A guide to the beard friendly mince pie 2021

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Press Release 6th December. Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

A guide to the beard friendly mince pie 2021

December is the season for mince pie eating, but it can provide particular challenges for the hirsute.

The Beard Liberation Front has identified two key issues:

Icing sugar in the beard: this can have the effect of turning it prematurely white and can be difficult to remove. It may also lead to white beard syndrome and people shouting ‘Oi Santa’ at you.

Pastry flakes and crumbs in the beard: If this occurs it is guaranteed that any pogonophobe within 100 metres will shout ‘oi mate you’ve got the remains of your breakfast/lunch etc in your beard’.

There are several ways of avoiding the issues above:

1] Wear a special mince pie beard snood

2] Focus on eating only beard friendly mince pies. In particular pies where the ratio of filling to pastry lies with the former are likely to be more beard friendly.

3] If time and culinary skills allow you can of course make your own beard friendly mince pies

The Beard Liberation Front continues to research the beard friendly mince pie. Initial results from 2021 tests will be available shortly.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, there are some reasonably beard friendly mince pies out there but the hirsute need to choose carefully. For the unwary eater icing sugar and pastry flakes in the beard can be a serious concern


Jeremy Corbyn in close shave vote for Parliamentary Beard of the Year

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

5th December

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

Jeremy Corbyn in close shave vote for Parliamentary Beard of the Year

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that voting for the first close shave round of Parliamentary Beard of the Year 2021 has ended with Andy McDonald and Stephen Kinnock going through to the Beard Off round.

Voting for the second and final close shave round is now open with Jeremy Corbyn, the MP who has won the accolade more times than any other MP facing three contenders to get into the Beard Off

Eight candidates will attempt to shave each other for the coveted annual accolade. Last year’s winner Stuart Anderson MP has mislaid his beard during the year and does not feature.

The winner of Parliamentary Beard of the Year will be announced on 14th December

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, as usual it’s not about whether the politics of a particular MP are approved of or not. It is about the positive impact their beard has had in the public eye during the year, or not as the case may be. There are no whips or block votes involved so it’s entirely down to public support.

Parliamentary Beard of the Year 2021 shortlist

Jeremy Corbyn, (Independent Labour, Islington North)

Andy McDonald (Labour, Middlesbrough)

Jon Trickett (Labour, Hemsworth)

Stephen Crabb (Tory, Preseli)

Stephen Kinnock (Labour, Aberavon)

Colum Eastwood (SDLP, Foyle)

Stewart McDonald (SNP, Glasgow South)

Simon Fell (Tory, Barrow & Furness)

Voting began on 1st December. Two preliminary close shave rounds will provide four finalists for a Beard Off round with the result announced on 14th December

Close Shave Round One Dec 1-4

Close Shave Round Two Dec 5-8

Beard Off final Round Dec 9-12


Ambridge Socialist: We say,Mia should carry on virtue signalling. No one else in Ambridge does

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2021 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

5th December

Chelsea does Knacker Burns work for him on Blake

While Sgt Knacker Burns has managed to persuade Blake to talk about who Philip Moss sold him and the other two modern slaves to, this time last year, it was Chelsea that did the real work. She was able to get Blake to see, through discussion of an interview with Blake in the Borchester Echo, that Moss was not the person he thought he was, paying him nothing while claiming his benefits. Next Knacker can resolve the issue of the bunting.

Mia and Virtue Signalling

After a ‘discussion’ with Chelsea Mia has agreed that much of climate activity amounts to virtue signalling and asked Lynda Snell for some guidance on effective campaigning. It may be that Mia really knows more about the matter than she thinks. While virtue signalling wont change the world, given how few people in Ambridge do it, its still an important matter.

Hazel is back

Occasional Ambridge visitor and noted all round nuisance Hazel is back. She has Long COVID and so has been circumspect on life, the universe and everything. So far

Eddie & the donkey

Benjamin the donkey cant do the Mystery Plays. He has a unique Grundy charisma (possibly due to the cider he drinks) and Eddie is struggling to find a replacement. Couldn’t Call Me Russ Jones be called in as a substitute?

In other news

Its time for the traditional Grundy Christmas turkey crisis


OFSTED: Gradgrindism in 2021

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2021 by kmflett

OFSTED- Gradgrindism in 2021

Michael Rosen has written a devastating critique of OFSTED school inspections in 2021

They are he argues focused on finding outs ‘facts’ to the exclusion of humanity. Teachers absent with COVID? OFSTED not interested. Pupils impacted by COVID illnesses and deaths? OFSTED not interested. They just want the performance statistics, for which there can be NO EXCUSES.

It is a familiar story that goes much wider than education in the modern workplace. Key Performance Indicators and whether they are achieved or not often rule. Reasons for non- achievement are given scant attention.

It’s the same too with the COVID  statistics that appear daily. Infections are up but sometimes down. The same goes for deaths. Keeping track of this is important.  But its important too, and not often discussed that behind these figures are real people and real communities grieving.

The lack of humanity in all this is trademark of neo-liberal politics but its exactly what Dickens’ character Gradgrind (Hard Times) had in mind

“Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.” Thomas Gradgrind


37th Pigs Ear Beer Festival, Round Chapel, Hackney. A welcome return

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2021 by kmflett

37th Pigs Beer Festival, Round Chapel Hackney. A welcome return

After a difficult two years of the pandemic, clearly not over yet, it was welcome to see the return of the Pigs Beer Festival, organised by City and East London CAMRA, this week.

It was the first beer festival I’d been at since mid-February 2020 and of course the first Pigs Ear for two years.

It was the 37th Pigs Ear and I’ve been at nearly all of them, from the Bethnal Green days to Stratford and now Hackney. The grade 2 listed Round Chapel does make a great venue, although one might note some accessibility issues. There are lots of steps.

It was I think almost certainly the most cask beer Ive drunk since early 2020. Its been cans and craft keg (more likely to be found in uncertain times because it has a longer life than the few days for a cask) which was interesting in itself a lifelong cask beer drinker.

The beer range (cask, keykeg, keg, cans/bottles) was excellent as ever. In recent times there are of course lots of not just London brewers but east London brewers. In that sense the two stand out beers for me were the Redemption/Kernel Victorian mild, first brewed in 2011 and then again in 2017 and Fuller’s  London Porter the cask version of which has just made its annual appearance.

The range of styles from ordinary bitters to stouts, porters, IPAs, sours and much else reflected how much the beer world has changed in the last 10 years or so.

There was plenty of space and I didn’t feel uncomfortable (plenty of seating upstairs) with no queues at the bars and COVID safety to the fore. Perhaps the attendance was not quite as diverse as in recent festivals with hardcore CAMRA members (like ahem myself) more to the fore but in times like these just getting the festival on deserves applause.


Warning on false bearded Santas issued

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2021 by kmflett


Organised by the Beard Liberation Front

Press release 4th December

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Warning on false bearded Santas issued

The Campaign for Real Santas, which promotes Santas with genuine organic beards, has issued a warning for people to avoid Santas with absurd false beards on one of the last shopping weekends before Christmas.

The Campaign promotes real Santas with genuine beards.

The Campaigners say that with unemployment and under-employment amongst mature men over 50, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to use an assistant Santa who does not have a real beard.

At the same time the Campaign is also keen to encourage more female Santas with organic knitted beards.

Campaigners are urging parents and children to demand that Santas virtual or actual vigorously tug their beards as a definitive test as to whether they are in the presence of a real Santa or not.

CFRS organiser Keith Flett said, Christmas decorations and lights are up in main High Streets and Christmas tat is everywhere. Our task of exposing false bearded Santas is more important than ever.


1 Ask the Santa to tug their beard. If it comes away, then the Santa is FAKE

2 If the beard remains intact ask the Santa to tug their beard again. If the Santa swears then they are genuine. If they simply repeat a ‘ho ho ho’ mantra they are FAKE

3 The Campaign for Real Santas says that genuine Santas must have just the right mix of bonhomie and grumpiness and a real organic beard.


The Organic Santa of 2021will be named on December 18th. In 2020 Michael Rosen shaved Brian Blessed for the annual honour

The Campaign for Real Santas is organised by the Beard Liberation Front


Antony Sher 1949-2021. A Shakespearian actor who was also The History Man

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2021 by kmflett

Antony Sher 1949-2021. A Shakespearian actor who was also the History Man

Antony Sher who has sadly died at 72 will rightly be remembered for his Shakespearian acting and other stage roles.

For historians however he also featured in a TV acting role.

Sher played Malcolm Kirk a lecture with a Zapata moustache in the 1981 TV adaptation of Malcolm Bradbury’s 1975 novel The History Man.

As members of the UCU complete 3 days of strike action over pensions, pay and conditions today, with more to come, it is a reminder of very different and much more hopeful academic times.

There were cuts in education in the later 1970s (when I was a first-degree student at the then Teesside Poly) but overall it was a time of optimism, both in terms of the expansion of academia and in respect of the left politically which Howard Kirk claimed to be a supporter of.

Anyone looking at it now would at least find much room for improvement in how relationships and sexual relationships are handled, a reminder too that the late 1960s had meant liberation for some but not all.

Perhaps the best way to understand Kirk is with the Phil Ochs song Love Me I’m a Liberal.

Sher meantime was a brilliant and versatile actor wherever he played


Protesters jailed,but as with the battle for a free press in the 1820s, more will appear

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2021 by kmflett

Protesters jailed, but as with the battle for a free press in the 1820s, more will appear.

Protests by Insulate Britain activists- demanding that the Government act to properly insulate Britain’s housing stock-hence reducing energy consumption- have made media headlines. The blocking of roads has been widely reportedly and condemned mainly by those who don’t like any protest whatever it is.

There has been debate on the left, which will continue, about whether the tactics used are the most effective way of getting the Government to act. Civil disobedience relies on the resilience of activists but may not always build a movement that can achieve change.

One thing the protests have achieved is a crack down from Home Secretary Priti Patel. Again here we need to be careful though. Ms Patel did not require Insulate Britain to try and restrict the democratic right to protest. She was already planning it and will continue trying to do it unless mass opposition can stop her.

However in the immediate moment that has left Insulate Britain protesters on the front line.

Nine Insulate Britain protesters were jailed on 17th November for breaking an injunction not to block roads in climate change protests.

Solidarity with the protesters seemed in short supply. John McDonnell to his credit made a speech defending them outside the Court. The Guardian by contrast had no words of support but rather a feature asking why so many people found Insulate Britain ‘annoying’. It might be reflected that annoying Guardian readers is at least a start in making an effective protest.

To a casual observer it could have seemed odd that a Government committed on paper to take action on climate change determined that the key action to be taken after COP26 was to jail those who pressed for action.

One of those in Court made the point that if protesters were jailed more would come forward. This seems likely and there is a well known precedent in British history.

Around the period of Peterloo in 1819 the (Tory) Government was determined to crack down on radical opinion and calls for democratic rights. Prosecutions for seditious libel were common and the taxes on knowledge(levied on newspapers) saw the rise of an unstamped, illegal press. Many who published it went to jail, but that didn’t stop publication.

One of the best known was the freethinker Richard Carlile. In the early 1820s he ran a radical bookshop in Fleet Street known as the Temple of Reason. Carlile was frequently jailed but he had an important principle: THE SHOP IN FLEET STREET WILL NOT BE CLOSED AS A MATTER OF COURSE’

It wasn’t. Before the Government gave in 150 volunteers, shopmen, printers, newsvendors, had been jailed and served over 200 years of imprisonment between them.

Whose were these people? E P Thompson noted in the Making of the English Working Class:

The men and women who came forward were, in nearly every case, entirely unknown to Carlile. They simply came out of London; or arrived on the coach from Lincolnshire, Dorset, Liverpool and Leeds. They came out of a culture.

Interestingly though Thompson was also clear that while those who broke the law and fought for press freedom were part of the rise of a radical working class movement, they themselves were not usually workers, with the power to organise and challenge capital at the point of production, but artisans.

However the reading culture they promoted and developed fed into the rising working class movement and was one of the motors for Chartism from the later 1830s.

Perhaps the protests of Insulate Britain wont change the world but they might help create a movement that does.

This post originally appeared in the Morning Star

For the wider and widening Tory attack on the right to protest, see George Monbiot in the Guardian


Campaigners provide seasonal guidelines on porridge eating

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2021 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release

3rd December

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners provide seasonal guidelines on porridge eating

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers has said that it backs porridge as a beard nutrient.

The central component of porridge- oats- is important for a healthy beard although porridge is by far the only way to consume them. Cereal bars are a more beard friendly alternative while oat-based beers, often characterised by a hazy appearance are also popular with many beard wearers.

While porridge is eaten year-round it is more commonly seen in winter months

The campaigners say that there is no doubt that porridge is healthy, nutritious and tasty. However while it is a beard nutrient getting porridge in the follicles can have serious consequences


Eating porridge with a beard must be done with care. Getting porridge in the beard can lead to serious follicle damage.

A simple answer is to wear a beard snood- a form of beard scarf- while eating the porridge to make sure none goes in the beard and damages it.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, the BLF recommends porridge for the hirsute but care must be taken in eating it.


Boris Johnson’s Christmas Parties 2019: unlimited caviar & champagne

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2021 by kmflett

Boris Johnson’s Christmas Parties 2019

Boris Johnson has not denied that a Christmas party was held at Downing St in December 2020. Its almost impossible to see how this didn’t break the then lockdown rules, though that is what is claimed. No doubt there will be one this year too no matter what happens in the next few weeks.

What though of 2019. Johnson had just won an Election and was celebrating.

According to the perhaps not totally reliable source of Tom Bower (Boris Johnson, the Gambler) on Friday December 13th after returning to Downing St from Buckingham Palace where he had seen the Queen, Johnson headed to Brown’s hotel off Piccadilly. The hotel is owned by Brexiteer Rocco Forte and a celebration party was being held.

One party however was not enough for Johnson. He then went to Evgeny Lebedev’s ‘traditional’ Xmas party which was in his house overlooking Regents Park. Unlimited caviar and champagne were available. In 2020 Johnson made Lebedev a Peer..