck in it," says Thomas. "He's an apparatchik, so he's more difficult to satirise than messianic folk like Blair. But if a comic can't put one on Brown now they should give up their job. He's claiming to have saved the planet and yet everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."

No punchline in that – or not yet – but just hearing such plain truths should bring a smile to the faces of the downtrodden masses.


Punctilious is my word of the minute.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comedian Mark proud of his 24-year 'non-career'
May 06, 2009

There's always been more than a hint of devilment about Mark Thomas. Since the campaigning comedian became a stand-up, a quarter of a century or so back, he's changed laws and happily stirred up debate. On one occasion, he set a Guinness World Record for the most protests in one day – 20 protests in 20 different locations. So it's little surprise his latest tour sees the Londoner take a similarly provocative note.

Under the title It's The Economy, Stupid, Mark is formulating a People's Manifesto, by taking policy suggestions from each of the audiences at his shows around Britain. "We're in trouble," said Mark. "And we need policies from people about how things can be improved. We get policies from each venue, with the idea that I'll campaign on them." Suggestions so far gathered from the audiences include a maximum national wage and creating a measure for politicians' performance along the lines of school SATS.

For Mark, who describes himself as "a bit of a trouble-maker", the show is a necessary response to the current gloom. "There was something the comedian Linda Smith used to say: 'I've never had any delusions about the Labour Party, but even I've ended up disgruntled'," Mark said. "Politics has become this homogenous lump, with policies nothing more than ballot fodder. Democracy is about much more than that – we have to make politicians more accountable."

The roots of his own dissent can be traced back to some of his heroes – the outrageous American comic Lenny Bruce, Joe Strummer of punk band The Clash, and the revolutionary German playwright Bertolt Brecht. The latter might just be a nod back to his days as a drama student at Bretton Hall – the performing arts college close to Wakefield – where he went during his late teens.

"When I was 18, I wanted to be a comic, but my dad was really keen on me going to college," said Mark, who was born in south London. "So we had this half-way house – I went to drama school. He was delighted as I was the first person from my family to go to college, but he was a bit suspicious at the same time. He used to say 'These dance and movement classes you have, do they make you wear tights?'"

After graduating from college in the early 1980s, where he'd put on gigs in the soup kitchens for striking miners, Mark did his first stand-up gig. It was the start of a progression from the clubs to TV, which, in The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, aimed to be a constant thorn in the side of the decision makers. One notable coup led to a change in the law, after Mark highlighted the way the wealthy could dodge inheritance tax by making their art, furniture, homes and land available for public viewing – showing that most hid the information to avoid crowds invading their homes.

So is there any one thing he'd single out as a particular point of pride? "Yes – that I have done this for 24 years now without having what people refer to as a 'career'. I've made it up as I've gone along and I have kept away from TV adverts. Despite being in the entertainment industry, I'm proud to say I've kept most of my integrity intact."

* Mark Thomas appears at Hull Truck Theatre, Ferensway, Hull, on Sunday, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £13-£15, call the box office on (01482) 323638
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smith's DNA database by stealth
Jacqui Smith's new plans erode principles of innocent until proven guilty to create a New Labour-style third way: innocentish
Mark Thomas,
Thursday 7 May 2009

It is perhaps ironic that the home secretary should seem so hellbent on collecting the nation's DNA while still reeling from the embarrassment of her husband's presumed attempts to spill his at the taxpayer's expense. If it is irony then it is doubly so, as Smith is the minister charged with upholding the rule of law yet has such utter contempt for it and its principles. The EU court ruling stated very clearly that the DNA profiles and samples of the 850,000 innocent people currently on the database should be removed.

Smith's response is to leave them on the DNA database for between six and 12 years. At best this is a childish kind of belligerent foot-dragging and at worst it is plain illegal. What is certain is that campaigners will challenge this, and once again Smith will be hauled into court.

The continued inclusion of innocent people's DNA on the database throws up several concerns. At a most basic level it flies in the face of our most natural notions of fairness. Why should some have their DNA profiles among the guilty and others not. The only reason provided so far is chance, a chance encounter with the police.

Secondly, Smith's new regime leaves the innocent who have been cleared of charges of minor, non-violent crime on the database for six years, which erodes the principle of innocent until proven guilty and in classic New Labour fashion creates a third way, neither innocent or guilty but innocentish.

Then there is the very simple issue of privacy, something consecutive Labour home secretaries simply don't understand. Why should the police have DNA information that could relate to a person's paternity or genetic prevalence to certain illness when the individuals concerned may well not hold that information themselves?

Most galling of all, though, is that Smith's proposal still clings to the notion of creating a compulsory national DNA database by stealth. Instead of openly arguing and campaigning for this, Smith seeks to build one incrementally, slyly and on the quiet.

Writing yesterday in the Guardian, Jonathan Myerson argued for the creation of just such a database. Unfortunately when it comes to arguing for what private information should be placed in the public domain, Myerson's last contribution to this debate renders him an inappropriate poster boy for this campaign.

Myerson went on to say that he would fight for genuine civil liberties as much as the next man, on issues such as ID cards and detention without charge. I decided to search LexisNexis for any sign of campaigning articles from Jonathan on these issues and found precisely none. So either I searched in error or it would appear that the next man frankly does not give a toss about civil liberties. At least Myerson had the openness to argue for the national data, unlike Smith, who shulks around the issue without comprehending that the public simply don't trust politicians with their personal data.

Click HERE to read comments etc
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Thomas stages protest outside Leamington tax office
Leamington Spa Courier
21 May 2009

Campaigning comic Mark Thomas brought his unique style of direct action to Leamington this week. The political stand-up used his gig at Warwick Arts Centre to arrange a protest outside the tax office in Brandon Parade, off Holly Walk, on Monday afternoon.

Members of the audience from Sunday's show, including several Green Party supporters, joined him to protest about rent from tax offices being paid to a company which is exempt from tax because it is based in Jersey. And as part of the tounge-in-cheek stunt, the gathering offered their support to Mark's idea for the UK to arm its tax inspectors to invade the Channel Island.

Mark said: "HMRC is paying money to tax dodgers - it is completely inappropriate. The Tax Justice Network is estimating that we lose around £100 billion a year from tax avoidance and evasion and corporate tax deficiency so now is the time to invade Jersey. The other reason we should be invading Jersey is to liberate the islanders."

As passing motorists beeped their horns in support, Mark told the gathering of around 20 people that Jersey has become so much of a "tax haven" that it concentrates most of its resources on offshore financial centres. He explained that only two per cent of the islands gross domestic product is through tourism and one per cent is through agriculture.

Mark added: "Out of an island of around 90,000 people there are 8,000 families on income support - so nearly half the island are on benefits because they have been priced out of their island by the offshore financial industry. So it is important we fight to liberate the Jersey islanders as well as dispose of those working in the offshore financial industry. We should demand that we create paramilitary tax inspectors to go into Jersey to hold to justice and account those who have made money through the offshore financial regulations - the tax dodgers, the scammers, the hedge funders and the derivative traders and give some of those people some form of forced education."

Green Party member Karen Varga said the money lost by Britain to tax evasion each year could be spent on health care and vital services for the most vulnerable people in communities. She added: "For the UK tax department to be paying rent to offshore companies is absolute nonsense especially in light of what is going on with the government and MPs' expenses."

Trevor McCarthy, holding an inflatable penguin to represent 'penguins against offshore tax havens', said: "I think the penguin will make more of a difference than me. But I feel strongly enough about this cause to come out on a Monday afternoon with a suit on."

Protestor Doug Rattray, 29, designed a 'Dad's Army' style diagram to represent the invasion. He said: "I'm here partly in support of Mark and partly because I thought it would be a laugh. I don't think we are going to invade Jersey but this will make more people aware of the issue."

Mark intends to stage more protests outside tax offices in other UK towns he visits during his current comedy tour.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theres a new show from mark thomas starting on bbc radio 4 on thursday at 6.30 Smile

Mark Thomas: The Manifesto

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas creates a People's Manifesto, taking suggestions from his studio audience and then getting them to vote for the best

click here to listen to the series
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Thomas must surely be spinning after 'Justice' secretary Straws recent remarks on the case of Michael Shields

"Mr Straw has made his decision that he would have to be satisfied that Mr Shields was morally and technically innocent.

This is a very high test and the justice secretary has provisionally concluded that on the evidence he currently has, that test is not met."

When exactly was the position of 'Morally and tecnically innocent' something that had to be proven. Whether Shields is guilty or not i thought that was the starting point for a democratic society and guilt had to be proven. *sniff*

Justice secretary... Doesn't it send a chill down your spine?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The People’s Manifesto - Mark Thomas interview
The List (Issue 648)
18 January 2010
Kenny McKay

After Coca-Cola and the International Arms Trade, Mark Thomas delivers his solutions to the current state of British politics, with a little help from the British people.

Political reform may sound like a task filled with difficult problems, but as Mark Thomas explains; we already have all the answers. While touring last year’s It’s The Stupid Economy show, Mark asked audiences to suggest policies to sort out British politics and in true democratic style the best policies were then voted into the new The Peoples Manifesto, a book and BBC Radio 4 show that aims to give politics back to the people.

'People innately have lots of solutions. It sounds like an obvious thing, but everyone thinks that they can be prime minister; everyone thinks that they can do a better job. They certainly think they can do a better job than their MP. Everyone has opinions, and that was how the manifesto show was born. Instead of politicians telling us what we should do, it should be the other way round.'

Thomas, 46, has been a stalwart of the alternative comedy scene for over twenty-five years, having found humour in the unlikely sources of anti-corporation demonstrations and political corruption. He is perhaps best known for his Channel Four show, The Mark Thomas Product, that exposed legal loopholes in the arms trade and data protection act, yet he has also won significant awards for his investigative journalism and his activism on human rights issues. Does this mean he is still a comedian first and foremost?

'People ask whether I put the politics first, journalism first or the comedy first; it doesn’t really matter. I’m just playing with the cards that I have been dealt because I really love doing what I do. I love the fact that this past year has been about the manifesto, the year before that it was about Coca Cola and the year before that it was about the serious organised crime and police act. I guess I’ve spent twenty five years of my life trying to avoid a proper job.'

From the absurd and humorous, to the serious and practical, The People’s Manifesto contains ideas from across the country and Thomas genuinely believes that some of them would actually improve Britain, such as the Prohibition of Deception Act which would makes it illegal for MPs to knowingly lie - or ‘Archers Law’ as he claims it will popularly be known.

'I do love the idea of being able to take an MP to court for lying. There are ways and means of taking an MP to court just now, but it is very difficult. Do you remember that great quote by Geoff Hoon? When he was asked if he had seen the report for going to Iraq, he said that he hadn’t, which was factually correct, because it had been read to him. Although he wasn’t technically lying, he wasn’t telling the truth either. Situations like that are just too important; there are peoples’ lives at stake.'

'Even in Scotland if we remember, the first election of the Scottish Parliament saw the Liberal Democrats reneging on their main manifesto pledge, and it’s from this that we have one of our manifesto pledges - that manifesto’s must be legally binding. If you are elected on central policies like NHS, tuition fees, and you break your pledge, people shouldn’t have to wait four years to get you out, they should be able to get your arse into court and hit you where it hurts - which is in the pocket.'

Articulate and principled, Thomas has continually fought the position of the underdog and has shown his willingness to court controversy when he feels it is necessary. His website recently carried his objections to the proposed state-funded funeral of Margaret Thatcher, inviting users to download and sign a protest postcard addressed to the Queen detailing what else they will be doing on the days of the funeral; from fireworks and barbeques to name but a few.

'There is a massive irony in the woman who didn’t believe in society - who said that there is no such thing as society - then expects society to whip round and bury her. Her, Pinochet and Reagan where the architects of neo-liberalism and, as such, they shouldn’t be celebrated, they shouldn’t be regarded as national heroes. They are disgraces.'

With MP’s expenses, banking mismanagement, neo-liberalism and civil rights abuses still prevalent in Britain today, Mark Thomas could be forgiven for having a pessimistic outlook on the future. However, this could not be further from the truth.

'If you look at it in historical terms, we have come a long way since we have had the vote. Women haven’t even had the vote for 100 years yet. This last year in particular I think there has been a fundamental shift in attitudes that will take a long time to wear down. People are even more wary of politicians and they are realising that democracy isn’t just about putting a cross on a ballot every four years, it’s about deciding what you want and fighting for it.'

Mark Thomas plays the Glasgow Stand on Monday 18th January and Edinburgh Stand on Tuesday 19th
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Thomas: The People's Manifesto
Mark Thomas's latest work, 'The People's Manifesto', is a touring stage show cum Radio 4 series cum book, in which he canvasses the opinions of ordinary Britons, he tells Neil Tweedie.
By Neil Tweedie
9 Feb 2010

AN acrid odour has accompanied Mark Thomas throughout his career. "It's the smell of burned bridges," he explains. "The path behind me is strewn with them." Thomas (investigative comic? comic investigator?) likes – was made for – falling out with authority: the government, the police, the arms industry. Then there were the executives at Channel 4.

"It was when they suggested making Celebrity Guantánamo Bay and offered me a place," he remembers. He blabbed to the world, telling everyone what a perfectly barmy idea it was, and that, as they say, was that. Which is a shame because Thomas, south London lay preacher's son turned atheist Left-wing radical, made good television, employing witty, carefully devised set-ups to expose corporate callousness and greed, and the absurdity of laws such as Labour's repressive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

His programme, the Mark Thomas Comedy Product, ran for six series between 1996 and 2002, before his work evolved into something more journalistic, including programmes for the Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches. Now he's targeting Chelsea Tractor drivers, the Daily Mail, supporters of compulsory identity cards and Noel Edmonds. More of that shortly.

Thomas does not seem unduly worried by his absence from the small screen. The initial thrill of fame palled as the demands of his TV bosses became more vacuous, and while he could be a good team player when the occasion demanded, it is not his natural state.

"I do wander off, " he admits. "I can be completely obsessed with something and stay with it long after everyone else has ceased to care; or I can suddenly become totally bored with something and drop it."

Boarding school educated – he was a scholar at Christ's Hospital – Thomas always wanted to be a performer. But for a brief stint working for his father, a self-employed builder, he has managed to avoid a "proper job", a source of obvious satisfaction. What, though, makes him want to front people up, to risk arrest (six times in one day during one demonstration outside Downing Street), to take on powerful interests?

"Ego." And politics. Fatherhood and the rewards of niche celebrity have not dimmed his passion for campaigning. "The great thing about getting older is that you literally don't give a fuck what people think," he says. "Have I grown out of my earlier beliefs? I'm coming up to 47 so it's taking a fuck of a long time to grow out of them."

Currently a supporter of the Green Party, Thomas accepts that the Left in Britain is for the timebeing a busted flush, that the country is mired in cynicism in the dying light of the Blair-Brown era, and that Cameron will only be worse, but says negativity is not good enough. A bottom-up man, he believes in local communities, the power of the grass root. "You have to ask: can we move on? Like what happens if we say to the people in the City of London: 'OK, you can flee abroad because you are the people who brought disaster upon us. Just go'."

Thomas's quest for what's next lies behind the People's Manifesto, a touring stage show cum Radio 4 series cum book, in which he canvasses the opinions of ordinary Britons. Before each show he asks the audience to come up with new policies. The best suggestions are then refined and voted on. The result? "An awful lot of people would like to bring back hanging, but that there is a deep desire for fairness and restorative justice as well."

So, for example, people who buy second homes in Somerset should buy a home of equal value and give it to someone who actually lives in Somerset but can't afford it; and fashion models should be chosen by secret ballot to ensure a physically representative cross-section of society.

Unsurprisingly, there is intolerance of flaunted wealth. "Four-wheel-drive owners should be forced to drive everywhere off-road, even to Sainsbury's," suggests one fledgling policy-maker (surely he means Waitrose), while another offers: "Ban golf umbrellas in cities".

Given the expenses scandal, it is hardly surprising that MPs come in for stick. One of the most popular ideas involves them having to wear tabards listing the companies with which they have financial links. Another suggests that MPs who demand the right to carry on second careers may do so only if their constituents choose the job. Thus Ken Clarke could be usefully employed as a hod carrier ("A kill or cure option".) while David Cameron would be encouraged to seek work as a holiday rep in Faliraki. The criminal system, bloated by ill-conceived offences created by New Labour, could be reduced to just two: "Out of order" and "Bang out of order", while copies of the Daily Mail would have to carry the warning: "This is a fictionalised account of the news and any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental." The loss of £18 billion in potential tax takings would be solved by the invasion of Jersey and the bombing of Switzerland.

None of these policies is quite as radical, however, as that proposed for certain celebrities, chief among them the former presenter of Saturday Swap Shop. "Noel Edmonds should be publicly beheaded and his severed head placed in one of 22 sealed red boxes."
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomas wins £1,200 from police
Comic held for looking 'too confident'

Mark Thomas has won £1,200 compensation after being stopped and searched for looking ‘over confident’ at a demonstration. The Metropolitan Police has admitted falsely imprisoning Thomas for 12 minutes after he gave a speech at a rally against the arms trade in 2007.

A constable from the Territorial Support Group, needing to give a reason for stop and search, said he had been alerted by the comedian’s ‘over-confident attitude’. The officer searched Thomas’s bag a for weapons he feared could cause criminal damage, but nothing was found.

The comic told The Guardian: ‘£100 a minute is slightly more than my usual rate. If over-confidence is a reason for a stop-and-search, Jonathan Ross should never leave his house.’ He added that he would donate some of the money to the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation and use the rest to help fund his next stand-up tour, with posters thanking the police for their financial support.

Thomas’s version of events, submitted on legal papers, were not challenged by police. His picture had been on a ‘spotter card’ for suspected trouble-makers, handed out to officers at the demo. The one who stopped Thomas noted that he was ‘believed to be an influential individual’ and told him ‘you appeared to know what you were talking about’ at the rally.

The Met has now sent Thomas a formal letter of apology, which said that the officer who carried out the search had received ‘formal words of advice’.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His candidate is standing in my constituency... Danny Kushlick in Bristol West. Got his email address today think I might offer my services...

I like his bank holiday policy.

* "Drugs will be legalised and their production will be nationalised (and Mark Thomas will become the 'Drug Tsar')."
* "If it pisses down with rain on a bank holiday, it will be considered a rollover."
* "Trident will be scrapped."
* "Newspaper retractions will be printed in the same font size and on the same page as the offending article."
* "A cap will be put on house prices, relative to the average wage in the area (and more council houses will be built in these areas)."
* "People who complain there are too many immigrants will be banned from restaurants serving anything other than British food."
* "The railways will be re-nationalised."
* "The introduction of a 'maximum wage'."
* "The introduction of a Tobin tax on all currency transactions."
* "All minsters will have had experience of their ministry prior to taking office."
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