Articles

The impact of the first lockdown on the jobs of people the Tories dont know exist

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2020 by kmflett

The impact of the first lockdown on the jobs of people the Tories don’t know exist

The Resolution Foundation has published an 80 page report detailing responses from 6,000 people it surveyed on the impact of the first lockdown on employment.

One key finding is summarised below:

While more than half of those furloughed during lockdown had returned to work by September, 9 per cent of those previously furloughed had lost their jobs. This rate was highest for 18-24-year-olds, Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers, and the low paid.

They found that 21% of the sample in the most deprived quartile had lost work, were furloughed or had lost hours or pay in early September. Of that sample 28% were based in London.

The impact has been disproportionately in hospitality and amongst younger workers.

I doubt too many readers of this are surprised. Ministers may be if they trouble to read the report. As with the impact of other epidemics over the last two centuries the hardest hit are people who the wealthy don’t know exist.

Ultimately however, historically, there has usually been a price to pay for Governments who don’t know or don’t care about the impact their policies have or don’t have on sections of society.

Articles

40 years ago: E P Thompson on Britain as a police state

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2020 by kmflett

40 years ago: E P Thompson on Britain as a police state

In 1980 the now defunct journal Camerawork published an issue (No.19) which contained amongst other things a page long commentary by the socialist historian E P Thompson together with a photomontage by Peter Kennard.

Thompson focused on the inquest into the death of Blair Peach, a socialist who was killed by a blow from a police truncheon at an anti-fascist demonstration in Southall in 1979. Thompson was very critical of the decision of the Coroner in the case Dr Burton not to appoint a jury.

He went on to criticise the views expressed in the memoir of the Head of the Metropolitan police Sir Robert Mark (1972-1977) as ‘illiberal’

Thompson concluded that:

They wish to push us into a managed society, whose managing director is money, and whose production manager is the police…

The complete issue of Camerawork 19 is at this link

https://www.fourcornersarchive.org/archive/view/0000020

Articles

The Scary Beard of Halloween vote creaks towards a close

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2020 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

PRESS RELEASE 27th October

contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

 THE SCARIEST HALLOWEEN BEARD POLL CREAKS TOWARDS A CLOSE

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, which campaigns against irrational prejudice against the hirsute, has said that the  Scariest Beard of Halloween 2020 poll is creaking to a close.

The title, awarded each year on October 31st, takes a wry look at Halloween festivities by identifying the scariest beard in the public eye. The winner is likely to win by the narrowest crack of a squeaky floorboard.

The BLF does not generally believe that beards are scary, a view promoted by generations of pogonophobes.

It is accepted though that on a dark moonless night as a beard looms through the gloom, nerves may rise a little as to what lies behind the beard.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we like beards, but there are a few out there that are genuinely, concerningly scary. Halloween is approaching. Vote now before the poll creaks to a close

The vote closes at midnight on Thursday 29th October

Scary Beard of Halloween 2020

Richard Branson

Bono

Noel Edmonds

Laurence Fox

Philip Green

Lord Sugar

Antony Worrall Thompson

Eric Trump

Articles

After Marcus Rashford on school meals, Johnson’s record on letter writing

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2020 by kmflett

After Marcus Rashford on school meals, Johnson’s record on letter writing

Marcus Rashford is reported to have sent a ‘personal letter’ to Boris Johnson about the school meals issue and received no response.

One might conclude that Johnson only writes something when he commissioned to and paid by the word for it.

A scan of the growing number of biographies of Johnson reveals that he doesn’t seem to write speeches he makes personally but simply scribbles a few key words and speaks to those. It is a decent oratorical technique if you can do it.

The letter writing balance sheet does not look so good.

When he was Editor of the Spectator one account suggests that his desk  was ‘appalling untidy, with piles of papers, letters, empty sandwich boxes and old coffee cups..he would simply sweep them all to one side when he needed to write’. Purnell, Just Boris)

To be fair it does sound like my fairly rarely visited office desk (aka the archives)but it doesn’t seem to suggest a pro-active approach to writing letters.

When be became MP for Henley Purnell reports that he might receive 200 e-mails and as many letters a day. These of course were answered not by Johnson but by an aide.

Again that is not that unusual although Johnson was mostly in this period a backbench MP.

There is some evidence that Johnson did on occasion indulge in letter writing to pursue a love interest or on occasion to ‘grovel’ for one of his numerous faux pas but there is nothing to suggest he does this in the twenty-first century.

The epistolary art may be declining but there is no question that Johnson does know how to write letters, its just that in the last 20 years or so he cant mostly be bothered too. There are inevitably some scribbled exceptions…

Articles

Campaigners mark 10 years of the I Paper: a beard friendly decade

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2020 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

26th October

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners mark 10 years of the I Paper: a beard friendly decade

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has marked 10 years of The I Paper by celebrating its beard friendly decade of publication.

Hirsute newspaper Editors were once as rare as BBC TV Newsreaders with beards but the I Paper started with Simon Kelner in 2011 and since 2013 Oly Duff has been in the Editor’s chair.

Only Stefano Hatfield presided over a brief clean shaven interregnum between Kelner and Duff.

Simon Kelner was named Hirsute Personality of the Year in 2011 while Oly Duff was runner up for Beard of Winter in 2014.

It is unparalleled record in UK Print Media in the Twenty-First Century.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we are pleased to recognise the I Paper’s Beard Friendly decade. Beard Power is an important issue in 2020.

Articles

What ‘the law’ says about substantial pub meals (not much)

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2020 by kmflett

What the law says about substantial pub meals (not much)

The question of what is or is not a substantial pub meal has received a good deal of focus recently. Areas under Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions can only have open pubs if they also sell food. But how much food counts?

Common Bar in Manchester has been the source of social media and media commentary because a gauleiter of some description (I mean an overbearing official not a Nazi btw) decreed that a large slice of a 22 inch pizza did not qualify.

The law can be open to interpretation but it cant just be made up. In fact the pizza slice was suitable food.

It does remain the case though that legal definitions of what counts as pub food are quite thin. It is certainly more than a bag of crisps or nuts but beyond that it is fairly loose as Kim Howells then a Government Minister found out when he tried to find out in 2003.

The exchanges below are the most recent and relevant discussion of pub food. The key points here are:

Eating it at a table is essential

Pizza is a meal (how much not defined)

The are two legal judgements. One from 1965 determined that a substantial sandwich (not defined)met the definition provided it was accompanied by pickle and beetroot and of course eaten at a table. The other from 1955 defined substantial pub food as sandwiches and sausages on sticks

I suspect that more or less any pub staying open and serving food is likely to exceed the legal definitions such as they are by some distance.

Mr. Hoban (Tory): I cannot let the clause pass without raising the question of a table meal. What precisely does ”table meal” mean? The Minister gave examples of situations in which food might be served and referred to people of various ages between 16 and 18 consuming pizzas. If there is a group of people between the ages of 16 and 19, and the 16 and 17-year-olds have a sandwich in front of them, does that sandwich constitute a table meal and can they use it as a defence over consuming alcohol?

Dr. Howells (Labour Minister): It just so happens that I asked for and received an authoritative definition of what constitutes a table meal. The Licensing Act 1964 refers to

”a meal eaten by a person seated at a table, or at a counter or other structure that serves the purpose of a table and is not used for the service of refreshments for consumption by persons not seated at a table or structure serving the purpose of a table.”

I take that to mean that someone cannot get away with eating at the bar. Timmis v. Millman of 1965 states

”a substantial sandwich accompanied by pickles and beetroot was a table meal”.

I hope that that helps the hon. Gentleman. If I could, I would try to find for him a better definition

Commons Select Committee on 2003 Licensing Act,15th May 2003

Solomon v Green 1955 ‘Sandwiches & sausages on sticks’

Articles

Ambridge Socialist poll. How would you describe Vince Casey?

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2020 by kmflett

Vince Casey has been around in Borsetshire now for a while. He has been David Archer’s nemesis. He is in the cattle and abatoir business but he is a Regional rather than a local player like Archer.

In one those unlikely liaisons that happen in Ambridge he has now become friends with Elizabeth and hence another threat to the Archer Dynasty

Articles

E P Thompson on the clocks going back & time discipline

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2020 by kmflett

E P Thompson on the clocks going back & time discipline

Clocks have gone forward or back in Britain to mark summer or winter time for around a century. There are debates about how daylight is lost or gained as a result and the impact of this and these continue.

Behind that however lies an industrial obsession with time and the market capitalist idea (also in a related sense an idea of state directed capitalism, in terms of how much could be produced and how quickly) that time is money.

A common theme of the clocks going back for winter is that those who are not working overnight will get an extra hour in bed. The subtext there is perhaps whether an extra hour not doing something is necessarily a good idea.

EP Thompson’s Time, Work Discipline which appeared in Past and Present in 1967, 50 years ago, remains a foundation text.

To give a brief flavour, he writes of ‘Smilesian snippets about humble men who by rising early and diligence made good’. He continues that as workers secured reductions in working hours moralists became concerned that ‘manual workers after concluding their work were left with several hours in the day to be spent nearly as they please’.

How time is used or not used is political

Articles

Ambridge Socialist: Vince Casey, ‘slimeball’,’peasant’ or ‘working-class hero?’

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2020 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

25th October

Vince Casey

Vince Casey: ‘Slimeball’,’peasant’ or ‘working-class hero’?

Vince Casey, abbatoir specialist and David Archer’s nemesis has bumped into Elizabeth in a pub (Borsetshire is in Tier 1 clearly) and bought her a drink. Casey appeared to be genial character (who knew?) who noted that he got by with 50% charm and 50% iron fist…

Later both Casey and Archer were to be found at an HR seminar on workplace relations. The BBC rarely covers Lower Loxley’s non-unionised employment practices and we can only wonder how much iron fist Casey uses with anyone who he may employ.

Later Casey turned up at Lower Loxley to meet Lily and Freddie. Lily had earlier called Casey a slimeball which he seemed to regard as fair but he did wonder if their objections to him were because they saw him as a peasant intruding on the Archer Dynasty..

More on Babies

Fallon has finally told Sgt Sherlock Burns that she has decided she doesn’t want to have a baby. Sherlock does want a baby but has grasped that this is not something he can personally do, rather like catching criminals such as Philip and Gavin Moss

The Christmas Not Panto

Freddie clearly feels the weight of Lynda Snell’s notorious record of Ambridge Christmas panto productions as he tries to work out what might be suitable in 2020. How about Carry on Up The Am starring Philip Moss and Harrison Burns?

Treasure

Apparently a further coin has been found in the Great Borsetshire Treasure Hoard hunt

Articles

Tories no longer want to celebrate all British history as National Trust’s plan to detail historic links with slavery investigated

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2020 by kmflett

Tories no longer want to celebrate all British history as National Trust’s plans to detail historic links with slavery investigated

Boris Johnson told the virtual Tory Conference on 6th October

We are proud of this country’s culture and history and traditions; they literally want to pull statues down, to re-write the history of our country, to edit our national CV to make it look more politically correct.

As with so many Tory policies it hasn’t taken long for the view that all British history ‘as is’ must be kept to change.

A number of right-wing papers have reported on 24th October that the Charity Commission plans to investigate the National Trust’s plans to detail the links many of its properties have with colonialism and the slave trade

The charity regulator has warned the National Trust it could face an investigation over its ‘purpose’, amid claims it has strayed too far from its remit of preserving historical buildings and treasures.

The Trust sparked a woke row earlier this year after tweeting details about artefacts and buildings’ links to slavery – as dozens vowed to cancel their membership because of ‘virtue signalling’.

Daily Mail 24th October

The Head of the Charity Commission is Lady Stowell, the former Tory leader of the House of Lords. A Commons committee refused to endorse her appointment in 2018 (by Matt Hancock..) on the grounds that she lacked any experience or knowledge of the area. The appointment went ahead although Stowell was reported to have resigned her membership of the Tory Party.

It appears that the Tories are no longer keen on celebrating all of British history

Lady Stowell of Beeston

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/21/mps-refuse-to-endorse-former-tory-minister-as-head-of-charity-commission

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tina_Stowell,_Baroness_Stowell_of_Beeston