Articles

The Ambridge Socialist. Who are we hunting?

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2020 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

20th September

Who are we hunting?

The grouse shooting season is underway and the good news (though not for grouse) is that restrictions on public gatherings do not apply to those who want to hunt the game bird. Ambridge doesn’t have grouse moors but of course there is nothing to stop other types of bird being despatched.

BBC reports on the Ambridge hunt have been a little sparse in recent times but the Ambridge Socialist understands that the ruling classes of Borsetshire are set for some shoots. Well known hunting enthusiast Philip Moss will apparently supply beaters at very reasonable rates.

The Ambridge Socialist is opposed to all forms of hunting but we do think it would be a socially useful activity to hunt down the richest men in Ambridge and dump them in the Am for a refreshing swim.

Is Gavin going rogue?

Alice after a particularly robust drinking session was found unconscious by Gavin and despatched to hospital for a brief check-up. Naturally she is for the moment continuing to avoid the drinking issue. Philip Moss had warned Gavin not to get involved in case it alerted the police to their continuing gangmaster operations. He suggested that Gavin leave Alice where he had found her and alert the police later on a ‘burner’ (untraceable) phone.

Gavin ignored him and later went to see Alice and have a chat with her about their joint position of working with their fathers.

He also, this time with Philip’s agreement, appeared on Susan Carter’s Borsetshire Radio programme to plaudits for his action.

The issue is, is Gavin going rogue and if so what is Philip going to do about it..

Naughty Milkman

This is a home delivery service from the Bull. Numbers of pubs are doing this currently. We’re not aware that any have branded it as the naughty milkman though. The individual in question, Kenton Archer, is not naughty or a milkman but the PR has required someone a little more interesting (hardly difficult). Jazzer has been rejected despite Fallon’s best efforts and Jakob is apparently the chosen ‘milkman’. Our advice to Kenton: just get some decent beer in the Bull.

 

 

Articles

Double disappointment for Roglic as he comes second in the Beard of the Tour de France vote

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2020 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

20th September

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Double disappointment for Roglic as he comes second in Beard of the Tour de France vote

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that there is double disappointment for Primoz Roglic on Sunday.

Not only has failed to pull off an expected victory in the 2020 Tour de France he has also finished runner-up in the Beard of the Tour de France vote.

In the actual race he was beaten by clean shaven rival Tadej Pogacar, while in the accompanying beard poll he was shaved by Peter Sagan.

Sagan won 43% of the vote to Roglic’s 18%

As the Tour reached its conclusion the competition for the coveted Barbe de Tour de France title was bristling.

Beards have been particularly controversial in the Tour with a Belgian team banning them on the grounds of hygiene at one point.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, beard power has been key a feature of the Tour de France 2020 but unfortunately Roglic was shaved at the last both in the actual race and in the beard poll

As often in Beard Liberation Front polls the vote is not so much about winning beards but those that make the positive public impact during the race. However clearly there is a focus on front runners as others, no matter how impressive their beard, may make less impact.

 

Barbe de Tour de France 2020

Sagan (Slo)

Getschke (Ger)

AlaPhilippe (Fra)

Soupe (Fra)

Roglic (Slo)

Pinot (Fra)

Herrada (Spa)

Yates (GB)

Reza (France)

Articles

Boris Johnson’s financial hard luck stories.Not what they seem

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2020 by kmflett

Boris Johnson’s financial hard luck stories. Not what they seem

According to the Murdoch Times (19th Sept) Boris Johnson is feeling the financial pinch.

His central London residence at 11 Downing St is taxed as a benefit in kind and he has to pay for meals. Apparently he can only afford a cleaner and is not sure if he’ll be able to stretch to a nanny for his current wife and their new baby.

He is after all paid only £150,000 a year (before tax) and has to provide for his numerous children. Prior to becoming PM he was earning £375,000 a year with his Telegraph column and speaking engagements (and his salary as an MP obviously).

A source has told the Times that he is ‘worried’ about his finances.

Unfortunately Murdoch journalism doesn’t stretch to doing any research these days but had the authors of the report done so they would have found that Johnson is perpetually worried about money although he has no actual reason to be.

Sonia Purnell’s biography Just Boris notes that he actually owns two Georgian properties and that promoting Brand Boris over the years has made him a ‘wealthy man’..

Further Purnell notes that the wider Johnson Dynasty owns ‘large tracts of land in Islington, Regent’s Park and Notting Hill as well as Oxfordshire, Somerset and Greece’.

Yet Purnell notes that not just Boris but his sister Rachel are often to be found claiming that they ‘don’t have any money’ when clearly by any benchmark they have a great deal.

It suggests an insecurity in respect of his class position that, for example, Dave Cameron clearly never had.

Articles

Campaigners pleased that the beard is playing a role in Michael Rosen’s recovery

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2020 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

19th September

Campaigners pleased that the beard is playing a role in Michael Rosen’s recovery

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that it is pleased that author and Arsenal fan Michael Rosen is continuing to make progress in what promises to be unfortunately, a very long road to recovery from COVID-19.

The campaigners say that it is clear that key roles are being played by NHS staff, his family and his own regular exercises.

However, Rosen, who was voted Beard of Summer 2020 by BLF supporters a few weeks ago, tweeted on Friday that his beard was also helping out:

New personal best: 50 minute walk including mini-jogs. Beard to the fore at all times @michaelrosenyes

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we are pleased that Michael’s long road to recovery is getting results and that his award winning beard is playing a role. In particular with the beard follicles appropriately aligned they can slightly enhance the speed of his regular walks against wind resistance. It gives important expression to the term, ‘beard power’.

Articles

Congratulations offered as Adam Jogee set to become only 2nd ever Haringey Mayor with a beard

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2020 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

19th September

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Congratulations offered as Adam Jogee set to become only 2nd ever Haringey Mayor with a beard

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has congratulated Labour Councillor Adam Jogee, on becoming Mayor Elect of the North London Borough of Haringey this week.

He will become only the second ever holder of the office with a beard since it was created in 1964/65.

The other hirsute Mayor was former Councillor Stephen Mann who was Mayor in 2017/18

The campaigners say they support the principle of a wide diversity of public office holders but with only two Mayors with beards in over 50 years there is still scope for improvement

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we congratulate Cllr Adam Jogee, a noted BLF supporter. His period as Mayor of Haringey will underline that there is progress in hirsute history.

List of Mayors of Haringey

https://www.haringey.gov.uk/local-democracy/councillors-and-mps/mayor/mayors-haringey-council

 

Articles

Jimi Hendrix (d 18.9.1970) Star Spangled Banner speaks to the age of Trump

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2020 by kmflett

Jimi Hendrix (d 18.9.1970)Star Spangled Banner speaks to the age of Trump

Jimi Hendrix died in London 50 years ago on 18th September 1970. His last performance was at the Isle of Wight festival on 30th August 1970.

Hendrix died well before the age of the internet, mobiles and social media and, as importantly, before the ‘serious’ media- broadsheet papers and the BBC- took music culture seriously. Hendrix’s death did not pass unremarked but the impact was much less than it would be now.

Amongst a significant musical output Hendrix also produced what was one of the best known cover versions of the 1960s and probably one of the finest ever.

That was his take on Bob Dylan’s All  Along the Watchtower, which he played at the Isle of Wight on that late August day in 1970.

Dylan was not drafted to fight in Vietnam and said little directly about the war, or the opposition in the US to it which grew in the late 1960s. Hendrix by contrast had been a GI briefly in 1961/2 before being discharged. He too didn’t go to Vietnam.

Yet Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower was certainly about the US society that had given rise to the Vietnam War and Hendrix’s treatment of it provided an appropriate musical context.

The late Mike Marqusee writing on Dylan, notes that the Hendrix version of Watchtower was picked up on by both black and white US soldiers serving in Vietnam in the late 1960s. For black soldiers Hendrix was a symbol of a possibly changing situation. For white soldiers the radicalism of his music and of the lyrical content of songs like Watchtower fitted their disillusion with the US military.

As Dylan noted in the song ‘there are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke’ before adding ‘that is not our scene’ underlining the seriousness of the times.

They were too serious sadly for Hendrix who died after choking on his own vomit in circumstances never quite fully explained just a few weeks after playing the Isle of Wight festival.

Marqusee suggests, perhaps particularly relevant now in the age of Trump that Hendrix’s playing of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock was the coda to his version of All Along the Watchtower.

Hendrix’s tortured guitar playing turned the US national anthem into an attack on US imperialism.

50 years on I’ll certainly be remembering Hendrix as a great musician and someone who stood against the political stream too

Articles

Final stages of Barbe de Tour de France vote: Sagan leads Roglic

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2020 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

18th September

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Final stages of Barbe de Tour de France vote: Sagan leads Roglic

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that with the final stages of  the Barbe de Tour vote in play Sagan leads Roglic

The Tour is reaching its conclusion and the competition for the coveted Barbe de Tour de France title is bristling.

The campaigners say they are monitoring the daily stages of the Tour and the winner of the Beard of the Tour 2020 vote will be announced on 20th September.

Beards have been particularly controversial in the Tour with a Belgian team banning them on the grounds of hygiene at one point.

Roglic leads the actual Tour but Sagan’s beard has been a significant presence

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, beard power has been key a feature of the Tour de France 2020 and competition is still bristling for the beard that has made the most impact

As often in Beard Liberation Front polls the vote is not so much about winning beards but those that make the positive public impact during the race. However clearly there is a focus on front runners as others, no matter how impressive their beard, may make less impact.

Barbe de Tour de France 2020

Sagan (Slo)

Getschke (Ger)

AlaPhilippe (Fra)

Soupe (Fra)

Roglic (Slo)

Pinot (Fra)

Herrada (Spa)

Yates (GB)

Reza (France)

Articles

10 weeks of TMS broadcasts from the Ageas Bowl & Old Trafford on men’s cricket

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2020 by kmflett

10 weeks of TMS broadcasts from the Ageas Bowl & Old Trafford on men’s cricket

The domestic men’s international cricket series ended on Wednesday evening with Australia victorious 2-1 in a hard fought 50 over series against England. Women’s internationals the conclusion to the men’s T20 and County Bob Willis Trophy will keep the season going into early October this year.

It does however conclude 10 weeks of bubble broadcasting from Test Match Special from the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

Of course the ECB, players, umpires and other officials, ground staff etc worked hard in tough conditions to bring cricket that seemed unlikely at best in April and May.

But Test Match Special played a role too.

Boycott free this summer thanks to COVID-19 issues there was a more diverse range of commentators but anchored as ever (except obviously for the T20s) by Jonathan Agnew. He remains a measured broadcasting presence in troubled times which is more than can be said for his occasionally heard ukulele playing.

Of course the bubble existence made for a rather different TMS. No crowds to describe, no View from the Boundary and definitely no visitors to the box. It made perhaps for a more inward looking TMS but in 2020 of all years it was one of the sounds of a British summer that was still reassuringly there.

Let’s hope the new BBC Director General Tim Davie fully recognises the role TMS plays in national life and notwithstanding his views on social media ensures a twitter presence if not for Jonathan Agnew at least for his ukulele.

Articles

Beyond the hyperbole,a note on the social role of the pub

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2020 by kmflett

Beyond the hyperbole, a note on the important social role of the pub

As there is a concerning rise in COVID-19 infections there is also a media focus on pubs as the source. Indeed, some are. In fact anywhere that sees people meet together, workplaces, transport, cafes and pubs are more likely to see transmission.

How likely it is to be the case provided legal safety measures are in place is important to keep in mind though.

There remains media hyperbole about thousands rushing to the local and getting drunk. No doubt some do but most who use the pub regularly know its core reason is much more than just selling drink.

In fact drinking in a pub is drinking in a socially controlled and licensed environment. These days it’s also a socially distanced space

One need only look for example at radical working-class history in the first half of the nineteenth century to see that from the Luddites to the Chartists the pub was a central meeting place. This was perhaps particularly so after the 1830 Beer Houses Act which led to a considerable increase in pubs, perhaps a little like the micro-pubs of today.

The idea of the ‘pub as the hub’ of local community activity has long been one promoted by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). CAMRA was  founded in 1971 to combat moves by the big corporate brewers to replace traditional cask ales with bland artificially carbonated keg beer. To its credit, it has been one of the most successful consumer campaigns of recent decades and  has also been active in trying to stop pub closures. Recent legislation in England, supported by CAMRA, allowing pubs under threat to be classified as Assets of Community Value (ACV) has helped.

Traditionally many pubs have supported a variety of social activities ranging from pub games through support for local music, theatre and other performing arts, to support for local football clubs and beer festivals. A pub which recognises its important role in the local community and offers well-kept beer at a fair price is far more than just a boozer. It’s a social location and inclusive of community.

Of course that doesn’t describe every pub, there are an infinite variety, the good, the bad, the indifferent. But they have a vital role in society. At the height of the temperance movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century temperance pubs and hotels were opened. They didn’t of course sell alcohol (or not much anyway) but with or without drink people are social.

As the Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething recently noted if pubs are shut people will socialise elsewhere, whether they are meant to or not, and the chances of tracking and tracing them are very limited.

Phil Mellows @philmellows has written a very good piece on the subject in the Morning Star on this.  https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/c/why-we-should-now-be-more-drink-aware-ever

Unusual times indicate unusual measures. There is a special poll for the Beard Friendly Pub of the Summer with the winner declared in late September. Vote here:

Articles

Working from home or in the office & safe working spaces: really useful knowledge for 2020

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2020 by kmflett

In the 1830s radicals developed something they called really useful or spearhead knowledge.

This included details of what the early capitalist system was about and how it could be challenged, as well as alternatives to the dominant ideas of the time.

In 2020 really useful knowledge is needed just as much particularly in the context of COVID-19.

With the Government urging people to return to work including in schools and Universities and then introducing further restrictions as this very message causes an increase in COVID-19 infections (as to be fair they earlier agreed it would) clear understandings of how to keep safe are required.

This week’s TUC had a good deal on this but below are some brief thoughts

When it comes to the minutae of rules around COVID-19 restrictions the Government often seem to be pulling levers that arent connected to anything. Given the privileged backgrounds of the Cabinet whether they actually understand that or not is another matter

There are surely key messages. Namely to socially distance, wear a mask & wash hands regularly.

There are also key demands.

Firstly that a working track and trace system is essential to control infections.

Secondly that returning to work must be to agreed COVID-19 secure workplaces only.

Thirdly that where for a variety of reasons people cant work the furlough must be extended as it has been in other European countries.

To that might be added,given the increase in employer propaganda on the matter, that while working from home may well be an option for some, avoiding travel, it is a matter of individual safety as to whether circumstances at home facilitate this or not. It is not a matter of an employer either having office space that they cant avoid paying for that they want people in or an employer who wont trouble to make a workplace COVID-19 secure giving people no option but to work from home.

And of course being in a trade union is the essential collective protection that underwrites all this