Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Articles

Key day as Sheffield United player John Brayford looks to double: FA cup final & Beard of Spring

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
PRESS RELEASE 13th April
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266
Key day as Sheffield United player John Brayford looks to do the double: FA Cup final & Beard of Spring

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, has said that Sheffield United footballer John Brayford could be set for an impressive double as he plays in today’s FA Cup semi-final against Hull.

His iconic beard is currently leading the Beard of Spring poll and it could also be a key element in Sheffield United’s attempt to beat Hull in today’s FA Cup semi-final

The Beard of Spring poll is now open and the winner will be announced on 19th April

The Award, one of four seasonal hirsute accolades that leads to the Beard of the Year in December, celebrates the coming of Spring and the growth of beards new and old.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said It is not just how John Brayford does on the pitch against Hull today it’s the impact that his beard makes that is key, both to Sheffield United’s final chances & his own chances of winning
Beard of Spring

Vote Here

Beard of Spring list
Moeen Ali, cricketer
Jake Ball, rugby player
Stuart Broad, cricketer
John Brayford, footballer
Peter Coles, cosmologist
Oliver Duff, Editor, The I Paper
Guy Garvey, Elbow
Nick Higham, journalist
Richard Seymour, Guardian columnist and author
Petroc Trewlaney, broadcaster
Hank Wangford, musician
Bradley Wiggins, sportsman

Articles

Sheffield United player John Brayford looks to do the double: FA Cup & Beard of Spring

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
PRESS RELEASE 12th April
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Sheffield United player John Brayford looks to do the double: FA Cup & Beard of Spring

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, has said that Sheffield United footballer John Brayford could be set for an impressive double over the next few days.

His iconic beard is currently leading the Beard of Spring poll and it could also be a key element in Sheffield United’s attempt to beat Hull in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final

The Beard of Spring poll is now open and the winner will be announced on 19th April

The Award, one of four seasonal hirsute accolades that leads to the Beard of the Year in December, celebrates the coming of Spring and the growth of beards new and old.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said There is no question that John Brayford’s performance against Hull on Sunday will also be the key to whether he ends up as Beard of Spring winner on Easter Saturday as well

Vote Here

Beard of Spring list
Moeen Ali, cricketer
Jake Ball, rugby player
Stuart Broad, cricketer
John Brayford, footballer
Peter Coles, cosmologist
Oliver Duff, Editor, The I Paper
Guy Garvey, Elbow
Nick Higham, journalist
Richard Seymour, Guardian columnist and author
Petroc Trewlaney, broadcaster
Hank Wangford, musician
Bradley Wiggins, sportsman

Articles

Maria Miller, MPs expenses and Annual Parliaments

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2014 by kmflett

Maria Miller, MPs expenses and Annual Parliaments
The resignation of Maria Miller has once again focused issues of MPs expenses and, more broadly, how it is that elected representatives can be held accountable for what they get up to.

The original template can be in the 1838 People’s Charter, in many ways one of the foundation stones of British democratic practice.
The Six Points were:

1. A vote for every man twenty one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for crime.
2. The ballot —To protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
3. No property qualification for members of Parliament—thus enabling the constituencies to return the man of their choice, be he rich or poor.
4. Payment of members, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the country.
5. Equal constituencies securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors,–instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of larger ones.
6. Annual Parliaments, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since though a constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelvemonth; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now.

From: http://www.chartists.net/The-six-points.htm

The Six Points are of course hardly perfect and that is not just with the benefit of historical hindsight.

Hindsight suggests that the exclusion of votes for women was inexcusable but in the context of 1838 it was a strategic not an in principle matter. The Chartists felt that getting adult male suffrage would be tough enough and an important first step to further extensions of the vote. It depends how you want to read British history but there is a good argument that they had a point.

However the criticism at the time was that the demands of the Six Points were too moderate, and indeed came largely from the less militant sections of the movement, which in the late 1830s [though not later] were to be found in London.

The Grand National Holiday [general strike] of August 1839 and the Newport Rising, a narrowly failed attempt at armed revolution in November 1839, suggest strongly that other strategies were available for winning the vote than the People’s Charter.
However the basic democratic demands of the Charter, around the franchise and secret ballot did find a strong political echo.
So strong in fact that all the Six Points became law during the Victorian period with the exception of the demand for Annual Parliaments.

The call for more regularly elected MPs long survived the demise of Chartism around 1860. The Social Democratic Federation was pursuing demands for Parliaments to be elected every two or three years in the 1880s and they continued to be part of the political landscape of radicalism and labour until around World War One.

What caused the demand to disappear is less certain. One might speculate that the proclamation of the Labour Party constitution in 1918 represented some kind of settlement in terms of what ideas were now ‘in’ and which were not, but the point suggests further research.

Even so I still think annually elected Parliaments are well worth considering.

Most other institutions from large Companies to trade unions held elections on an annual basis for most positions. It is recognised as an important part of democratic accountability

The argument against of course is based around the cost of holding annual elections and the upheaval of doing so meaning that politics would focus very much on the short term.

However costs can be controlled, if need by law, and it is not particularly clear that annual elections for Parliament would really make it any more short term in its perspectives and policy making than it already is in most cases.

Given the debates of the later Victorian period perhaps a Parliament elected once every two or three years would be something to look at initially. An alternative would be to have multi-member Parliamentary seats and elect a proportion of MPs every year.

Perhaps it might not work well, but are there many claiming that the existing system of Parliamentary democracy is doing the most effective job possible?

Articles

Campaigners say Paxman will face criticism at Edinburgh Festival one-man ‘beard show’

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
PRESS RELEASE
11th April
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266
CAMPAIGNERS SAY PAXMAN WILL FACE CRITICISM AT EDINBURGH FESTIVAL ‘BEARD SHOW’

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman will face friendly criticism at a one-man show at the Edinburgh Festival in August.

The BBC has reported that Paxman, currently clean shaven, will discuss beards and pogonophobia amongst other things.

The BLF says its supporters will be present to demand answers from Mr Paxman about why precisely he shaved off his iconic beard

BLF organiser Keith Flett, The suspicion remains that Mr Paxman, who is normally robust in dealing with criticism, shaved off his beard because of a whispering campaign from high level pogonophobes at New Broadcasting House. His Edinburgh Festival show provides an excellent chance for him to come clean about it

The Beard Liberation Front announces the Beard of Spring on April 19th

Link to BBC story on the Paxman show
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26968913

 

Articles

Sheffield United player John Brayford shoots into lead for Beard of Spring

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
PRESS RELEASE 9th April
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266
Sheffield United player John Brayford shoots into lead for Beard of Spring

The Beard Liberation Front, the network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, has said that Sheffield United footballer John Brayford has shot into the lead for the Beard of Spring 2014.

The poll is now open and the winner will be announced on 19th April

The Award, one of four seasonal hirsute accolades that leads to the Beard of the Year in December, celebrates the coming of Spring and the growth of beards new and old.

Brayford’s iconic beard is expected to play a key role in Sheffield United’s FA Cup semi-final against Hull on April 13th

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said John Brayford is polling very well and we expect to see his beard playing a key role against Hull. However there is still time to go in the poll which doesn’t close until 18th April

Vote Here

Beard of Spring list
Moeen Ali, cricketer
Jake Ball, rugby player
Stuart Broad, cricketer
John Brayford, footballer
Peter Coles, cosmologist
Oliver Duff, Editor, The I Paper
Guy Garvey, Elbow
Nick Higham, journalist
Richard Seymour, Guardian columnist and author
Petroc Trewlaney, broadcaster
Hank Wangford, musician
Bradley Wiggins, sportsman

Articles

Tottenham trade unionists say Nicky Jacobs verdict must be respected

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2014 by kmflett

Haringey Trades Council
Press Release 9th April
c/o Union Office, St Ann ’s Hospital, St Ann ’s Rd, N15
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266; keith.flett@btinternet.com

Tottenham trade unionists say Nicky Jacobs jury verdict must be respected

Haringey Trades Council, the local wing of the TUC covering Tottenham, has said that the Jury’s verdict in the case of Nicky Jacobs, accused of murdering PC Keith Blakelock at Broadwater Farm in 1985 must be respected.

The trade unionists say that there were major concerns about how the Metropolitan Police and the CPS brought the case against Mr Jacobs, including witnesses who had previously been paid sums of money by the police and one who apparently thought all black people looked the same.

Just as in the, very different circumstances, of the more recent Mark Duggan case in Tottenham the trade unionists underlined that a Jury verdict must be respected it is the case with Mr Jacobs. Juries must go on the evidence presented to them. In the case of Mr Duggan the basis for this is now subject to further challenge

Haringey TUC Secretary Keith Flett said of course the police will continue to investigate unsolved crimes but there is a concern that there is not a level playing field. While it was decided to bring an unwise prosecution against Mr Jacobs, the case of who was responsible for the death of the anti-fascist demonstrator Blair Peach in Southall 35 years ago this month does not seem to be attracting much police interest.

 

 

Articles

UKIP: Workers Party?

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2014 by kmflett

UKIP, as a working-class party

Media stories that UKIP is a working-class party, or that it has more working class support than anything else continue. There have also been some studies which have found the presence of a UKIP working class vote. Indeed Nigel Farage from time to time mentions the point.

It underlines mostly how little history most media commentators know.

There is no question that there is some working class backing for UKIP. More interesting would be if there was any evidence that workers formed any active part of UKIP organisation, or that it was launching workplace branches. I may have missed this but I suspect the answer is that there is no actual evidence of this.

Like the Liberal Democrats before them UKIP can be seen as a protest vote by those fed up with the neo-liberal consensus of British politics. It might be objected that UKIP in reality is part of that consensus. Indeed it is, just as the LibDems are and were even before they were in Government. Moreover since the LibDems are quite capable of some thoroughly reactionary politics where it fits in a locality, the difference between them and UKIP can be exaggerated.

The more important point is that since moves towards adult suffrage began to arrive in the 1860s [for men only until the end of World War One] there has been a reactionary working class vote. Indeed and of course it was not until the opening years of the twentieth century that independent labour politics began to have a significant impact in elections.

The Tory working man, typically a drinker who also liked sport and betting, was a common feature of the political landscape. In marxist terms they suffered from false consciousness since they backed the party of the bosses which was the political expression of those who were exploiting them.

They didn’t quite see it like that. Many of them were actually very class conscious and a good many were trade unionists.

Indeed, since I am now well into my fourth decade of trade unionism activism I can well remember the time when Tory trade unionists were a serious force in labour movement politics. Their call was to be able to keep more of their earnings for themselves, pay less tax and hence worry less about Government provision of services.

The Tory trade unionist was also against the involvement of unions in politics, by which they meant labour movement politics. They would not be found supporting motions on CND at union conferences and would often be against abortion, gay rights and so on [but not always]. It was always a bit contradictory since by definition the Tory trade unionist was actually political.

One strength they had was that they were mostly robust in defence of trade union organisation and rights. I’ve known a number of effective Tory trade union reps.

This it seems to me is the stumbling block for UKIP.

The Tory trade unionist, beyond individuals who support the Tories, is more or less gone. Why else would Osborne and Co. be found trying to re-launch the Tories as the ‘workers party’ recently?

UKIP however it not serious about trade unionism, or friendly to it. It has no policies [in so far as it can be worked out what its policies are, as opposed to ramblings composed at pub closing time]which are union friendly.

In other words while it attracts a working class protest vote and perhaps some who previously voted Tory [and indeed in the Blue Labour area, Labour but much less so]it has no basis for consolidating or building that support.

I suspect Farage doesn’t really care that much. Does he still want politics to be keeping him from his beer in the saloon bar when he is 60? I don’t think so.

As  a time permits a more academically focused version of this post will appear [i.e. with footnotes etc…]

Articles

London Socialist Historians seminars Summer Term 2014

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2014 by kmflett

All seminars take place at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1 and start at 5.30pm. Entry is free without ticket

12 May Sadism, Songs and Stolen Liberty. A working-class lad in the Navy in the 1960s

Stephen Mann

Bloomsbury Room G35 ground floor

9 June Tony Benn: history man?

Keith Flett and others

Please note:  this session takes place in the Gordon Room, G34

23 June TBA

 

 

 

Articles

The Ambridge Socialist: PC ‘Knacker’ Burns fingers Kenton. Is David Archer next?

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2014 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist
6th April CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266
The real Borsetshire Echo: 60 years of class struggle in Ambridge

Kenton Archer arrested. Is David next?

PC Burns has shown an unexpected dynamism this week in arresting Kenton Archer for taking the wheels off Rob the Philanderer’s car in totally justified retribution for putting him on a train to Machyllneth last week.

As was to be expected Rob fingered Kenton and PC Burns stepped in. As it turned out charges were not pursued, but surely Borsetshire’s very own Sherlock will now be taking a close look at the activities of Ambridge’s other Archers?

Which way forward for Tom Archer?
By Peter Budge
I never knew that pigs can get TB from cattle. Surely, in that case they can pass it back. Another target for David Archer. Perhaps just running over Tom with a tractor would be more merciful – especially for Kirsty – and the whole sausage making world.

In Other News
Christopher Carter is reported by the BBC to have a beard. The Ambridge Socialist has yet to verify this

Dan is leaving. A jet plane may or not be involved

Easter,being late,is getting more coverage than usual in the BBC version of the Archers. We await news of the donkey

A month in Ambridge

Nancy Banks Smith in The Guardian

In the spring a young man’s fancy
Lightly turns to thoughts of love …
PC Burns (motto “Calm down”) has taken a fancy to Fallon from The Bull. PC Burns is a bobby dazzler (see what I did there?) and so is Fallon. It was said of Elsie Tanner that she was the sort of woman every commercial traveller hoped would open the door. Fallon is a girl like that. PC Burns got her attention by locking her up when a hen party got out of hand. His first name is Harrison, though that is not what Fallon called him at the time.

Ambridge’s strenuous triathlon ended exhilaratingly with a punch-up between the leaders, Ian and Rob. How many sporting events, one feels, would be improved by a spirited bout of fisticuffs at the end. “My money’s on the big fella,” said Wiggo, the visiting celebrity, as they fell brawling at his feet. He said he was pleased to be in The Archers because he “grew up with it on the radio in the house”. He means it was background noise. Obviously, he didn’t listen but, just as obviously, his mother did. I suspect he turned up to please his Mum.

Meanwhile Jennifer (who has bullied Brian into buying a designer kitchen) and Kirsty (who is marrying Tom) are kickstarting the economy single-handed. Jennifer has ordered Umbrian tiles, pentagons, boiling taps and An Intuitive Space (somewhere to intuit). Kirsty has ordered two wedding dresses, a honeymoon in a rainforest and a new house. Two tiny problems. Brian is facing a takeover and Tom’s pigs may have TB.

It was the eve of Mother’s Day. Catkins out on the pussy willow and bees sipping their syrup. Everything spring and golden. Everything up and buzzing. Then Ruth, who is in her 40s, miscarried a baby, an unexpected bonus baby. That was pretty brutal timing. They could at least have given the jaunty jig that Wiggo remembered so fondly a miss.

And I hope they remembered to tell the bees.
A Month in Ambridge returns on 28 April

Articles

Jermain Jackman & Urban Cheesemaker complete Beard of Spring shortlist

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
PRESS RELEASE 6th April
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Jermain Jackman & Urban Cheesemaker complete Beard of Spring shortlist

The Beard Liberation Front, the network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, has said that the final list for the Beard of Spring 2014 Award is now complete with the winner of the Voice Jermain Jackman and urban cheesemaker Philip Wilton from Wildes Cheese.

Both men have distinguished chin beards and both come from north-east London- Jackman from Hackney and Wilton from Tottenham

The poll is now open and the winner will be announced on 19th April.
The Award, one of four seasonal hirsute accolades that lead to the Beard of the Year in December, celebrates the coming of Spring and the growth of beards new and old.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said the list contains several names who have never been honoured because of their beard, its one of our most diverse lists, and that reflects the growing popularity of the beard across society, except of course that is in the Cabinet

Vote Here

Beard of Spring list
Moeen Ali, cricketer
Jake Ball, rugby player
John Brayford, footballer
Stuart Broad, cricketer
Peter Coles, cosmologist
Oliver Duff, Editor, The I Paper
Guy Garvey, Elbow
Nick Higham, journalist
Jermain Jackman, performer
Richard Seymour, Guardian columnist and author
Petroc Trelawny, broadcaster
Hank Wangford, musician
Bradley Wiggins, sportsman
Philip Wilton, urban cheesemaker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,046 other followers