Saturday, 6 April 2013

Ian Knox - cartoonist for Trotskyists

Earlier this week the Irish News published a good editorial in which they condemned the appearance of a gunman and the involvment of very small children in a dissident republican parade at Ardoyne on Easter Saturday.

However on the same page they published a cartoon by Ian Knox in which he sought to compare the involvement of the children in a parade celebrating terrorism, with the Junior Orangemen who take part in Loyal Order parades.

In the past I have seen many examples of the political bias and cultural bigotry of Ian Knox and Mark Thompson has identified a number of examples of such cultural bigotry on his blog.

This time it prompted me to look up what there is about Ian Knox on the internet.  I wanted to see what there was to explain that political bias and cultural bigotry.

Before proceeding to look at that it is worth noting that he was also the cartoonist on BBC's Hearts and Minds.  There his cartoons were somewhat more circumspect than those that appear in the overtly nationalist Irish News but nevertheless they were not altogether impartial, especially as regards cultural matters.

So back to Ian Knox himself.  He was born in Belfast on 4 May 1943 and after attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution from 1954 to 1962 he studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.  Later he became a cartoonist and cartoon film animator.
Knox then became a political cartoonist with Red Weekly and Socialist ChallengeRed Weekly started in May 1973 and continued until June 1977 when it was replaced by Socialist Challenge.

These publications were produced by the International Marxist Group,a Trotskyist group in Britain between 1968 and 1982, when it changed its name to Socialist League.  In relation to Northern Ireland it is significant that the IMG was pro-republican and supported the Provisional IRA.
From 1977 to 1984 Knox signed his cartoons Blotski, a name devised by Cormac, the cartoonist with the Sinn Fein/IRA newspaper Republican News.  It was a cross between Trotsky and an ink-blot.  Knox and Cormac also worked together as Kormski.
In 1989 Knox joined the Irish News as their editorial/political cartoonist and so he has been with the newspaper for more than twenty years.  Of course people sometimes mellow with age and political views can change and evolve but Ian Knox's earlier career as the political cartoonist for the International Marxist Group does help us to understand the man and his political and cultural prejudices.


  1. I think he is a good satirist. You fail to see the point that members of the Orange Order and Dissident Republicans alike are fostering their children into sectarianism and that parading on streets in uniform to conform to an ideology, is normal behaviour. I for one am glad I wasn't indoctrinated and that none of my family were ever tempted in the Troubles to take sides.

    Besides, it's not like Knox is a private socialist, you cannot yourself claim impartiality in your publications, if you belong to a church or an organisation such as the Order Order then you also have influences, some people mightn't agree with your associations or associates.

    1. There is no comparison between a Junior Orange Lodge, which is a wholesome influence on young people, and the poisonous influence of those who use small children to celebrate terrorism.