Ali B?

marcus-bylineIn the Independent today the new chief executive of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett, finally acknowledges the environmental movement is too white and too middle-class and needs to engage more fully with the UK’s ethnic and working class populations. Alice Bell, campaigns co-ordinator at 10:10, agrees:

But will Alice and Craig walk the walk?

I ask because just a few weeks ago it was a question I found myself facing – but as a consequence of a previous move to widen engagement with LFG. Several years ago I changed my name from Martin Price to Marcus Toynboyalé, a change I made as a gesture of solidarity to African peoples (see However, while I think the name change remains a valid inclusivist tool, it seems the exotic nature of my new name has lead to many working-class punters looking on us with suspicion. Then it came to me: they don’t look on footballers with exotic names with suspicion, so why is it that? And the answer seemed to be fairly obvious: footballers, as a rule, have tattoos, so perhaps if I now got a tattoo it would lower this remaining cultural ‘in-group’ type barrier putting the working classes off? Well, I got myself off to the parlour…

So, Alice and Craig, time for a tat? And not just a tiny butterfly on your ankle or some such middle-class nod to working class inkery, but a proper full on limb job? If you’re put off by the thought of tattoo parlours in general, bear this in mind: my tattooist was a fan of Bruckner, Sven-Göran Eriksson, Rondo Veneziano and Feist.

What do you say?

Be in the spin… an inky invitation to sign online petitions and figure in the spin of online odometers frequently used by campaigning groups.

UPDATE 3/12/15

Good news and bad news. The good news is Alice has taken our advice and got a tattoo. The bad news is – it’s not a proper ‘full on limb job’ as we suggested, but a modest ‘middle-class nod to working class inkery’ as we feared:


Come on Alice! Get your back and coccyx area done!

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