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The Ambridge Socialist: Location- Village Green. Protest called as Kirstie Allsopp to open Ambridge Fete

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2014 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist
23rd July CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266
The real Borsetshire Echo: 60 years of class struggle in Ambridge

Location Ambridge: Protest called as Kirstie Allsopp opens village fete
The Ambridge Socialist has called a protest as well-known Tory Kirstie Allsopp is set to open the Ambridge Village Fete on Sunday.

Allsopp made her name on programmes like Location, Location, Location

Allsopp told the Radio Times in 2013 that she was a union basher, anti-comprehensive schools and friend of commentator Toby Young

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-07-23/kirstie-allsopp-talks-britains-education-system-working-hard-and-filling-your-house-for-free

The protest will gather on the Village Green at 8.30am on Sunday morning with a view to making sure that Allsopp gets a traditional Ambridge welcome.

Ambridge Socialist Editor Keith Flett, the big issue in Ambridge at the moment is the threat of a new road and changes that the new owners of Borsetshire Land plan for the area. This is not the location either for Tories or Kirstie Allsopp

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Hirsute pay tribute to ‘iconic beard wearer’ Frank Dobson as he steps down as MP

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 22nd July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Hirsute pay tribute to ‘iconic beard wearer’ Frank Dobson as he steps down as MP

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has paid tribute to Labour MP Frank Dobson who has confirmed that he is to step down as an MP after 35 years.

Mr Dobson made the announcement at a meeting of Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party on Tuesday.

The campaigners say that Mr Dobson was an iconic beard wearer and won the Beard of the Year accolade as long ago as 2000

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Frank Dobson showed that a beard adds political gravitas. He has been one of the most well known beard wearers in Parliament, a standard bearer for the hirsute

Link to news story

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/frank_dobson_confirms_retirement_as_mp_common_sense_and_human_decency_have_prevailed_1_3695571

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Campaigners caution over fashion for wearing flowers in beards

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 22nd July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners caution over fashion for wearing flowers in beards

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has sounded a note of caution on a growing fashion for people to wear flowers in their beards.

The campaigners say that the trend dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s but has had a recent resurgence as social media allows people to post pictures of their beards with floral decoration.

The BLF view is that while it is a bit of fun and can subvert ideas of how people should appear it should be used prudently. Wearing flowers in the beard in the wrong context can seriously undermine the gravitas that a beard can bring to the wearer

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, We’re certainly not against the idea but wearing flowers in the beard is not for all occasions. We don’t expect to see the hirsute new Cabinet Minister Stephen Crabb doing it for example.

Guide to wearing flowers in the beard

1] make sure the beard follicles are clean and supple

2] choose your flowers with care. Flowers with thorns or which give off significant amounts of pollen are not a good idea

3] Make sure that the flower is not too closely intertwined with the follicles. This can cause damage to the beard.

BBC Report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-28333809

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20 years on: why the Blair project ended in failure

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2014 by kmflett

20 years since Blair was elected Labour leader: neither to laugh or to cry but to understand

20 years ago I was a socialist and I still am so it goes without saying that I was not an enthusiast when Blair was elected Labour leader on 21 July 1994 and I am even less of a fan, if that’s possible now.

But while most will remember Blair for his disastrous war in Iraq and his highly doubtful activities since he left Office, there remains a balance sheet to be drawn from his time as Prime Minister. John Rentoul, a Blair fan, has made the first attempt in the Independent on Sunday [20th July]. Rentoul believes that Blair won’t end up being remembered most of all for Iraq. Hmmm.

20 years ago Blair beat John Prescott and Margaret Beckett for the Labour leadership after the death of John Smith. He won a majority of MPs, trade unionists [no block votes were used] and individual members.

Blair was an Election winner- in 1997, 2001 and 2005- although it can be argued with some justification that after the mess Norman Lamont made of the economy in and after 1992, more or less any Labour leader would have won in 1997.

The agenda of Blair and New Labour was to avoid some of the pitfalls of previous Labour Governments. In particular that meant not having a punch up with the City of London in the first period of office. One of the first acts of the Blair Government was to make the Bank of England independent of Government control.

As Rentoul makes clear, and could have made clearer, even against this agenda of not saying boo to capitalism, the Blair Governments did achieve some positive change. There was some change and improvement to trade union laws and rights at work compared to Thatcher; the equality agenda was advanced; the minimum wage-then hotly contested- was implemented; modest improvements in public services and living standards took place.
The problem with this very mildly positive record is that on two occasions in 1997 and 2001 Blair had massive majorities over the Tories. He was in a position to make strong progress on Harold Wilson’s agenda of making Labour the natural party of Government and marginalising the electoral fortunes of the Tory Party.

Blair failed. I think the failure was related to the softly softly approach to capitalism. What, given a long period of Labour opposition, might have been forgiven as a short term tactic became in fact the dominant strategy.

So early plans to lessen shareholder value as the key legal requirement of businesses- which would have promoted social and corporate responsibility- were not pursued. Had they been, 2008 might have turned out a little differently.

Secondly the love affair with big business means a dalliance with the market- a neo-liberal agenda, that saw an increasing influence of the supposedly super efficient private sector into the public sphere.

Thirdly it meant a bowing of the knee to the rich and powerful who could not be offended- people like Rupert Murdoch and George W Bush.

In short Blair had some notion of making Britain a moderately better society- which is a lot more than can be said for the current administration- but was de-railed not in the first instance by war with Iraq, but by an inability and unwillingness to grasp that at root the activities of capitalism in many instances were not a friend but an enemy of ordinary people, that would have to be not embraced but controlled and on occasion fought.

Of course the left and socialists would go much further than that but I am looking here at the gap between what Blair and New Labour claimed they were up to and what actually transpired and trying to suggest why that was.

Still 20 years is a little early to pass judgement on Blair, unless of course a war crimes tribunal were to appear in the Hague. That however is not exactly what this post is about

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The Ambridge Socialist poll: should we feel sorry for Rob?

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist
20th July CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266
The real Borsetshire Echo: 60 years of class struggle in Ambridge

The Ambridge Socialist poll: should we feel sorry for Rob?

On Friday 18th July Rob Titchener, cowman & philanderer, invited his parents to meet his fiancé Helen. Also invited along were Helen’s parents, Pat and Grumpy Tony. Helen cooked a three course meal but according to the BBC for some unknown reason Rob’s parents didn’t attend. The meal apparently went uneaten

There seems to be some sympathy for Rob. Is this something socialists can support?

Vote here

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The Ambridge Socialist: RIP John Tregorran, socialist & beard wearer

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist
20th July CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266
The real Borsetshire Echo: 60 years of class struggle in Ambridge

John Tregorran RIP: great Ambridge beard wearer & socialist
The BBC has reported the death this week of one of the great Ambridge characters John Tregorran. Tregorran was first discovered wearing a beard on Heydon Barrow in December 1953. This immediately set him out as a doubtful and eccentric character. By early 1967 he had married Carol and they lived in Ambridge until 1990 when they sensibly left for Bristol.

Tregorran was also alleged to be involved with Jennifer, with whom he worked on an Ambridge local history project between 1979 and 1981. John Tregorran was a lifelong member of the Labour Party and campaigned actively for the left in Borsetshire, but needless to say the only reference the BBC made to this was to report the fact he had a beard.

Correspondence to the Editor.
Peter Budge writes:
How could you have failed to mention Susan Carter Working Class hero when she took up the matter of Neil’s employment with Pat. Of course, Tony thinks everything is alright. His reluctance to spend £3000 on a bull left him with a extra £500 for an older model.

Has the local NHS enough funding left to deal with the traumatisation of Freddie? Coming across mother being ravaged by the hired help must surely lead to years of problems. By the way, I can never remember seeing horse at Glastonbury.

In the next edition could we please have a diagram and working instructions of a robotic milking parlour? I wonder if it is any simpler than Jennifer’s kitchen.

Once again BBC censors Tolpuddle
Festivals come and go in the Archers but one the BBC never mentions is that which is focused specifically on the struggles of the agricultural labourers- Tolpuddle. Surely Brian Aldridge would be opining about why people still bothered to remember the Martyrs and Pat would be saying that it was important to remember where we’d come from…. But not on Radio4

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England Cricket Beard Index: Lords Day 3

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
Press release 19th July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266
England Cricket Beard Index: Lords Day 3

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has issued its latest Beard Index of the England v India Test series for the England team.

Hirsute England players have only recently been a significant factor in the team’s performance but the campaigners say that facial hair on the pitch can have several, sometimes combined, impacts:

1] Beards can add gravitas and presence. Moeen is known as ‘the beard that’s feared’
2] Beards can influence aerodynamics both with bat and ball as a movement of the facial hair can cause subtle changes to air currents

Beard Index [combining factors 1 & 2] out of 10 based on Summer Test series so far [Sri Lanka & India]

Broad 6
Moeen 6
Plunkett 4
Bell 3
Prior 2
Stubbling Under:
Anderson
Cook

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Matt Prior’s beard impact is declining while Anderson and Cook could, with application make their way up the Beard Index

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Tolpuddle:did even the Government think the Martyrs were innocent?

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2014 by kmflett

Tolpuddle & Oaths: Why the Martyrs were not guilty

The taking of oaths was a feature of early British trade unionism and indeed a feature of many others of British life too in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

The swearing of oaths was often about loyalty and certainly about secrecy- Taisez Vous in the French- keeping silent about what you knew.

In a world where trade unions had no legal protection, for example for their funds, and often had craft trade secrets to keep, trying to ensure that members stayed firmly in the fold was an essential task and the oath played a part in that.

It was perhaps the taking oaths that more than anything disturbed the ruling class and it was certainly a central feature of the Tolpuddle Martyrs case.

The Martyrs were prosecuted under a 1797 Act which made the taking of oaths illegal. It did not, and could not, apply to all oaths. After the ruling class itself had institutions such as the Freemasons and Orange Order that relied on oaths as a central feature of membership. Rather it depended on the precise wording of the oath and whether the purpose of the meeting where the oath was taken was legal or illegal.

With the repeal of the anti-union Combination Laws in 1825 the Tolpuddle meeting was legal. No details of the precise oath taken have survived, which is not surprising, since only fragments of it were ever produced as evidence in the Dorchester Court Room.
It is thought that the oath taken was not borrowed either from Yorkshire trade unions, where such things were common, or from the Grand National Consolidate Trade Union, whose activities provided the wider context for the Martyrs meeting. Rather it was constructed by George Loveless himself and was likely to have been very much trade union focused. In all probability it was not illegal either.

In a 1966 article W H Oliver argues that after the conviction of the Martyrs Government law officers reviewed the outcome and themselves agreed that the verdict was probably unsafe.

Causing concern to employers by organising a trade union meeting and taking an oath of membership may have annoyed and perhaps frightened employers but it was not illegal.
However the Tolpuddle verdict while very likely unsafe in terms of the existing law did serve a purpose to employers. Many trade unions who employed oaths looked again at whether they would continue to use them.

Oliver suggests that the unsafeness of the verdict was one reason why the campaign for a pardon for the Martyrs and their return to England was successful in a relatively short period of time.

The point is underlined by one of the other significant union disputes of the moment, the Derby lock-out of 1833-4. Thousands of workers were out on strike for some months, and the reason was not a wage demand but because they had joined a trade union. Again it was particularly the taking of an oath of membership that caused concern to employers. No legal action was taken.

Not all in the early labour movement were happy with oath taking.

Robert Owen was opposed to it but from within the movement itself James Morrison, Editor of the Pioneer, a radical paper very much associated with the GNCTU was also against it. He saw oaths as part of a reactionary past.

After all building a democratic, open, mass working class movement, could hardly rest on the taking of secret oaths. The Chartists certainly did not employ such a device. Rather they used membership cards and rules to build organisation.

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Campaigners defend Welsh Secretary after ‘pathetic starter beard’ jibe

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 18th July contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners defend Welsh Secretary after ‘pathetic starter beard’ jibe

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has defended the new Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb’s beard after jibes were made at a meeting of the Welsh Grand Committee of MPs on 16th July.

Veteran organic beard wearer Newport MP Paul Flynn argued that Mr Crabb’s beard was of the ‘pathetic starter’ variety and might not meet a British standard for beards. Mr Flynn did however go on to congratulate Mr Crabb for being the first Tory Cabinet Minister with a beard since 1905.

The campaigners say that when it comes to beards they firmly believe that it is a matter of ‘anything goes’ from the designer and hipster beard to the full organic kind. There is a broad dividing line in the stubble area- anything less than the beard worn by Clint Eastwood in numerous Spaghetti Westerns doesn’t really count.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Paul Flynn is one of the great organic beards and a regular contender for Parliamentary Beard of the Year, but he is being a little harsh on Stephen Crabb’s beard. As Mr Flynn himself notes the first Conservative beard in Cabinet for over a century is something to be broadly pleased about. It is progress

Link to BBC report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-28347364

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Hirsute urged to follow guidelines to protect beard in hot weather

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2014 by kmflett

Hirsute urged to follow guidelines to protect beard in hot weather

Beard Liberation Front
PRESS RELEASE
17th July
Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266
The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers which campaigns against beardism, has issued advice to the hirsute to take special care of their beards during the current hot spell.

BLF organiser Keith Flett said, There is no need to fully shave off the beard in the UK during hot temperatures. However when in Algiers in 1882 Karl Marx had a full beard trim, as opposed to pruning, and exceptionally this is also permitted until the end of July

The campaign group says that after a lengthy period of moderate weather, a change to hot temperatures can mean that the beard is unused to the conditions and follicles may dry out and wither unless precautions are taken

Guidelines for maintaining the Beard in hot weather
•If the beard is above six inches in length moderate summer trimming may be in order, following the guidelines set by Marx in 1882
•If the beard starts to over heat immersing it in the freezer cabinet of the nearest supermarket will provide an instant remedy
•Hand held fans may also be used to ventilate the beard
•If the beard starts to dry out in the heat and follicles become brittle immersion in a pint of craft beer will moisturise and nourish the beard

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