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Campaigners say image not words will be key at Labour Conference

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

press release                                                              20th Sept

Contact keith flett                                            07803 167266

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CAMPAIGNERS SAY IMAGE NOT WORDS WILL BE KEY AT LABOUR CONFERENCE

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with Labour’s conference about to get underway in Manchester the Party must send a clear message to voters on its approach to appearance and image.

 

The group which campaigns against beardism, irrational prejudice against the hirsute, says that Labour must promote a wider message on diversity of appearance with many fewer clean shaven men in suits speaking from the platform.

 

The BLF runs an annual contest for the most hirsute party conference. The LibDem Conference was judged the most hirsute of 2013, one of the few things the party won during the year

 

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Ed Miliband was reputed to have grown a beard while on holiday in France but it didn’t appear to make it back to the UK. Manchester is the chance for Labour to demonstrate that it is putting the image and politics of clean shaven revisionism behind it

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The Beard Liberation Front will announce the winner of the most Hirsute Party Conference 2014 on October 8th

Beard Liberation Front updates throughout the day @kmflett

 

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The 18th September, the Keir Hardie question & the grassroots left

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2014 by kmflett

The 18th September , the Keir Hardie question & the grassroots left

So in the end it was a no with a sizeable yes vote.

The yes vote was the SNP of course, who I would struggle to see as being in any significant way ‘left-wing’ but lots of grassroots, left-wing campaigns as well. These were focused on a politics of anti-austerity and hatred in particular of Tories. On the ‘no’ side there was also a split. Perhaps some of the Orange Order who marched for ‘no’ do vote Labour but they remain bigots. Likewise there was a labour movement ‘no’vote. You might argue that Gordon Brown’s reworked vision of New Labour twenty years on was a key part of that. I was never a fan of New Labour but listening to his speeches one was reminded that at least here was a politics that stood, very quietly, for trying very modestly to change things for the better for working people rather than march quickly the other way as Cameron has been trying to do for 5 years. By the way, don’t mention the war.

It was said that ‘no’ played on fears but that underlines perhaps an issue of how some of the left doesn’t always fully engage with a far from confident workers movement. If a significant change is suggested people do worry about their pensions, their savings, their jobs. These matters can of course be addressed politically, but I’m not sure how far the ‘yes’ left did so.

Certainly the left of the ‘yes’ vote represents a real grassroots movement for change which it is to be hoped will inspire similar elsewhere in what for the moment remains the UK.

That leads me to an historical point about class politics…

Although Scottish on my father’s side (he was a Communist who lived most of his life in London and fought with some distinction in World War Two with the Durham Light Infantry)I didn’t have a vote on Thursday as I live in North London and Cardiff.

I’ve made my point about the imperial context of 18th September elsewhere. My concern, as a socialist historian, remains that a focus on class politics in an historical context was somewhat lacking in much of the debate.

Keir Hardie- beard aside- was not exactly my kind of socialist, (he didn’t drink for a start off, though he lived in different times in that respect arguably) but he was without a question a socialist.

Hardie’s original base, from the late 1870s, was amongst first the Lanarkshire and then the Ayrshire miners in Scotland. He was a trade unionist, a full time organiser, with a Lib-Lab perspective on the world that focused strongly on issues of respectability such as temperance and religious observance. He also had a beard.

Hardie stood as an independent labour candidate election in Lanark in April 1888 and in August of the same year he became the first Secretary of the new Scottish Labour Party.

A career in Scottish politics surely beckoned. Except that it didn’t because that wasn’t quite how Hardie saw the world.

In 1892 he travelled to the East End of London, another centre of a newly organising working class, to stand, without Liberal opposition, as a labour candidate for Westminster. Hardie won and in August 1892 took his seat as an MP.

Questions were asked about where Hardie’s campaign funds came from. While Hardie presented himself as moving beyond his trade union background, as Caroline Benn’s definitive biography underlines, unemployment was even more of an issue in West Ham than it was in Ayrshire. The Scottish miners understood the link well enough and certainly gave some of the money for Hardie’s election.

The following year he was one of those who formed the Independent Labour Party.

When it came to the 1900 General Election Hardie in era when it was possible to stand in more than one seat was nominated in Preston and Merthyr in South Wales.

Preston was never likely at this point, on a still restricted franchise, to return a labour MP.

Hardie’s chances in Merthyr weren’t thought to be too good either. After all he was a Scot who had held a seat in London’s East End and was largely unknown in the area.

Hardie however had two things going for him. Firstly he had been a miner and a miner’s union official. Merthyr was a mining seat, but one which remained firmly Lib-Lab. This however was the period when the new Trades Councils were being formed in the area, and they were often a bedrock of support for independent labour politics

In a two member seat Hardie was elected MP and in the 1906 General Election was re-elected with an increased majority.

During his period as MP for West Ham and Merthyr when not representing his constituents in London, Hardie continued to live in Cumnock in Scotland where he had been based as a union official.

The historical point that Hardie’s trajectory as a union and labour activist demonstrates is that while issues of national independence are important ones, class politics transcends boundaries. Working class internationalism and solidarity is a worldwide not a national thing, even if national struggles have sometimes been of real importance to this.

So if Salmond has gone the next job is to get rid of Cameron. And then some

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Campaigners unveil BeardMax 10 point plan for a beard friendly Scotland

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 19th September contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners unveil 10 point plan for Beard Friendly Scotland: BeardMax

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has unveiled its plan for a Beard Friendly Scotland.

The campaign group which opposes irrational prejudice against the hirsute says it has been a commonplace amongst both yes and no camps in the Referendum held on 18th September that the country must change.

The BLF says that Scotland can now be the totem for Beard Friendliness across the UK and has agreed an interim set of measures which it hopes will be adopted by Easter 2015

The BLF says it wants positive assurances from Westminster and Holyrood on the following issues:

1] A crack down on barber’s shops with special planning permission required for any new openings

2] A minimum quota for employing the hirsute in the public services

3] Consideration of new legislation to outlaw pogonophobic discrimination as exists in many US States.

4] The current First Minister to appear in public with a beard no later than 100 days after the conclusion of the Referendum

5] A tax on all shaving products

6] More statues of the great hirsute characters of Scotland in public places, to include Billy Connolly, Sean Connery and Keir Hardie

7] A crack down on pogonophobic images such as bagpipe playing with a beard

8] An official guide to beard friendly whiskies

9] Promotion of haggis as a beard friendly food

10] Scottish TV news bulletins to feature hirsute presenters on a regular and sustainable basis

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, After 18th September times have changed. It is time for Scotland to officially embrace Beard Power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Articles

Hirsute welcome trimming in sales of shaving products across Europe

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 18th September contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Hirsute welcome trimming in sales of shaving products across Europe

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, irrational prejudice against the hirsute, has welcomed a new report from retail specialists IRI that show sales of shaving products down 90.6m Euros across Europe to the year March 2014

The campaigners say that the report is interesting not just for the scale of decline in shaving products that it reveals but the fact that this is not just a UK phenomenon but a European wide one.

The report attributes the decline in things like shaving foam and razor blades to the rise of the hipster beard but the BLF believes that there is a general rise in hirsuteness.

The shaving industry has reacted to the decline by launching a range of beard care products although many organic beard wearers prefer to maintain their follicles by briefly marinating them in a glass of imperial stout

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we welcome of course a decline in the sales of shaving products and it is particularly interesting that this is Europe wide thing. At the same time, and there are increasing numbers of products on the market, beards need care and maintenance too, so it is really a question of how agile this section of the market really is

More details of the IRI report

http://www.retailtimes.co.uk/facial-hair-trend-hits-sales-shaving-products-reports-iri/

 

 

 

Articles

Will the hirsute vote determine the Independence Referendum?

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 17th September contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Will the Hirsute Vote determine the Independence Referendum?

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, irrational prejudice against the hirsute, has said that the votes of the hirsute could be crucial in determining the outcome of Thursday’s Independence Referendum.

The BLF estimates that as many as 10% of the electorate on Thursday may be hirsute

In a poll published on 17th September the BLF revealed that just under 70% thought an independent Scotland would be beard friendly with less than 20% thinking it would not be and the remainder undecided.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, As with all polls the outcome of our on-line poll run over the last 10 days need to be understood with care. A clear majority do think an independent Scotland would be beard friendly, but that is not the same as them voting ‘yes’. Some may well feel that Scotland now is reasonably beard friendly compared to the clean shaven Westminster Establishment

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Trade Unionists back Tottenham Palestine Literary Festival

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2014 by kmflett

Haringey Trades Council

Press Release 17th September

c/o Union Office, St Ann ’s Hospital, St Ann ’s Rd, N15

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266; keith.flett@btinternet.com

Trade Unionists back Tottenham Palestine Literary Festival

Haringey TUC, the local wing of the TUC in North London, has said that it is backing the Palestine Literary Festival to be held in the West Green Learning Centre in Tottenham from September 18-20th.

The Festival features well known authors talking about Palestine and Gaza as well as music and film.

Gaza was an important topic of discussion at the TUC Congress in Liverpool earlier this month and TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady condemned Israeli Government actions in Gaza earlier this year which left many dead and injured.

Haringey TUC Secretary Keith Flett of course it is a controversial subject with some, but a literary festival offers the chance to step back, to listen, debate and reflect on what is happening in Palestine and Gaza.

Details

http://www.hjfp.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Lit-Fest-programme-final.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Articles

Poll shows almost 70% believe an independent Scotland would be Beard Friendly

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 17th September contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Poll shows almost 70% believe that an independent Scotland would be Beard Friendly

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has released the results of an on-line poll it has carried out over the last ten days on whether an independent Scotland would be more beard friendly than one that remains in the current United Kingdom.

The campaigners say that neither the Yes or the Better Together campaigns have specifically addressed the hirsute vote in the campaign.

It is estimated that up to 10% of Scots are hirsute and the hirsute vote could be decisive on 18th September.

The poll showed that just under 70% believed that an independent Scotland would be beard friendly.

The BLF says it wants positive assurances either from Westminster or Holyrood or both on the following issues no matter which way the polls go on Thursday:

1] A crack down on barber’s shops with special planning permission required for any new openings

2] A minimum quota for employing the hirsute in the public services

3] Consideration of new legislation to outlaw pogonophobic discrimination as exists in many US States

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Of course just because 70% in our poll think an independent Scotland will be beard friendly doesn’t mean that either Mr Salmond or Mr Darling will appear on Thursday wearing a false beard. It does however suggest a confidence that an independent Scotland would be a tolerant society, and perhaps a disdain for Mr Cameron’s almost entirely clean shaven Cabinet in Westminster.

Poll result in full: Do you think an independent Scotland will be beard friendly?

Yes  68.09%

No  19.15%

Unconvinced  13%

The poll was carried out on-line from 7th-16th September. Several hundred people voted. Voting more than once was not allowed and checks were carried out to ensure there was no attempt at multiple voting.

 

 

 

 

 

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